Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!
Snow Falling on the Desert Floor
As 2010 draws to a close I am reflecting on all the blessings and sweet little surprises that have come our way this year;
A bountiful summer garden with plenty to share
A restful yet adventure filled vacation in the Colorado Rockies
2 new cocker spaniel puppies in early summer
a sweet new grandson in early autumn
very special new blogland friends
A first thriving winter garden
and today, snow falling on the Arizona Desert Floor

 We are blessed with good health, good friends, and good work. We give thanks for all that we have enjoyed during the year and we look forward to all the New Year will bring. As we do, we send this wish to you. 

May you enjoy many blessings, much peace, good health, prosperity, and lots of pleasant little surprises along the way! ~ Blessings, Janet

Friday, December 24, 2010

O Holy Night

Holiday Blessings Friends

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Season of Giving

Last year my good friend Candace gave me this inspirational stack of quotes in a hand painted birthday card. I pinned the card on my "special board," and placed the quotes in my top desk drawer. Each morning I open the drawer and pull out the top quote, read it, meditate on it, and then put it on the bottom of the stack. I have never shared these particular quotes on my blog, but this one just seemed appropriate this week, for a couple of reasons.

My stack of birthday quotes from my friend, Candace
The first is obvious, this is the "season of giving." But secondly, I received a call from my mother this morning telling me that if I was wondering what to get her and dad for Christmas (she knows I've been unusually behind this year...see this post :-), that she would be so pleased if we donated to St. Jude's in her name. St. Jude's Children's Hospital holds a special place in Mom's heart and she runs a campaign for them every Spring. Mom also knows that I've been working toward making giving to those in real need the center of our Christmas and enjoying more authentic pursuits within our family. Today when I dropped by her house, she gave me an angel for my angel tree. I think I'll put a little tag on it that says "I'm a St. Jude's Angel." I think this and today's little quote are affirmations :-).

I have to admit that I have struggled with making the transition from a deep seated Christmas Morning tradition. We all sit around with fresh hot cinnamon rolls, mimosas, coffee, or hot cocoa in snowman mugs while we open our gorgeous embroidered stockings.Then we take turns opening our beautifully gifts. It takes a couple of hours. Afterward we enjoy a beautifully prepared brunch and later on Mom, Dad, my brother and nephews join us for an equally beautiful dinner.

I shared last week, that this year we've decided to make our "in family" gift giving much more simple, more meaningful and as Christmas draws nearer, I am nervous. While I am confident we have raised compassionate and generous young people, I am still nervous. :-) Excited...fulfilled...but yes, nervous. Have a wonderful weekend. ~ Blessings, Janet

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas ~ Hustle and Bustle or Peace and Serenity...You Decide

I wrote this little essay as part of a multigenre paper for a creative writing class back in college a few years ago and I thought I would share it with you.

Christmas: Back to the Heart of it

"If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars, as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life." ~ Author Unknown

Christmas has always been one of my favorite times of the year. So many neat things go on, and we have an excuse to be really gaudy with all the strings of lights, strands of garland, decorated trees, and tons of food. We also tend to make more time to be with family and friends. The rest of the year seems to rush right by, and we rarely make that precious time. When I take time to reflect on Christmases past, a flood of sweet memories wash over me. I recall the splendor of the pre-decorated "gold" tree of my adolescence. Steadfast family traditions, such as mom's and Nana's annual tamale making parties, have given me rich memories. Other vivid memories include: magical candlelit midnight masses, annual tours of downtown's Christmas lights, and whimsically filled Christmas stockings. Magical moments stand out the most though, like the time snow fell in Phoenix while we were attending an outdoor reenactment of the Nativity. Anticipation of those moments is what I delight in. However, stress is also a part of this season. The entertaining, hustling, bustling crowds, hemorrhaging checking account, shopping and wrapping, and unending invitations can be overwhelming. It makes me tired just thinking about it. I have made some changes over the years to calm it all down, but I ask myself, can I do more? What is Christmas?

Of course, we all know that it is about celebrating the birth of a Savior in our world. But how do we really honor that? And what would that look like? It seems to me that it should still be magical, and giving seems to still fit, but how much? What? And to whom should we give?

In this day and age of light speed changes, I wonder how we can celebrate the meaningful events in our lives. How do we honor that which we claim to so highly value? How do we capture memories that we will build full, rich lives around? Before we can answer these questions about Christmas, we must first decide what exactly it means. Where did it start? Why is there profound meaning in Christmas? What does it personally mean to each of us? And what about all those traditions? Where did they all come from, and do they help us to honor this season?

Years ago, I received a copy of Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance as a birthday gift. Her life's philosophy resonated with me and left me with a burning desire to build a more authentic life. We are Americans and we are abundantly blessed with the ability to make choices about the way we live and yet many of us are emotionally and spiritually emaciated.

If you are anything like me, you remember few of the gifts you have either received over the years or given. What you remember are the moments made special or magical like an unexpected visit from a dear friend, snow falling in the desert, the glow from the fireplace and the twinkling lights, the faces of children, or feeling the presence of God himself as your church choir sings angelic hymns.

I've been moving in this more authentic direction for years now, and this year I'm going to take one more bold step and make my gift giving more authentic, more personal...and less expensive. I'll let you know how it goes :-).

I would love to hear your thoughts on this beautiful season of hope, love, peace and joy. How do you honor it? Is there more...or less you long for? ~ Blessings, Janet

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You are what you think you are ~ What do you think you are?

In her book Living Artfully: Create the Life You Imagine, artist and author, Sandra Magsamen tells this story: 

"I heard a great story of an English art therapist, Edward Adamson, who asked a group of high-school-age children to look at a brick and write down as many things as they could imagine the brick being used for. Some children had no problem, easily writing a hundred ideas. Other children struggled, so he asked those children to close their eyes and imagine that they were eccentric artists known for their creative flair. Once they had an image of themselves as innovative, artsy people, he asked them to open their eyes and again look at the brick and write down all the things the brick could become. This time, the children overflowed with ideas. The difference was they now say themselves as "artists." "

In the story, the children became what they imagined themselves to be. What are you telling yourself you are not? What can you imagine yourself to be? I invite you to explore these questions and experiment with them if you like. I would love to hear your thoughts and the results of your experiments. Pictures would be fun too! ~ Blessings, Janet

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Laugh Out Loud ~ It's good for the body and good for the soul!

This entry is inspired by my Journal Cards by Sue Meyn. Sue has a way of getting deep, real deep using a simple 3 x 5 card. Here's today's card:

What makes you laugh?  Describe the last time you laughed really hard.

My pups make me laugh, Rick makes me laugh, road signs make me laugh, making silly mistakes makes me laugh. Last night Minnie Mouse had Michael (Cocker Spaniel Pups) pinned down on the sofa and after she declared her victory she jumped off and left him there pinned in the corner with his legs up on a throw pillow. He looked like he was using it as an ottoman...funniest thing! I laughed so hard my tummy ached.

Today ~ Where would a little added humor help?

 I feel like I have a lot to do and not enough time to do it in. Sound familiar? Picturing me stuffing 10 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag, and getting it all in there....declaring my own victory....and then noticing there's a huge hole in the bottom of the bag! Next..............

What is a favorite humorous event or story?

Rick and I got together when Brandi was 16 years old and she having a tough time grasping this new relationship. She thought Rick was sort of a novelty and while she liked him, she wasn't sure about creating a family with him. For the story to make sense, you have to know that Rick loves bread...I mean...the man loves bread. When he eats warm bread fresh from the oven he always says "mmmmm." Brandi thought that was the funniest thing and then one night at the dinner table she took a bite out of a slice of bread fresh out of the oven and without realizing it went "mmmmmmmmmmm." Rick and I looked at each other, burst out laughing and then in unison said, "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated." And with that, we all burst out laughing.

Take some time to think about all the things that make you laugh and practice pulling them from your memory when you get into a stressful situation. Humor really can heal! 

I'd love to hear your funny stories.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Traditions and Election Day

I admit it. I am a sucker for tradition. For me, it ranks right up there with order and routine. Seriously though traditions give us a sense of stability in a world that is often uncertain. Traditions can provide us with a sense of who we are and where we come from. Traditions can keep us connected to one another, give us a sense of continuity and traditions provide rich memories.

An Election Day Tradition
Some traditions are serious and some are fun. Rick and I have an Election Day tradition that is both serious and fun, depending on the election. While we lead very busy lives and voting by mail has now been made available to us, we continue to go to the polls each election to cast our votes. We go together after work and then head over to Keegan's Sport Grill, where we a enjoy a nice casual dinner and a glass of wine out on the patio. We discuss our thoughts about the election, the state of our nation, our state, our lives, and our children's lives. Sometimes we are on opposite sides of issues and while we take our responsibility seriously, we do have fun and lively debates. Then we go home and watch the telly as the results come in. We've done this every election we've been together.

We enjoy many traditions in our family as well. Some of our traditions have been passed down from generations, some have evolved from adding new family members, some have just evolved because an activity became meaningful. All are a cherished part of our lives.

What traditions do you enjoy?

Friday, October 29, 2010

What do Resistance and Halloween have in common?

Have you ever been to a haunted house for Halloween? There is quite a bit of anxiety just thinking about what you might experience. As you walk up, there is certainly some apprehension as you see the forbidding props at the entry. You enter and you don't know what is going to jump out at you as you turn a corner. And what are those crunchy things underneath your feet? Ewwww!

What's haunting you?
Resistance produces those same kinds of feelings; anxiety, apprehension, fear. One of my local heroes, KC Miller (Master Life Coach, Spiritual Guru, and Amazing Director of the awarding winning Southwest Institute of Healing Arts) told our Life Coaching class, "What you resist, persists." Sounds like a haunting to me :-). The kind of resistance she was talking about is that sort of stuff we put off taking care of for some reason or another (read excuse). It may be because we don't like confrontation (Who does, it's REALLY uncomfortable), or we are afraid (we think we're not good enough or that we will fail), or it's too hard (read this post).

The thing about haunted houses, is that when you keep moving you do get through them. Sure, you scream a little (or a lot) and then you have some fun experience to share with your friends and family. Sure, you got a little scared because you didn't know what was coming up next, but you walked through it and you got through it.

When you resist taking care of the things that are uncomfortable, it is sort of like walking through a haunted house. You never know when the consequences of inaction are going to crop up. But when you take action, when you make the call, clear up the misunderstanding, do the exercise, eat well, sleep well, etc. the haunting goes away...and you get through it. And then you have happy experiences to share with your friends and family.

So, what's haunting you?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Perpetual Motion

Perpetual Motion
 I call her perpetual motion because I can rarely get a still photo of her. I have lots of pics of her tail because she's usually moved out of the frame by the time I click the button. This is Minnie Mouse, our now 10 month old cocker spaniel and she inspired my post today. You see, I was just about to sit down and write about the relationship between resistance and Halloween when she let me know she wanted to go outside. When I opened the sliding glass door she just lay there still...staring ahead. I looked in the same direction to see what she was looking at...and I saw it. A bird was perched atop the block wall and Minnie was contemplating just how she was going to get it. Just then, she took off like wildfire and, of course, the bird flew away. I watch her do this everyday. She knows that someday, she's going to catch a bird. And after each failed attempt, she shakes it off and goes on her merry way. Wow, what a revelation! For her, the journey, the attempt, the adventure is the thrill. What would she do if she actually caught the bird? I don't know, but she sure as heck has a good time trying :-)
Food for thought?
It got me to thinking again about a paper weight a friend gave me several years ago when I started a challenging new job. I look at it almost every day, and it does inspire me when I am nervous about trying something new, but it was sure fun to see it in action today when this precious untainted puppy took off after that bird. No one has ever told her she'll never catch a bird :-). What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? It could be fun to try, yes? :-)
Maybe we should have called her Confidence :-)
I've been seeing a lot of burning desires in clients and friends, then toe-dipping effort, a bit of failure, and then a shrinking back. What will happen if you just go full bolt ahead like Minnie Mouse, with a knowing that this time, you're going to catch the bird? Can you feel the wind blowing through your hair? Can you feel your heart racing? Are you excited? I am! :-) I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Power of Love and Pure Limitless Potential

I Love my morning mediation and prayer time! During the day ideas circle around in my head and it sometimes feels like a chaotic storm going on. I'll be reading a book and processing its content, analyzing how the ideas presented may benefit my clients, my friends, family, or myself and it can get confusing. Then, I wake up in the morning, let the pups out, pour a cup of coffee and settle in to pray and to meditate. I've shared before that sometimes it takes awhile to still my busy mind so I often start with The Lord's Prayer. Each phrase somehow acts as a prompt and I fill the gaps between the phrases with my own life story as it applies to the phrase.
I love this heart...I saw an angel cloud the other day :-)
Today, my story was that of Love and Thanksgiving. I've been reading Rhonda Byrne's, The Power and it is about making the choice to feel more love in your life. Ms. Byrne advises us to turn away from and don't give bad feelings to that which we don't love. She says that the more and more time we spend focusing on what we love, the less and less time we have to spend focusing on what we don't love, and it falls away. She goes on to say, that the more we love, the more attract love, and the more we don't love, the more we attract things we don't love.  I can see where that happens in my life. Can you recognize that in your life?
And really...It's just a choice :-)
A question I will often ask my clients is "How much time in your day do you think you spend thinking about negative things?" And then I draw out a measured gauge with 24 sections and I say, "There are 24 hours in a day." The more time we spend thinking about positive things, the things and people that we love, that we love about ourselves, our work, our home etc., the less time in the day we have to think about the things we don't love.
I think I want one of these :-)

Clients will also sometimes feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to monitor their every thought and consciously turn away bad thoughts and think up good thoughts. It's a lot of work they think :-). It is, at the beginning. We have been programmed in our society to feel lack, to feel inadequate, to feel want, to feel need. Our programming has often been so effective that we run on auto pilot. We don't question the messages we are getting from all around us. Often those messages are meant to create a need so that a company can sell a product that will fill the need. And when we run on autopilot, we buy into the messages.

Photo courtesy of Truly Lovable
There is always good news though :-). I am only half way through the book, but Byrne talks about the unlimited Power available to us when we choose Love. When you choose Love, all that you desire is drawn into your life. When you choose Love, the frequency in which you operate rises and the people and things that are operating in that same frequency become a part of your world. Science has already proven that the Universe is infinite and that we live parallel lives. Sounds far fetched with our current thinking, I know. But just imagine for a second, that when you change your state of feeling from angry, fearful, or resentful to loving, compassionate and joyful you walk in a different parallel existence. Relationships, finances, health all improve! I think that's worth exploring. What do we have to lose?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Imagine it ~ Feel it ~ Do it

Do you ever feel like quitting a task because it seems overwhelming? Do you have unfinished art projects, papers that need to be filed, self care that needs to be attended to? Are you unemployed and find job hunting overwhelming? Do you want to lose weight, but the prospect of watching what you eat and exercising is exhausting? Are there projects around the house that need attention, but you don't know where to start? Could your finances be in better shape? Do you have an unfulfilled dream you haven't pursued?

What's your dream?
I have at one time or another experienced each of these in my life. And admittedly so, I have a few projects around here that need my attention. Just take a look at my 50@50 list :-). What I have learned though, is that when we put our tunnel vision on and look only at the difficulty in accomplishing the task, that is all we see...difficulty. And it's not very motivating and can even be debilitating. We feel bad about ourselves and then projects stack up and become even more overwhelming.
It feels higher than it is
The good news is that we can choose to see the whole picture. We can switch to a wide angle lens, we can take in the entire picture, including the end result and the difficulty becomes only a tiny dot in the whole frame. We can then choose to focus on the beauty of the accomplishment, and feel the feelings that come with achieving the goals we set. After all, it is what we put out attention on that gets accomplished.
Look at the whole picture
Think about this for a moment. If you are unemployed, what's your dream job? What will get you excited about getting up in the morning? Now, feel that feeling. Picture what you will wear, where you will go, who you will work with. Picture yourself doing your work. Picture your bank balance with your paycheck being deposited. If there are home projects that need attention, picture them complete. And now feel the feeling that comes with that. If you have weight that is no longer serving you, picture yourself at your ideal weight. What are you wearing, what are you doing. What can you do now, that you avoided doing before? Whatever your desire, picture it now, feel it now.

Feel it? :-) I do!
And there's more good news! We can choose to take action. The truth is that none of the individual tasks that need to be done in order to accomplish your goals are difficult. For example, if you need to prepare a resume, one of the first tasks is turning on the computer. Now that's just pressing a button. And if you're reading this, you're already ahead. The next task would be bringing up your word processing program...easy enough, right? Now, type in your name...and so forth. Before you know it, you've got a resume! See where I'm going with this :-) Another example; If it's weight; what are you putting in your mouth? Choose healthy. It is as easy to broil fish and steam vegetables as it is to bake a creamy casserole. If you don't have tasty healthy recipes, you already know how to read, so you can look them up and experiment. See how each step is relatively easy?
I'm so excited!
And now {Squeal} the best part! Yes, there's more good news! I'm jumping up and down now! Can you feel it? Here it is: With every good, excited, happy feeling that you choose to feel, and every step that you choose to take, it gets easier, doors seem to magically open, help comes from unexpected sources and you get more and more done and you feel better and better. Don't you feel better already?

I do :-) And I'm going to work on one of my tasks...I'll report later. Will you do the same? I'd love to hear all about it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thank you God

For a rain drenched patio
A brisk morning walk
My favorite light gray sweater
A crackling fire
A steaming cup of coffee
A delicious bowl of steel cut oats
A denim slip covered down-filled sofa
Two cuddly cocker spaniels
Hummingbirds and song birds
 Family & Friends

 I went to bed last night knowing that I would feel this way today. My heart is overflowing with gratitude for my life. Fairly predictable with a few surprises sprinkled in here and there is just how I like it. I knew it would rain in the night and that our morning walk would be brisk and I would get to wear my favorite gray sweater. I would get to come in and flip the switch for the fireplace for the first time in the season. My coffee would be ready, my oatmeal just right and the puppies ready to cuddle on the sofa before their breakfast. The birds would be singing outside of the big open glass door. Rick would kiss me three times before he left for work, and I would talk to mom.
Yes. Those are wet dog nose smears on the glass :-)
 And so it is with gratitude that we really do tend to see what it is we are looking for. Last night while getting ready for bed, I anticipated a glorious morning, and that is what I received. It could have looked differently though. I could have dreaded the forecasted rain and instead focused on the imminent muddy paws that would traipse through my carpeted house. I could have thought about being cold and not being able to wear my favorite comfy Eddie Bauer tank top on our walk. I could have ignored the ability to flip a switch and get instant fire, coffee, and music. My day could have looked different. :-)
So is this a fluke? Are my hormones just in the right balance today :-)? Or is there something to anticipating a brighter day and being grateful for it in advance? It is certainly worth the experiment, don't you think?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

You deserve a break today!

What are you doing for fun this weekend? I love my work so I'm always thinking about it. Well, except when I'm hiking, or canoeing, or zip lining, or painting, writing, telling jokes, dancing, singing or get the drift. It wasn't always like that though. Years ago, I was a workaholic accountant working for a bank. I thought I was a great mom too, because I would often take Brandi to work with me on a Saturday. I'd let her feed the ducks in the moat that surrounded an upscale lounge on the office property. She loved playing in the supply closet where all the great markers and office goodies were. I allowed eight years to pass us by like that.

Sometimes it takes a devastating loss to jolt a person back to realty. In my case, it was like an avalanche of losses. In 1998, my marriage fell apart, I pushed my friends away, our business was failing, we lost our home, and the most devastating of all, my thirty seven year old baby sister died. She had been my rock, and now, she was gone. I could barely put one foot in front of the other without thinking about it and I was in and out of a catatonic state for months. My identity had been shaken to the very core.

I remember writing her eulogy on the plane to Louisiana where mom and I had to fly to claim her body. Poignant memories flooded my mind and poured out onto the paper.  Recalling all the ways she displayed her beautiful nature. She was so well balanced and I so loved that about her. Barb worked hard all week, and then on the weekend, she and the girls were at the beach, or camping, or exploring the zoo, parks, or gardens. She knew how to have fun and that made her a joy to spend time with. Time that I would never get with her again.

About a year later, the fog of grief began to lift and I was starting to pull my life back together again. I poured myself into a master gardener class and made new friends. I took ballroom dance lessons and golf lessons. I took every opportunity to visit my nieces or bring them here to visit. I went back to school and made friends there. I began to see the world a little more like Barb had and I became acutely aware of how time and life can pass by and before you know it, a decade has elapsed.

More than a decade has passed since Barb died, twelve years to be exact and my life is completely different. While I still take care of business, there is always time in my schedule for fun. If a friend calls for lunch or coffee, I'm there. If my brother calls and wants to talk for four hours on the phone, I'm there. If hubby wants to go shooting, or play golf, or jump a hundred feet out of a tree and zip 1400 feet across a river...I'm there.

Tree Top Soaring ~ Colorado

We work hard all week, we pay our bills, and take care of business, and life is about more than that. It's great if you have a career that doesn't feel like work and I am blessed to have that, but for many of us, work is a means to an end and we deserve to reward ourselves for doing it. So what are you doing for fun this weekend?

Monday, September 13, 2010

You've got the power ~ But are you using it?

Just when you think it's just another Monday morning. "Back to the salt mines" mom used to say after a leisurely weekend. She, of course, was referring to getting back to work, to a job she was supremely good at, but like many people, it wasn't her dream job. So I ask you, are you working in your dream job? I'll even go a step further. Are you living your dream life?
Do you feel like this today?

One of the things that supports me in living a life that I love, and that keeps me positive, is connecting with good reading material. I come across a lot of people who are yearning for something different in their lives, and who are not sure how to achieve their dreams. Sometimes they get depressed and anxious, feeling like life is passing them by. I always tell them, "You are only an instant away from happiness."

You see, it's a choice, and you have the power to make that choice. Power? Yes Power! Check out the trailer for Rhonda Byrne's new book The Power (She's the author of The Secret)

Now, I have to share that I haven't read it yet, but it's right sitting here on my desk and I wanted to share it with you right away because I found her first book, The Secret, so powerful. Perhaps we can read it together. I'm going to start tonight :-) Let's talk about it as we go...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Because You're Worth It ~ Taking Care of You

Women are always so busy trying to be everything to everyone and we often see taking care of ourselves as selfish luxuries. We have allowed our children, spouses, and household chores to consume every waking moment in the day and every ounce of energy we have. We do not even take the time to evaluate how that may be doing more harm for our families than good. Think about this for a minute. If our children only see us taking care of them, or taking care of our husbands, or taking care of the house, are we not sending the message that when they reach adulthood, that growing up means taking care of everyone else except themselves? Neglecting your own self care also sends the message that you are not as important as others. Does this resonate with you?
If you're happy and you know it...

Taking time to care for yourself has so many benefits. Your sense well-being is enhanced when you build quality time for yourself into your life. Your sense of self-worth increases as you enjoy some focused self-care, Your energy level is elevated because your mood improves. Those are the psychological advantages. There are emotional advantages as well. You will enjoy more respect from your family and your relationships will improve. Softer skin, healthier hair, prettier hands and feet are all physical benefits. Another benefit of taking care of yourself is stress relief. When you look good, are well rested, well nourished, you feel good. And when you feel good, you are more equipped to handle life's daily stresses.

Just you and your rubber duck :-)

Do you build time in your daily or weekly round just for taking care of you? When was the last time you took a bubble bath? When was the last time you gave yourself a manicure, or soaked your tired tootsies in a nice warm bath? When was the last time you gave yourself a facial or a moisturizing hair treatment? When was the last time you took the time to look in your closet and make sure that you love everything in there?
Ahhh Can you feel the pebbles under your feet?

You may be thinking now, when could I possibly build that kind of time into my life. Here's the good news. It doesn't take that long. You don't have to have a bubble bath every week, or a full manicure, pedicure, or hair treatment for that matter. I take Sunday evenings, after all the days activity has settled and that's when I'll give myself a manicure or slip into a bubble bath. Because it is routine, my husband has built other activities in to his evening. We're both happy. You can do something similar. Just half an hour or forty-five minutes can make a world of difference. Can you imagine it? Great! Now imagine what you'll be teaching the kiddos too :-)
Does your closet need some attention?

If you have already built regular self-care into your life, I would love it if you would share it here. If you have not and are planning to, I would love to hear about that too. And if have any questions, please leave a comment or email me and I will be sure and offer any help that I can.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What the world needs love sweet love.

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. Helen Keller

Let us lift each other up today especially; let us give one another compassion and understanding; Let us love one another today. ~ Blessings, Janet"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Your Corner of the World

“Order is the shape upon which beauty depends.” ~ Pearl S. Buck

There is a certain calmness that comes over one after organizing a room, a garage, a closet, a desk, a drawer...After cleaning and organizing a space, I go back to it over and over just to breathe in the beauty of orderliness...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

Photo courtesy of Hostess with the Mostess
A girl can dream! Enjoy your Labor Day holiday. Be Safe. ~ Blessings, Janet

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday's Journal ~ Staying in Touch

It has been months since Rick and I got together with Mike and Janie. The last time we saw them together was at their wedding in June and we only chatted with them for a few moments. Mike used to come over for dinner once a week before he met Janie :-). Ahhh the tole young love sometimes takes on friendship :-). Well, sometimes it is the sacrifice of time and not of caring. Like any living entity, friendship must be fed and nurtured in order to thrive and grow. There have actually been studies done that correlate longer happier healthier lives with people whose lives include healthy friendships.

While I enjoy my solitude, my work relationships, and my family; I recognize that friendships bring an added richness to life, and I am painfully aware that since Rick and I began full time classes, our social life has taken a back seat. However, almost a full year has past since either of us were in school, and we've done little to revive our now less than impressive social life. Rick and I have decided to revive our social life, and today we enjoyed a wonderful brunch with Mike and Janie over at TC Eggington's in Mesa.

It was only a couple of hours, but we had a chance to catch up on all that is going on in our lives. We talked about our two new puppies and how much they've changed our lives. We were able to share our exercise experiences and hear about Janie's parents. I always walk away from such a time fully satisfied, feeling like if not another good thing happened this day, I had already been blessed. How about you? Do you make spending time with friends an important part of your life?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweet Surprises

Image courtesy of Natalie Fee

Generally an early riser, usually around 5:00am, I was surprised when I heard the clinking of ice in a glass coming from outside our bedroom door. Leaning over the bed, I glanced at the clock and was amazed to see that it was 9:00am. Somehow, Rick had gotten out of bed, got dressed, and had taken the puppers for their morning walk, all without waking me. Now, he was cooling them down with their daily ice treats. I just lay there and listening to the clinking sound the ice made in the water and against the glass as he poked at it with his fingers to break it apart. It was like listening to wind chimes in a slight breeze., and reminded me of  brisk water bubbling over pebbles in a creek. I stretched my arms and legs across the bed and grabbed my pillow as I turned back onto my tummy and sunk back into the soft comfy sheets. What a sweet and wonderful surprise.

Usually, I get up with the dogs, make my coffee, and have time to meditate before Rick comes out and we walk the dogs together. I don't mind it, in fact, I love my predictable morning routine, but for some reason, sleeping in on this particular day felt like a gift from Heaven. Sometimes it really is the simplest of gestures that tells someone you love them, you appreciate them.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Following Her Dream

Fall 2010 Issue
You all know that I am passionate about supporting women as they identify, and pursue their dreams. Each quarter, the creators behind Where Women Create feature several talented women and give us a sneak peek into their unique creative spaces. I am always so inspired at the broad variety of gifts represented in every issue and am hugely satisfied for the women who share them with us. When I saw this issue on the stand over at Michael's last week I, of course, snatched it up, drove home, prepared myself a refreshing glass of green tea lemonade (recipe courtesy of Mel at Starbucks) sunk down into my denim sofa and disappeared into the pages and into the creative lives of these fascinating women.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Flexibility ~ Get off your bike and take a deep breath

“Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it.” ~Brian Tracy

As a life coach, I am always re-learning the lessons I teach. This week I seem to be having an avalanche of "aha" moments. As I look back and reflect on my recent posts, I see how they each pertained to a different client, but col...lectively; they all work together in supporting our goals. As we reflect on the uniqueness of each individual, we realize, that we must first be ourselves; we must follow our own path, and even make our own mistakes. That is called experience. When we think about the obstacles that we perceive as blocks, we are invited to open our minds to possibilities that will make those blocks insignificant. When we feel stuck, we may realize that we have no plan to reach our goals, or we may not even have clearly defined our goals. And once we have clearly defined our goals and created a road map for achievement, we may become frustrated when life does not go according to plan.

This is where my "aha" moment came in. My life, by design, is pretty well scheduled. I like order, I need routine, and lately I've been feeling a little discombobulated, sort of, like life is not going according to plan. Six months ago my mornings were a slow, easy, peaceful pace, by design. I would wake up, brush my teeth, get my coffee, give Charlie a good morning treat, and then settle in to my big denim sofa to pray and meditate. Morning meditation flowed perfectly into a stretching/yoga practice. The mornings were quiet, predictable. Even after losing Charlie in January, except for the void of his soft, furry presence beside me, my mornings did not change.

Then, on May 1st, we brought not one, but two, 5 month old cocker spaniel puppies home and my serene and peaceful life transformed into a chaotic, puppy directed tornado. My meditation went out the window, prayer time turned into potty training time, stretching or yoga, right! The little darlings had taken over and while I adored all of their soft and cuddly cuteness, I really was wondering if we hadn’t made a huge mistake bringing them into our lives. Could our lifestyle support their seemingly inexhaustible need for exercise and attention? But, it was too late, they were here and I needed to get a grip. So, I enrolled the four of us in puppy classes and we committed to training. Our date night, was now Family night at PetCo!

It all works out though because I was true to my goals. Being healthy, in mind, body and spirit and being responsible for taking action to maintain my goals were at the core and so I had to adjust my plan of action, my routine, even my mindset. I realized that I could get my stretching in before I even got out of bed. Even better, I realized that I feel better when I do that. I still get my prayer and meditation in after the pups go outside and before Rick comes out for our walk. While my yoga practice was replaced by a brisk one hour walk with the puppers every morning, Rick and I have enjoyed the extra time together, and have met some new neighbors.

Prayer, meditation, and exercise are some of the most important things I do for myself and being clear about each of them supports my ability to be flexible in finding a way to keep them present in my life. Has your life changed in such a way that you feel you have to give something valuable up? Can you see a way around it? It may not look exactly the same, but there are often many paths to the same destination. I would love to hear your story.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shed it ~ Feeling lighter already!

Photos courtesy of Arianna Belle 

"There’s a lot of purging going on and it seems to somehow be cathartic." ~ Janet Ellis

Three major players in the coaching world are purging portions of their lives as I write. Just yesterday as I was perusing through twitter, Coach Extraordinaire Cheryl Richardson was excited for the shredding truck to be arriving at her home today to haul away eight boxes of paperwork. She wondered if it was silly to be excited. Yesterday afternoon, Awakening Woman Founder Chameli Ardagh was feeling pretty Zen after purging her in-box of over 2600 emails, and today Top Organizer Julie Morgenstern was talking about how she had cleaned out old theater scripts and papers from long ago and had realized she was making room for a huge surge in her now booming business.

In the photos above, Arianna Belle reevaluated her use of the microwave oven, and after deciding, that first, it was unattractive, and second, it transformed healthy food into poison she decided to replace it with live growing wheat grass and a juicer. She made the choice to shed something unhealthy from her life, which made room for something that would bring her more vibrancy and health. I love it!

If you’re feeling stuck, check out Julie’s book, Shed your stuff, Change your life. She’s got some great insight and simple step by step guidelines to help get you started purging, and making room for the things that are important to you. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Planning ~ It's where you're going

“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” ~ Thomas Edison

In a recent coaching session, I brought back one of my favorite old tools; mind mapping. This particular client was feeling frustrated with the progress and direction of her business. She is very creative and has a lot of great ideas, and after talking a bit, we discovered that she was attempting to go in too many directions at one time. She felt like she was going and going and going...nowhere. She is immensely talented and has a great line of products. Together, we decided that what she needed was a road map. I took out a piece of poster board (I'll let her show it too you at a later date.) and began with a drawing of her logo in the center. Then we drew branches out from the center and began labeling them with the different aspects of her business. At this point, she was beginning to see the scope of her business. We decided to focus on one aspect of the business in that session. This gave her a clear direction and set of action steps for the next week. I received a call from her this morning exclaiming how excited she is about the plan and that she can see where she's taking her business now.

I love those kinds of calls! :-) She inspired me to take out my first mind map and take a look at how far I've come since I created it. Wow! Amazing! It is such a testimony to visualization and planning.

If you feel stuck in life, or have a project in mind you would like some direction with...mind mapping is a great tool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Obstacles ~ Go around, under, over...just keep moving

"Obstacles are opportunities to express creativity." ~ I'm sure someone thought of this before me :-)

Oh my goodness! This picture reminds me of the sheep that spread across the road up in Window Rock, AZ as we were on our way to Durango for our vacation. We didn't have to get too creative to drive around them, but it w
as fun to watch them meander around seemingly oblivious to our presence. They had a goal, the grass was greener on the other side and they found a way to get to it. It was satisfying to witness them enjoying the their feast and thinking about their determination to get there :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You-nique ~ Doing It Your Way

"There is no prescribed Way for everyone. There is just your Way for NOW -- until you choose another." ~ Rusty Berkus

I had such a delightful brunch with my sweet friend Copper this morning. During the course of our Queen Creek Olive Mill adventure our discussion got a little philosophical (as discussions tend to do with
me :-). We were talking about our journey through life and how it is okay to follow our own path, to stop for awhile, to go back down the same road, and to turn around again. It is all part of OUR OWN experience. On our way back to her house, we reminisced about our friendship and how it transcends time. I love that I have friends that I can be away from for years and then back together feeling no separation at all. You know those are the friends that love you for who you are. The ones who love you while you do it your way :-).

I am blessed to have many friends and family members who love me while I do it my way...even when others may not consider it the "right way." ~ May we all be blessed in such a way :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gratitude ~ It looks good on you

“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you.” ~ Eileen Caddy

So I tweaked my back pretty good over the weekend. All I had done was lift my arm above my head and move it in a wide circle to allow Micheal's leash to unwind. I felt the twinge...and it continued to get worse and worse as we strolled along. I thought that perhaps I could just "walk it off." I had so much planned for the weekend and I wasn't ready to accept not being able to accomplish what I had set out to. When we arrived home from our walk, I put a quilt on the floor and thought that if I lied down flat, it would work it self out...not a chance, it got worse. So much so that I was afraid a trip to the ER was in my near future. I was able to make it to a chair and the pain subsided a long as I did not turn to the right or to the left. So what does any of this have to do with gratitude?

Well, first, I was grateful that I could sit still and not be in pain :-). Then I was grateful for good friends who would be there to play with when I was better (thanks Dana :-). Then I was grateful that we have On Demand and I actually had a really good excuse for watching some movies I'd been wanting to see. I was grateful for the popcorn Rick made for me. I was grateful that our two adorable cocker spaniels felt like having a lazy day. I was grateful that I had the luxury to surrender to my body and allow it to heal. Today I still feel the twinge, but I am grateful that it is better. I am grateful for a really good weekend.

What are you grateful for?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Focus ~ Keep your eye on the ball


“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” ~ Anthony Robbins

We all know of those people we would call masters of their craft ~ the domestic goddess, the spiritual guru, the magnificent musician, the perfect gardener, the hilarious speaker, the favorite teacher. But do we know their secret to getting there? Other than the obvious passion they have for their craft...they spend a great deal of their resources honing their skills. They seek out mentors, take classes, read books, acquire just the right tools...and they practice, and practice, and practice. Is there an area in your life that you would like to master? What will be your first step?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Self-Care ~ You're the only you we've got

"Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous." ~ Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

I was never a huge Sex and the City fan, however, I love this quote because it is so relevant to our lives. People come into and go out of our lives, whether by choice or by circumstance. When we get heartbroken, we often go off on a manic tangent to find our next true love. Too often we don't take the time to truly spend genuine, lovely time with ourselves, enjoying our own senses and our own lives, apart from another. The best relationships occur between people to genuinely know and love themselves. They spend time taking care of themselves. They spend time doing the things that they love to do. They have more to bring to the relationship and don't expect the other to make them happy. They are already happy!