Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The "Munchies" Strike

Especially this time of year, we all have those darn munchies hit! So what do you do? What do you reach for? Might I suggest: NOTHING? (Food-related, that is.)

The munchies aren't generally a sign of lack of nutrition or some physical need your body is trying to fill. If you haven't nourished it properly and have them, choose your next "healthy" meal of veggies, protein, etc. Cutting corners on "junk" isn't going to satisfy it physically any more than it will really make you feel better emotionally.  

However, if you HAVE nourished it properly, the munchies are probably just a reaction to you being bored, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, etc.

So I would really suggest that, instead of scouring your cupboard for the least-offensive thing you can munch on, you re-train your body to react to non-food effects with non-food answers. Maybe you should pick up a holiday craft to work on, a hobby, a good book you can read when you get the munchies. Or if you can/need to, get away from temptation all together and go for a walk or go visit someone (preferably someone who won't have a ton of food laying around for you to grab and mindlessly eat). ;-)

If you physically HAVE to have something, munch on some crushed, softened ice -- and drink lots of water. But try to redirect what you are feeling and get away from the need to solve it/respond to it with food.

That will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself - this Holiday Season and always!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Choose

There is a lesson that my husband has tried to teach me several times since we got married. Eleanore Roosevelt said it best:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." In fact, no one can make you anything without your permission.

When I read this "I Choose" quote on Pinterest, it really summed that powerful lesson up for me.

Our lives are the product of our choices.  And NO ONE dictates those to us.  Not your boss, not your kids, not your spouse, not your family/friends, not your enemies. Other people may apply significant pressure, may cause you to feel you don't have a choice; but that lie will never lead you to happiness.  Your choice is to follow them, to give into the pressure, or to choose you. It is not always easy, but it doesn't change the fact that YOUR LIFE IS YOURS ALONE.  And you only get one.

Some of the most inspirational, motivational, life-changing people in history got backed into a corner by family, work, friends, society . . . and CHOSE a different path. It was a harder path.  But our lives are better for it, and because of that choice to choose a harder road, we actually know who they are today and have benefited from them!

Your life is yours alone. And you only get one.

What do YOU CHOOSE today?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Think I Can . . . And Do!

One of the things I do NOT like to hear my children say is, "Mommy - I CA-AN'T!!!" (Insert whiny-voice-you-know-all-too-well here).

To counter that (and get rid of the whine), I started to cut them off as soon as/just after they said it and say, "Uh-uh. No cant's! Say, 'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can' . . . and DO!"

The other day, and on a few other occasions, I heard my 4-year-old trying something new and saying softly under her breath, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . . and DO!" over and over again.  There was probably some soft singing mixed in there as well -- she's cute like that!

It really hit me how powerful our thoughts are!  How powerful the voices in your head that teach you something over and over again.  I have seen the sign all over Pinterest that your voice becomes the voice in your children's heads, so you must watch what you are telling them.  It reminds me of a song in the musical Into the Woods: "Careful the things you say, children will listen!"
I have always loved this saying:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Our thoughts are shaped by so many things - what we read, what we hear, what we listen to, who we surround ourselves with, what we say, what others say.

Control your mind . . . control your future!

Teach your children empowering thoughts!  Teach them to say, "I can! I do! I am! I will!"  Teach them to say, "I am strong! I am beautiful! I am smart! I am talented! I am fun!" and other things that affirm all they are instead of what they are not!

How will you do that?

You'll start with YOU!  You'll start by weeding your garden of all the negative, degrading, self-doubting, self-depricating thoughts that may exist in your head.  You'll start by turning, 'I can't!' into 'I think I can . . . and DO!'  You'll start by weeding your garden of any weeds that are already planted there, no matter how deep the roots.
  1. Get a notebook or a piece of paper to carry around with you/have near you for a few days to a few weeks.  
  2. Pay attention to your thoughts.  
  3. Every time a negative thought enters your head, write it down on that paper/in that notebook.  Then write down anything associated with it - anything that led up to it, any negative memory surrounding it. How you reacted to it/projected it.
  4. After a week or two of doing this - write yourself a letter of all the negatives you need to remove from your life.  Tell yourself that they have no power over you any more, that you refuse to listen to them anymore.  Tell yourself why they were there to begin with and that you are ready to be done with them.  One of my professors would call this the "Blood Essay" because it allows you to bleed out all the negative on paper - and often times it allows you to look pain square in the face and not run from it.
  5. Once you have written yourself a letter, share it with someone you love/trust!  It's so important to validate - to yourself and someone important to you/trustworthy - that you have had these thoughts and feelings, that they have been very real to you in your life.  BUT that you are also DONE with them!  Choose someone constant, someone you know will never use it against you or even try to give you advice about/talk you out of feeling it.  Just someone who will let you share your emotional vomit for a minute and be done with it forever!
  6. After you've validated, BURN it!  Burn that letter!  Or tear it up into a million pieces and flush it down the toilet.  Whatever it takes to permanently get rid of it as a symbol of your readiness to move forward from it.
  7. Start to dream up and re-think all the wonderful things that are going to replace those thoughts in your life!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Broken Piggy Bank?

I wrote a few days ago about choosing the top 10 things you want to teach your children - focusing in on 10 in order to ensure that you SUCCEED because your thoughts and intentions are not scattered all over the place.  You have a focus.  You can create a plan.  You can deliberately CREATE and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF moments to teach your 10 Things.

After I realized the power in focusing my Vision for my family, my thoughts immediately turned to our Finances.  One of the things I want my children to learn is Financial Self Reliance and Freedom. 

But so many times, in spite of my VERY detailed-and-verified-daily Budget Sheet, I do not see an end to all the things that are pressing on us. From mortgage payments to student loans to much-desired hobbies/extras for ourselves and our children, we seem to be "always moving but going nowhere."  Like there's a crack in our piggy bank and the money that is supposed to be accumulating keeps falling out somehow! Can you relate?

After I focused in on my Family Vision, I went to my Budget Vision.  Where I had been spending SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY trying to budget in money in so many different areas - refinancing, downpayment on a new home, money towards student loans, extra payments if we don't sell or refinance to cut the term of the loan, etc. - I decided to follow Dave Ramsey's advice and focus in on just ONE, the one with the highest interest rate and the one I had the most control over. 

When I took the money I was trying to allocate to so many different "What If's/Needs/Debts" and channeled it to ONE place, it was like magic on paper!  Suddenly I saw an end to one thing that was in our control, in spite of all of the things that were not.  Suddenly I saw and felt success instead of continual despair.  Suddenly the end of ONE MAJOR WEIGHT was a LOT closer than any of my previous calculations had ever deemed possible.

THAT IS A GOOD FEELING!  That is an EMPOWERING feeling!  That is a FOCUSED, DELIBERATE feeling!

Within a week of me making this "plan", we had some big financial things break down, fall apart, and come up.  But they didn't phase us!  They didn't get in the way of the PLAN, of the VISION, of the FOCUS, because we were committed to it.  We were committed to sacrifice in order to realize it.  We were committed to let the broken stay broken, the fallen apart go to the garbage without being replaced, the coming up come and go without us being a part of it this ONE time.  We could see the fruits of doing so, and they meant more to us than the temporary sacrifices we would be making.

I invite you to do the same.  Go to your finances and decide ONE THING that you can WIPE OFF your list.  Just one thing that is IN your control.  Get rid of it, re-channel the money and energy in order to be done with it, and when you hit that point, see what the next thing is that is in your control and weighing the heaviest on your mind and budget and get rid of it!  This is the way of success.  The other - the constant worrying and relocating and replanning and revisiting without ever actually progressing - is just the way of madness! :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Tree

My friend Peni posted a picture of this - her favorite tree in her yard - yesterday.  She said it is the most beautiful green in the Summer and produces the most beautiful colors in the Fall.  I asked her what kind of tree it was, and she said she can't remember.  They got it about 5 years ago - the nursery said it was a "dead tree" and gave it to them for free.  They took it home, planted it, nourished it, and this is what it became.

What lessons for life that tree represents!

I read a book by Jordan Adler a few days ago.  In it, he talks about how many times in his life he "failed" at something simply because he listened to those who said it wasn't possible, it was a bad idea, it would never take him anywhere, he was dumb for even trying it.  And he said that he allowed those thoughts to take root and - pretty soon - started to believe them so much that he quit.

Not only did he believe them, but he fed them.  He started looking for failure in his life - bought into the label that he was unlucky. And where he looked for evidence of that, he found it!  He failed at everything he tried, never got a lucky break from anything in his life.

Until one day . . . someone told him he was lucky!  Someone told him he was good at something, had the magic touch!  And from then on, that little seed of belief and faith planted in his heart and mind and started to grow . . . and grow . . . and grow.

He learned that the difference in his life up to that point was not that he had been unlucky and was suddenly a changed person, but that he planted unlucky in his mind and allowed it to kill all "luck" in his path.  Whenever a situation presented itself, he saw obstacles as evidence it was destined to fail instead of simply obstacles with solutions, that could be overcome.

A Nursery's dead tree - one they had nurtured from a seed and intended to sell to gain a profit; one they gave away because it would never grow or amount to anything - is now a family's favorite!  It brings them joy in multiple seasons.  It is thriving, flourishing, and beautiful to ANYONE who sees it!

What made the difference?  What is making the difference in how YOU live and what YOU expect to get from YOUR life? Think about that - dig deep into your heart and listen to what answers it gives you.

And for today . . . enjoy this beautiful tree!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If You Could Teach Your Children 10 Things

I know we have all heard that a goal not written down doesn't exist.  I'm sure you have also heard that if you try to chase too many things at once, you end up losing them all. 

I am a list writer because it's the only way I can keep my thoughts organized and keep it together - make sure I actually get things done that I need to get done.

So when I heard this advice from Jack Canfield at a recent conference I attended, it really struck a cord in my heart.  Of all the things in the world that I could be - of all the things I would or might even want to teach my children, if I had to FOCUS in on just 10, nothing more, no cheating, no combining, just the 10 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS . . . what would they be?

At first I thought about this in terms of identifying the 10 most important things.  But lately, as I've tried to focus in on the most important things in my own life and make sure that they get done, I realized that this invitation is about more than IDENTIFYING.  It's also about ACCOMPLISHING!

You see, if I have a never-ending list of things I am always working on, I am probably never getting anything done.  When I have a focused list of a few things I am intentionally . . . deliberately . . . working on, I am CERTAIN to succeed in doing them.

Take to heart this invitation.  My husband pointed out on my twins' 4th birthday that we had already gone through about 1/5 of our time WITH them.  And our time with them only amounts to about 1/5 of their entire lives.  But what we accomplish during that 1/5 of their lives will shape them for the rest of it.  We have no time to waste with our precious charge to teach our children.

So if you get just 10 things that they will remember FOREVER and NO MATTER WHAT, what do you choose?  Write them down.  Then make them happen! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tackling the Laundry

Do you sometimes feel like your life is one . . . long . . . workday?  Like you know you need a break, but every day comes and goes without you getting one?  I often feel like the sink is an endless fountain of dirty dishes and the laundry room an endless fountain of dirty laundry . . . no matter how many times I do them, there's always more to be done.

So today, I thought it would be fun to share some tips for keeping up on the laundry . . . so you can find time to do the really important things, like lie down for a few minutes a day to recuperate!
  1. Keep separate baskets in your laundry room for darks, lights, whites, linens, and "clothes with stains".
  2. At the end of each day, make part of your bedtime routine having everyone put their clothes/linens in the corresponding basket before they brush their teeth/go to bed.
  3. Decide HOW you want to "do the laundry."  Some people pick one day a week - a Monday or Saturday - and make it laundry day.  That day, they wash, dry, fold, iron, and put away all of the laundry for the week.  Some people don't like to have it take an entire day and choose instead to do a load as they have a full load to do - to stay on top of it, start to finish, a little bit at a time.  Some people get energy discounts from their power company for doing laundry at night and on weekends, so they take advantage of that.  Whatever your preferred method, MAKE IT A METHOD!  Make it consistent!  Make it something that your family can count on and help make happen.
  4. Have a basket for each person in the family . . . OR . . . have one basket for the parents, one for the children, and one for everything else. Then you aren't making multiple trips to each room in the house to put things away.  
  5. Make it a family affair - teach your children responsibility from the beginning.  My toddlers - age 2+ - can put away their clothes.  My Pre-Schoolers are learning to fold their own clothes.  As your children get older, have them pick up their basket of clothes when they get home from school (better still - have them fold/iron AND put away their clothes themselves - so Mom is just sorting and distributing clean clothes in baskets; children are learning to work and take care of them).
What other tips have you found for/used in making the endless laundry piles a lot more manageable? 

Of course, there is always the question of how to make LESS laundry.  But that's another topic! :-)

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Like to Ride My Bicycle

Okay - this is NOT a picture of my family on a bike ride today.  In order to BE a picture of my family on a bike ride today, the man and woman would have to switch places, the woman in front would have to be 8 months pregnant, and the trailer behind would have to hold two.  THEN you would have our beautiful family bike ride today! :-)  But since I have NO WAY of capturing that on film, this is the next best thing.

We rode for probably 8 miles today.  I was SO PROUD of my twins as they took turns on the tandem bike.  Almost from the moment we left our house, my 4-y-o daughter was telling her twin brother, "Guess what?  Me and Mommy are going to BEAT you on our bike ride today!"  And that was the theme of our ride - with my 2-year-old chiming in with whomever was loudest and/or riding in the bike trailer with her when Daddy occasionally passed Mommy.

But what stood out to me the most was how GOOD it felt to be OUT together!  We weren't spending money, we weren't doing things that took a lot of prep work.  We were just out in nature, riding over the fallen Autumn leaves, past the smelly cows and beautiful horses and fields, over the bumpy bridges, down the hills, up the hills, having the BEST time together!  We laughed and reminisced.  We talked about the future and baby names.  We dreamed about living in the houses in our favorite neighborhoods along the route.  The kids chimed in and added that we were going to have horses and chickens and . . . . We just truly ENJOYED each other!

So many people are intent on giving their kids what they never had.  My husband and I realized today that we are no different . . . and today, we gave our children something we didn't have much growing up and would have LOVED more of.  Then I started to think about ALL the things we gave them today:
  • We gave them a family outing that got us all some GREAT exercise (without the word exercise ever coming up in our minds or theirs)!  
  • We gave them a family tradition of spending time together that doesn't cost money.  
  • We passed onto them our family value of appreciating,enjoying, and meditating in nature. 
  • We left our cell phones home and gave them the example of getting unplugged for family - that THEY are absolutely the MOST important things to us.  
  • We gave them a MEMORY that they will never forget . . . and will be such a part of them that they really won't remember when it started.
Some things really are - above everything else - simply about TIME!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Book Fairy

Picture This: Halloween is over.  Your kids have GOBS of candy from the neighborhood and other parties you visited while Trick-or-Treating.  You don't want them to EAT all of it (horrible for them - and the sugar high? UGH!).  So you give them a few pieces and then put the rest away - for "them" to have later.

Next thing you know, you have joined the throngs of closet moms/dad . . . hiding in the closet, sneaking a bite of this, a handful of that, the last Reese's peanut butter cup, the only Almond Joy.

Can you relate?  Of course YOU'VE never been there, right?  Neither have I! :-)

So when I read my good friend Amanda's family tradition for that Halloween candy that comes into THEIR house each year, I had to share!

Each year, each child is given a Ziploc bag to put their FAVORITE pieces of candy into.  And they can eat that bag of candy whenever they want - it's theirs!  But the rest of the candy is left out the evening of November 1.  And the Halloween Book Fairy comes that night, takes their candy, leaves them a book, and returns the candy in December - just in time to decorate gingerbread houses over Thanksgiving Break. (If you're wondering where she takes it - GRANDMA'S HOUSE!)

Isn't that FANTASTIC?!?!?!  We LOVE books around here - and some Halloween/Thanksgiving books would be so fun to make part of our yearly tradition of giving the kids a book for Christmas every year.