A New Year’s Resolution You Can Keep

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions you can’t keep?

This year, instead of focusing on all the things you want to change about yourself, what if you made a different kind of resolution? What if the only resolution you made was to love yourself more, exactly as you are?

You are a perfect creation just as you are!  You were born with so many natural gifts to share with the world, but when you focus on all the things you think are “wrong” with you or that society tells you are “wrong” with you, your precious time and energy will be spent on the wrong areas and everyone will be missing out on the real gifts you have to bring to the world. Instead, why not focus on being yourself, discovering those gifts, and sharing them with those around you?

When you learn to love yourself unconditionally and live a more authentic life, all of the things you think are “wrong” with you will naturally take care of themselves. For example, if losing weight was going to be your resolution, that will naturally happen when you take the time to love yourself as you are and commit to discovering the emotional cause of your eating habits. Once you are able to deal with and overcome those emotional issues, you will naturally want to care for your body and fuel it with real foods that nature intended us to eat. Then, the weight will fall off naturally. The same goes for any other area of your life that you think might need improvement.  When you begin to live authentically, everything begins to fall into place and your dreams will begin to come true!

If you do want to live a more authentic life and get to know and love yourself more but you don’t exactly know how to do that, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge was written to help you do just that.  It requires just 15 minutes of your undivided attention each day for 31-Days. You will learn to embrace your uniqueness, discover your priorities so you can spend your time and energy on those things that really matter in life, and recognize your gifts and talents so you can share them with the world and fulfill the purpose that you were sent here to make.

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So, whatever challenge or resolution you decide to make for this New Year, I wish you much success!

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Practice Acceptance. Everything Happens for a Reason

Practice acceptance snow

As I sit here writing this, my daughters are home from school with another snow day!  This is the third snow day this week, with February vacation only 2 days away.  Over the past 13 scheduled school days, school has only been held on 5 of those days (and one of those was a 1/2 day).  We have been hit hard with snow in Massachusetts so far this year…and more is on the way tomorrow!  Needless to say, my schedule has been greatly interrupted and needed to be rearranged.  And for that, I am grateful!

With every situation in life that is out of our control, we have two choices:  we could complain, or we could recognize the gift in the situation.  Complaining is often the easiest option, but it will not accomplish anything good.  On the other hand, looking for the good in each situation takes a little more effort, but it is much more rewarding because it leads to feelings of gratitude, love, and happiness.

So, today I choose to focus on being grateful for the 8 snow days I got to spend with my girls so far.  I am grateful:

  • We knew school was canceled the night before, so we were able to sleep in.
  • I didn’t have to pack lunches (my least favorite chore of all)
  • We still have heat and power
  • We had the opportunity to go sledding and make some wonderful memories.
  • We had time to bake cookies and cakes and experiment with some new dishes for dinner.
  • The girls were able to enjoy good old-fashioned unstructured play time outside with each other and their friends.
  • We were all able to make good progress on some projects we had been putting off.
  • I had the opportunity to shovel.  Call me crazy, but I enjoy shoveling.  I find it so peaceful and therapeutic.  I love being outside in the silence, breathing in the fresh air and giving thanks for the beauty of nature surrounding me.
  • We had the opportunity to try making snow ice cream.  It wasn’t a hit with my girls, but we are going to try it again with a different recipe.
  • I was able to capture some beautiful pictures to preserve the memories of these days.
  • For boredom!  I LOVE it when my kids say they are bored, because I know it won’t be long before they are using their imaginations and re-discovering their inner artists.
  • For the chance to help out neighbors and take the time to reconnect with them because everyone is always in such a rush.
  • For the memories made with family, friends, and neighbors as our community works together and accepts help from other communities to get through this unprecedented snowfall together.  And most of all…
  • For forcing everyone to SLOW DOWN and take a much needed break!

Sure, these days may appear to be an inconvenience today, but I know we are going to look back on them and realize what a blessing they were.  I understand nobody wants to be in school until the end of June, but if that is the case, it will give us a chance to practice acceptance then, too.  Remember, we are not the master planner of our lives.  Some of life’s greatest blessings are a result of distractions and inconveniences beyond our control.  So, the next time life doesn’t go as planned, take a deep breath, remind yourself that the situation is actually a blessing, and look for the good in the situation.

Because EVERY situation we encounter each day IS a gift! 🙂

Inspiration Friday: 39 Secrets to Happiness and Peace

We’ve all heard that happiness is a choice, and that is true.  It is not what happens to us, but our attitude and the way we react to situations that will determine our happiness.  Here are a few “secrets” I have discovered so far in my 39 years that have led me to a life filled with happiness and inner peace.

attitude of gratitude

1.  The attitude of gratitude will ALWAYS bring you happiness.  Find something to be thankful for.  We are all constantly surrounded by so many gifts and blessings.

2.  View every encounter and experience as a gift.  Even the seemingly bad situations are a gift in the end.  Try to recognize and appreciate these gifts every day.

3.  Be kind to everyone, but spend the majority of your time with like-minded, positive people who are also committed to improving their personal and spiritual growth and are willing to support you on your journey.

4.  Fill your mind with only positive, inspirational and uplifting ideas and thoughts.  Turn off the news and leave the disturbing books at the library.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8 (my favorite bible verse)

5.  Eat real food!! (It’s amazing how much energy you will have!)

6.  Do not multitask.  Do one thing at a time, give it your all, and be fully present in everything you do.  Heaven on Earth happens in the moments when you are fully present.

7.  Do not judge others.  You have no idea what anyone else is going through.  Everyone has reasons for their beliefs and actions.  We are all unique and just want to be allowed to be ourselves and be accepted for who we really are.  Only then can our true gifts shine through.  “If God is infinite, then nobody is wrong.” ~ Panache Desai

8.  Think before you speak.  Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?  If not, keep it to yourself.

9.  Forgive.  Holding onto anger never hurts the other person.  It only hurts yourself.  Let it go and let God take it from there.

10.  Do not gossip or spend your time consumed with other people’s lives.  Put your time and energy into improving your own.

11.  Practice acceptance.  Everything happens for a reason, and always for the overall good.  Even the most tragic situations result in more good than bad over time.  Unfortunately, sometimes it may take years to see the good, but just trust that it is for a reason.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

12.  Go for a walk every day.  Outside!

13.  When you’re feeling stressed, go outside.  Take a deep breath, look up at the sky, admire it’s beauty, and say “Thank You!”  An instant moment of peace!!

14.  Spend some time alone every day.  God speaks to you in the silence.  “The morning breeze has secrets to tell you, do not go back to sleep”~ Rumi

15.  Do less.  Downtime is NEVER wasted time. (It took me a very long time to learn this!)

16.  Do something creative every day.  Write, draw, cook, paint, anything.  Just create!

17.  The answers are all within you.  Stop looking outside of yourself for them.

18.  Focus on cooperation rather than competition.  There is an infinite supply of love and abundance in the world.  Collaborate with those who have common goals rather than competing with them.  Working together will benefit everyone!

19.  Stop trying to mask your true self.  Learn to fully love and accept yourself as you are.  If you NEED makeup to feel good about yourself, or you NEED substances (like drugs, alcohol, coffee, or even sugar…yes, sugar is a drug) to keep you going or wake you up each day, those things need to be eliminated from your life.  Your passion for life should get you out of bed each morning, not coffee!

20.  Embrace who you are and stop worrying about what others think.  Once you do this, others who are like-minded will enter your life.  You are never alone. (Although you may feel like you are for a while…just hang in there.)

21.  Go on dates with those closest to you (your spouse, each of your children individually, your mom, etc.)  Let them know they are special and worthy of your time and undivided attention.

22.  Remember, you do not set the master plan for your life.  Embrace distractions and view them as gifts.  Everything is happening in its own perfect time, so stop trying to rush everything.  Stop trying so hard and just let go and allow God to work through you.

23.  Don’t do anything out of guilt or obligation.  Only do things out of love.

24.  Have no expectations.  You will never be disappointed, and you will begin to view everything in your life as a gift and blessing.  Every day is full of wonderful surprises!

25.  The best things in life are free!!

26.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.  We are all connected.  If you love yourself, that love will pour out onto others.  If you hurt yourself, you hurt others.  The opposite is true as well.

27.  Every action is a choice toward love or away from it.  Always choose the path toward love.

28.  Guard your time.  Only spend it on things that are truly important to you.  Don’t ever feel guilty for saying no.  Doing something out of guilt or obligation is not an act of love.

29.  Dedicate one day a week to rest and to be fully present with those you love.  Turn off the technology on this day and enjoy your time together creating, exploring God’s wonderful creations, and just enjoying life and making memories together. (For me, that day is Saturday and is ALWAYS my favorite day of the week and always filled with love, blessings, and gratitude!)

30.  Let go of your attachment to your possessions.  Nothing (and no one) really belongs to you.  Rather, view everything you have as a temporary gift from God that can be taken away at any moment.  Stop to appreciate those gifts often.

31.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  In the end, nothing really matters except your relationships…with yourself, with God, and with others.  Spend time on what really matters.

32.  Listen to music!  Dance!  Sing!

33.  Keep a journal.  Write in it as often as  you can.  You will be amazed at the wisdom inside you.

34.  Never stop learning.  Read, read, read!  And take advice from those you admire.

35.  Clear out the clutter in all areas of your life.  Clutter drains energy.

36.  Get adequate sleep so you wake up feeling fully rested each morning.

37.  Let go of your desire for perfection.  Everyone and everything can always be improved, but at some point you must let “good enough” be good enough.

38.  Focus on giving rather than getting.  “Turn your focus from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I serve?”~Dr. Wayne Dyer

39.  You are not an accident.  You are here for a purpose.  Turn within, learn to love and accept who you are and identify the gifts within you.  Use those gifts to make the world a better place.  🙂

Note:  This list was originally posted last year on my blog JourneyToCompleteWellness.

I hope you enjoyed my list.  Do you have any “secrets” I may have missed?  If so, leave a comment below! Have a HAPPY day! 🙂

Gratitude Stew

I think this is such a wonderful idea! I’m going to start it with my family today. I think this exercise will help us appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted. The more we focus on what we are grateful for at this moment in our lives, the happier we will be in this moment. Remember, the attitude of gratitude always brings happiness! 🙂 This is a great way to get the entire family involved!

edible South Shore & South Coast Blog

Deb’s Recipe For 365 Days of Gratitude

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Happy ( almost ) Thanksgiving! Just thinking about the true meaning of Thanksgiving makes me feel happy and grateful! Loved ones gathering from far and wide (and sometimes just down the road or next door ) to feast on food made with  lots of love by many busy hands and the blessings of being together. Imagine what would happen if we kept that feeling alive every day of the year? I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I believe I’ve got the beginnings of a GREAT (and SIMPLE ) recipe for a delicious and life-changing “gratitude stew ”  and I need your help to finish it! Are you game?

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The “Thank You” Game

Note:  I originally posted this last year on my blog Journey to Complete Wellness, but it is such a fun and rewarding game, I thought it was deserving of another post this year.  I hope you will play along! 🙂

feeling gratitude

One of the books that has had the greatest influence on my life so far is the book “Life Makeovers” by Cheryl Richardson.  This book is broken up into 52 weeks, and each week she focuses on a specific topic and gives advice and tips on ways to improve your life in that area. (Find out more about the book and how it has changed my life here.)

I have followed along with this book each week for the past 7 years, and my favorite piece of advice in the book comes from this week before Thanksgiving, Week 47.  The title of Week 47 is called The “Thank You” Game.  Cheryl suggests thanking one person a day for the next week.  It can be a teacher, bus driver, librarian, friend, spouse, child, a parent, postal worker, doctor, etc.  It can be anyone you come into contact with regularly that you would like to thank.  You can thank them by simply writing an unexpected note or e-mail, or by attaching a small gift like a box of chocolates or flowers or anything they might like.

I love this exercise because it is being done out of sincere gratitude, not obligation.  The recipient is usually not expecting anything, so they are usually very appreciative of the gesture.  It is a win-win situation on both sides.  We all love to feel appreciated, and it’s a great feeling to know your small gesture brightened someone’s day.

During the next 7 days, I am going to choose at least one person a day to thank.  Help me spread the gratitude and love this week by playing along with Cheryl Richardson’s “Thank You” game!  Who are you going to thank this week?

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Visual Quote: Enjoy the Little Things in Life

little things

Happy Wednesday!

This quote is a good reminder to slow down and appreciate the little things in life.  Life goes by so fast, and if we don’t stop often to fully experience the moment and appreciate the little things, it will pass us by.

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of my oldest daughters enjoying the wonders of nature together.  It’s a picture I have always treasured because it represents love, sisterhood, and the joys of being a child and appreciating the beauty in nature that we adults often take for granted or are too busy to see.

Heaven on earth happens in moments, but it can only be experienced when we are fully present and in a state of gratitude.

I wish you many moments of “Heaven on Earth” today! 🙂

Our Thanksgiving Tradition: Counting our Blessings Turkey Decoration

I love Thanksgiving and all that it represents.  It is a day filled with love, family, food, GRATITUDE, and traditions.  It is a time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

This beloved turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in our house.  He returns each year around this time to remind us of how blessed we truly are.  This weekend my kids asked if we could take it out, and they were all really excited to help put it up.

Counting our Blessings Turkey

Each year we ask our Thanksgiving guests to fill out a feather and write what they are thankful for.  When we take it out each November, it fills our hearts with love and wonderful memories of past Thanksgivings and reminds us of how blessed our lives have been and all we have to be thankful for today.  Occasionally we are reminded of people or things that are no longer in our lives, but that just reminds us that nothing really belongs to us and we need to take nothing for granted.  Everything in our lives right now is a gift and blessing from God.  We need to focus on the present and try to recognize and appreciate all the gifts in our lives today and every day.

Although this is a fun way to involve my family in practicing gratitude at Thanksgiving, I think it’s important to try to live every day of our lives in a state of thanksgiving.  I believe that the attitude of gratitude always brings happiness.  When we learn to be content with what we have and learn to view every person, every thing, and every situation in life as a gift, we can’t help but be happy.

May you recognize and appreciate the gift of every person, every thing, and every experience you encounter today!  Peace and blessings!  🙂

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances;” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV


To make the Turkey Decoration:

Supplies Needed:

  • Thin Cardboard, not corrugated (12″ wide x 12″ tall)
  • Construction paper or card stock (brown, red, yellow, and any additional colors you choose for the feathers)
  • Scissors
  • Turkey Feather Template
  • Turkey Parts Template
  • Google Eyes (optional)
  • Markers or crayons (optional)
  • Tape or Glue
  • Putty (for mounting to the wall)

Instructions:

  1. Using the 12″x12″ piece of cardboard, trim off the corners and shape into an approximate circle.
  2. Print out Turkey Parts Template.
  3. Color legs and snood red or trace onto red card stock and cut out.
  4. Color neck brown or trace onto brown card stock and cut out.
  5. Color beak yellow or trace onto yellow card stock and cut out.
  6. Using tape or glue, attach the neck to the body.
  7. Attach the legs to the body.
  8. Glue beak and snood onto the neck.
  9. Glue on googly eyes or cut out circles for eyes using cardstock or construction paper.
  10. Attach completed turkey to the wall using putty (this makes it easy to come off without damaging it, so you can reuse it year after year).
  11. Print out Turkey Feather Template.  Trace onto card stock or construction paper using your color of choice.
  12. Begin writing what you are thankful for, and add feathers to the wall as you complete them.
  13. After thanksgiving, store safely with your other decorations.  Take it out each year and let it fill your hearts with love and wonderful memories of past Thanksgivings.