Archive | July 2012

The Beautiful Blogger Award

Thank you very much Daniela at the Lantern Post for nominating me for the Beautiful Blogger Award. Daniela’s blog is warm and enlightening, and she is a multiple award nominee herself for good reason.

The rules of this award, as I understand them, are as follows:

  1. Post seven things about myself.
  2. Nominate other bloggers who I feel deserve the award.
  3. Let them know about the nomination.

Seven things about me:

  1. I enjoy watching football with my husband much to his delight.
  2. I have taken a liking to a game called, Mexican Train.
  3. Pizza is one of my favorite treats.
  4. Chocolate chip cookies are also a favorite.  
  5. Reading books is a pleasurable pastime, especially a good suspense thriller.
  6. In spite of the movie, Jaws, I still love being in and around the ocean.
  7. I moved to Arizona with my husband in 2005 for the wealth of sunshine.

It is always a challenge to single out specific blogs, as there are so many great ones available. However, it is my pleasure to nominate the following sites for the Beautiful Blogger Award:

  1. Living Yoga with Stella
  2. The Front Window
  3. A Nature Mom
  4. Terrified Tastebud
  5. Everlasting Love of Flowers
  6. Zent Creative Blog
  7. Through The Healing Lens
  8. Lovely Shoots
  9. Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches
  10. Dalmatian Dig’s Blog
  11. Out of The Birdcage
  12. Dutch Goes Italian
  13. Sue Ann’s Balcony
  14. The Regina Chronicles 366
  15. Recovery Thru My Lens







Congratulations to all!



Get Your Needs Met

Many of you are probably familiar with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before an individual will desire or be motivated to move toward the secondary or higher level needs.

However, he also noted that the order in which these needs are fulfilled does not always follow this standard progression. For example, he explains that for some individuals, the need for self-respect or esteem is more important than the need for belonging. For others, the need for artistic expression may supersede even the most basic needs.

Additionally, Maslow acknowledges that many different levels of motivation are likely to be occurring in an individual simultaneously. The bottom line is that by identifying and meeting our needs, we can increase the chances of experiencing the highest levels of who we are, along with the highest levels of joy, appreciation, and love in our life.

So, let’s briefly review these relatively self-explanatory needs, and also observe the characteristics of a self-actualized person.

1. Biological and Physiological – These needs are the requirements for human survival, and if not met, the human body simply cannot continue to function. Examples are food, water, breathing etc.

2. Safety – Once the physical needs have been reasonably satisfied; the individual’s safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. Safety needs center around protection, laws, stability, etc.

3. Belongingness and Love – As soon as physiological and safety needs have been fulfilled; the third layer of human needs involve feelings of belongingness. This would comprise the forming and maintaining of emotionally significant relationships with others.

4. Esteem – After the first three needs have been satisfied, esteem needs becomes increasingly important. These include the need for personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment.

5. Self-Actualization – This is the highest level of needs and refers to the desire people have to achieve their full potential; seeking self-fulfillment, personal growth and peak experiences.

Maslow identified some of the key characteristics of self-actualized people to use as our guide:

Acceptance and Realism: They have realistic perceptions of themselves, others and the world around them.

Problem-centering: They are concerned with solving problems.  These people are often motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and ethics.

Spontaneity: They are spontaneous in their internal thoughts and outward behavior. While they can conform to rules and social expectations, they also tend to be open and unconventional.

Autonomy and Solitude: They have the need for independence and privacy. While they enjoy the company of others, these individuals need time to focus on developing their own individual potential.

Continued Freshness of Appreciation: They tend to view the world with a continual sense of appreciation, wonder and awe. Even simple experiences continue to be a source of inspiration and pleasure.

Peak Experiences: They often have peak experiences, or moments of intense joy, wonder, awe and ecstasy. After these experiences, people feel inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.

Action Step:

Review and fulfill the hierarchy of needs above, in order to fully experience the characteristics of a self-actualized person.

Design a Balanced Life

It is quite easy to focus too heavily on one area of life, and get out of balance. For instance, we may spend hours at the office, or on the computer, and neglect our relationships. Conversely, we may spend disproportionate hours with the family and neglect our vocational responsibilities.

It is important to feed all areas of life, and not expect to get all of our needs met from one specific source. If we rely too much on one area, and something happens to jeopardize it, we are left without the nurturance from other sources to help us handle the situation.

For example, if the sole focus is on our career, and this represents the main source of our self-esteem, connection and love, then getting laid off or facing retirement would be a very devastating loss. Likewise, if an important relationship ends, we would experience an immense degree of loss and isolation if other parts of life were not providing any sustenance. This could also lead to prematurely beginning a new relationship in hopes of alleviating the pain and loneliness.

By having other areas of life to draw from, you experience yourself in a multitude of ways and feel more fulfilled as a result. Then, if something does happen, you are not wiped out by the loss or setback.

Life is meant to be fun and not just comprised of relentless responsibilities. Therefore, we don’t want to assume the one-dimensional role of strict adult, and forget the playful side of ourselves in the process.

We are more than any label we have been assigned. We need to balance out the components that make up a well-rounded life, or else experience the neediness, loneliness and discontent that results when we do not.

The following list provides some examples of a well-balanced life, and a guide to the many parts that make up the whole:

  1. Contributiongiving to the community, making a difference around you
  2. Hobbiesself-expression, experimentation, creativity
  3. Leisure pleasurable activities, vacations, relaxing
  4. Alone Timespirituality, self-care, peace
  5. Personal Growth – evolution, development, awareness
  6. Worksuccess, career, financial independence
  7. Relationshiplove, intimacy, communication
  8. Friends  – connection, joyful activities
  9. Family – love, belonging

Creating balance is not a one-time achievement, as it is a ‘balancing act’ to gain equilibrium. It is an ongoing process, whereby you are constantly fluctuating between the areas mentioned above.

For example, sometimes work requires more of your time due to a special project. Once the project ends, you readjust and fulfill the other areas. Similarly, when on vacation, family and leisure take center stage for a period of time.

It is important to be present in whichever area of life you are focused on, while not neglecting all the other pieces entirely. It is not about being rigidly balanced, but creating a blueprint for living which includes all parts of the whole.

Action Step:

Design a personal blueprint that includes all areas of a well-balanced life. Then, take some action toward filling in the missing pieces.

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Amy at The Bumble Files for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I am thrilled to be considered for this award, and find it a huge honor to be recognized in this way. Thank you for this wonderful acknowledgment, as I am humbled to have been selected alongside so many other inspiring blogs.

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Thank the person who nominated me.

       Thank you again, Amy.

2. Share 7 things about myself.

  1. I am happily married.
  2. Recently became a published author.
  3. Grew up in Minnesota.
  4. I am the youngest of 6 children.
  5. My favorite animal is the yellow lab.
  6. I enjoy watching movies.
  7. I lived in Key West Florida for one year.

3. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

There are so many blogs I enjoy, so it was tough to select only a few. This speaks to the fact that there are so many inspirational writers out there, who really pour their heart and soul into their articles.

At this time, I have selected the following nominees for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

  1. Taming The Invisible Dragon
  2. Julie Hansen Intuitive
  3. Professions for Peace
  4. Floating with the Breeze
  5. Kokopelli Bee Free Blog
  6. Life is an Exquisite Journey
  7. Zen and Genki

4. Put the logo of the award on my blog site.







I wish to thank everyone who visits, ‘likes’, and comments on my blog!



Ask For Help

There is an abundance of self-help material available today, which can be used as a positive first step toward changing our lives. However, information alone is only half of the self-healing equation. The information we read needs to be utilized and incorporated into our daily lives, and this often requires the help of a mentor or coach.

We can intellectually gain a great deal of knowledge through studying on our own. However, we are rarely able to motivate ourselves during emotionally vulnerable times, or when unconscious beliefs are unknowingly driving our behavior.

Therefore, the benefits of having an advisor to encourage and help us apply specific material to our unique personal situations are life changing. I know that getting help changed my life in miraculous ways, and I would never have reached many of my goals without specific assistance.

So, whether we call it mentoring, training or coaching, it is important to have some type of personalized instruction in order to help us accelerate our success. If we were lost on the highway, we would hopefully stop and ask for directions. Well, the same applies to self-improvement, in that if we are lost and need assistance maneuvering through certain life situations, it is good to stop and ask for directions as well.

As mentioned in my book, The Right Relationship Starts with You, I needed assistance in the area of relationships, as I had a past history of disastrous romantic liaisons. However, by making changes within myself, with the help of a coach, I now enjoy a thriving marriage.

Jack Canfield, best known as the co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, advocates the importance of coaching as well, as explained in another of his books, The Success Principles:

“Of all the things successful people do to accelerate their trip down the path to success, participating in some kind of coaching program is at the top of the list. A coach will help you clarify your vision and goals, support you through your fears, keep you focused, confront your unconscious behaviors and old patterns, expect you to do your best, help you live by your values, show you how to earn more while working less, and keep you focused on your core genius.”

Think of any sporting team and imagine if they didn’t have a coach to steer their talent, push them to be the best they can be, or give them direction. They may have the skills, intelligence, and understanding of the game, but without anyone to guide them, their abilities would not be utilized to the highest level.

Asking for help is a struggle for many of us because we assume it means we are defective, or our ego warns against such seemingly weak behavior. However, we think nothing of hiring a financial planner to help us with our money dilemmas, or an interior designer to help improve our homes. Unfortunately, we often neglect to hire someone to help us strategize a life plan, or assist with matters of our mind and heart.

Looking for a mentor is worth the effort. You’ll want to select someone who has the right amount of experience, wisdom and expertise in the area you are struggling with or wish to enhance. Be patient and discerning with your choice in an advisor, but avoid using the process of looking as a way of procrastinating. Seek out help in the same way you would for a struggling loved one.

Getting help is invaluable in the self-growth process, as it provides personal accountability, motivation, and support. Our friends can help us, but having an impartial person to speak with is extremely beneficial as well. Besides, we may love the people in our life very much, but not feel inclined to reveal our most personal thoughts and feelings to them, as we would with an objective professional.

Action Step:

Be courageous enough to ask for help when you need it.

Look on the Bright Side

Enjoy the video clip below from the movie, When Harry Met Sally. This humorous scene demonstrates how sometimes those who have a cheerful disposition, or look at the bright side of life, are viewed as naïve and unrealistic, and not prepared for life’s obstacles.

The opposing view or ‘dark side’ assessment, however, seems to be that worrying about complications in advance will help us to be more equipped to handle them and act as a buffer.

Unfortunately, all this really does is end up ruining our daily joy while waiting for something undesirable to occur.

Fun way to see both sides!

Action Step:

Have a good laugh today.

Abandon Perfectionism

Years ago, when supermodel Cindy Crawford was asked about her famous looks, she was quoted as saying, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.”

She goes on to discuss her team of hair and make-up people who create her look, and that parts of her body are airbrushed in magazines; revealing that even she does not look like the images portrayed. This sends a powerful message that none of us are perfect, even someone as externally attractive as Cindy.

I appreciate her attitude and honest answer even though no doubt she is naturally beautiful. However, her remarks make a great point, that, even at her level, she too is not without flaws. Therefore, to strive to look like a magazine cover displaying someone who doesn’t even look like him or herself is clearly impossible to achieve.

Similarly, it is easy to look at others and think they have it all together, because they wear the right clothes, have a prestigious career, or earn a great deal of money. However, even those we admire who have achieved some of these goals are human like the rest of us. Granted, some people’s situations are more enviable and glamorous than ours, but they still have insecurities, regardless of their outward appearance or presentation.

After all, people and circumstances are not always what they seem. This is beautifully demonstrated in the childhood movie, The Wizard of Oz, when the curtain is pulled back, and we see an insecure man rather than a grand wizard.

It is comforting to realize that none of us are perfect and a huge relief as well. This topic was discussed in a speech class I took back in college, where we all feared getting up in front of the class and giving a less than perfect speech. Our teacher informed us that even if we provided a flawless presentation, there would always be someone who was not satisfied. Therefore, she taught us that we may as well relax, have a good time and please ourselves, rather than worrying about pleasing everyone else!

This did not mean however that we could:

  • Neglect doing our best work.
  • Engage in inappropriate behavior.
  • Become irresponsible and uncaring.
  • Neglect to “know our audience” when we spoke.

It simply meant to not become immobilized or enslaved to perfection by:

  • Striving for absolute flawlessness.
  • Resisting trying something new, because we might not do it perfectly.
  • Forgetting that even kids get to fall down when they are learning to walk.
  • Not allowing ourselves any flexibility when trying new things.

Striving to do our best is a wonderful goal, whereas, striving for perfection is clearly self-destructive. Therefore, whenever we are tempted to compare ourselves to others, we need to remember that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. This is a fun way to remember not to fear people or feel inferior to others, even if they appear to have it perfectly all together.

Action Step:

Strive to be the best you, instead of striving to be an airbrushed or artificial version of you.


Develop Your Own Life

“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You have the power to develop a fulfilling life whether you’re currently in a romantic relationship or not. These intimate relationships are a wonderful gift, but do not represent one’s entire existence. Therefore, it is vital that you create your own life, and not wait around until you meet someone in order to enjoy yourself.

It can be tempting to spend all your time and energy on your outer appearance looking for a mate. However, it’s far more beneficial to focus on inner fulfillment by participating in more inspirational and worthy endeavors.

The truth is, by filling your time with supportive friends and enjoyable interests; you’re more likely to meet someone without even trying. Even if you are already in a relationship, it is important to continue connecting with friends and gratifying interests as well.

The joy you feel from engaging in meaningful pursuits will naturally give you an air of confidence and contentment, which will be very attractive to others. So instead of projecting desperation or sadness, you will be genuinely happy.

Additionally, by treating yourself well and enjoying your own company, you will no longer be attracted to a certain type of person or treatment anymore either. You will cease waiting for others to initiate things or simply expecting someone to show up on your doorstep.

As a result, you will be less likely to feel needy or bored and make the mistake of being too available by:

• Accepting short-notice dates.

• Putting off making plans during the week with friends to reserve a potential dating spot in your schedule.

• Cancelling plans with your friends if a potential dating partner invites you out.

Putting your friends and yourself on hold by sitting near the phone and desperately hoping you get selected for a spur-of-the moment date does not honor you or your friends. Not only is this disrespectful to all concerned, but it’s a huge waste of time.

After all, someone else does not have the power to complete you or fill up whatever you think is missing. You are already a complete person and are able to have your needs met without waiting for a specific person to do that for you.

This is not only liberating information to know but significantly life changing to experience.

Action Step:

Don’t wait by the phone for someone to call today. Go out and enjoy yourself instead.

Be Optimistic

Enjoy The Optimist’s Creed, written by Christian D. Larson, shown below and the video that follows it. It is an inspirational way, to start your day!

I Promise Myself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.

To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others, as I am about my own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.

To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.

Action Step:

Lift your spirits by watching the video.

Walk with Humility

Isn’t it amazing that we didn’t actually have to do anything in order to receive the gift of a beautiful voice or artistic flare?  Each of us was born with a unique set of skills and abilities, but quite often, it can be tempting to take credit for what was freely given to us at birth.

This type of vanity is commonly referred to as the ego, which is a huge block to true humility. The ego can almost be thought of as a rebellious devil sitting on our shoulder. It not only wants to take full credit for our talents, but expects them to be honored and utilized in the way it sees fit.

When speaking about humility, it often gets confused with humiliation, so, let’s take a look at the difference between the two:

  • Humility is defined as a ‘modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.
  • Humiliation, on the other hand, is defined as a ‘state of disgrace or loss of self-respect.’

There is nothing disgraceful about humbly acknowledging our blessings and expressing our thanks for them, but this is certainly different than being boastful about our accomplishments.

Humble people don’t necessarily think less of themselves; they simply don’t think entirely about themselves, and are appreciative for what comes to them.

Along those lines, humility can be tied to patience as well. When we are actively pursuing something like a relationship, for example, we can become impatient that it is not happening quickly enough for us.

However, it is only later that we come to understand and are humbled by the fact that the timing worked out better than we could have imagined. We often look back and find ourselves saying something like, “How perfect that I met my spouse when I did, because I was ready and could appreciate it.”

A friend of mine often says, “Bless it or block it.” This means if we are meant to have something, then it will arrive and bless our life. If not, then it will be blocked to protect us.

So, with this in mind, if we have done our very best and taken the appropriate actions, we can then let go of the results, and simply trust the outcome.

Action Step:

Walk with humility today and unblock yourself from the dictates of the ego.