Archive | January 2013

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and Blog of the Year 2012…6th Star!

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award

Thank you to Fae at Fae’s Twist & Tango for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and for the final star on the Blog of the Year 2012 award!!

What a great way to end the month of January!!

It is wonderful to be recognized by such a fun and creative spirit, who shares recipes and more with her own unique twist and loves to tango!

The rules for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award are:

  1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer the 10 questions provided.
  3. Nominate up to 12 blogs.
  4. Provide links to the nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Here are the 10 questions:

  1. What is your favorite color? — Both pink and blue
  2. Your favorite animal? — Yellow lab
  3. Your favorite non-alcoholic drinks? — Diet coke and hot chocolate
  4. Facebook or Twitter? — Not currently using either one
  5. Your favorite pattern? Behavior patterns
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? — Both
  7. Your favorite number? 28
  8. Your favorite day of the week? Friday
  9. Your favorite flower? Roses
  10. What is your passion? — Writing and dancing

Blog of the Year Award 6 star thumbnail

The rules for the Blog of the Year 2012 Award are:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the Blog of the Year 2012 Award.
  2. Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
  3. Please include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012 Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
  5. You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here Blog of the Year 2012 Award Facebook page and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars.

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star! There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

There are so many blogs I enjoy, and some that I would like to know better.

I have selected the following nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and the Blog of the Year 2012 Award!

  1. Realistic Cooking Ideas for Busy People
  2. Go Bake Yourself
  3. Afternoon Popcorn Snack
  4. The Joy of Caking
  5. A Daisy Garden
  6. The Home Heart
  7. Busy Mom Blogs
  8. Forever Fit
  9. Eat Run Smile
  10. The Retiring Sort
  11. Travels with Toby
  12. Emjay and Them

Congratulations and enjoy!

Blessings,

Cathie

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Courageously Play the Hand You Are Dealt

This video is part of an interview with Dr. Ben Carson who is a neurosurgeon and became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33. He became famous for his ground-breaking work separating conjoined twins, and an inspiration for what is possible in life.

He certainly didn’t start out with the specific life circumstances that one would normally expect from one who becomes a brain surgeon. He didn’t have the wealthy family backing or connections. Actually, there were many aspects of life working against him when he was growing up. He came from a broken home amongst poverty and prejudice.

He overcame a lot of adversity and is a great example of someone who rose above his circumstances. He succeeded in spite of the many excuses he could have used to settle for a troubled life.

I would highly recommend reading or seeing the movie, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story about him. He is a great example of making the most of what we are given.

We each come into life with a set of circumstances or cards to play with such as:

  1. The family we are born into
  2. Our particular gender
  3. Our race and socioeconomic class
  4. Certain talents and abilities
  5. Our biology; the body and health we have been given
  6. And many other aspects

We each have choices about what to do with the cards that we are dealt as well.

Everyone is given specific cards for a reason and often we waste our lives wishing to have the cards of someone else who we think is living a better life than we are.

Ultimately, we don’t know if someone has a better life because we don’t live inside of someone else’s head or home. We don’t live with their particular thoughts, demons or struggles.

There is nothing wrong with wanting more or desiring certain things but that is different than wanting to BE someone else or wanting someone else’s life. Eventually, we need to stop comparing our life with others. We were dealt our particular hand to shape us into the best person that we can be.

Our purpose is to live in a manner that best uses our unique talents and abilities, and make a positive impact on the world around us.

Our life circumstances contain valuable life lessons that can move us to magnificent experiences.

This knowledge can help give hope and meaning to any suffering we may have, and opens the door to asking better questions such as:

  1. What are the things I can change about myself and life?
  2. How can I utilize those things I can’t change?
  3. How can I make the most of what I’ve been given?
  4. How can I find the courage to pursue my true desires?
  5. How can I be a better person?
  6. How can I contribute to myself, my loved ones and the world?

When we put our energy and focus on answering questions such as these, instead of asking why we don’t possess what someone else has; it will matter less what someone else is doing, being or having.

Action Step:

Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your life, and answer the questions above.

Claim Your Magnificence!

embrace 6

Dr. Patricia Crane is the author of Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations and has also written and produced several audio tapes on meditation, visualization, and stress reduction.

In addition to earning her Ph.D. in social psychology, she has also trained with Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, and Marianne Williamson as well.

Patricia has a wonderful way with words, as her beautifully written declaration below so magnificently illustrates.

Enjoy!

Magnificence Proclamation

Today is your day to claim your magnificence! Know that you have a unique place on the planet and a unique contribution to make.

You are in the process of becoming the masterpiece you were meant to be. In that process, remember to lovingly embrace ALL parts of yourself.

Your masterpiece is already in your consciousness, and now the brushstrokes of your life are filling it in. Feel vibrant, alive, enthusiastic, loving, and joyous!

Your joy is contagious. Support yourself in your magnificent blossoming and support others in theirs. Know that you are responsible for creating your life in the way you desire, and others are responsible for theirs.

Your birthright is to enjoy harmonious relationships, unlimited prosperity, vibrant health, work that you love, and an abundance of happiness.

Lovingly notice any limiting thoughts that are not in alignment with your birthright and gently weed them from your inner garden.

Forgive the past, allow the present, and trust the future.

Claim and express the magnificent being that you are!

Action Step:

Read this proclamation often.

Do The Opposite

For the Seinfeld fans out there, you probably remember the show above where George Costanza decides that every decision he has made in his life turned out to be wrong. So, he decides to do the opposite of what he would normally do.

For example, when approaching a woman, he would normally make himself sound wonderful and stretch the truth about every area of his life. Instead, he decides to do the opposite and blurts out that he is broke and lives with his parents. In spite of this information, the woman appears to remain interested in him and he finds success from doing things differently.

Not a bad life strategy for those of us who carry around a lot of fear and insecurity. Doing the opposite of what we would normally do, can be a very freeing experience. As we know, fear and insecurity can stop us from:

  1. Applying for certain careers.
  2. Going back to school.
  3. Asking someone out on a date.
  4. And any number of other restrictions we put on ourselves.

Many of us have a story we have created about who we are and what is possible for us in this life. The things we tell ourselves, determines our feelings which affects our actions, and ultimately creates our whole life! They become self-fulfilling prophecies!

Some examples of things we tell ourselves are:

I’m too old to try anything new.

I’m not smart enough to get a good job.

I don’t have time to work out.

Nobody appreciates me, so what is the use of trying. 

I’m not good looking enough to be successful.

I’m too fat to have a great relationship.

I’m unlovable because my high school boyfriend rejected me.

I can’t be happy because I had an unhappy childhood.

I was teased in grade school, so therefore I can’t complete my education.

I don’t have enough money because it is selfish not to give my money away to family.

And many more…

It is our stories, thoughts, and beliefs that cause us to suffer. Therefore, if we want to get rid of the suffering and improve our lives, we have to find a way to disconnect from our story.

This starts by questioning our thoughts and beliefs, and often doing the opposite of what our thoughts tell us.

For instance, a friend of mine realized her story was that she is just too shy and ineffective at speaking in front of people. Therefore, she declined any career possibilities where she would have to give speeches or presentations, even if the job itself was something she really wanted.

Getting up in front of people was something that caused her great distress; so she decided to do the opposite and immerse herself in a situation that required constant speeches and presentations. She joined Toastmasters which is a world leader in communication and leadership development.

At her Toastmasters meetings, participants would practice giving presentations to those who were also trying to overcome their fear of speaking to large audiences.

They gave each other constructive feedback on how to improve their speeches and improve their confidence.  She said it was amazing to watch a shy and tentative member like herself, emerge into a confident and commanding speaker.

From this experience, she learned to face her fears, and realize that she is much more competent than she originally thought.  

Imagine how our life would be different if we didn’t have the ability to even think the fearful thoughts that keep us from making changes, and how it would feel to think courageous thoughts instead!

It is amazing how exhilarating it can be to face our fears and expand our world by doing the opposite.

  • Is there someone you want to call but have let fear keep you silent?
  • Is there a class you want to take but are afraid to sign up?

Go ahead and try one small action and see how empowered you feel.

After all, if George can do it, so can you!

Action Step:

What one small action can you do today that is the opposite of what you would normally do?

 

Observe Your Decision Making

“If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way.

– Mark Twain 

decision making

When we are uncomfortable, it is easy to jump and make a change impulsively without weighing the consequences of an unguided decision. We may unwittingly ‘jump out of the frying pan and into the fire’ by getting out of one situation, only to end up in a worse one.

For example, a particularly common occurrence is jumping from one relationship to another or changing jobs frequently because we don’t like our boss, or coworkers. Oftentimes, we can end up in a worse situation by having more problems in the new relationship or job than we did in the old one.

Even if we don’t choose to leave a relationship or quit our job; having a prolonged bad attitude can cost us the loss of a partner or job just the same.

Therefore, rather than just exchanging mates or changing jobs; it may be more important to look at our own attitudes and judgments and see how we might be contributing to the ineffective results we are experiencing.

By looking at our own behavior and reactions, we will be less likely to give our power away every time we encounter someone we don’t like, and disrupting our lives as a result.

So it is good to weigh our decisions carefully to avoid experiencing the ‘heat’ from making poor choices. Many of us have metaphorically ‘put our hand on the stove’ and gotten ‘burned’ a number of times. Hopefully, we learned essential information and wisdom from it and found better ways of making decisions as a result.

Making effective decisions is not just a matter of luck; but a matter of self-reflection.

By honing in on what is truly meaningful to us; we will make more informed decisions that complement the direction we desire to travel.

First, we have to know the direction we wish to go. Too often, we rush into random actions without knowing what the ultimate destination is. By relaxing and surveying our mind’s eye and heart for exactly what we want and need; we are better able to forecast possible outcomes that serve our situations the best.

Below are some ways we can weigh our decisions and actions more carefully:  

  • If we are not sure what course of action to take in a present situation, or what decision to make, we can give ourselves the necessary time and space until we receive more clarity. Often, we can get clarity by thinking about what we would tell a friend or client who was facing the exact situation we are and see what advice we would give to them. This mental exercise can give us the objectivity and distance we need to see the situation from a less personal position, and not be clouded by negative emotions or biases.
  • Once we know what we want, we can start to set goals and outline what steps are needed to complete the goal before us. We can gather information and lay out a blueprint of the big picture and take the necessary day to day actions needed as well. It is important to note that there is usually no rush to make a change or meet a goal. This helps us avoid any undue pressure or forcing a solution when we are feeling stressed.
  • There is not necessary a universally right or wrong answer to a problem but there is a best one for us and our particular situation. Usually, if we feel excessively anxious or nervous about a decision we are making, it tends to be one that may not be the best for us. If we feel empowered and good about the particular decision that is a huge indicator we are most likely on the right track. If we have spent quiet time alone and sorted out our true desires, we will usually feel good about our choices.
  • Listing our options on paper is a huge help because we can then see them in black and white and not from the sometimes fuzzy, undefined thoughts in our head. Writing out some possible outcomes for decisions we are attempting to make, usually helps us map out the best choice.

Fortunately, there are some decisions or goals that require less information or contemplation and just need action. For example, if our goal is to be physically fit, then making a workout schedule we can routinely follow is often all that is needed. That way we don’t have to revisit our schedule repetitively.

If we concentrate our energy in the right places, we don’t waste it on the small stuff.

What helps you make good decisions?

Action Step:

Begin to ask yourself what you would tell a loved one if they came to you with the same concerns you are struggling with today. See what revealing answers and decisions you come up with.

Make Room for the New

ripple

When we start to care for ourselves in one area, amazing things start to happen in other areas as well.  It has a ripple effect that can lead to some interesting and surprising places.

For example, I started taking dancing classes at the end of last year to enhance my level of physical fitness. At the time, I had no idea that the dancing and the good feelings that come from it, would lead to making my living space more fit as well.

My newly revitalized state of mind has energized me into clearing away the accumulated clutter of old receipts, files, and books around the house. It has been an effortless process and a cathartic experience at the same time.

Beyond just having a more visibly organized living area; there is a deeper sense of peace, and order in my internal world as well.

Creating more space in both of these environments has made more room for the new to arrive. Internally, I’ve experienced renewed insights, thoughts, and ideas; while externally, I’ve encountered tangible items to support my current needs.

For instance, there were some recent problems with the security system on my computer. Soon after the problem arose, I happened to turn on the television and a computer security system was being advertised by a reputable source. Not only was the timing amazing but so is the product!

We are often being led to the things we need by the signs that present themselves within and outside ourselves. When we are open and receptive to the messages we get, we are less likely to write them off as a mere ‘coincidence.’

organization 3

For some people, being organized is automatic and never an issue, but for others it is an ongoing challenge that requires more planning and direction.

Therefore, below is a sampling of some of the small but significant things we can do to improve our external surroundings. These small actions can lead to some big internal improvements as well.

  1. Instead of throwing our clothes on the bed, and hanging them up later, we can do it right away.
  2. When opening the sock drawer and seeing a disarray of unmatched socks, we can take a few minutes and straighten it up.
  3. When bringing in the mail, instead of putting the pile to the side to sort later, we can go through it and discard any advertisements or catalogs we don’t want.
  4. If going for a pen in the ‘junk drawer’, we can stop and straighten it up if messy.
  5. When finding something we no longer need like books we have already read, we can give them away.
  6. We can go through old files, one file at a time and therefore, not feel overwhelmed.
  7. We can wipe up any fingerprint marks on the door and other small messes as needed.
  8. We can begin discarding expired medication. 
  9. When entering the garage, we can break down old cardboard boxes that are taking up space and throw them out.
  10. When entering our closet, we can organize our shoes if need be.

Enjoy the process of removing the clutter, and engaging in self-care pursuits. You never know where it may lead!

Action Step:

Do something new today. Maybe sign up for a class, take a walk or clean out a drawer and see where it takes you.

Start the New Year Off Right

love self

For years, Louise L. Hay, the author of the international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, has been teaching people that the only thing that heals every problem is to love yourself.

Therefore, when I came across her lovely 12 Commandments for learning how to do just that, I wanted to share them with you!

Not a bad way to start the New Year!

Enjoy! 

love yourself 2

Do Mirror Work.

Look into your eyes often. Express this growing sense of love you have for yourself. Forgive yourself while looking into the mirror. Talk to your parents while looking into the mirror. Forgive them, too. At least once a day, say, “I love you, I really love you!”

Have Fun.

Remember the things that gave you joy as a child. Incorporate them into your life now. Find a way to have fun with everything you do. Let yourself express the joy of living. Smile. Laugh. Rejoice, and the Universe rejoices with you!

Love Yourself . . . Do It Now.

Don’t wait until you get well, or lose the weight, or get the new job, or find the new relationship. Begin now—and do the best you can.

Stop All Criticism.

Criticism never changes a thing. Refuse to criticize yourself. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Everybody changes. When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve of yourself, your changes are positive.

Forgive Yourself.

Let the past go. You did the best you could at the time with the understanding, awareness, and knowledge that you had. Now you are growing and changing, and you will live life differently.

Don’t Scare Yourself.

Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. It’s a dreadful way to live. Find a mental image that gives you pleasure, and immediately switch your scary thought to a pleasure thought.

Be Gentle and Kind and Patient.

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself as you learn the new ways of thinking. Treat yourself as you would someone you really loved.

Be Kind to Your Mind.

Self-hatred is only hating your own thoughts. Don’t hate yourself for having the thoughts. Gently change your thoughts.

Praise Yourself.

Criticism breaks down the inner spirit. Praise builds it up. Praise yourself as much as you can. Tell yourself how well you are doing with every little thing.

Support Yourself.

Find ways to support yourself. Reach out to friends and allow them to help you. It is being strong to ask for help when you need it.

Be Loving to Your Negatives.

Acknowledge that you created them to fulfill a need. Now you are finding new, positive ways to fulfill those needs. So lovingly release the old negative patterns.

Take Care of Your Body.

Learn about nutrition. What kind of fuel does your body need in order to have optimum energy and vitality? Learn about exercise. What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Cherish and revere the temple you live in.

Action Step:

Print and place these where you will easily see them, as a daily reminder.