Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Musings ~ Laughter is Good for the Soul

Is there an acceptable age at which you simply accept that you are going to sleep with a heating pad EVERY night?? :)

I ask because this seems to have become my new normal. *Sigh*

And here is something....

Yes!

I mean...besides the obvious "duh"...I seem to be acquiring some state of lactose-intolerance as I get older so I can't even enjoy ice cream anymore without getting a bellyache that just isn't worth it :)) (I just cracked myself up.)...Now, if I become allergic to coffee...just go ahead and bury me.

So this one just happened to me yesterday...

I hate when this happens!!

...and *Sigh*...

Finally, a video that literally had me laughing and crying...I have never worn Spanx, and there is NO way I want to now.  I absolutely love Melissa McCarthy...Melissa McCarthy and her Spanx

So...a little laughter.  It has been a long week, a long month, and a long year.  Laughter is the best medicine, and it helps me keep my crazy life in perspective. ;)

Happy Sunday! :)))

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Do Better ~ Be Better

"In the end we only regret the chances we didn't take, the relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we took too long to make."

Well...okay...that pretty well sums it up.

Seriously, I love this quote, and I do not find it a bit strange that I came across it today as I work on my 2013 Goals.  The sad part of working on my goals for next year, is that as I review my 2012 Goals....I checked off so few of them.  Okay....I only checked off one of them. *Sigh* AND *Ugh*

I even came up with my own hash tag #2013dobetterbebetter, and I believe that might be my overarching goal for 2013. Yup. :)

I have been writing out goal lists since I was nine years old.  It was born out of the sudden chaos in my home life; it has survived as a real anchor for me.  It helps me stay focused and avoid some of my private fears and weaknesses.  One of them, getting too caught up in my own head. I just rolled my eyes as I wrote this...now chuckling to myself. 

I digress...

Fear is paralyzing.  Even at nine years old, my survival instincts kicked in, and I fought for normalcy and control in my little world that felt like it had been hit by an atom bomb.  In some ways it had, and don't let anyone ever try and sell you that physical pain is more damaging than emotional...they are a liar.

So now, as an adult, I use this goal making skill set to pull myself from my hidey hole of fear in my head, and move into the life that God intends for me...that I was born for...where happiness lives and fears die.  That might sound a little dramatic, but I am a firm believer that fear is of the devil, and frankly, his weapon of choice with us...with me.  I also believe that it is true no matter what religion you practice...all religions I have studied tend to emphasize love over fear.  Hmmm....

I digress...Again. :)

Sooooo....

Back to my goal list for 2013. :) 

I went back to Franklin Covey basics (I have been a Franklin Covey addict since 2008) and re-read their recommended goal planning basics.  I then tweaked them for my "special needs" and broke out four overarching categories: personal, professional, passion/dreams, financial.  I then sub-divided each of those into physical, social/emotional, mental, spiritual (Franklin Covey recommends these).  Financial was my lone holdout...it really has to be its own nightmare category...and lets be honest, it impacts EVERYTHING. :)

Once I started throwing my long goal list into categories...I quickly recognized part of how I had gotten out of whack in 2012. *Sigh*  Read ~ girl needs balance ~ *Sigh*

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So. Here we are.  A new year less than 72 hours away.  I have to say that I feel this year coming on more than I have others, and I know that because it has taken me nearly eight hours to draft this post.  This is weighty stuff for me; I sure hope it helps someone out there reading it...

A little over six months ago while back in Little Rock on business, I sat in Fantastic China (eating a FABULOUS dinner), and I contemplated the options that lay before me...personal, professional, passion/dreams, and financial.  Nope, I didn't plan that correlation...:)  I sat there making list after list of pros and cons...and honestly, heartbreak.  By the time my fortune cookie came that night, I was completely perplexed at my lot in life.  When I cracked it open it read, "You will make a change for the better within the year."  My mouth literally dropped open.  I took a picture of the fortune, sent it to a few close friends, and I made it the wallpaper on my IPhone (where it remains today).  I had ZERO idea what the heck it meant, but I knew without a doubt that whatever lay ahead was exactly where I needed to be; that cookie gave me a shot of much needed hope.  {Thanks God.}

I write all of that to make this point.  For all of my planning, my great ideas, my hopes, my dreams, my passions, my loves, my friends, my career, my family, my faith...change happens...Every. Day.  We can't stop change.  We can't control it.  We can manipulate it.  We can roll with it.  We can adapt to it.  We CANNOT stop it.  Just say no to trying to...and while you are at it...stop whining about it too.

Sorry....soapbox digression...:)

I knew on a fateful Sunday afternoon in late January of this year that my life, as I knew it, was over.  Change happens in an instant.  It has taken me just under a year to move my life forward, to unwind (to what degree I can (and honestly want to)) my life from a path I both loved and wanted more than I wanted breath. Sometimes I feel like I spent 2012 being rolled in the surf, crashed by waves, slammed into the bottom, and finally, mercifully tossed upon the shoreline...battered, bruised, gasping for air, head pounding, and more than slightly disoriented.  It is funny (not ha ha) to look back at the difference a year can make.

Everybody has their limits..

Shaking my head...

All of that said, planning is AWESOME.  I love it. I need it. I want it. It is good for me...for my personality.  Planning though, does not replace or prohibit change or the will of others OR the will of God from turning all your plans to dust. 

I have lots of glorious plans for my life in 2013....in my personal life, professional life, in living more of my passions and dreams....and financial (ah the great equalizer in planning...we all have to contend with this category).  Overall though, I want to do better in 2013.  I want to BE better in 2013.  No matter what happens....those can be two I can check off the list this time next year. :) ;)

So here is to 2013...to the goal lovers, big planners, dreamers, doers, change agents, lovers of life, to those who will have the courage to meet every day with their very best.  Here is to doing better with each day given to us like a beautifully wrapped gift.  Here is to being better to ourselves and to others.

"When a goal matters enough to a person, that person will find a way to accomplish what at first seemed impossible." ~ Nido Qubein

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The End Is In Site

The end is in site...

As 2012 comes to an end, and 2013 roars in (at least I hope it roars in), I am left being very reflective....okay, I am usually reflective, but this time of year...even I kick it up a notch. :)


I have never been more grateful for a year to end.  Seriously.

I find it funny too that the weather outside is frightful which causes all of us to look at our calendars and planners and nearly scream as everything has to be re-scheduled due to power outages and travel nightmares.  For all of our good intentions, mother nature reminds us all that she can change the game with the flick of her wrist (so to speak).


Hmmm...

It is like we are all forced to focus on the basics...heat, hot water, a refrigerator that doesn't encompass all of our food in a pile of snow in the front yard (yes, some of my friends have resorted to this new-fangled method of keeping their items chilled), and our family's personal safety.

All of this reminds me that in my darkest moments of 2012, I swore to myself that I would find a way to simplify my life.  Simplicity.  How could I find it?  Where did I go wrong in losing it?

Now, I sit here typing in my gloves, covered in blankets, a crisp 52 degrees in my house, and I am laughing at the irony. Laughing.

I look up. Smile. Wink. Chuckle. "Got it God." :)

Ahhh...the lessons.  Will they ever stop??

So, I am working on ways I can continue to simplify my life.  I will enter 2013 lighter (physically, emotionally, stress levels, etc.), and I have to believe it is a good thing.  I also remain thankful for a cute little boy (Sam) that had that off-the-cuff comment so long ago which reminded me that I had become consumed with spinning the plates in my life...instead of living my life. *Sigh*

I don't want to ever have to be reminded of that...again.

My life is full of lessons...all around me...Every. Day.  The best gift...the best lesson(s) I have ever had...are three beautiful children who teach me...constantly...how to be better...and what matters most.


So here is to the pause button we are all getting this week.  Let us all take the time to savor the pause even as it throws our lives into chaos.  For, in time, our lives will be back to 110 mph....plates spinning and all...:)))

***Thank you to God, my Sis and her beautiful family...for a beautiful, slow, calm, easy going, puzzle making, game playing, movie watching, great food, white Christmas...I love you. Dearly.***

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

31 Days of Joy ~ Day 18

Gail brought me the most joy today because Gail is helping me to bring my body back to "me"...

I have gone to Gail for deep tissue and therapeutic massages for over 10 years.  She can do everything from a nice simple massage to borderline physical therapy.  She is licensed and honestly...amazing.  I have referred dozens of people to her, and I have yet to hear one negative thing about her or her work. Back in high school, I was in a bad wreck. I had permanent damage and finding Gail 10 years ago was the most relief I had ever found.  Period.  Up until two years ago, I had a standing monthly appointment with her.

That is the background...

As I started working in Little Rock more and more this fall, and now permanently, I called Gail to get in to see her; I knew I needed help.  I have had a standing appointment with her every 1-2 weeks for a couple of months now.  I cannot even repeat the words she has used to describe the state of my body. *Sigh*

Let me just say that stress is one of those tricky things that you know when you are stressed, but you don't know the extent of how said stress is impacting you...mind, spirit, and body...until you start working to counteract it (i.e., heal thyself).  *Good Grief*

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I have been joking with Gail after each session, "Boy you really worked me over this time; you are back to the old days (deep, deep tissue)." To which Gail would politely chuckle each time, "I'm going easy on you." Deflated, with aching muscles...EVERY muscle, I would shake my head.  Gail is one of the sweetest, most encouraging people.  She continues to remind me that I put my body through hell for 20 months, and it will take awhile to unwind all of that built up stress. *Sigh*

That gets us to today....

My hip has been killing me.  Talk about feeling my age.  I mean, it impacts my sleep, my walk...it hurts nearly non-stop.  I dreaded telling Gail about it today before my session.  I also dreaded, when I did tell her, that I had not taken some Ibuprofen beforehand. :( 

Let me just say, my mascara was ruined by the end of my 90 minute session.  Pure pain!  When she had gotten to my hands, there was shooting pain through my entire hand to my finger tips while she worked on it. I asked her about it, and she explained the amount of stress one can hold just in their hands, their fingers even.  *Big Sigh*

Before I left today, Gail gently reminded that we would get there...I would find my "real" body again. She said, "Honey, you have a lot of built up **** for us to work out of there."  I had to laugh.

I realize all of this may sound like a running advertisement for Gail, and if it makes you want to call her...I would recommend it and she certainly deserves all the praise I can heap on her. 

That said, selfishly this is a commentary on how we can let ourselves go...I am not talking necessarily about weight or wrinkles or the like...I am focused on stress.  I have put my body through hell over the past two years.  I willingly, like an idiot, sacrificed my health and well being for work, people, things...all with good intentions mind you, but the cost was too high.  As I pay the bill, so to speak, in unwinding the physical damage, I have realized the price was way too high....for me. 

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Yesterday morning I wrote a long note of thanks (deep gratitude really) to one of my oldest and dearest friends.  In it, I noted a particular painful lesson I had learned this year "in a year of painful lessons"...I found it stunning that I am so lucid regarding these lessons...and not under a bus. *Insert Nervous Laughter Here*

Which reminded me...

Years ago, I would name my years before they started....an overarching theme for my hopes for the year to come.  As I look back on 2012, it has been "The Year of Lessons"...one right after the other.  I may have whiplash (which would explain some of my physical pain :))....AND I am okay with that...I am grateful that I am still learning...growing...trying.

I digress...

Bottom line, I feel tremendous, overwhelming joy today for the healing that Gail is bringing to my physical body.  It is slower than I want it to be, but it is getting better...stronger.  Ironically, as my muscles heal, so does my spirit.  As the stress is being worked out of the deep recesses of my body, I am letting go of the many lessons with a big old check mark beside each and every one of them. Check. Done. Next.

Thank you to Miss Gail.  For being a healer and a friend.  For beating me up, bruising me, and reminding me that there is great joy in healing.

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Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Art of Letting Go

Holy Cow!

I am an impatient person.

My name is Heather, and I am impatient.

Envision four letter words here.

Wow.

I have had a rough few days.  Professionally, I am on an unreal high with unreal lows.  Personally, I am having some severe lows.  Internally, I am having to face some things about myself that I am NONE too happy about facing. *Ugh*

I am impatient.  I want everything yesterday.  I have ZERO idea how long an average task takes to complete.

I am Type A and OCD on a good day....and to the extreme on a not so good day.

I am passionate, and driven, and guilt-ridden over where I am not....where I should be.....what I should be taking care of...who I am potentially letting down.

*Sigh*

I am a girl who is in desperate need of letting go, and I...for the life of me...cannot figure out how to accomplish that....

Bigger *Sigh*....


When I spoke to my "Mama" this morning to update her on some family news, she said baby, you need to be here with me....and I cried like a little girl knowing she was right, but that I couldn't be there with her, letting her take care of me (emotionally and otherwise)...because I needed to be here...for others...More. *Sigh*

Being an adult...Sucks.

I am smiling, for a moment, because I realize that one of the amazing things about women is their ability to absorb the enormity of a moment with all of its responsibilities and guilt, while being simply a woman...a mother, a spouse, an employee.  We really are remarkable creatures....as are men, but right now, this is a post about women...and me. ;) :)

I digress....

I am a woman on the edge of a major meltdown at any given breath...

Funny how the most stressful part of that statement is the fact that I am a woman that is convinced that I am the only one that knows that fact....

Hmmmm....

Maybe we should share, more often, the stresses of our life.  What makes us tick.  What makes us crazy.  What makes us want to decapitate someone or someones. :)

Just kidding. Kinda. Sorta. ;)

For all of my VERY Christian friends...don't be offended...

Jeff Foxworthy once joked, "This is what men are thinking...I want a beer, and I want to see something naked."  The bigger joke is, that women really want a glass of wine and to see something naked.  The over-arching point is that we ALL want something to take us away from the reality of our life....

....a grandmother in failing health, a new job with new stresses, disappointing others, bills, Christmas, our kids, dating again, parents' failing health, family stress, the Holidays...Period., work (in general), money (in general), family drama (in general)....

Life. Is. Hard...On our best days.

Period.

One of my oldest and dearest friends will be in LR this weekend, and I cannot wait to see him.  That said, he has a funeral to attend tomorrow for an old, dear friend....I have work up to my eyeballs...and stresses beyond that....

Life. Is. Hard. 

Play. Well. With. Others.

Each and every one of us has NO idea what the other is facing OR going through in our lives.  It is SO important for each of us to go into every situation with compassion....with humility....with empathy.


I love the photo above...actually, I have loved it for a long time, but I have never figured out a way to include it on a post. Now I have...this is SO true.  It would bode well for ALL of us to remember this in our daily walks.

I love my life. I am blessed girl. I simply have challenging days...just like...Everybody. Else.

Hug someone a little tighter tonight.  Send someone you have been thinking of a handwritten note or e-mail.  Trust me...you have NO idea what it will mean to that person. Follow your heart. :)

Life, all too often, is the art of letting go...

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Monday, December 3, 2012

31 Days of Joy ~ Day 3

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There is great joy in being a woman.  There is tremendous joy to be found in being a woman surrounded by other women working to make ALL women's lives better.

I have learned a great deal from being a part of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas.  I have so much more to learn from this organization, the women who are a part of it, and those that support it.

I found it strange that I spent an all too brief 24 hours with two of the best women I know (Big Sis Treva and Mama Doretha) and then got to spend a long evening with some of my favorite women at the WFA board meeting (and then Christmas dinner).  It was a BIG day of great women for me. 

Hmmm....

The lesson is that strong, great, wonderful, glorious women bring me and my life tremendous joy.  My goal over the coming days, weeks, months, and years is to spend more and more time around great women. I want to learn how to be a better woman from those I spend quality time around.


I have seen this poster before, and I simply love it.  I am looking for a large print for my new office.  I find it inspiring, and I need that...Every. Day.

Here is to the joy found in good women...for all of us. :)))

P.S. Special thoughts and prayers today for one of the strongest women I know, my Granny Dee who is 90 years young. She is not 100% right now, and we all hope and pray that she is feeling better very soon.  Her tremendous strength (and pushing of me) has been inspirational in my life...especially as of late.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

31 Days of Joy ~ Day 2

Laughter.

There is great joy in laughter.

This morning I am under the weather, tremendous headache, too much to do suddenly, thinking and worrying about someone I love...you know...one of those mornings.

I then come across this...

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...I laughed out loud (yes Sam....embarrassingly loud).  I really don't want to talk about the fact that it took me reading it twice to "get it"...

Laughter is beautiful.  Laughter is healing.  Laughter is...joy in action.

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Who knew that adding a little laughter to your life could be so good for you?? :)

I am one of those odd ducks that believes we should spend a lot more time laughing.  I believe laughter is the great equalizer.  I am determined to add more laughter, and therefore joy, into my daily life.  I am making time to read the comics, incorporating funny books into my reading pile, and even making an active choice in watching funny movies more often than dramas.

Last night I had a wonderful dinner with old friends and a new friend, and it is not the food that I remember this morning (okay...maybe a little ;))...it is the belly laughter between us.

Laughter heals. Period.

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THIS is the story of my life. :)))

The JOY of laughter.  Love.

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

31 Days of Joy ~ Day One

 

I had a slightly insane November.  One major LOL. :)  So, I opted to skip the whole "30 days of Gratitude" (which I did last November) as I worked my way through transition after transition one year in the making. *Sigh*  Knowing that December would be one new beginning after new beginning, I thought it would be more fun this year to do a "31 Days of Joy" for December.  I look at it as much about what I learn about joy each new day, as what I am experiencing that brings me joy.  I hope you will enjoy following me on this journey of joy over the next 31 days.

"Joy, it’s always a function of gratitude ~ and gratitude is always a function of perspective. If we are going to change our lives, what we’re going to have to change is the way we see." ~ Ann Voskamp

Last night I was told by one of my dearest friends to let the circumstances of late marinate today (Saturday) and then move forward to all that is waiting for me. Sage advice. (Note:  I expect nothing less from this person. :))  Of course, they also said that I had acquired some jadedness in my personality through this last experience, that it didn't look good on me, and it was time to purge it.  Ouch.  That hurt.  Truth hurts.  Don't you just hate it when someone has your number. *Sigh* :)))
 
I am tremendously grateful to have so many who still love and believe in me, and in my better self, after putting them (and myself) through so much this past couple of years.  If this were the beginning of gratitude posts, that would be number one. :)
 
Today is the beginning of so many new things.  The biggest is this...Joy.  I alone control the amount of joy that I allow and make time for in my life.  I alone.  Last night I was keenly reminded of my better self.  Who I was, or am, but definitely who I could be...Who I will be. :)
 
Last night as I walked up and down a street that soon will become a second home to me, I was reminded of all that is possible with new beginnings.  I have to be honest...my life has not turned out anything as I thought it would at age 5, 9, 16, 18, 25, 35, 40...and that seems to be the latest lesson. Good. Grief. :)
 
So in the interest of purging the old...at a pivotal moment this past week I was reminded of why I had made the choices I had made nearly nine months ago...I took a deep breath, and I reminded myself of all I had learned (in all areas of my life)...lessons learned (very important), of all that I had accomplished in that single day with attorneys, budgets, non-profits, an amazing friend I love so much, consultants, the random fresh cut bouquet of roses I was given, the making of a new friend, seeing an old friend, a lovely friend thanking me for my coaching (though I quickly thanked them...oh my).  In that deep breath, I was reminded that my life goes on.  I keep moving.  I keep learning.  I keep trying.  Mainly I keep smiling. 
 
And if winning matters to you, I still win.  My win just looks a lot different than what others expect it to look like...and the truth is, I like mine better.  Hence the lesson.
 
I was reminded earlier this week that I am richly loved, and that is the final lesson of the purge (and slightly sad that we humans have to constantly be reminded of it) and most certainly the way to kick off a month of celebrating joy.  While the power of any relationship (business, love, friendship, family, etc.) may always be held by the one who shows (appears) that they care the least, the real joy is found in showing just how much you care and who cares if it is more than the other(s).  I have learned some tremendous lessons in being and showing my vulnerability.  Some thought they would break me of it, but the joke is on them.  What I learned, was there is great joy and strength in showing your vulnerability.  I actually learned I need to show it more, not less. (imagine my tongue being stuck out now)...:)))

Sometimes the real joy for me comes in being brave.
 
 
Recently I bemoaned the endless lessons of my life.  "Just make it stop!! Enough!"
 
Not until you stop learning...(I hear voices. :))
 
Ahhhh....
 
Here is to Joy...let the journey of joy, new beginnings, new adventures, new loves, new challenges, new lessons...Begin. :)

"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." ~ Psalm 16:11

Sunshine Dreams to You ~ Today and Every Day! :)