[Coaxing Creativity Tip] Choose comfort to experience joy

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-blueberry-scones-butter-cup-tea-image25565900Don’t forget while you are rushing around this time of year baking, shopping, wrapping, shipping, and secreting away very special items to take time to do something comforting for yourself. Stop for a cup of something refreshing when you are out running errands.

Make up your own playlist of favorite holiday movies and watch them during your wrapping sessions. One of my favorites is The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant, Loretta Young, and David Niven. Of course, there is also the standard Miracle on 34th Street with Marueen O’Hara and little Natalie Wood. Be sure you take stretch breaks while you are wrapping. Getting caught up in all those colorful papers and ribbons is wonderful, but you need to pay attention to your health.

Tap into your creativity and keep things simple. Write a heartfelt letter instead of hunting for the latest gadget. Limit your shopping trips to only a couple of hours. By all means use every time-saving option you have available to you. Order on-line, create gift certificates for future experience on your computer (promises to make a special dinner, pizza & movie night, attending plays/concerts in the park, take-a-hike date, ___________ insert your favorite activity that gives you joy and hasn’t been happening in your life for far too long).

Think sprint, not marathon…and wear comfortable shoes! See you somewhere in line!

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

The Season to Believe…

 

ask.believe.receive“It’s silly, but I believe…”

When little Suzie says those words about the magic of Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street, we all want to believe along with her.

What do you believe? Do you believe in the power of the unique circumstances taking place in households around the world? One shining example of generosity and love makes glad the hearts of children of all ages around the world because there are caring folks who create magic and make dreams come true. If only that sense of cooperation and compassion were the norm throughout the rest of year. We have an opportunity to infuse a new spirit into all our relationships whether they are business colleagues, co-workers, casual acquaintances, good friends, a grocery clerk, a coffee barista, or your family.  

  • I believe is a wonderful way to assert a fresh approach to outside the box thinking…develop some new affirmations or rearrange the order your assert your present list for a new mindset (giving your brain a set of fresh operating instructions).
  • Be compassionate with yourself…remember you deserve patience and understanding too…today and everyday just as you are patient and understanding with others.
  • Ask for help. Cooperation only happens when we allow others to participate and collaborate. Receiving is a blessing as well as giving.
  • Dream out loud…creating what we want to happen begins when we give voice to that dream out loud and declare our intentions.
  • Living in the present moment gives a perspective on the past and a front row seat of the future. 

Tell me…What do you you believe? Hop over to my Facebook page and share.

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] Holiday Magic…

notebook and penHoliday magic…

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period of time.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – Holiday magic… or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and/or fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

My Big Brother

Allen and MaryI’d like to talk with you today about my big brother, Allen and how he knew I was a writer before anyone else in the family. November is Bereaved Sibling Month. Now that may seem to be an unusual topic to base a blog, and I understand how it could appear that I’m stretching to say that theme has anything to do with writing or speaking. Many people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of death. This story is about how a funeral led to my debut as a writer and public speaker.

I grew up in a large family of six children of two boys and four girls. I was the oldest girl, in between the two boys, and always tried to catch up to my brother who arrived 18 months before I joined the family. He did everything first:  went to school, drove a car, earned a paycheck, and even married first. He was always there, a staple in my life, relentlessly teasing, and always joking.

One summer day, he went into the hospital and never came home.

My family came to me to write and deliver my brother’s eulogy. They were counting on me to tell his story. Through laughter and tears, I painted a picture of my big brother. I shared his legacy. I talked about the boy I knew intimately and the man he had become. His sense of humor, love of corny westerns, popcorn, constant teasing, and the ability to sleep just about anywhere. Such as the time he took a nap on the roof of our aunt’s building when he was supposed to be up there adjusting the TV antenna.

My nieces and nephew cherish that story about their dad. They’d never heard it before. It’s a part of our shared history and our mutual legacy.

Oh, and one more thing. My brother knew I was a writer long before anyone else in the family. I hid my journals from him and he delighted in teasing me about knowing my latest hiding spot. I told him that some day I’d let him read what I wrote, but it would be a long time in the future. Well, he didn’t exactly get to read what I wrote. But, I’m pretty sure he heard me talking about him. And I know he would have enjoyed pointing out to me the way I white knuckled the podium as I delivered the eulogy. I gripped that wood so hard because I would have fallen over otherwise. You see, I had no feeling in my legs.

We all have stories like my brother’s little nap. Those stories are our legacy, our memories, and our connections to each other. They are priceless.

 

 

 

 

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] I’m grateful

notebook and penI’m grateful…

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period of time.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – I’m grateful… or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and/or fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Take aim to unleash your legacy!

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image10494661Take aim at the target…the target of the stories that make up your legacy!

  • purpose
  • education
  • family
  • relationships
  • community

When you look in the mirror, do you smile back at what you see reflected? When your work is praised? When your compassion is recognized? Taking aim at your legacy happens with every decision you make towards your goals, interacting with friends and family, deciding what to have for dinner…even in the line at the grocery store when you are purchasing the ingredients for dinner.

What are you taking aim these days? Or is life winning the battle with challenges, complications and those persistent inconsistencies which throw a monkey wrench into your well-plotted plans?

I won’t pretend that I know how you can use a bow and arrow to take aim at your story, but I do know that writing your story can help you unleash your legacy.

Do you struggle with what you want to say when you sit down to write?

I think an exciting part of writing is that it is a direct line to building a relationship with the world at large in a way not many other things can.

Your story so far does not have to dictate where you go from here. Take time for yourself…even five minutes uninterrupted…will help you find clarity about how you can focus on finding yourself again. Taking time for you and only you.

When my daughter was a toddler, I took a week-long writing workshop. It was the first time I’d gone away to really work on my writing (although I’d been keeping a journal since I was an 11-year-old hiding my spiral bound notebook from my brother) and had a degree in Mass Communication. Our teacher greeted us at the door with a 3-ring binder and told us that we were all writing a book. That statement put me in such a state of panic and I almost bolted from the campus. Almost is the operative word. My determination to write pushed me to stay more than my panic wanted me to run.

Sharing our passion and beliefs exposes our vulnerability, deepens our authenticity, our transparency, and builds trust with everyone we encounter. I found my voice through my two breast cancer experiences. It made me passionate about encouraging everyone not to wait until you have a health crisis to practice self-care. I learned to self-validate and to take loving action on my own behalf for my highest good.

If we pay attention, sometimes the stories we are supposed to write find us instead of the other way around. First, you have to show up at the page!

Hop over to my Facebook page to share how you are showing up on the page!

 

 

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Create a grateful heart

flower heartHalloween treats, stern Pilgrims, red-suited Santas and dewy-winged angels fought for shelf space recently as I stood in line at the grocery store. I shook my head to see these seasons blurred together. I realize this is the time of the year when the shoppers are out in full force looking for bargains. And the retailers are fighting fiercely to have us spend our dollars with them. I understand the economics, but I’m frustrated too.

I’d like to experience only one cherished holiday at a time. 

There is one season I will celebrate all year long  and that is the season of giving thanks. Being grateful for everyone and everything in my life…of course, my health, my family, being able to do work that I love and help the wonderful people in my life with my gifts. I’m privileged to have learned what is really important to me and I’m on a mission to encourage everyone I meet not to wait until they have a health crisis to take care of themselves. My health crisis certainly was my wake-up call. I don’t want you to have to wait until then to wake up to the glorious life you are not living!

 “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Meister Eckhart

I heartily agree with the sentiment of that quote. I invite you to have a grateful heart for the blue in the sky, the breath in your body, the smile of a child, the tea in your cup, the love in your life, the faith in your soul, and the dreams of yet to be.

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

[Friday Five-Minute Writing Prompt] My role models taught me…

notebook and penMy role models taught me…

Friday five-minute writing prompt

Take out a fresh sheet of paper. Natalie Goldberg uses a “fast-writing” pen. I suggest using your favorite writing instrument and an unlined piece of colored paper for fun. I use a fountain pen with purple ink. Some folks opt to use their computer. If that is your preferred method to write, then just open a new word document on your computer and go for it. The point is to keep your fingers moving for five minutes and not stop. I want you to experience how much writing can be accomplished in a short period of time.

If you get stuck, just repeat the writing prompt – My role models taught me… or any other phrase that is comfortable for you. Do not stop to edit, correct spelling, look up a better word, or rearrange a sentence. Do not question what comes up in the five minutes: this doesn’t make sense, where did that come from, or what a crazy notion. This is a timed writing exercise so be sure to set the timer on your watch, phone, microwave, computer, or kitchen stove. Whether you use an egg timer, a No. 2 pencil and spiral notebook, your iPad, or even your iPhone, the theory is the same. Keep your hand and/or fingers moving and have fun taking dictation from your unconscious self. Make a list, hum a tune, write a poem, or create a short, short story. This is your time to explore and experiment.

photo credit:  Dreamstime.com

Inspirational role models…

Meurer girls

Meurer girls

November invites us to celebrate National Inspirational Role Models Month. 

Who inspires you? 

Inspiration comes to us in new ideas we are exposed to, the things we see in the media, concepts and plot twists from our favorite authors. Perhaps we are inspired when we watch larger than life heroines take on challenges and save the day. Or, when we worship…logic and life intersect when spirit and faith combine. And if we are lucky, the people who inspire us are also the people we love…our family.

They are our link to our past, our present, and our future. Our road map of how to be strong and compassionate.

Grandmothers who survived losing husbands and the deaths of children. Great Aunts who succeeded in carving out lives for themselves despite the fact society frowned on women invading men’s business sanctuary. Sisters and cousins who maintained a deep strong bond of not only kinship, but also friendship.

When I was growing up we lived with my Grandma Emma. She seldom travelled farther than the several hundred yards to the church for Mass and the backyard to hang up laundry. But she did venture out for one specific activity that I can picture so clearly, I can smell the bacon lingering in the air for the old-fashioned German Potato Salad she prepared for the occasion.

Grandma, her sisters (the Meurer girls in the picture above), their daughters (our mothers), and their daughters (my generation of cousins) got together for what they called Cousin’s Club. It was a ladies lunch with the best china, followed by card games with lots of lively conversation, ending up with carmel colored coffee and lovely sweet confections (did I mention these ladies loved to bake?…and bake they did!).

I attribute my affection for my cousins to the time we spent observing our elders having fun with each other.

Do you have an inspirational story? Care to share?

 

[Coaxing Creativity Tip] Choose Creativity instead of Chaos

Now that the holiday season has “officially” begun…meaning Halloween is over and the Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations share shelf space everywhere, and the pilgrims occupy stage left while Santas are holding court in every mall across the country, don’t let yourself get caught up in the whirl of constant activity and not enjoy the beauty and magic happening all around you. 

Slow down…be nice to yourself…treat yourself to time to sit quietly to absorb the transformation of our humdrum surroundings to Santa’s Toy Shop, or Winter Wonderland. Whether you have never had children or your children are past the age of wondering if Santa exists, we are all children at heart this time of year. 

Listen to the music. Yes, I know the canned stuff at the mall and in the outlet stores does not qualify as “music.” I mean the choirs singing the traditional Christmas carols of Silent Night, Joy to the World,  Oh Holy Night, Little Drummer Boy and, of course, your favorite _______________. 

Check your list, and when you are checking it twice…besides what has to get done…make sure your list also includes FUN Stuff along with your shopping, wrapping, baking, and mailing. I know you have family favorites that you must make every year (it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house without Peanut Clusters and Sugar Cookies), but do you have to make 12 kinds of cookies and candy? While you are baking, it’s assumed there is sampling going on…enjoy the sampling! Take an honest to goodness break during the cookie baking production to savor the fruits of your labor. 

Watch a classic movieIt’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn, and The Bishop’s Wife, are my favorites.  What are yours?

Photo credit:  Dreamstime.com