Well it’s December, and the Christmas season is fast approaching. We hustle and bustle about getting the Christmas cards written and sent, baking exuberant amounts of goodies, shopping till we drop, decorating the house, the dog, and everything else in our paths; attend parties, concerts, etc. So much to do, and we worry there won’t be enough time to do it. Christmas comes, whether we are ready for it or not, and it always turns out. So why do we put ourselves through all that STRESS?
A few years ago, I realized that all the stress just wasn’t worth it. It zapped my energy, and robbed me of enjoying the season and it’s meaning with the people I love. I decided I had to make some changes.
So many of the things I was doing were family tradition, many things my mom always did at Christmas time. Things I thought had to be done in order to celebrate Christmas. I decided it was time to make my own traditions and do things my way, the way that would fit in with my busy lifestyle and help me enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.
I stopped writing and mailing out the 50 or so Christmas cards – I reverted to writing one letter to my friends and family and emailed it instead. Some may think this is not as personal, but I am still able to connect and share my news with everyone. It saves in postage and those cards don’t get dumped in the landfill come January.
I stopped doing the mounds of baking that I was doing. I found that my Christmas guests ate very little of it, and most of it was eaten by me. Now I make one or two favorites that allows for a little indulgence, but I also ensure there are healthy options like the traditional Japanese oranges and assorted nuts. I can just buy these at the store. Not only am I healthier, but my family is too, and I don’t have to worry anymore about all the extra pounds I have put on over the holidays.
I stopped buying gifts for all my friends since high school, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, the doctor, vet and mailman, and concentrated on my immediate family only. I plan one day for shopping. I make a list so I do not have to run around several times. I invite my friends and family over for a visit and they don’t seem to miss the gift giving. I buy gift cards when I can. I think people like to buy their own presents; they don’t need to worry about receiving another ugly Christmas sweater from me.
There are times when tradition needs to be put in perspective and new ones created that fit with our lifestyles today. No one seemed to mind the changes I made, and no one seemed to notice--only me. By simplifying and spending less time rushing around in the preparation, I have much less stress, much more energy and am able to enjoy more time with the people who make my holidays rosey.
Stress-free and Care-free,
In today’s world of stress and hurry, doubt and worry, it is sometimes difficult to find the balance we need to keep our body, mind, and spirit healthy in order to find joy, purpose and spiritual connection.
It not only requires proper nutrition for our bodies, but we also need to nurture our spirit and focus on positive energy and thought processes. Ten tools that will help us do this are as follows:
Meditation is calming and provides peace and tranquility. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You may want to try different techniques till you find what works best for you. You may listen to audio recordings, music, chant, or it may mean just sitting quietly. Put aside at least fifteen minutes a day to meditate. Most answers you are looking for come from the silence.
2. Connect with nature
Spend time outdoors, go for walks and get in touch with nature. Listen to the birds, breathe in the fresh air, stop and smell the roses, or play in the snow and appreciate all the beauty mother earth has to offer.
3. Do things you enjoy
Have bubble baths by candlelight; Read positive inspirational books, Through Thorns I Thrive is a good one, (wink wink, smile, smile); there are literally thousands out there. Watch an inspiring movie, (non-violent!) Listen to beautiful soothing music that moves you. Sing at the top of your lungs; dance like no one is watching; watch children play, listen to their laughter; go to a spiritual retreat; play games with your family--anything to have fun, laugh!
4. Start a Gratitude Journal
What you focus on grows stronger as that is where the energy goes. If you are always focusing on the negative and what is not good in your life you will attract more of it to you. Focus on the positive by doing a gratitude journal. Each night before going to bed, write down things that have happened throughout your day that you are grateful for.
It can be anything from, I am thankful for the sunshine; I am thankful for my warm bed and food on my table. There are many things to be thankful for. You will notice big changes even after thirty days. Try it! This will be one of the most important things you can do to start living a more positive and fulfilling life.
Say affirmations. You can record yourself saying them and listen to them every day. Some examples are; I am a total success, things always go my way in life, all of my efforts bring rich rewards, I set high goals for myself which I am able to attain, I am a warm and friendly person and people are naturally drawn to me, people seek me out to do business with me, I feel positive at all times and people respond to me in a positive way.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
Attending personal development seminars is a great way to rejuvenate. Not only do you learn something new, but you get to hang out with positive, like-minded people and meet new friends along the way. Avoid hanging out with Negative Nelly. If you must be around negative people, limit your time with them as much as possible.
7. Create a Vision Board
Another very helpful tool is a Vision Board. Seeing pictures of your heart’s desires helps you to hold the vision in your mind. When the vision is in your mind, it manifests into your life. Thoughts become things! This can be done a number of ways. Cut photos of the things you want in your life from magazines, newspapers, or the get them from the Internet and paste them onto a bulletin board or poster board. Put it somewhere where you will be able to see it everyday. Put it on a wall in front of you, beside your desk and look at it daily. You can also make a movie that contains visions of your heart’s desires, watch it on a regular basis so your visions will be locked in your mind’s eye and always be present. If you hold your vision, it will soon manifest into your desires.
8. Write down your goals and ideal life
Write out what your ideal life looks like. For every facet of your life; relationships, career, financial, health, environment, etc. write out what that will look like if money and time were of no significance, and then keep those visions in your head and focus your energy towards them.
9. Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Choose lean proteins such as chicken, beef, eggs, and fish. Eliminate sugar and processed foods. If it is white or comes in a box do not eat it. Check labels. Many foods you think are healthy are full of sugar.
Move your body. Not only does it help with stress, it fills it with nourishing oxygen and allows more flexibility. Start small by going for short walks. Set goals each week to go a little further. Do what you enjoy doing, walking, cycling, yoga, anything to get your body moving. Exercise also provides feel good endorphins to your brain.
Using these tools on a regular basis--and I recommend daily--will give you everything you need to feel joy and vitality, so that you can thrive and live a life that’s rosey!
After almost 11 years my brothers and sisters decided it was time to grant our dad his last wish of being spread on the mountain where we lived and grew up. He loved his home in Whitecourt on the mountain. He spent many days riding horseback through the trails and he especially loved the view when he made it to the top. He also loved Tiger Lilies, especially the one's he saw growing wild on the trails where he would ride. Birch trees were another favorite of his. He loved them so much he planted one right outside the window of our home where he could see it as he sat in his favorite chair in the kitchen.
On the morning of the day we were planning to spread his ashes I was very emotional and did a lot of reflecting and crying. I missed him so and today I was feeling it more than other days. I know without a doubt that he is still with us and I talk to him on many occasions. On this day I wanted so much just to have a sign that he was still here and I kept asking him, Dad, show us a sign.
He wanted his ashes spread on top of the mountain that he loved. We drove up to where we thought would be a good spot. Once we parked our vehicles, we had to climb a steep hill to get to where we thought would be the perfect spot. We walked a little ways on the trail and in a small clearing was one huge birch tree standing on its own. Was this a sign?
We went about our ritual of everyone taking a turn to spread some ashes. We then dug a hole to plant his urn and a tiger lily so that we would have a marker to go visit if we wanted to. There on the one loan birch tree was carved J L. His name was Vernon John Lindgren, another sign?
We saved a few ashes to spread down below as our mom wasn't able to climb the steep hill on the mountain, we looked for a spot to plant another lily, and there by the side of the road was another small birch tree growing amongst the other brush. This indeed was another sign.
The final one we received while we were up on top of that mountain, as soon as we spread all of his ashes, at the most perfect moment the sun peaked through the cloudy sky and shone brightly down smiling down on us and hugging us with its warmth. Yes, it too was a sign.
This day was the most perfect way to pay tribute to our father. We fulfilled his wishes by spreading his remains on the mountain he so loved with a beautiful view, by the trees he loved, and made a marker for him with the flowers he loved. Having all of his children, and grandchildren and wife there to pay this tribute to him will stay in my heart for ever. He has given us signs through out the years that he is still here with us and still loves us with all his heart, and he gave us plenty of signs that day. Thank you Dad for the Signs! Hope you enjoyed your ride and know you will love the view!
In loving memory,
Canada is a wonderful place to live. We have so much to be thankful for. Many immigrants move here every year in search of a better life.
We have the right to vote for the leaders of our country, provinces, and municipalities. It is unfortunate that so few exercise this right.
We enjoy equal rights for men and woman. In many countries this is not the case, woman and girls are mutilated, are not allowed out in public, do not have the opportunity to be educated, and are regarded as second class citizens.
We have freedom of speech and freedom to practice whatever religion we choose.
I am grateful to live in Canada and want to say a heart felt Thank You to all the men and woman who have served and died and fought for these freedoms. They come with a huge price, one we will never be able to repay.
Not only have many lives been sacrificed, but many came home injured, disabled, and permanently scarred.
The other day I saw a video on Facebook about a military dad who had just come home after being away for a very long time. His daughter, who was about four years old, did not know it but he was waiting in her room to surprise her. When she saw him she said nothing, only ran to her daddy and hugged him and would not let go for a very long time. It made me realize that it is not only their lives that are sacrificed, but those of their family as well.
These men and women are apart from their families and loved ones for months at a time, missing so much of their children’s lives. The holidays and special occasions spent without them, the time their families spend waiting, wondering and hoping they are okay.
To all of you I salute you and Thank you for sacrificing so much!
May God Bless you and keep you safe! I remember you, I honor you, and I thank you!
Last week I had the pleasure of participating in Read In Week at Homesteader Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta.
The kids thought it was really cool that someone came in to read to them. But what they thought was even more cool was that I was Mrs. Bennett’s sister. (My sister Phyllis works at the school.)
The books I chose to read were all about achieving goals, being unique, and following your dreams.
It was so much fun to converse with them and answer their questions. Of course I stressed the importance that reading has to becoming an author.
I however, was much more impressed with the kids and this school, than they were in having me there.
Homesteader Elementary is small, having only one classroom for each grade, Kindergarten to grade 6.
They participate in the Apple program, which teaches them the importance of healthy eating. They also partake in the Leader in Me, a program developed by Steven Covey. It is based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People but geared towards children.
Everywhere I looked I saw positive messages posted on the walls promoting the 7 Habits of Happy Kids.
1. Be Proactive – I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I don’t blame others. I do the right thing without being asked.
2. Begin with the End in Mind – I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference.
3. Put First Things First – I spend my time on things that are most important. I set priorities, make a schedule and follow my plan.
4. Think Win-Win – I want everyone to be a success. I don’t have to put others down to get what I want.
5. Seek First to Understand – I listen to other people’s ideas and feelings. I try to see things from their point of view.
6. Synergize – I value other people’s strengths and learn from them. I get along with others, even people who are different from me. I am part of a team and know two heads are better than one.
7. Sharpen the Saw – I take care of my body by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. I spend time with family and friends.
In my opinion Homesteader school, although small, is mighty in its philosophy of teaching leadership, accountability, respect for others, and what it means to be healthy and successful, not just reading, writing and arithmetic.
I am really curious as to the difference instilling these habits will make in the lives of these young people. I am betting it will be a huge influence in making their lives rosey.
Good on you Homesteader Elementary School. Thank you for this wonderful experience. I salute you!
To happy kids,
I am very lucky to work with a wonderful team of people at my place of employment. We have mutual respect for each other and deal with issues openly and honestly. We attended a workshop recently and the facilitator had never met any of us previously, but commented on the positive energy and dynamics we had as a group. We had no idea, but we were already practicing what she was presenting to us - the FISH philosophy.
If you are not familiar with it, the FISH philosophy originated at a fish market in Seattle, Washington called Pike Place Fish Market. This company has been around since 1965, however, in 1986 they were facing bankruptcy and needed to make some changes. Now they are a world known market and tourist attraction where thousands of tourists visit each month.
What they did to turn their business around was adopt four very simple principles:
Be There: Be there for your customers, staff, or family members. Give them your full attention. Listen to what they have to say. When people need you, they need all of you. Setting aside distractions and judgments to be fully present is a sign of respect. It improves communication and strengthens relationships.
Play: We spend most of our adult lives working, so why not make it a place that you enjoy. This doesn’t mean playing and not doing your work, but having fun while you do your work. Telling jokes, laughing, games and socializing are ways that we can have fun. When you enjoy being there you are much more productive and creative. At Pikes Place Fish Market they literally throw fish at each other and let the customers have a turn as well. What better way to make a smelly, messy place of work more enjoyable? How can you apply this in your family life? Do you save time for play during your day?
Make Their Day: Simple gestures of thoughtfulness, thanks and recognition make people feel appreciated and valued. When you make someone else feel good, you feel good too. Set a goal to make at least one person’s day, every day, and it will make your day better as well. A simple “thank you” or “you did a great job” goes a long way.
Choose Your Attitude: We have the ability to choose our attitudes every moment of every day. You can decide who you want to "be" today. Is it helping the people who depend on you? Is it helping you to be most effective?" Are you positively impacting your team or hindering them?
One more principle I would like to add that is not part of the FISH philosophy is always look for a win-win in every situation. Rather than running your business from a competitive nature, why not do it from a collaborative one? I am not talking about compromise here because when you compromise, you do not receive all that you desire, but when you do it from a win-win where both sides get what they want, then your business and personal relationships will flourish.
The FISH Philosophy helps build stronger relationships with the team members we work with, the customers we serve, the students we teach and the people we love.
This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada. One day a year that originated to give thanks for an abundant harvest. My question is, why is this celebrated only once a year? Why not give thanks EVERY day?
When you focus on what is good and you are grateful for all that you have on a daily basis you develop an attitude of gratitude, and attract more good things into your life.
A few years ago, I started a Gratitude Journal to help me cope with depression. That one amazing tool and daily practice, totally transformed my life. And it is now a daily practice that I live by. I find myself saying many times a day, "I am grateful! Thank you, thank you, thank you" and my life continues to get better and better.
This quote sums it all up:
I have never been a millionaire. But I have enjoyed a crackling fire, a glorious sunset, a walk with a friend and a hug from a child. There are plenty of life's tiny delights for all of us. - Jack Anthony
Be grateful for the small things, big things and everything in between. Don't just leave it for one day a year. Be grateful EVERY day!
Wishing abundance and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!
On July 31 I launched my book Through Thorns I Thrive. When I wrote the book, my goal was to be a best selling author. I set the intention early on while I was writing, and is what I focused on the entire time as I went through the editing, design and publishing of the book. Then came the marketing, promoting and launch day--a day I had spent months preparing for.
I asked my sister Elaine to spend the day with me as I knew I wanted to have someone there with me to share the experience.
Early on in the day I was checking my ranking on Amazon.com and the numbers didn't seem to be moving at all. My first thought was, 'Oh no, my book isn't selling'. Then something magical happened. I started to see the numbers rise. I then went to Amazon.ca and noticed that I had hit the best seller list. I was so excited. I had reached my goal of being a best seller author. But then it got even better.
I kept checking the ranking and saw my book go further and further up on the list. One of the most exciting moments was when I saw my book between The Power of Now and The Secret, two books by two authors that I idolized and respected. Then shortly after it became #1 in two categories and #2 in a 3rd. I wanted my book to be a best seller, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect it to be #1.
I then checked on Amazon.com and it was a best seller there as well making it International. It was the most incredible day. I was in awe at all the support I had. Sharing it with my sister was even more special. We cried and laughed and hugged when I realized it was #1. Mark, my significant other, came home from work and held me for a very long time. I felt his tears of pride splashing down on my face. It was one of the most incredible moments. I have never felt so special and so loved. It is a day I will never forget.
It just goes to prove that when you set an intention, focus on it and take action, you can manifest your dreams. And the Universe will give you much more than you ever expected.
To your dreams,
During the month of July I held a gratitude event on Facebook. For 31 days people who participated posted what they were grateful for. This is my post from July 31.
I am grateful for all of those who participated in this daily gratitude challenge and for everyone who posted here. First prise goes to Kiril Kundurazieff
for posting every single day. Kiril committed his blog to 31 days of Gratitude. You can read it here: 31-days-of-gratitude-summer-2013.
Thank you Kiril for your commitment to gratitude and for supporting and promoting my book. Also kudos to Jodie
, Koreen, Bonnie, Brent, Amanda, Silvana, Deborah
, for posting here as well. Practicing daily gratitude has been life changing for me. My heart is full of warmth and love. After 31 days, I would like to hear how this has impacted your life.
Here is the life changing experience I have had over the last 31 days.
1. It has reminded me to be grateful for all that I have!
2. I am grateful for my gratitude rock that reminds me of all the things to be grateful for before I go to sleep.
3. I am grateful for all of my relationships, and the new friends I have made through this event.
4. I am grateful for my health.
5. I am grateful for all the money I have received over my lifetime.
6. I am grateful for my job.
7. I am grateful that I am able to change all my negativity into positivity.
8. I am grateful for healthy food and clean water to drink.
9. I am grateful for every new day.
10. I am grateful for all the people that made a difference in my life.
11. I am grateful that dreams do come true and I have the ability to create anything I choose.
12. I am grateful for people who support me in all that I do.
13. I am grateful that things turn out exactly as they should and in perfect timing.
14. I am grateful for all of my mistakes as they helped me learn something.
15. I am grateful for the person I am, for I am perfect just as I am.
16. I am grateful for all the posts on this event.
17. I am grateful for all the warmth and love I feel in my heart.
18. I am grateful! Thank you, thank you, thank you!Here are a few more comments from other participants on how the event impacted their lives:Kirsti says:
I am so very grateful for Auntie Carla for starting up this page and so excited for her book!
This event, I prefer to call it a group, has shown me no matter how small, there is something to be happy for in every single day. Today for me, my small gratitude was the addition of alfalfa sprouts on my turkey sandwich made a huge difference in my lunch! My huge gratitude is for my friend Ashly who moved out of Fort McMurray for bigger and better things is meeting me at BIg Valley Jamboree!! So grateful to have friends that will travel 5 hours on not even 2 days notice to come visit
This month has opened my eyes to how FANTASTIC my life is! We all get down on ourselves at one point or another, but I have found a more positive outlook on life's little hiccups since July 1 when Auntie Carla started this up.
Thank you to everyone in this group for sharing all that you have, I have learned so much from all of you!
I hope we do another one in the future!Jodie says:Jodie Velthuizen
reflecting back on the past month and even years since aunty Carla
first showed me the secret and i have been learning about gratitude and using it in my life and to help in my recovery i have discovered many things to be grateful for here are just a few of them.
1. my boys
2. my partner
3. my family
4. my health
5. my house
6. air to breathe
7. my exes
8. my lessons
9. my schooling
12. new jobs
15. new teeth
18. the ability to dance
19. love and the ability to love
20. clean sheet day
21. snuggles from a pet
22. new toothbrush
23. grass and sand on your toes
24. swimming in a lake
28. internet accesss
29. ability to write
30. facebook bringing us together
31. this event to help us remember! thank you thank you thank you!and Tamara says:
On our last day...I'm grateful for sunrises and sunsets I have learned we are what we project. Gratitude gives me more energy and positive thinking can change many out comes...its all about our perception. Saying thank you and being grateful too the universe brings the things we need to us...so i offer one of my beautiful sunset pictures to remind us to always be grateful. Thank you for the 31 days of gratitude.
Gratitude really does make our lives better. Guaranteed!
Hugs, love, and gratitude to you all! Carla
Photo by Tamara Conway