Archive for Relationships

Shine Brightly For You And Others

Starting anything new is a process. We may consciously plan it out or just start trying it out. Some of us dive right in while others dabble near the shore. However we do it, a new loop of thought, action and habit is being created.

A good friend of mine, Angie Lee, started a project on her blog called Shine Brightly. This was not an easy project to start. It is just as hard, if not harder, to keep up. I think part of the reason is because it involves other people catching a vision and running with it. I believe in Angie, she initiated a valuable action and sowed seeds encouraging greatness.

I’ve always carried a passion and purpose to share hope and healing to the world. I had many ideas, I had desire, dream & drive. But I had a lot going on. Honing in on something to take action on, consistently, was not easy. (I take action on all kinds of things, but keeping up the actions that produce good fruit… now that’s key.)

That’s why I’m glad Angie created the Shine Brightly Monthly Planner. If you’ve been wanting to start a project, eat better or exercise more but you’re having a hard time mustering up the motivation, this tool will help break down what you want to accomplish. And it’s very doable. Download the Monthly Planner PDF from her post here.

There’s also a cool way to assess how you did the previous month. You can find that as a Shine Brightly Project Reflection PDF from her post here.

I want to take a moment and share my own Shine Brightly Project Reflection for the month of August 2017, as well as my Monthly Planner for September 2017. You’ll see them below. Thank you Angie for creating this handy tool to help others see their goals better!

August 2017

September 2017

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Affirming Words Are Honey To The Soul

Word Affirm is a way to send positivity out.

See The Bottom Bar created for the Lighter Every Day Journal

Words can hurt or heal. There’s a children’s rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

It tries to convince a verbally bullied child to ignore the insult, avoid getting back at the name-caller, and remain calm and easygoing.

I write better when I am calm and easygoing. This state allows me to be transparent. People that have read my thoughts in the past have said things like:

“Thanks for baring your soul.”

“You’re honest. That’s nice.”

But it’s been a while since I’ve allowed that kind of honesty to surface again. Some people loved it. Others, not so much.

The ones that didn’t like what I shared, well, let’s just say I’d let what they said shut me down. I had worried what they thought of me.

It’s been years. My own kids are teaching me the beauty and importance of connection. You cannot thrive in life until you can be honest with yourself.

To gather courage to speak again, I’ve waded through a sort of emotional ocean while figuring out things like how to be have tougher skin while maintaining a tender heart. It’s been tricky.

But I believe I have enough to write again. That’s what this is. Letting my voice be heard. I hope it inspires you to let your voice be heard too. Sometimes just sharing your thoughts and feelings can lift up another person.

Words can break a bone… or save a life.

Sending positivity out is like giving honey to the kid in you. Click To Tweet

Often, what we want to hear from those we care about are the kinds of things we can say to encourage someone else. It doesn’t have to be your own words; it can be someone else’s words. Share something. You never know whose life you can touch, and possibly save, by a few kind words.

“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” ~Proverbs 25:11

What words are you wanting to hear from a friend or loved one? What can you say to encourage or compliment someone today?

Give A Time Gift To Someone You Love

A Time Gift is time spent with someone special to you.

See The Bottom Bar created for the Lighter Every Day Journal

Have you heard the saying, “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time, you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”

I don’t know who originally said it. I heard it from a friend, and it has stayed with me ever since.

Life gets busy. There are errands to run, meals to fix, kids to shuttle off. And if you run a business, clients to serve. Sitting down for a break can be a challenge.

But it can lead to refreshment in unexpected ways.

A Time Gift is time spent with someone special to you. Click To Tweet

The other day, right before saying goodnight to my kids at their bedtime, I sat down in the middle of their bedroom. I’d had a busy day and my mind was racing with thoughts of What else do I need to get done for the day?

My son asked me, “Do you want to see the ship I made?”

I almost didn’t hear the question.

“See? Mommy?” His voice broke through my preoccupied mind.

Slowly I turned my head and looked at the ship he had built out of Legos. He pointed to a secret compartment he had created. It was amazing.

At that moment I realized, I could either be a shell of a mom sitting in the same room with my son or I can think about looming tasks later. My son wanted to show me something cool. I had a rare chance to connect with him on his turf.

I decided to spend time with my son. And I will never forget the way his eyes lit up as he showed me his spaceship.

“One of life’s most simple pleasures is spending time with those we love.” ~Ash Sweeney Click To Tweet

What about you… what Time Gift can you give? Consider doing a fun activity or having lunch with a friend or child. Who will be delighted to spend time with you this week or next? Give them a call. Maybe you remember they’ve been eyeing that pretty sweater at the mall… wrap it up in a box and surprise them.

Why You Want To Serve Someone

Helping someone achieve what they want is the essence of serving them.

See The Bottom Bar created for the Lighter Every Day Journal

When I hear stories about someone helping others with no agenda of their own, I am inspired to do the same. What makes humans special is our ability to reach a wound through a simple kind gesture.

“Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve.” ~Marianne Williamson Click To Tweet

I love hearing stories of the kind of outreach people do in local communities across the country when they are motivated by the desire to serve. Click on a picture link below to read one of these stories.

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” ~Ronald Reagan

ss_wellness advocate

Relational Connection Through Love Languages

A lot of the things we do on a daily basis, like cooking and cleaning, can go unnoticed. But if they don’t get done, life is noticeably not-so-smooth.

The same can be true when it comes to relationships. We may forget to do a lot of the things we need every day to have fulfilling connection with our loved ones. But when we do these unnoticed “Bottom Bar” things, our relationships tend to go more smoothly. Below is a breakdown of using The Bottom Bar, created for the Lighter Every Day Journal.

It incorporates the use of the 5 Love Languages as taught in Gary Chapman’s book. These are: Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Acts of Service. See if you can spot them below among the Bottom Bar items.

Connective Loving using THE BOTTOM BAR – Week 1 to Week 3

Emotional Fuel Journal LED_1

At the bottom of the Week 1 to Week 3 pages, you’ll see “The Bottom Bar” (pictured above and at the bottom).

The Bottom Bar serves as a checklist for specific ways to connect with yourself and your loved ones throughout the week. Each time you do one of the following 7 things during the week, check off the box next to the specific way of connection. Feel free to add any of your own favorite ways to achieve any of the 7. Click on a link below to see more stories.

  1. Strength Rest. This is down-time for you. Let your body rest and release any tension you feel. Treat your feet to a rub. Laugh, play, have some fun. Take a walk in nature.
  2. Meal Move (Exercise). This is exercise and food to improve the mood. To get the check mark, you can either Eat or Exercise. Fix yourself a Nourishing Drink or Snack from the recipes section. Or do one of the Body Movement Exercises in this Journal. Go here for Meal Move (Food)
  3. Time Gift. Who will be delighted to spend time with you? Do an activity they like. Play a game. Call a friend. Have lunch. Give a physical gift.
  4. Word Affirm. Who can you compliment? Give a word of encouragement to? Send a heartfelt greeting card to?
  5. Touch Point. This is time to check in with yourself. Fill out the Touch Points for Emotional Awareness section.
  6. Free Write. This is time to freely express your thoughts and feelings. Use the eMotion Fitness Free Write section. You can also type on the computer or write on blank pages.
  7. Serve Someone. What can you do for someone this week? Help them with a project? Ask how they’re doing and listen? Cook dinner for them?

Emotional Fuel Journal LED_1

Don’t have a copy of the Journal? Get Lighter Every Day here.

How Do You Stay Sharp?

I’m thankful for friends that sharpen me to be better.

That accept me for who I am and inspire me to grow.

Today I let a friend know I’m thinking of them.

I was going about my bedtime routine when I sensed a friend of mine was going through something difficult. There was no real reason to think this, nothing said between us that alerted me to this.

Turns out I was wrong in what I sensed. But that exchange taught me something. Never mind the original reason I thought of them.

When you think about someone, it’s nice to express to them that you care about them.

Life can bring on rough things. Each of us has a different set of stuff to handle. Sometimes we get busy and we may forget to tell someone we care about that they mean something to us.

Your loved ones may know you love them on an intellectual level, but do they feel your care?

When I get too busy in life, I’m guilty of forgetting to let friends and family know I care. This is where the beauty of technology comes in. So I sent a text to my friend, saying (some details have been changed to protect privacy):

“How are you? For some reason I was worried about you tonight. I hope you’re safe and that everything’s okay.”

It turns out things were fine. Just that my friend was feeling run down. I don’t know if my words were a comfort or just words. But everybody feels run down from time to time.

I hope and pray my presence in my friends’ lives helps them feel sharper and encouraged. In turn, I end up getting inspired and sharpened by them. Everybody has something to teach and learn from each other.

Proverbs 27:17 says it well with wisdom from above. Here’s the verse from two different versions of the Bible:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (New International Version)

“You use steel to sharpen steel, and one friend sharpens another.” (The Message Version)

What do you do to stay sharp? What can you do today to show someone you care about them?

On Fitting In…

Sunglasses Fitting In

As I think about what my children tend to be concerned about, what comes to mind is the idea of fitting in. When I was school-aged, it was a big thing to dress like the well-known kids and act like them too. You would think that for adults, trying to fit in isn’t as much of an issue. But I’ve noticed that adults tend to conform to others just as much as children do. It might be more subtle, but I think it’s there.

How do I know? Well, I’m one of them…

Even now, when I look at my sunglasses and see that they don’t look like the latest trend, sometimes I hesitate a little before stepping out with them in public. I might get over it more quickly now than I did back in high school, but those thoughts can still be heard in the back of my mind, “Will people think I’m outdated?” and, “Will they accept me?”

Out of all the problems and pain in the world, sometimes I wonder, why be concerned about seemingly small things? Have you ever felt this way? They may seem like small concerns to others, but they are still real, valid struggles. For instance, feeling anxious about attending a gathering when there’s no apparent reason to others for feeling that way. After all, the gathering is full of people that are like family, where you’re supposed to feel safe and protected.

Some more:

“Why do people not want to hang out with me, but they can’t wait to hang out with my friend?”

“People say I’m too thin-skinned, too sensitive. Am I just not good enough for them to want to know me? Something must be wrong with me.”

“I feel so different from my friends; I’m not sure if any of them can understand me for who I am.”

“I love being creative, but I’m scared to show people my work. In fact, I feel like a failure because all my creativity has brought me is restless wandering and not being able to settle down in a ‘decent’ job.”

These are just some of many thoughts that can mess with anybody, but they especially mess with those who are deemed highly sensitive people. They may have suffered this label for most of their life wondering what’s wrong with them, when in reality, they are precious sensitive souls carrying unseen gifts deep inside their heart. If you felt or still feel any of these things, you are SO VALUED. My experience is that God might be keeping you hidden from the world until the world is ready for you – and you are ready to serve in it.

Do you want to use your gifts and talents in ways that are sustainable and not burn you out? If the answer is yes, then there is training involved. As much as we’d like to believe that our talent or passion alone will be enough, it would do us well to wake up to the fact that there’s discipline involved. And although it seems unpleasant and painful at the time, discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

One discipline I’d like to share with you is emotional in nature: Training ourselves to have healthier thought patterns. Studies show that the greatest determining factor to our success in anything is not our education, background, or financial wealth. It is our thought life – our thinking patterns.

We live in a world where nearly 90% of what we see, hear and feel is negative. What can we do about this? Imagine flushing the negative out and replacing it with positive coming in. An effective way is to first identify, what’s the negative emotion and what triggered it? Then, to inject truth.

As an example, I used to feel frustrated and depressed, triggered by these thoughts, “I am worthless. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t even know who I am!” Well, that pattern kept me stuck in a deep dark pit, in which I struggled with progressively more depressing thoughts.

I finally said, “Enough! I *have to* find a way to at least start really believing good things. After all, didn’t God say that He made me wonderfully?” That is the truth I was hungry for deep down, and ready to “inject.” And it is found in the ancient text of the Bible, in Psalm 139:13-14.

Something else that has helped me re-wire some of those troublesome thoughts – thoughts that don’t serve us well – is essential oils. They don’t do the work for you, but they do make it a whole lot easier and quicker to focus on positives, by stimulating brain activity through the limbic system. What makes it powerful is using them in conjunction with Scriptures to help bypass any neural circuitry that might be keeping you stuck in an unhelpful thinking pattern. For a bit more on how the brain works, check out this post on moving towards what you want.

I was reinforcing truths like, “I am valuable. I am loved. I am wonderfully made in the image of God.” I did it consistently, daily even. And you know what? Those depressive thoughts gradually made their way out of my heart. They may still try to get into my head every now and then, but they don’t get me down like they used to, and not nearly for as long.

As you prepare to see family and friends at birthday gatherings and other parties, try to keep in mind that the way they treat you may not be anything about you. They may be seeing you through the lens of their own thinking patterns and be taking it out on you – and you may feel it more intensely because you are so much more attuned to your inner senses.

Remember, you can re-train your brain with the powerful tool of Scripture and reinforce truths deeper with essential oils. And not just these tools, but also with foods that are healing to the body and relational connections that are healing to the soul. I’m learning about some great eating practices that are out there, as well as amazing relational tools for connecting deeper with people.

I’m excited to be sharing more as I learn! You can follow my progress by subscribing to my newsletter here. If you need someone to talk to on the phone, message me directly here.

Lessons on Freedom from Alaskan Cruise

Glacier Bay2

About ten days ago, my family and I came home from a fun vacation – a long-awaited 7-day cruise to awe-inspiring Alaska! What a memorable trip! It was the first time ever that our kids got to:

  1. Ride in a taxi.
  2. Go through airport security.
  3. Board and ride an airplane.
  4. Ride a subway train.
  5. Travel to another state.
  6. Travel to another country.
  7. Go inside a cruise ship.
  8. Walk to the second oldest Chinatown in North America.

We all enjoyed the many unique memories we got to make in Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia. Breathtaking views of deep blue glaciers, gorgeous hikes through lush trials…it felt so good to take in the beautiful scenery! Of course, these pics don’t show all the awesomeness of being there in person…

Seattle

Seattle

Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau

Skagway hike halfway

Halfway to Upper Dewey Lake, Skagway

Skagway self

Hiking in Skagway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hubby and kids hike

Hiking, Hubby and Kids

Glacier Bay

Me and Hubby, Glacier Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking and enjoying fabulous food, my goal was to have fun with my family and if I gained weight, I would do it in style. If you’re familiar with my latest happenings with food, you’ll know that I try to stay away from eating refined carbs and sugar. And if you’ve ever been on a cruise, maybe you can guess how hard it was for me to resist decadent desserts while my hubby and kids enjoyed them. While I’ve stayed away from refined sugar since March 2014 for different health reasons, I decided to join my hubby and kids in eating dessert for seven days (yikes!). I figured, I could sit there staring at my family eating while they felt guilty and I felt left out…or I could find a way to celebrate our life together and enjoy the food without abusing it.

Cool thing is, we found ways to enjoy a bit of everything! Throughout the cruise, I tried to:

  1. Eat clean 80-90% of the time.
  2. Earn my desserts by doing some form of exercise each of the 7 days.

Cruise DessertsFamily Cheesecake

Oh my, these desserts! I nibbled some off my kids’ and hubby’s plates, and for some of the others, I ate the whole thing. But I earned them by working out! I made a promise to my Fit Mom Tribe!

If it weren’t for them holding me accountable, I might have made some convenient excuse not to work out. After all, I was on a cruise to relax, right? Truth was, I couldn’t completely relax without working out. That’s because consuming excess sugar tires me out. To fully enjoy our family vacation, I needed the balance that exercising brings to my whole body. Here’s a workout diary of the exercises I did. They helped relieve me from feeling bloated!

Sunday, June 28 – 200 squats and 5-minute plank.

Monday, June 29 – 200 squats in the morning. 20 minute treadmill and some high intensity interval training with planks plus a 2-minute plank. Punching bag and martial arts and 12-15 pound bicep curls. Total time in workout heaven: 1.5 hours.

Tuesday, June 30 – 200 squats in the morning. Climbed a rock wall. Our family hiked 1.5-miles to Nugget Falls near Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau.

Wednesday, July 1 – Hubby, kids and I did a 4-mile hike halfway to Upper Dewey Lake. We had to go and pick the most intense hike of the three recommended by the Visitor Center tour guide. In 3 miles, it rises 3000 feet in elevation. We probably went up 1500 feet, ending up at a wooden bridge which you can see in the picture above.

Thursday, July 2 – Fab Abs class on cruise ship in the morning for 1/2 hour. 25 minutes running for 2 miles on treadmill burning 227 calories.

Friday, July 3 – 1 mile running around jogging track on cruise ship.

Saturday, July 4 – 10-minute weight loss elliptical. 1 hour Pure Form Pilates class. 33-minute weight loss elliptical burning 249 calories in 3.17 miles. Then we walked 6 miles round trip to Victoria, B.C.’s Chinatown (the second oldest Chinatown in North America!)

Sunday, July 5 – We walked 2 miles in Seattle’s Pike Place.

Here’s my attempt at clean eating during the cruise:

Breakfast

Breakfast

Salad

Lunch Salad

Ribs

Ribs for Dinner

With all that said, I did gain about 5 pounds in 7 days. But this girl’s giving herself grace…she’s got an eating/exercising plan that guides the body to burn fat instead of carbs, and a tribe to back her up. Returning home, I was absolutely craving greens and smoothies!!

All in all, our Alaskan trip gave my hubby, kids and me some amazing chances to discover new places, food and activities together!! We got to bond in different ways and even take home a lesson that came out of a talk with my son on July 4, when he started having a meltdown:

Freedom is not doing whatever we want, whenever we want to. True freedom is possessing the ability to choose to do good, or not to do good.

Will he (my son) choose to focus on getting what he wants for his birthday (the source of his meltdown)…or will he choose to see the everyday gifts right in front of him? Moving forward from this memorable cruise, will our whole family choose to see and embrace the everyday gifts that are in front each of us?

How Failure to Give Directions to an Event Turns into Success

How can someone have 100% attendance at an event and get to serve nearly 30% more new clients, when she forgot to give them directions to the meeting place??

Definitely by the grace of God.  And I think by the market need being met through the services I’m providing.

I was so excited to pour my heart out at my first-ever “Harness Your Emotions to Date Smart” workshop this past Saturday, October 19.  I’d been preparing and planning this event for the past 4 weeks (and planning is not one of my strengths).  Got all the details mapped out, my talk on some slides, and the fruit all washed up by my wonderful husband.  A friend who had experience doing photos and video at other events came to assist me.

HarnessEmotions2_10-19

Went in and decorated the place with banners, blue and orange tablecloths, and goodie bags.  It was like a party, except different in that I was the speaker.

Now let me tell you something.  I can share my heart one on one and talk deep stuff with small groups, but when you ask me to get up in front of the room to “speak,” a part of me freezes.  Are you aware that public speaking is the #1 fear in North America?  (The #2 fear is death.)  So quiet little me, a girl who grew up shy all her life, fought big time to push through some pretty thick ice to get the message out.  Why?

Because I care.

HarnessEmotions3_10-19I care about women.

I care about women whose beautiful hearts are locked up in frustration over dating.  My heart goes out to those that feel like they’re gonna die after going out on 500 coffee dates that didn’t work out.  What makes it hard is when women have been hurt deeply by men.  Some guys have a serious problem with getting a girl to like him, then ditching her.  (Some girls have the same problem.)  Maybe the guy didn’t mean to hurt you, but the pain is still there.  Raw and real.

This pain is often too deep for words.  I know, I’ve been there.

And since I’ve climbed out, I want to help others climb out too.

Well, in my passion to help, and all the prep work, I forgot one important detail…

I forgot to give people directions to the venue!  It crossed my mind a few times during the week to give directions, but I didn’t take a long enough breather from my work to actually do it.  I knew people could search for directions on google, but here’s the thing with the place.  It’s hard to find and needs extra explanation.

To the gals who came, I sincerely apologize for my mistake, for the detours you had to take, and for the inconvenience it caused you.  A big thank you to Angie for making sure your friends found the place!  You can be sure that I learned from that mistake and will remember to give directions to the meeting place from now on!

HarnessEmotions1_10-19Despite the setbacks, I enjoyed helping the gals interact about what they want in a guy.  It’s cool to be able to hear ourselves say what’s important to us.  There’s so much more to learn, we only scratched the surface when it comes to dating – especially with trends like online dating.  And despite my mistakes, I’m gaining amazing opportunities to serve new clients and women in my community.

To me, that’s success.  God-given success.

To close out the month of October, I’m holding one more workshop on October 26.  If you or anyone you know would like to learn tools to thrive in the midst of relationship and dating struggles, you are welcome to come and bring your friends.  Register at:  http://harnessemotions2.eventbrite.com