Favorite YAY’s

I just got a book that I am excited to read, 50 Ways to Yay! First off, LOVE that name. I started to skim through it and already found some gems that I wanted to share….here you go. I will go through and highlight once I read and share, but for now…a sweet little JOY SNACK!! YAY!!

Find any excuse to PRACTICE Random Acts of AWESOME!

Spend more time BEING INTERESTED and less-time BEING INTERESTING.

A high-quality LIFE has much more to do with what we REMOVE from it than what we ADD to it.

You’re an ESSENTIAL PIECE of this puzzle called life. Without the FULL EXPRESSION of YOU, the picture just doesn’t make sense.

It’s NOT what you do ONCE that matters, its what you DO DAY IN and DAY OUT that makes the DIFFERENCE.

Stay CURIOUS. Embrace the WONDER of LIFE.

No one can LOVE you like you can.

Turn your FAILURE into FUEL.

The most POWERFUL gift we can give anyone is our PRESENCE.

What MAGIC will you experience today?

One MOMENT can change the entire course of our lives.


Change your LANGUAGE Change your life.

You were born with it all, but its up to you TO CREATE the right conditions for GROWTH.

What would LOVE do now?

I AM what I say I AM.

Go forth with PASSION.


It is always soo incredible to find little things that can have a greater impact in the way you think, the words you listen to and the way words can all be strung together to create something meaningful. Little, golden treasures of truth. I LOVE it when you don’t have to search too far for the good stuff!!

These simple lines peppered throughout this book—just lit me up!! Hope you can find some you can appreciate.

PEACE. LOVE and LIGHT to you today. -H

DEEP words

“Simply by changing your habitual vocabulary, you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live.” ~ Tony Robbins

“People with an impoverished vocabulary live an impoverished emotional life; people with rich vocabularies have a multihued palette of colors with which to paint their experience, not only for others, but for themselves as well.” ~ Tony Robbins

“Few activities are as delightful as learning new vocabulary.” ~ Tim Gunn

Words that have deep meaning….create a space and an appetite for inspired words.

I LOVE learning new words, opening emails with words of the day and sharing wherever I can with anyone who will appreciate a good word. Hope you find some here. enJOY!

Philocalist: [to me the pronunciation sounds like fill-o-ca-list] [‘philos’- ‘lover of’ ‘kalos’-beauty] LOVER of BEAUTY; finds beauty in all things.

Aliferous: having wings

Saudade: a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent

Epiphany: A life changing realization

Redamancy: [to me the pronunciation sounds like read-a-mancy] the act of loving someone who loves you back; a love returned in full.  Redamancy is what happens when the feeling is mutual.

Crestfallen: discouraged

Querencia: sanctuary where you feel safe. Querencia means “a place where one draws inspiration or strength from,” or “the place where one feels most comfortable and true.” Querencia is a Spanish word that has no direct or perfect English translation.[taken from daunter]

Reverie: A daydream; you are lost in your own thoughts.

Scrumdiddlyumptious: extremely tasty or delicious

Eudaemonia: State of being lucky

Metanoia: the journey of changing your mind, heart, self, and way of life. [ie: spiritual awakening]

Flimflam: Trick or deception

Euphoria: A State of extreme Happiness

Snuggery: a cozy room

Sobriquet: nick name

Felicity: Happiness

Mellifluous: Beautiful Sounding

Thalassophile: Lover of the Sea

Quintessence: Perfect example

Sanguine: Optimistic and Positive

Scintilla: A trace or spark of something

Serendipity: Chain of events that occurs in a favorable way

Surreptitious: Clandestine (keep a secret or done secretly)

Wistfulness: Yearning or desire

Snazzy: stylish and attractive

Zenith: The highest, most successful point of a situation

Frangipani: a perfume imitating the flower of a tropical tree or shrub

Kismet: Destiny

Raconteur: a person who is skilled in telling stories in an amusing and skilled way.

Splendiferous: splendid; magnificent; fine

Verve: Enthusiasm or vigor

Ineffable: too great to be expressed in words

Limerence: The state of being infatuated by another person

Sonder: the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Eunoia: [greek word for good will] beautiful thinking; healthy mind.

Hope this list gets you learning and including new words into your day to day. It is so enJOYable to learn how to pronounce words, use them in a sentence, quiz family members, etc.

Learning new words is a great way to challenge yourself to stretch and grow. Because if you are not growing…you are dying. Reach beyond your normal and take on little challenges each day that help you aspire to be your best self.

Cheers to you. Yay You! Peace. Love and Light to you. xoxo -H

Make holiDAYS fun

Well, we are all about holidays and fun at our house.

You should have special days, or dare I say, any day into a holiday (which means holy day) to make memories for those you love. Last weekend my daughter had a new boy friend come for a visit, so I put on my creativity brain and quickly made a fun message in a bottle(s) scavenger hunt on the beach. I filled a couple glass, wine bottles with a few inspired quotes and about 4 or 5 messages done in morse code. My husband and I ran to the beach to hide them and left giant arrows made out of drift wood to help them find them. So FUN!! We even found a wood 2 x 4 piece of wood and propped it up on a large tree that drifted out of the sand and looked like a large walking plank. We told them, “look for the 2 x 4 wood plank and walk the plank!” The two of them found a different piece of wood (probably a 2×3) barely off the ground & they took a video of one another walking back and forth on this tiny piece of wood. My husband and I laughed really hard & told them, “Wrong plank!” The two of them kept looking for the other plank and message in a bottle. They finally found both bottles, but in the end had the morse code messages upside down (imagine how I missed that detail 😉 Morse code upside down can be confusing. They finally figured out the messages and had a great time!! LIFE IS A GREAT OCCASION FOR FUN!

Another FUN time this weekend!—St. Patrick’s Day!! Why?? Here’s why…wearing green, Lucky Clovers, Blarney stones, Irish jigs, many would say the Pubs, the Irish stew, leprechauns, the rainbows, the pot of gold…Oh, my. Here is what I have learned about the traditional holiday, how to celebrate it and all the fun you can create!!

Ever since my daughter was a wee pup we would make traps in our house to catch the leprechauns. She always LOVED anything mythical and magical, so everything was very FUN and memorable at our house.

LEPRECHAUNS, GREEN, RAINBOWS & pots of gold, Oh my: apparently, somewhere down some line of time, wearing green was magically suppose to make you invisible to the crafty, naughty little leprechauns who like to pull pranks and steal a pinch!! Now, for the rainbows and pots of gold story…Folklore depicts leprechauns as mistrustful creatures who detest humans. According to legend, leprechauns found the abandoned gold and buried it again so no human could ever find it. The old folktales tell us that there is a pot of gold hidden where the end of any rainbow touches the earth.[chandlerchevcad]

ST PATRICK: St. Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. It wasn’t until he became a priest that he adopted a new name – Patrick, after Patricius (which relates to the Latin root meaning father). St Patrick was NOT a Saint and was also NOT Irish. St. Patrick was born in Britain in either Scotland or Wales (accounts tend to vary on that point) BUT Apparently, as a teenager, St. Patrick was kidnapped by a pirate raiding party and sold into slavery in Ireland. As a slave, he looked after and herded sheep for many years before fleeing to a monastery in England. While there, he became a devout follower of Christianity and ordained a Bishop, after which he returned to Ireland as a missionary. [gocity]

Poor kid. I already love him a little more after learning his history and the life he came from. Imagine being kidnapped, sold into slavery, finding a closeness to God after all that and then going back to the country where you lived in slavery and trying to teach the people. Wow. He must be a saint.

THE LUCKY SHAMROCK: Is more a religious tool than something lucky. As the stories go, St. Patrick supposedly used the iconic shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity while preaching. With each leaf representing Christianity’s Holy Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it was a symbol that showed how they could be three different spiritual entities and yet all part of the same whole.

SHAMROCK & Four-leaf CLOVER: Though shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are both associated with St. Paddy’s Day, the two are not, in fact, the same thing. The important difference: a shamrock is a clover that only has three leaves, which is far less rare to find than a four-leaf clover and therefore not as lucky. In fact, there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover, so shamrocks are much more common. However, four-leaf clovers aren’t just considered lucky because they’re so rare.

Interesting facts: The leaves of four-leaf clovers are said to stand for faith, hope, love, and luck.

Abraham Lincoln always carried a four-leaf clover with him but reportedly forgot it at home the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog, which means “little clover.”

St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland, which is why shamrocks are associated with the holiday.[womansday]


‘There is a stone there, that whoever kisses, OH! He never misses, to grow eloquent’.

The term ‘blarney’, meaning beguiling but misleading talk, gained currency during the 16th century as the MacCarthy of the day attempted to fend off the demands of Queen Elizabeth I.

Legends about the Stone’s origin emerged, each as plausible as the next. It was said to have been the stone used by Jacob as a pillow when he dreamed of the ladder extending up to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it, and that it was brought from the Holy Land after the Crusades.

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to gain the gift of eloquence. Among those said to have kissed the stone are: Sir Winston Churchill, Stan Laurel (while Oliver Hardy waited for him downstairs), Ronald Reagan, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Mick Jagger, Katherine Jenkins, Eddie Redmayne, James Nesbitt and Joe Manganiello. [blarneycastle.ie]

More than 300,000 people come to kiss the Blarney Stone each year, in the hopes of gaining more eloquent speech. [sacredsites]

So many stories, possible origins of the stone…Did Moses, Jacob, the Scottish Kings or St. Columba first use the stone? Probably this will never be known. The most commonly accepted story of the stone is that, in gratitude for Irish support at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (a Scottish defeat of the English), Robert the Bruce gave a portion of the stone to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster. Installed at Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold, Blarney Castle, it became known as the Blarney Stone. A century later, in 1446, King Dermot McCarthy then installed the stone in an enlarged castle he constructed. [sacredsites]

ACTIVITIES to bring out some IRISH LUCK:

Lots of family crafts and games for a younger family—there are tons of sites for these. In this post I am digging deep to find alternative activities and games for an older audience. We don’t drink, so if you are looking for drinking games—you can find plenty of those on other sites. Here are some ideas to spark a fun St. Patrick’s holiday at your home.

PLAY IRISH MUSIC: Some singers to put on your St. Paddy’s Day playlist: Hozier, Enya, Niall Horan, Bono, Sinéad O’Connor, and Van Morrison, to name just a few. [WomansDay]. For a late-night singalong, there’s nothing like belting out the early aughts hit “Breathless” by The Corrs, but if you’re looking for traditional Irish songs, we found the most beautiful renditions of classics including “Danny Boy” and “Molly Malone.” Queuing up tunes to dance to? Bangers from Celtic punk bands The Rumjacks and Flogging Molly will get you moving, as will upbeat pop hits like “Galway Girl” by Ed Sheeran featuring Celtic folk band Beoga (fun fact: Sheeran’s paternal grandparents are Irish).  [CountryLiving]. “Hall of Fame” by The Script featuring will.i.am. Also Cranberries. “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” by U2 and others. Snow Patrol. “Try a Little Tenderness” by The Commitments. The biggest hit from the biggest rock band to ever come out of Ireland With or Without You U2 Or Beautiful Day “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice. Don’t forget Enya. “C’est La Vie” by B*Witched


Irish games: Rings, Croquet supposed to have come from a game called Crookey in Northern Ireland, Quoits, Darts, some other games that came from Ireland…Hurling and Gaelic football, but the games below could also be played at your family party.

Road bowling: an unusual and exciting version of bowls that it particular to Ireland. It is played with a steal shot, which is tossed under arm by the player down a twisty road. The player who gets to the finish line with the least shots wins. The whole course is called a score. It only really survives in Cork and Armagh, but there are pockets in other countries. [masterofgames].

Rounders: the American games Baseball and Softball are both descendants of a game played by Irish immigrants. Today in Ireland it’s modern form is called rounders and it’s a very popular activity. [masterofgames]

Lots of other traditional Irish Games can be found at this link https://www.connollycove.com/traditional-irish-games/

Find the gold coin: hide a specific number and invite guests to go on a gold coin hunt. Whoever finds the most wins the grand prize! Make it a pot of gold, some green cash, a green artichoke…anything green and great!

Irish Slang Words: Break into teams and give each team a “Irish Slang” word to see if they can decipher. If they get the word, then the team gets a number of points. Whichever team gets the most points wins. Here is my list. Bad dose (Severe illness) . Bang on (Right, accurate, correct) . Banjanxed (broken) . Boyo! (male, juvenile) . Bucketing down (raining hard) . Bunk off (skip) . Chancer (lighthearted Irish insult for someone who takes risks) . Craic (Fun, gossips, goings-on) . Crack on (Continue on) . Delira and excite (Delighted and excited) . Deadly (Brilliant, fantastic, great) . Dosser (Someone not working or is messing about) . Effin’ and blinding’ (Swearing and cursing) . Fine thing (good looking man or woman–attractive) . Gaff (home) . Gammy (Crooked or odd-looking) . hames (complete mess) . Holy show (disgraceful scene) . Howya (hi. hello) . Jacks (toilet) . Jo maxi (cab or taxi) . Kip (dump of a place and also a sleep) . Knackered (exhausted or tired) . Bangers (drunk) . Manky (dirty, filthy, disgusting–my hair feels manly) . Minerals (soft drink) . Mot (girlfriend) . Savage (common term for great, brilliant) . Scarlet (very embarrassed) . Shattered (exhausted) . Thick (extremely stupid) . my personal favorite….GRAND. [taken from Irelandbeforeyoudie]

Irish Jokes for some standup comedy time together.

Bono and the Edge walk into a bar in Dublin. The barman exclaims, “Not U2 again!!!”

What do you call a fake Irish stone? A shamrock.

Did you hear Ireland is the fastest-growing country in Europe? Its population is always Dublin.

After examining him, an Irishman goes to the doctor and says, “You have some problems with your heart, but if you take these tablets, I think it will be okay.

“So the doctor gives the man the tablets, and the patient asks, “Do I have to take them every day?” No,” replies the doctor, “take one on a Monday, skip the Tuesday, take one on Wednesday, skip the Thursday and go on like that. “Two weeks later, the doctor walks down the street and sees the patient’s wife.” Hello Mrs Murphy,” he says, “how’s your husband?”

“Oh, he died of a heart attack,” says Mrs Murphy.

“I’m very sorry to hear that,” says the doctor, “I thought if he took those tablets, he would be all right.”, “Oh, the tablets were fine,” says Mrs Murphy, “It was all the bloody skipping that killed him!”

Some fun Puns too! Irish you were mine. I’m Dublin over with laughter. That dance was a jig mistake. When the dance is over, the jig is up. That’s a bunch of ba-larney. You’re my lucky charm. Irish I may, Irish I might. Don’t give into beer pressure. You shamrock my world. I’m a clover, not a fighter. Drink happy thoughts. I’m pure gold. People are always after me lucky charms. Gold riddance. You’re my pot of gold. Get clover it, babe. Let’s have a shamrockin’ good time tonight! Shamrocks and shenanigans for all! Burst into cheers!

GET CREATIVE: Color doodled shamrocks, create or find coloring pages with Irish patterns or words. You could also paint rocks from a river or beach and make your own Blarney Stone in hopes of finding your own voice and being able to speak eloquently. [like the Irish tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone] OR maybe you take some time to make a special poem like some of the great Irish poets.

FOOD: There are a zillion recipes for the traditional Irish brunch or big meals of Stew and Soda bread. Find something that your family will enJOY. Whether you do Irish eggs, potatoes, hashes or stews…create it with love and it will all turn out to be the best occasion. LOVE is the key ingredient in anything you make. Make it with LOVE.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! Make every day an occasion. Life is too short!

Peace. Love and Light. -H xoxo

Resilience. Remember?

Wow!! I just came across a notebook with a page of scribbled and bulleted statements from the time spent during COVID. The opening statement, “What have you learned through this quarantine?”

This took me back to the time none of us will ever forget. It will forever be remembered in history books, the missed graduations, the loss of loved ones…It was like a cloud of fear came into our world as a whole. It was a heavy time for all. A time that no one will forget or minimize.

I will however, always remember how everyone dug deep within to find the best ways to deal with the situation, the world found so many good things that led to hope—People in various countries sharing their talents from balconies in Europe to roof top serenades that inspired and delighted. Tourist spots were empty but the silence of shared videos put to music was humbling and had its own beauty. Wildlife was wandering and nature was getting a needed break that brought healthy resolutions. People were encouraging, building, tipping, giving, helping those in need of solutions. Celebrities were using their fame for good. Buildings lit up with colors of support for healthcare workers. It was a time of turmoil, but also a time where the world felt like it had come together in a greater cause. In its own right it was truly amazing.

Sure, there were the tough things that came from this time too, but I want to focus on the beauty that unfolded.

Let that be the focus today. How can we remember the resilience?

Here is the definition of resilience: the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

I think in looking back on that period of time the real resilience was led by HOPE and CONNECTION. Everyone was in the same boat of difficulty, experiencing real-time, life-changing situations. The news had the daily death tolls, but the world was also contributing to the news with their own versions of HOPE and CONNECTION. The world was on a stage all together. So much strength came from seeing how other people, families, other countries were coping and how they were finding resilience in the storm. We all had to face the fears together. We all had to face circumstances together. On a world scale. It was humbling. It was connecting. It was pretty incredible in some crazy, twisted way.

The world seemed to shift in some ways. I know the US had families finding more balance than they had experienced in years. Families were getting outside TOGETHER, they were playing games, they were crafting, they were watching television series…all together because that is where they had to be. They had to connect. They had a greater opportunity to connect. Even though it was hard in some ways. smile. smile. [I know I had a few sisters complaining that they were ready for their kids to go back to school—eagerly waiting for the day] it connected families, created a space and opportunity for them to become stronger and to grow through the experience together. You only HOPE that families look back on that time with a greater sense of appreciation and see it as a valued year of their lives.

It was fun to find this paper that took me back to that time…to read the below bullets. To remember. It was a precious time for our family. Life is like that. It goes by so quickly, so we strive to always remember to make memories, spend extra money to invest in experiences together and make life happen with greater connection!!

The bullets listed with each of my families names beside the bullets.


Life is precious. Jon looks at stats every day and sees the numbers of loss daily. He said, “We are all in this together, young and old. Who should be saved? It is crazy.”

Be prepared. I love seeing the outpouring and support to others in need. People need it.

I ask, “What have you learned to appreciate?” His response: The power of connectivity—love all the group texts of support, the social media messages that are so positive. It has been very powerful. Being home with family. Fun banter with extended family. The deeper connections and conversations. Sleeping in. The late nights together.


“What have you missed?” My job and everything about it. [At the time our daughter was working at a really cool aquarium and was missing the camaraderie of her team, the animals, the environment…everything.]

She said, “Our life hasn’t changed that much for us besides more connection and family time & I love that.” [Kate was already doing an online school, so her schooling didn’t change]

“What have you enjoyed?” Quiet time, doing puzzles, relaxing at night, family walks, seeing so many people outside. [Our family was always in the habit of spending lots of time outside, but it was a huge number of people who seemed to come out of nowhere. It was refreshing to see families outside together]. Kate loved our family time together watching shows like Zoey’s Extraordinary Play list, playing classic games like Clue and Battleship, watching Survivor, having her Dad home with us, just a great break all together as a family.


Great opportunity to learn new things. I pulled out a big drum and would have drum time. My little family would laugh at me and my crazy songs and mantras I would sing. I loved seeing people spread love wherever they could [painted rocks along trails, window art with inspired messages, kids doing chalk messages on walkways] good news stories, videos that inspired, having something to connect with others about when we would see people outside, perspectives, going outside even more–we love our family walks. Loved seeing the funny talk shows done from home in pajamas. Loved seeing musicians and celebs using their power for good things.

SOOO LOVED all the resilience and positive news from around the globe…ie: China sending face masks to Italy with a message and blessing, “We are all from the same tree.” Beautiful. Italians sharing songs and music from balconies. The world connected and sharing the best it has to offer. So many great stories of hope.

Also loved “Good News” by MSN, Disney donating food, big companies like Amazon giving to help, Animals wandering the zoos and aquariums, the big tips given to help people stay afloat in hard times.

Here is one of my blog posts from that time & I was adding some of the good things I found that were being shared, posted…its a fun reminder of the resilience of that time. enJOY! https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2020/03/20/looking-for-the-good-in-all-this/

Another one of my favorites from that period of time…beautiful song and images. enJOY…worth the watch [sorry it won’t add image link] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaTKxCvTJos

Though, we are still trying to find our own resilience in these times of ongoing challenge…trying to navigate the world with the new health issues, to wear or not to wear masks, to find ways to stay healthy, etc. I hope we can look back on that precious time and see some of the good that came from it. I hope you seek to see the resilience in those great examples of people living with such strength. There were stories everywhere of such greatness. It was powerful time in its own way.

My hope for you today: I HOPE you can sit down (if you haven’t) and think back, ponder on that time and write down your own list of things you remember. Things you can take away. Moments of resilience that stand out for you. Our voices are important for a time in our history that will last the tales of time. So, make sure you take the time to share your stories, your perspective, your memories with those you love.

Have a blessed and beautiful day. Peace, Love and Light to you. xoxo

Happy, Please

I find myself every weekend in a battle of duality. My daughter comes home for the weekend from college & the first few hours are a blissful reunion of happiness and connection. Then, out of nowhere, not sure if it is some type of right of passage, trying to flee the nest or just stacking, college overwhelm, she turns into a emotional tyrant of some type. I find myself spinning in an emotional breaking point at her snide remarks of, “oh, what? Why are you about to cry?” to her talking down to me as if I know nothing about college or where she is currently at in her life. It is exhausting. It is like an emotional terrorist drops by unannounced every weekend. It breaks my heart feeling like that. Just typing those words makes my heart drop. It is so sad.

WHAT? Where is this coming from?

Then, my husband, trying to help mitigate any further turmoil begins to tell me what to do or what conversations to avoid. I looked at him and said, “I feel you are micromanaging me and I don’t appreciate it.” I know he is just trying to protect me from any further wrath, but it is hard feeling like you cannot speak, share, teach, guide on any level as a mother. It is hard.

So, How do you find happiness despite the circumstances around you??

I usually exist in a pretty calm, contented state, so every weekend trying to gain my own grounding yet trying to help instill some sort of balance for all is very trying.

I think I am going to look at the happiest countries and see what they do to help family co-exist, live well and find a deeper contentment overall.

Here is what I have been able to find:

Happiest countries according to the World Index—it is no surprise that they are all in the small European countries. Finland tops the list at number one…Northern Europe appeared to be one of the happiest regions in the world: All five Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden – ranked in the top seven

What takeaways can you begin to incorporate into your own life? Here are some ideas.

SISU: Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. Comes from a Finnish root word that implies ‘inner’ or ‘inside’. Sometimes translated to ‘inner strength.’ sisu is like a life philosophy and comes into play in navigating a balanced everyday life, but also when facing challenges…you can use sisu as a basis for a healthy life, a calming tool, a way to achieve your goals, and ultimately help you boost your wellbeing and find happiness.[country living]

Personal note: This sounds like an incredible concept! This is just what I need…SISU!! Every weekend. smile. smile.

NATURE’S CURE: Norway and nearby European countries enjoy Friluftsliv, which means, “open-air living”–they immerse themselves and enjoy being in nature. From forest bathing to ice baths to serious sauna time, nature has a serious place in bringing happiness to all. Nature plays a very integral part of healthy and happy living for all the happiest countries. Despite days in darkness, cold temperatures, lack of light, they get outside and appreciate the greater gifts nature gives. They embrace berry picking or mushroom hunting and take advantage of everything nature offers. Being out in nature helps lower stress, boosts needed sun vitamins and increases happiness levels overall.

Dr. Solhaug’s observations are aligned with psychological research on the benefits of being in nature, which indicates that even short amounts of time spent outdoors improve our mood and our mental and physical health. Meik Wiking, chief executive of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, refers to these benefits as coming from “outdoorphins,” and says that “when we follow people over time, we see that they are happier when outdoors.” [New York Times]

Fun fact: Did you know that in Finland forests cover 75 percent of the country’s land area, the highest proportion in the world.

Personal note: My daughter as a little girl was pretty high strung and I would find myself taking her out in nature to calm down. As a baby, I would take her on walks in frigid, winter conditions because being outside seemed to be the only cure to stop her crying. As she got older we would go on walks and hikes, even making obstacle courses out of everything we could find in nature…logs turned into balance beams or jumps, we would balance over rocks and hide under tree boughs. Yesterday was no exception. We drove to a nearby nature area and just watched the ocean waves to help calm our souls. Nature has so many gifts to offer.

EMBRACE SILENCE: The World Health Organisation suggests that regular exposure to loud noises can raise blood pressure and increase adrenalin. Enjoy silence on a daily basis, even if only for 10 minutes. Practicing quiet at times throughout the day might set you up for better rest at night. “Silence and periods of calm stimulate brain growth and relieve tension, which can result in a higher sense of well-being, as people can then feel more relaxed generally [healthline]

Scientists found that two hours of silence per day prompted greater healthy brain cell growth in the hippocampus – an area of the brain responsible for memory formation, learningmotivation and regulation of emotional responses. It also Improves sleep. Improves memory . Relieves stress . Improves blood pressure and circulation . Improves heart health . Cognitive clarity . Better decision making . Enhances creativity . [https://www.happiness.com/magazine/health-body/the-power-of-silence-cultivating-peace/]

READ. READ. READ: Knowledge is power and books are a great source for that in the happier countries. Some great benefits of reading: less stress, improves focus and concentration, better sleep, can inspire and motivate, mental stimulation, increases knowledge and vocabulary, plus it is just an overall general escape to adventure, learning, a different point of view, someone’s life story, etc.

Fun Fact: In Iceland 1 in 10 people become published authors. Wow. That is ten percent of their population. That is incredible.

MINIMALISM: These countries also seem to be in the know when it comes to happy living, humbly giving and not getting caught in the comparison trap.

The US has a big problem with social media compare and despair mindset. There is a lot of keeping up with whomever, comparing oneself to the airbrushed, unreal videos that get posted and finding more of a lack of appreciation for what we have. Here are a couple stats on that: 6 in 10 Americans say social media negatively affects their mental health . Among those affected, 64% experience anxiety from social media use. Users also experience depression (56%), dissatisfaction with life (52%), fear of missing out (52%), and body image issues (51%) as a result of these apps [taken from online therapy.com]

Then, there is our problem with “stuff” We have a society which is structured so that social esteem or value is connected to what we can consume. -vox. The average American home has 300,000 items. (LA Times). One out of four houses with two-car garages keeps so much stuff in it they can’t even fit a car in the garage. (US Department of Energy). On average, every American throws away over 68 pounds of clothing. Per year! (The Huffington Post). Americans spend about $1.2 trillion a year on non-essential items. (The Wall Street Journal) Clutter and disorganization can waste time, money, and cause stress. [fee.org]

Scandinavians are well-known minimalists. Danish design is famous for its straight lines, natural materials, light tones, and uncomplicated patterns. Their living rooms are bright and de-cluttered. Because clutter equals stress. Same goes for brain clutter which we have so much of in the U.S.That’s why Danish minimalism goes beyond furniture. Both simplicity of life and simplicity of mind are important to Danes. Less of everything means more time, space, and energy to actually enjoy life. Simple life — happy life. [https://betterhumans.pub/10-life-tips-from-the-almost-happiest-people-in-the-world-20e7a3e5b7e4]

Fun Fact: Finns embrace a Nordic minimalism and are known to prefer well-made, sustainable, functional items that will stand the test of time. There is a robust secondhand scene in Finland, too, and on the community-driven “Cleaning Day,” the country turns into one big outdoor flea market -https://www.afar.com/magazine/7-lessons-learned-from-the-happiest-country-in-the-world

CONNECTION & COFFEE break: Fika is a typical Swedish tradition where you take time out of your day to pause and enjoy a hot drink and a snack. But it’s not just about savouring a good cup of kaffi (the Swedish word for coffee). Fika is a ritual that’s important in Swedish culture, giving yourself a moment to have a break and socialise. [nordicvisitor.com] They have seen giving people time to wander, connect with others and have little breaks helps with productivity, lessens fatigue and promotes a better overall well-being.

Fun Fact: Sweden drinks a lot of coffee on their fika breaks but Finland is the world’s biggest consumer of coffee on a per-person basis. Another funny fact I came across: No Desk Eating in France! What? according to House of Wellness, The French Labor code prohibits workers eating at the workplace. They encourage a change of scenery and pace. Love that!! haha.

BUILD HEALTHY SOCIAL CONNECTIONS: Finland, Iceland and other European countries have hot pools and saunas as a great way to connect and gather people together to create a stronger community. Those strong bonds help them have a healthier, happier way of living.

Denmark The high-quality social interactions shared by residents of Denmark are the largest contributor to its high happiness ranking. Finnish people value quality time spent with family and friends, known as hygge, to a very large degree. Making these types of relations a priority benefits people in several ways, including lowering stress levels and increasing trust among peers. These cultural aspects of Denmark contribute to its spot as the second happiest country in the world.

Fun Fact: There are millions of saunas in Finland. It is estimated that there are three million saunas in Finland, for a population of 5.5 million. Big companies and state institutions have their own saunas. The president has an official sauna, as does the prime minister. Saunas can be found in city apartments and country cottages. [finland.fi] WOW!

EMBRACE ALONE TIME: Connections are good for you but so is alone time. Take some time to stay off of devices (especially social media), step away from your phone, and do something alone. Whether you take yourself on a date, go on a walk, embrace the solitude, ponder and look inward, journal, get up early before everyone to make the time to be alone, don’t feed into the social dynamics of FOMO, make & schedule time to be alone.

Personal note: this is a non-negotiable to me. I think you need to step back from everything to recharge your needs and having some alone time allows that necessity.

ENJOY MEALS AT HOME: Most happy countries eat and cook meals at home vs takeout. They eat healthier and consume less. According to a research from University College London, eating small amounts of dark chocolate can lead to a significant decrease in depressive symptoms—and where better in the world to shop around for chocolate than Switzerland?

Fun Fact: According to the UNICEF report, 85 percent of Dutch children eat breakfast with their parents every morning (a sign of positive wellbeing). 

Personal note: I have found in our family that we have traditional meals that are cherished and only come out on special occasions. We eat out, eat in, but it is the special meals that we truly enjoy together that stand out. Whether it is the tinfoil dinners we make together, spaghetti sauces that have our special spices or sticky buns for holidays—food is love and gathers those we care about together in moments & memories. Create those traditional dishes, eat with bowls you bought somewhere special that have meaning, and make food be part of your family traditions.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Netherlands Residents of the Netherlands have an open and direct demeanor and no-nonsense attitude. They also work far less than people in most other nations. In the Netherlands, more than 50 percent of people work part-time. This may be a large part of what makes the Dutch so happy. 

For many, it’s about living in a country where all conceivable basic needs are met, whether that’s healthcare, education, or having a job that makes you feel fulfilled. The overarching theme is that Finland remains ahead of the curve in so many facets of life. For now, Finland is ranking top, but the hope is that the example Finland is setting helps other countries to better care for their people. The fact that the country continues to pioneer social and economic welfare, education and working best-practice is something of which other countries should take note when looking at improving the happiness of their people.  -Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/heikkivaananen/2020/05/26/what-makes-finland-the-happiest-country-in-the-world/?sh=38e8c77b75cc

Interesting Fact: equal opportunity with great education. For the fifth year in a row, Finland is number one when it comes to happiness. The country consistently ranks among the top education systems in the world, occasionally beaten out by countries like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Much of that success comes from a widespread reverence for teachers, who are required to have a master’s degree (their education is state-funded), and a pedagogical system that focuses less on quantitative testing and more on experiential learning and equal opportunity. https://www.cntraveler.com/gallery/the-10-happiest-countries-in-the-world

ENJOY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL: visit a museum, take in some art. Walk a gallery for inspiration. With more than 55 museums and countless art galleries across the country, it’s safe to say the Finns treasure their art scene.

Other fun words & Concepts from these countries

LAGOM, a Swedish and Norwegian word meaning “just the right amount.” is a philosophy that aims to balance, in every area and juncture of everyday life. Lagom is the secret that explains a lifestyle based on social awareness, moderation and sustainability. [technogym] it is kind of like Sweden’s version of mindfulness but rooted in a collective spirit and moderation. [sheknows]

HYGGE: Cozy. Danes are obsessed with mood lighting. It’s like the whole country agreed to wage a war on bright hospital lighting so favored in the U.S.It all starts with hygge — a Danish word that roughly translates as coziness and is a way of life in Denmark.There’s nothing a Dane likes more than having a “cozy” home, corner, dinner, or a “cozy time.” There’s little that can’t be described as “cozy” or “un-cozy” in Denmark. And bright lights are definitely that.Without the constant stimulation of bright lighting, your brain is more at ease, and so is all of you. [https://betterhumans.pub/10-life-tips-from-the-almost-happiest-people-in-the-world-20e7a3e5b7e4]

KOSALIG: Norway’s concept of finding cozy from experiences and connections. Similar to hygge.

Making things hygge or koselig is not just about fuzzy blankets and warm beverages. It’s about feeling content — a sense of coziness that is not just physical, but psychological. Dr. Solhaug said that her daughter, who is in third grade, is regularly asked to take a log in her school bag so that her class can spend part of the school day outside around a bonfire made with one log from each child. This idea of coming together to celebrate the darkness outside is not only a friendly way to gather, it can be deeply meaningful. Lighting a flame — whether candles inside or bonfires outside — becomes a mindful moment, an opportunity to pause and enjoy.[New York Times]

NIKSEN: Dutch concept of doing nothing—letting your mind wander, which will help reduce stress, increase creativity, find life solutions, etc. Practicing niksen could be as simple as just hanging around, looking at your surroundings or listening to music — “as long as it’s without purpose,” Ekman, who studies stress and burnout, says the research is strong when it comes to the benefits of slowing down, from emotional perks — like reducing anxiety — to physical advantages — like curtailing the aging process and strengthening the body’s ability to fight off a common cold. These potential health effects might be enough to encourage even the most hectic and overburdened among us to consider carving out time to practice niksen.[time.com]

GEZELLIGHEID: Gezelligheid is an abstract notion and encompasses many of the key parts of Dutch culture. The word derives from gezel, which means “companion” or “friend,” and gezelligheid, which literally means “coziness” and is all about positive atmosphere and good energy. A room, person or party can all be gezellig, meaning anything from “fun” to “cozy” to “inviting.” [sheknows.com]

Well, that is all I have for you today. I hope these HAPPY PLACES get you thinking of things you can incorporate into your own life to help bring about a happy balance. Life can tip and teeter us, it can leave us holding on for a minute of calm found in a warm bath or sauna. It can help us seek to find ways to breathe easier with a good book, take a moment alone when needed, embrace silence, step back into nature, and assess any situation and handle everything with an even better attitude of SISU.

Thank you, Nordic way of living for giving the world some great examples of simple things we can do to enrich and nourish our lives. Thank you.

Peace. Love and Light to you today. -H. xoxo

Religion of LOVE

I am the last person to be preaching to anyone. I grew up in a religion that many in the world would say is cult-like, with high-priests, bishops, Strick standards, Heaven vs Hell and if you did not live up to certain practices you would end up in various hells, nowhere near your loved ones in the next life. I fell away from the practices and beliefs because I did not believe any God would complicate anything so much and that many organized religions actually separate people instead of connecting them. Ultimately, LOVE is the basic religion anyone should live. IF you can strive to live in LOVE and begin to see and shine that love in others, the world will be better.

I LOVE to see the authentic smile on this woman’s face. Emotion drives feeling. Feelings fuel us. Live from those beautiful emotions that bring such joy and harmony to one’s life…LOVE is a driving force in all you do. Hold tight to it. Chase it. Live it and constantly choose LOVE over FEAR. There is a greater depth to that life.

How can we begin to see and live LOVE?

BE AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE: “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” —Rupi Kaur I was in a conversation with my brother, who very recently has been drinking very heavily and it genuinely scares me. His soul is becoming jaded from good things and he is seeking and living in so much anger. My conversation with him went like this, “I am trying to influence my family to help them see they are being lied to about various things but they won’t listen.” I calmly responded, “How can you influence anyone for good with so much anger. You must come from a place of love and be an example of this love over any place of anger or ill-will.”

Seek to not judge or find criticism with others . Be lovingly approachable in any circumstance . Seek to grow in love daily by becoming a little bit better each day . Look for ways to be there for another and be the support and encouragement they need . Be someone’s reason to smile . Being honest with your feelings and not falling victim to playing small because of someone else . Seeking to trust another and being a person who is trustworthy . Speaking kindly about others & if you have unkind feelings, not sharing them with others . Stop gossip or spilling the tea . Be the bigger person in a challenging situation .

CHOOSE LOVE OVER FEAR: “I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.” -Oprah Love is a higher energy, so striving to live from love over any energy of fear will have a huge impact on your life. [I like this–this helps describe this energy: According to science, human beings, just like other creatures, radiate electromagnetic fields from the heart. When you love someone, you can radiate thoughts, feelings, and emotions at the same rhythm. When you achieve coherence in your vibrations and emit higher vibrations, you experience more benefits. It is easier to make decisions and device solutions since your discernment is clear. You also have an easier time deflecting negative attitudes and emotions such as frustration, anxiety, impatience and chronic stress that strains your reasoning.Overall, you will experience more composure when your vibrations are higher. However, it can be hard to maintain a constant flow of high vibrations. If you describe love as a combination of qualities such as attentive care, affection, kindness, gratitude, and compassion, then you experience more love and give more love when these qualities surround you. Low vibrations come from feelings of anger, rage, unfairness, and fear.-taken from The Spring Resort and Spa]

BE LOVE TO YOURSELF: “You carry so much love in your heart. Give some to yourself.” “It’s really about changing the conversation. It’s not about perfection. It’s about purpose. We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you and treat you the way you treat yourself.” —Beyoncé. Stop being mean to yourself with negative thoughts, harsh emotions, and begin to do things that help you appreciate, nourish and love who you are & who you are striving to become. Whether it is insecurities, body-image issues, you still need to remind yourself of the beautiful things that make you, YOU. Find appreciation for your body. See and believe in the constant wins of gratitude you feel each day. Tell yourself empowering affirmations every morning and go to bed thinking of the good from your day. Fill your life with love in all you do.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE: “You do not just wake up and become the butterfly—growth is a process.” —Rupi Kaur Instead of blaming or getting angery at struggles and challenges that come into your life. Change or reframe it to look at the situations as opportunities for growth and personal learning.

SEE OTHERS WITH LOVE & COMPASSION: “A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else.” —Haruki Murakami. When someone else is angry or unkind remind yourself that everyone is on their own journey. Have patience, love and kindness.

Seek to avoid judging others and their situations. “Love is the absence of judgment.” —Dalai Lama This is easier said than done. I have this lesson continually popping up throughout my life. It is an ongoing practice. Where I currently live there is a large homeless problem within 30 minutes and I find myself having a hard time not judging the crazy guy walking down the street carrying a Jesus cross or people pulling suitcases across a busy street into a wooded lane. I am a work in progress and I just continue to send them a prayer of hope. There are so many broken people traumatized by life. I am humbly reminded of this daily.

EVEN LIVING LOVE YOU NEED BOUNDARIES: “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” —Brené Brown. I was talking with one of my sisters yesterday about a family dilemma she was having with a new brother-in-law that had offended her to a very serious degree. I asked her how she was going to handle seeing him in the future. She said, “I had to pay my therapist some money to get her input on this and she told me to be polite, but that I should never feel I need to go to his home because that could fuel some additional emotions. She told me to ‘have other commitments’ at the time.” The therapist told my sister that she still needed to have her own boundaries—even with family. I would say with family, there are many occasions for personal boundaries. smile. smile. I love a thought that Wayne Dyer (Rest In Peace, Wayne. Love you) would always share and that was, “Everything is an invitation not an obligation.”

LIVE YOUR POWER AUTHENTICALLY: “Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.” -Ellen Degeneres Living love is finding and accessing the part of you that can speak your truth and ask for those things that you need for your life. When you allow others to make you feel small, take your power, make you change or strive to alter your values, you need to step back and evaluate who and what you are giving your power to. YOU are the one and only YOU that will ever be. You may be the one person who was sent here to share a message, create a song, bring about change, inspire a nation, give to a cause, alter a moment. You need to do all you can to live your authentic life and be on purpose for the greater good.

YOU CHOOSE LOVE: “Follow your heart. Your heart is the right guide in everything big. Mine is so limited. What you want to do is determined by that divine element that is in each of us.” -Khalil Gibran. In all you do you evaluate if it is going to serve your life for a better purpose or make you feel inadequate in some way. We are humans. We have feelings that guide us along, but it is only when we try to tune into our FEELINGS that we get to higher places as people. Our feelings are meant to guide us. If you feel good–go…follow your heart or your inner feelings, but if you feel bad then you also need to follow that inner guidance. This is true with anything—thoughts, words we say to ourselves, feelings we have, people in our life, food, addictions, direction, etc. Follow YOUR feelings with LOVE being your guide.

SHIFT IT TO LOVE: “A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” -Marianne Williamson. We all have moments, bad days, tears, trauma, so we need to be conscious of when we are getting stuck. When we get sad, have a blue-cloud day or seem to be sinking into emotions that don’t go anywhere good, we need to shift it. The way to do that…get moving, get outside, do things that are going to fill you with good feelings, which will help lead you back to the higher energy of love. I am usually a pretty positive and upbeat person, but I have my days and moments too. Yesterday was one of those days–my hormones were out of wack and I was sinking quick!! My husband got me outside and I ran to the sunshine. Sometimes you just need to seek the light, even sunlight.

GIVE LOVE: “There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves.” -Elizabeth Gilbert. Praise and appreciate. Accept everyone for who and what they are. Namaste [is the very practice of seeing and appreciating the very light of another]. Just the act of sincerely listening. Being of service. Selflessly giving to benefit another . Seeking to be unconditional and selfless in your relationships . Seeking to not manipulate others for personal gain . Being the golden rule to treat another how you would like to be treated . Striving to always keep an awareness of another’s feelings & not wavering in seeking to not hurt or cause mistrust in your relationships . Care for those in your life with authenticity that you are there for them unconditionally.

KEEP YOUR LOVES IN ORDER: Augustine Aurelius set out to discover why it is that most people are so discontent in life. His conclusion was that for most of us, our loves are “out of order”; we have disordered loves. [nickcady.org]

The first time I read about Augustine and his out of order loves it hit me with such truth. When people get disillusioned with any type of addiction (sex, money, food, porn, gaming, selfishness, etc) their loves are out of order. They are choosing the addiction over something else in their life that should be of greater importance. [ie: alcohol addiction over relationship with their family] It makes so much sense. Then, do this exercise below. Evaluate how to help put your loves back into an appropriate and healthy order for your best life.

“It’s useful to sit down and just say, ‘What do I love? What are the things I really love? And in what order do I love them? Am I spending time so I’m spending time on my highest love? Or am I spending time on a lower love?'” Brooks says. “[Time], or your attention or your energy — all that stuff.” -Brooks [Huffington article]

I hope that some of these ideas can get you shifting from Fear to Love, choosing to live from a place of love, but also seeking to understand how and where your loves lie in the order of your life. LOVE is a higher place of living. We need to constantly be challenging our belief systems, practicing gentle nourishment of love with our selves, going beyond the fears that hinder us from growth and finding those deeper places within that yearn to just be LOVE. It is our nature. It is the sweetest depth of who we are. It is a place that feels like home, yet our human experience challenges and binds us to the ego spaces that we find hard to break free from. Follow the love in your life and constantly seek to live from that place.

-Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H xoxo

20 Wisdoms

My one and only daughter is turning 20 this weekend! Wow. Time goes by so incredibly quickly. Since she is turning 20 I thought I should give her some type of wisdom, so here is what I came up with. I figured it truly does have some great wisdom for any age, so I hope you can find something here to spark a little wisdom for your own life.

Take what you need to live your best, happy-filled life.

20 WISDOMS for your 20’s

1. YOU are SPECIAL. If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes, only then would you realize how special you are.  -Frida Kahlo     You are working towards dreams, finding role models to admire, learning from those around you, finding your wings of independence. You may not always feel very special, but YOU are the one and only YOU of all time. You are striving daily to become that distant dream. Keep going, keep dreaming and as long as you are striving to be better each day by learning and growing–you will get there.  Your dreams will help you see you through. Remember that you are special, divine and began as star dust. That should always be a simple reminder of the brilliance that is within you & always has been.

2. HOLD TIGHT TO THOSE THAT MATTER MOST. When I date someone, I think long term. What is the point of dating someone if you only want them temporarily? College is full of young people confused by who they are or who they want to be. They are still developing, stuck in alternate realities of thinking and still in a very big stage of fitting in and following. Be true to your values and who you want to be surrounded by.  Think about people long term and ask yourself if you will grow old with them? Will they make you a better person? Will your relationship be building and help you grow? Are they aligned with your personal values? Do you honestly see them as a long term person in your life? Hold tight to those friends and people who care and who you can see will be there for you for the long term.

3. CONTINUE TO CHASE THOSE THINGS THAT LIGHT YOU UP.  Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.– Jennifer Lee   Following your internal feelings will always help guide you to where you need to be for your best life. YOU know what excites you, drives you, creates passion and ignites you…follow those things. Chase them with all your heart. They will guide you to those places of flow, purpose, light, love and an overall sense of a vibrant, full and happy life. In the meantime, chase light. Chase things that make you feel alive, passions that fill your soul, ideas and dreams that keep you up at night. Chase things that taste like freedom, that make your mind spin with joy. Chase light in the sense of fostering it within yourself and the people around you.

4. CHALLENGE FEAR. A life lived in fear is a life half lived. – Spanish Proverb  Fear is the opposite spectrum of LOVE. In every instance you feel fear, break through to yourself and challenge your very being with the full intent to go beyond, to step forward in confidence, to channel the great strength you have within you to live fully and not give into the fear that will continually strive to stop, hinder, challenge, scare, intimidate & long to win. DONT GIVE IN. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE over FEAR…Challenge the fear and choose love every time.

5. SAY YES  Always say yes, put yourself in danger of something amazing happening to you.  Say yes to those opportunities, incredible people, moments that will help you grow, invitations to learn or try something new…take bold steps by saying yes to things that scare, challenge, bring fear or make you want to run away. Sometimes yes is the best direction. Fear is the opposite of what you want to live, so if saying yes to something scares, it might also ignite something within you. Try, do, [in healthy doses and circumstances] those things that challenge and bring great change.

6. TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH.  Your body is a connection between heaven and earth. You will not get very far in life with passions or pursuits of any kind, if your body is not well enough to get you there. Eat from the earth. Exercise because Movement is Medicine. What is the best medicine for YOU?? Whatever it is you enJOY doing. Just breathe. Get Great sleep . Quiet your mind . Take in the Natural Sunlight–get outside as much as possible .  Constantly read and learn–this challenges different parts of your brain that enhances comprehension, language, and makes you an overall better writer and speaker . Relax & rest . LOL Laughter helps relieve stress, eleviate tension in the body, reduces pain by creating your own feel good endorphins (happy chemicals), brings about connections with people, makes you happy . Let go of negativity & energy drains . Have personal boundaries in place . Be aware of the energy you carry . Let go of anger (remember 90 sec rule) . Surround yourself wth feel good people–Does this person recharge or drain me? Alone time . Compassion & Service . Prayer . Listen to uplifting music . Practice being exquisitely present . Get grateful . Live from a place of love and compassion .

7. LIFE IS ABOUT LEARNING. Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will. -Vernon Howard Money, people, opportunities, challenges, life lessons…will come and go within your life. Learn from it all–the hardships, the relationships, the lack, the influences, the ups, the downs…will all be lessons to learn something. IF you look at it like you can take something from any situation you are in then strangers can teach you about joy, new friendships can give you new perspectives on life, stories can enlighten and bring clarity, heartache can teach you to be softer or a little kinder with those you love. Life can lift or lessen your grip on happiness.  Always be seeking to be lifted by everything you learn and turn it into a win for your life. Every lesson can make or break you—it is a choice you make in all you do.

8. LIFE IS A GREATER EDUCATION. There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an exam, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.  -Jiddu Krishnamurti  Life is the greatest adventure. Learning will not end in school, it is lived from the depths of deep emotion, from the feelings that become aroused from authentic relationships, it is the seasons of challenge and change that bring us to our knees and cause us to cry out in a moment of desperate need. Life has its twists and turns, the page turners, the highlight reels, the heartwrenching, soul sucking moments that bring about a greater faith or need to humbly give it to God. Life is the ultimate ride and hopefully we are aware and ready to live it to the fullest and breathe in all its goodness with the hope of living higher, better, more brilliantly in the undending gift of life’s possibilities. 

9. I Live by the ABC’s ADVENTUROUS. BRAVE. CREATIVE -Walter Mitty 

Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul.  -Jaime Lyn 

Everybody has a creative potential and from the moment you express this creative potential, you can start changing the world. -Paulo Coelho  

The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.  -Oprah  

The goal is to die with memories, not just dreams.  -anonymous

A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain or routine and renews his life through reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies, and adopting new viewpoints. -Wilfred Peterson

10. LIVE IN LOVE Live for love. Without love, you don’t live. -unknown. It IS either from a place of love or it isn’t. PERIOD. The energy you carry. The words you share. The conversations. The actions. The very essence of your life is in every little thought you begin to believe, every person you surround yourself with, the things you say to yourself and others. Is it positive or negative? Is it fear or LOVE? there is no in-between. You are living in love or not.

11. SEEK YOURSELF  The greatest discovery in life is self-discovery. Until you find yourself, you will always be someone else. Become yourself. – Myles Munroe    Finding yourself will give you a better understanding of what drives your life and gives you better understanding of your purpose. Identify your passions, interests, strengths and weaknesses. Look at your skills and what you are naturally good at .  Always try new things and constantly push your personal limits .  Ask empowering questions .  Ask yourself what is your ideal you or lifestyle you desire . What goals can you come up with to help push you in the direction of your dreams? Accomplishing goals will help your self-esteem grow and you will build a better belief in who you are and what you are doing .  A better understanding of yourself will also help build healthier, personal relationships .  Always create more dreams and ambitions for your life–places you want to see, things you want to try, challenges you want to take on, etc. . 

12. FOLLOW THE GOOD  All good things are wild and free. – Henry David Thoreau    Nature has so many good things to offer. The animals, the plants, the islands, the mountains, the oceans, the reefs, the capes—nature’s beauty holds secret keys to a deeper part of your soul. When you take the time to be still, to walk, to be, to find awe and wonder in all the natural spaces, then you will find some of the richest gifts for your life. Follow the good.

13. SEE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.  Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by. – Robert Frost     Live, move around, try new things, see new places. So many people will just stay stagnet, unmovable in life. They play it safe and never venture to new horizons to explore the greater landscapes within their hearts and mind. They visit distant lands, but short trips dont give the overall experience that life has to offer. Reach for places and spaces that help you grow, see new perspectives, different paths that are not taken by others. There is so much to learn from adventure, risking big life moves, talking to strangers, reading a variety of books, trying & learning everything, listening to podcasts that help you feel and see new perspectives, living experiences, being open to new ideas and fascinations, finding and seeking wonder in all you do. Its the spices of life.

14. FIND HAPPY  I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery – air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’– Sylvia Plath     It is the little things that make life worth living. It is the waterfalls you hike to, the walks in wildflowers, the memories you make with those you love while kayaking a lake or enjoying a sleigh ride. Let life guide you to those things that bring you genuine happiness. 

15. FEEL ALIVE   Go where you feel most alive. – Unknown   Dads “Doodle Walks” make him feel most alive. haha     Kate feels most alive at the ocean.  Heather feels most alive in the awe of nature [sunsets, big clouds, sunrays, ocean waves, big trees, star-filled skies–so many beautiful moments that make me feel a deeper connection to God] Find those places, paths, ocean walks, prayer rocks, visual awakenings, stunning sites that seem to awaken a deeper part of who you are. Go there often. Always find a special place that you can get quiet, to pray, to find peace, to go deeper. In these spaces you will feel most alive and connected in all you do.

16. DONT LET LIFE GET AWAY  We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.– Anonymous    Time goes by so quickly and the sooner you can find those important things—the important places, the spaces that bring calm, the spaces within your own mind that need guidance to find peace, the little things that become big things. Don’t let the important things escape you. Seek to find those things that bring meaning into your life. Seek to surround yourself with beauty, positive energy, loving relationships, self love and compassion, deep connections. Life slips by unless we can find the best grip to those things that matter most to us. Hold tight to them with all your heart.

17. ACCEPT YOURSELF  Accept yourself as you are right now; an imperfect, changing, growing and worthy person. -DW Nourish yourself with positive self-talk–no negatives. What you say to yourself really does matter. Be your own best friend because you have to live with who you are for your entire life . Seek out your personal weaknesses and begin to appreciate them for the opportunities of growth they offer [embrace them] . Dont be afraid to do things alone to know and understand yourself even better, which will help your self-esteem . Take on the hard challenges, tough days, and moments of struggle as they come and know they will not be around forever . Always laugh at yourself, the choices you make, the mis-steps, the wardrobes, the styles, the experiences, the life lessons you learned and know it was all part of the journey to get you to where you are today. Just fully embrace and accept you–all of you.

18. DONT BE AFRAID OF SELF-REFLECTION  Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted–it is an intimate date with yourself.  -Paul Wong     Throughout your life it is a good idea to take time to self-reflect and always ask yourself how you can become better. Take time to truly evaluate your personal thoughts, feelings, desires, actions, goals, emotions, motives, interactions in relationships, etc. Ask yourself deeper questions like, “What makes me happy?” “What lights me up or drains me?” “What makes me feel good about myself?” “What am I graterful for in my life?” “When do I feel on purpose?””What can I do to have a positive outlook on my life?” “What am I afraid of?” “What motivates me?” ““What do I value most?” ”What is a favorite quote or motto I strive to live by?” “What do I need to work on?”…

I was listening to a podcast & the guy being interviewed talked about how he asks his wife, “What character trait is my worst? What do I need to work on?” Those who know you best can quickly help you identify areas that you may need to work on or refocus your attention to become better. We are humans, creatures of habit and often fall victim to routine. We need to always be seeking those areas where we become stagnet, immovable and need retooling and direction. We need to take the time to self-reflect to see our personal necessities of improvement. If we dont seek to become better–how do we?

19.  ALWAYS GETTING GRATEFUL I love this thought, “What if you woke up today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday?” Think about that.  It makes you reflect on those things, the littlest things that you take for granted, that you might miss in a prayer, right? Would you think of warm showers, being able to walk a beach, being able to see someone smile, cuddle with your puppies, eat and savor a delicious handful of grapes, running water in your toilet, sunshine, towering trees that give shade, loving words whispered in your ear, a fireplace to keep you warm, hearing podcasts that inspire, being able to read words in a book, etc. Gratitude helps you pause and genuinely notice the things that truly matter in your life. When you get grateful, you are quietly saying thank you and that is enough.

20. EXPECTING MAGIC DAILY Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles. -Roy T Bennett Expecting magic to happen daily.   Hope of finding magic daily is a wonderful way to strive to live. Maybe it is a new found relationship and the excitement that brings. Maybe its noticing the symmetrical details of a fern on a walk outside. Maybe its being in awe of big waves crashing or the mist off the ocean surf. When you begin to seek and notice those things that create wonder within your life, then life becomes something even more to look forward to.  The energy that accompanies a search for surprise is undeniable and with that comes the secrets and magic that life holds.

Hope you can find something in this wisdom. Biggest takeaways: You are a one-of-a-kind, invest and be with those people that matter most, follow those things that energize and challenge you to be your best, embrace what life has to offer, live love in all you do, jump at the chance to discover your greatest asset–YOU, follow those things that lead you to nature, change your perspective, soak in the little things that make you happy and full of life’s best, nourish your self with love, always grow, get grateful and expect magic in all you do. Life is an ultimate adventure. enJOY it fully.

Peace. Love and Light. -H xoxo

Embrace the JOYage

Embrace the voyage…Embrace the Journey…I say, Embrace the JOY in every day journeys! Right!? EMBRACE THE JOYAGE!

It has taken me a lifetime to get to a place and truly understand the true meaning of creating moments of JOY. Hoping to bring about more moments than not of this incredible ingredient life gives and takes. JOY.

JOY: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness. OR gladness not based on circumstance [1 Peter 1:8-9] OR darkness dispelled. The light of everlasting life lit up in the soul. OR the emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires.

EMBRACE ALL the JOY you can get.

Not everyone feels or enJOYs JOY. It is a gift; a desired outcome on the journey of life. We do the daily to do’s in order of hoping we can create the correct dosages or amounts of work, study, conversations, smiles, interactions that will give us something…anything… but hopeful it will have JOY sprinkled in.

Who doesn’t want or hope for pure JOY. There is enough other stuff out there that can be taken in certain supply hoping for some inkling of our desired JOY.

I want the pure, unaltered version. I want the stuff that cannot be diluted or distilled to a various version. I don’t want to be hyped up on illusion. I want real JOY.

I seek it daily. I try too [soo] hard to make each day a little better. I learn new things. I work on my mental toughness. I pray. I get grateful. I try not to be a hater to my physical body. I get outside every day. I kiss. I laugh. I work to become a little better each day.

BUT, even then. JOY can be illusive. It can send someone else in to steal your joy or high-jack your higher place of personal wellness.

Yesterday, well, I should say, on many visiting weekends, my daughter visits from college and we can have a wonderful time. But, also a time of turmoil, struggle, mind bombs of my JOY. She throws grenades that hurt with her eye rolls and her comments that tear down my way of living. She expresses how all I talk about are life lessons, getting grateful, doing better, spreading love….etc. I am taken back every time that I get turned into a battle of justifying gratitude or good life lessons, sharing, etc. I am slapped in the face for good?? What is that?? That is a legitimate hi-jacking of good things that can lead to joy. Who does that?? My daughter?? What??

Well, to say the least, it brings about a reflection of deeper needs. I have always believed that your life is an expression of your living. You are an example to those you love and live with. So, how does this happen??

What happened to her JOY?? How did it get so lost??

My heart soo deeply just wants her happy, finding joy around every corner, living her best life, doing things that lead her to her hearts happiness. Her college experience has been a tough journey, but she tries soo hard every day. It is like she is in a daily battle of wills. Her mental toughness is challenged to the core and her strength seems to weaken with her internal compass teetering in insecurities. She is a beautiful girl who has always been so sure of who she is, where she is going, what she wants for her life, her enthusiasm, her charm, her strength, her positive nature…has slowly been eroding since entering college. She works hard to connect with others and has lots of connections, but no one reciprocates the love and energy she puts out. It has been a tough voyage.

So, what can I do?? How do I help as a mother? How do we help one another in this journey to embrace the JOYage??

Let us jump in to find answers and ideas to help one find and EMBRACE the JOYAGE…

MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT According to an INC article The secret of being happy is accepting where you are in life and making the most out of everyday. It doesn’t matter how old we are, what we’ve done, or how much money we have. Our journey is a personal one-full of lessons and reasons to be happy. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and realize how full our lives are, we can appreciate our individual value.

Say THANK YOU. I always have loved Wayne Dyer and I remember him always mentioning how every morning when he would get out of bed, he would touch the floor with his feet and say, “Thank you.” Another one of my favorite’s to live by…“If the only prayer you say is thank you, it will be enough.”

GRATITUDE: Find anything you are and can be grateful for. Gratitude has been a staple in our home because I believe in its power to help in all you do. It can change thought patterns from negative to positive, build happiness, grow good things, etc. I have often found myself talking to my daughter about focusing on those things that she can be grateful for on her college campus. One of her greatest wins—being grateful for a spin class to help ease stress. When she struggles to find things—in the end, it may be some of the hardest and most challenging things that bring us to our knees and make us stronger. The funny thing—she has always hated exercise, but finding something she can find JOY in…priceless. Thanks spin classes 😉

Another personal story: moving to Oregon has taken some time to get use to the surprises in the weather here. It can be sunny, then raining, then hailing, all within a half hour. It can have crazy winds, intense down pours, so when the sun comes out, I feel every sense of my being to run to the sunshine. I have never been so grateful for the sun in the dark, rainy winters. BUT, I also reflect on the beautiful rain and the incredible rainbows that constantly grace the wet landscapes. You cannot have the rainbows without the rain. To me that is the sincerest example of gratitude. No matter what, there is always something beautiful that comes. You can always find the beauty in anything if you truly seek to find it. Finding gratitude throughout your life will uncover hidden gifts and treasures you may not even see.

DISCOVER. I do believe variety is the spice of life, so I am always seeking new landscapes, new trails to hike, new desserts to try, new things to learn, new books to read, new beaches to walk…seek and find things that are new to your senses. I guarantee that even if you have lived in the same neighborhood for years that there are new places to find, paths to take, shops to wander, waterfalls to see, classes to take, etc. Find something new to light up your JOY.

TRY SOMETHING NEW. Walking a college campus is a fun way to be hit in the face with all types of things to try. There seems to be tack boards full of upcoming activities for people to join—cooking classes, line dancing, cactus potting, art, martial arts, concerts…the lists go on and on. Trying new things is a great way to get you outside of yourself, connecting with others and learning something new in the process.

I am a big believer in community education. I usually try to challenge myself to take some type of class where I will learn something. This winter I have been taking an Irish group dance class. Because maybe one day, I will be in Ireland and will walk into a pub and know what a Ceili dance is. haha. Smile. Smile. and join in. There are always so many things you can learn. Take a chance. Learn something new. Challenge and grow.

FIND LITTLE JOYS NOW: Find those little things within your life that bring you joy now. DONT postpone your life with the never-ending list of, ‘When I make $$ then…” or “When I finally move to…my life will be better” or “Maybe when I find the love of my life…” you need to work on being presently JOY-filled. You need to seek out those little things in your life that bring you little, even tiny bits of joy now. Maybe it is a favorite sweatshirt you enJOY wearing or a special cafe drink that brings a smile to your face or a friend who always makes you laugh or watering your plants or playing with your dog. Maybe its a sunset walk or a starlight wish. Maybe it is playing an instrument or painting your nails. Everyone has those little things that bring little joys. Seek and find those daily.

STEP BY STEP: Think of a stream with big rocks that are stepping stones to the other side. Be gentle with your journey. There will be mis-steps where you may fall in or you may over-jump in excitement, you may slip when you are unsure, or stand tall with assurance, etc. The journey will have its ups and downs, surprise endings, happy wins, wild twists and turns, but with each forward step you are moving in a good direction. Learn from each happening, whether it is hard or happy, ultimately your life is what you will make out of it. Look at each stumble as a stepping stone towards greatness. Learn from everything you grow through. Begin to trust yourself, your personal footing and the directions you desire to go. It is ultimately your life and your journey. Learn to embrace the JOYS in all you do.

FAITH OVER FEAR WITHIN YOURSELF: Faith over fear is another staple reminder in our home. We have had many experiences that have been personal testaments to the truth of this statement. You must have faith over fear in all you do. BUT, even so within yourself. You must have a greater faith in who you are, the directions you are going, the work you are doing, your personal belief and will that you are incredible and will overcome the fears that try to creep in. We all have insecurities, but seeking to instill a greater mental faith will help deter the fears that will try to push us to our knees. We must always remember one of my favorite quotes: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Have faith in that! Shine bright and have the faith to do so..for fear cannot live in the freedom of a soul on fire.

GET INTO NATURE: I have a very strong belief in the power of nature and the great benefits it gives. Nature is an untapped resource of rich goodness. We have not even touched the enormous benefits that it holds. We know it is good to get into nature, but “There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well­being,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”-apa. and according to a Yale article Nature is not only nice to have, but it’s a have-to-have for physical health and cognitive functioning.

Get outside and let the sunshine feed your body with nutrient vitamins. I will often be out in 50 degree weather along the coast in a tank top, while everyone else is wearing down parka’s—why? Because I smile at the sunshine and say…bring it! I enJOY feeling the suns rays nourish my everything–body and soul. Get out in nature: take your dogs on a walk, pick berries, hunt for mushrooms, take in sunsets, breathe in the freshest air, walk barefoot, touch the trees, smell the flowers, take in every splendor possible. Seek nature when you look out a window or when you are on a lunch break. Take the long way around a building before a meeting. Have a luncheon outside. Bring a plant(s) to work. Even having a picture of nature will bring you its benefits. Nature gives in all things. Take every moment possible to be in it…near it…basking in it.

LAUGHTER: Oh, the untapped goodness of a good, hearty, belly laugh!! It can take a tense situation and bring a smile. It can make a heart feel so much better. It takes away the edge of stress to leave you gasping in smiles. There is a light and a physical lightness it brings to any situation. So, have a go-to’s of funny comedies, series and movies you enJOY watching. Get together often with people who make you laugh out loud. Always be on the lookout for comedians who you appreciate, jokes you can share, anything that makes your heart sing in comedic bliss. According to the MayoClinic, “A good sense of humor can’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do. A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn’t just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body.

Laughter can:

  • Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
  • Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
  • Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.

Laughter isn’t just a quick pick-me-up, though. It’s also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:

  • Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
  • Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
  • Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
  • Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem.

ENJOY THOSE AROUND YOU: People will come and go in your life, so it is the gifts and lessons that you can learn and take away from the encounters that happen daily. I fondly remember a training I was attending & I had one of the educators call me out and embarrass me in front of the group. I calmly excused myself and broke down in tears in a nearby bathroom. One of the bathroom attendants noticed me crying and approached me. She did not understand English, but did her best to comfort me with a sincere hug. That was all I needed, a complete stranger to connect with me on a deeper level and show me the genuine compassion from another in my time of need. We are all here for one another—in one way or another. If we take the time to treasure those glimpses of another’s heart, a smile, a kind word, a compliment, a gesture…the world would be a better place.

Another personal story: my husband was recently helping with the college level, World Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. There were numerous winter, athletic teams from around the world. Many did not speak English, but that did not stop my husband from making genuine connections. By the end of the two week period my husband made many friends, but a special friendship with team Spain. Even though they did not speak English they had a great respect and appreciation for my husband. At the end of the events they gave my husband one of their team jackets & made him an honorary team member. It was such a kind gesture & one that will stay with my husband forever. The genuine gifts of connection when you sincerely enJOY those around you. People FEEL your love by how you treat them. Love and respect above all.

Seek JOY. Dance with life’s gifts. Find yourself along the journey. embrace the JOYage. Life is short. Make it memorable.

Peace. Love and Light to you. -H

LOVE wins

Lessons from the Netflix series, Harry and Meg

**There are spoilers in this post from the series, so just be aware. 😉 ** Watch it first and then compare your feelings with the lessons I took away. Many of these quotes are not in the series. I wanted to bring in different elements of who they are.

I just finished the Netflix series and wanted to make sure I wrote down some key thoughts and feelings after watching their story. It was an over-the-top shock that this could happen to anyone, but especially them. It was a great peak into a different world and reality of two lovely people trying to survive so many variables, that frankly, would be tough for anyone to face. More power, hope, love and light sent to you, Harry and Meghan. You just keep trying to shine a little brighter for the world and guide people to those higher places. Thank you. Thank you for fighting for good, for LOVE and showing us how LOVE truly does WIN. xoxo

I know there are various views, people who struggle with them or their story, but to me, there were some great lessons about the greater things that truly matter in life.

Here are some of my key takeaways:

LOVE wins. I loved that message. Because I too, am a great believer in the idea that LOVE will conquer and win over FEAR. period. Their story is a love story full of heartbreak, loss, betrayal, friendships, family, race, female power, connection, and the will to overcome some hard circumstances and still keep standing with the beauty and grace of royals. They are real life examples of people leaning on one another, trying to do good in the world and it shows through in their love and care for one another and all the people and places they touch. LOVE does WIN in the end.

No matter what I HAVE YOUR BACK: Their whole relationship has been full of distractions, so it is key that they are able to see each other through the chaos. About their wedding: The whole thing was surreal. It was at that moment, I could also see H. … H and I are really, really good at finding each other in the chaos. When we find each other, we reconnect to, ‘Oh it’s you. It’s you.’ It’s not that the rest of it doesn’t matter, but … the rest of it feels temporary.” — Meghan. “I know that at the end of the day, she chooses me. I choose her. Whatever we have to tackle will be us together as a team.” -Harry

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF because there will always be haters. Do YOU. “You draw your own box. Introduce yourself as who you are…you create the identity you want for yourself.” -Meg. “I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship.”– Meghan Markle. It was interesting to watch Meg talk about her time when she was first at the palace and how her wardrobe consisted of mostly muted colors that would blend in and she would fade into the background. She did not want to stand out, but after all the chaos, royal drama, media frenzies of hate, Meghan began to find her place and became more aware of her voice, what needed to be said and the colorful outfits followed suit.

I think they went through so much together and had to fight so hard for one another, their life, their personal necessities, that they just continued to be true to who they were and the life they wanted. They were not going to let others dictate and tell them who they were going to be. They have their own strengths, ideals, and ways to help the world and one another. They were true to themselves and what they ultimately knew they needed to do to flourish as a family.

FAMILY SHOULD HAVE YOUR BACK OR they aren’t a good family. (Her Dad, the Royal family, her sister..) It was heartbreaking to see how both sides of their family began to betray them for their own personal gains. It really illustrated how easily people are swayed for various reasons and how important loyal friends and family became even more important.

FRIENDS CAN BE FAMILY: It was so refreshing to see an incredible group of friends who rallied behind and lifted Meg up in her times of need. She seemed to have a great support system of friendship. What a beautiful gift to have.

You may have to seek and FIND YOUR OWN JOY: If you think about the paths of the Royals—it is all laid out for them. Their schedules, their schooling, their meals, their hobbies, their social engagements…everything. I think what was a really turning point for Harry was joining the military and finding something that wasn’t the normal. He began to see things from a different perspective, which then led him to other places and experiences, that helped him forge his own path and to seek his own joy. Both of them found different paths of joy that fueled and ignited them with purpose. Then together, they were able to see their similar joys and create an even more concrete path to where they wanted to go and do the work they wanted to do as a couple.

HOPE can be passed down: “I hope we can remember my mother’s legacy by recommitting to those we serve, whoever and wherever that may be.” -Harry. “My mother died when I was very young. I didn’t want to be in the position I was in, but I eventually pulled my head out of the sand, started listening to people and decided to use my role for good. I am now fired up and energized and love charity stuff, meeting people and making them laugh.” — Prince Harry

I think this is a very real feeling for Harry. He sees a lot of himself in his mother’s life, her work, which constantly fuels him to pass along her legacy and make her proud.

YOU ARE NEVER ALONE—someone will be there. I LOVED the incredible story of Tyler Perry. I did not know a lot about him, but his unconditional desire to help a stranger in need was beautiful. It illustrates how we are all connected and in times of need, someone WILL be there. Respect. There were also other various times when strangers reached out to give a thank you or show they care in some way for the humans on the other side of the camera. We are all just people, in the end. People who need to be heard, cared about, respected and ultimately loved. (Tyler Perry. Flight pilot who thanked her for her service. The reporter in Australia who cared)

RACE RESPECT: “I encourage and empower each of you to really stand in your truth, to stand for what is right — to continue to respect each other.”-Meghan. I felt so sorry that the Royal family missed a great opportunity to truly embrace the race issue. It was heartbreaking to see Meghan and Harry touch lives in so many countries, to bring hope of equality & then have the Royal family seem to challenge her every step, to erase her power over respect. It was genuinely sad and disheartening. I fully agreed with Harry as he was talking about what an asset Meghan is and how it was such a missed opportunity.

The importance of feeling SAFE and SECURE: From their very beginning Harry seemed to have this intrinsic value of keeping those he loves very safe. Understandably, with seeing what happened to his mother & then seeing what was happening to Meg. From the very beginning he wanted to keep her safe. From their first trip together, “He was like, ‘I promise I’ll keep you safe.’ And I believed him.” — Meghan

NEVER BELIEVE THE LIES: “Every day you are inundated with an overexposure of advertising and mainstream media, social media and endless comparisons, distorting the truth and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking. But you don’t let them sway you.” — Prince Harry It was so crazy to see how the media was manipulated and used. It truly was mind-blowing to see the serious actions that were taken to just create a media circus of lies and how various pools of people were used. It was so sad to see how easy it was to feed Meghan to the wolves and continue to try and break her power. It definitely showed me a perspective of the media lies that was unheard of.

HAVE FAITH OVER FEAR: everything seemed to be crumbling down around them but they had faith in strangers to keep them safe. They had faith in each other to weather the storm. They had faith in the love for their family and the greater hope of the life they were seeking to live. They had faith in sharing their voice and expressing their story. They had faith that they would prevail the fear that was trying to engulf their every move.

PURPOSE driven life is important: “If we look at the world we are living in, I know it can feel challenging sometimes, but our role is to shine the light.” -Prince Harry. “With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility—to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I’m lucky enough, to inspire.” – Meghan Markle

The two of them seem to have a fire of purpose. They are sharing their voice, they are creating a different life for their children, they are doing work that gives them purpose, they are definitely driven to make a difference in all they do.

Don’t just SURVIVE, you THRIVE: It’s not enough to just survive something, right? That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive, you’ve got to feel happy.” -Meghan. That is quite a statement after seeing the series. You see her get so beat down into a place of unhealthy mental depression. You see her go through things with family that no one should go through. You see her trying to fit and find her place with a Royal family that seemingly never had the intention to include or embrace her for who she is. You saw bullying at an over-the-top unhealthy amount. You saw a girl in love with a boy who was doing her best to just stay above water, while also handling everything with grace and dignity. She was so unhappy, yet she survived brutal attacks, judgements, haters, threats, etc. Meghan showed the world her true strength. She has pushed through the survival and is doing her best to thrive and create an even better life of purpose. You go.

NOTHING CHANGES UNLESS SOMEONE HAS A VOICE: “If there was a wrong, if there is a lack of justice, and there is an inequality, then someone needs to say something. And why not me?” – Meghan Markle. Meghan had a letter taken and exploited by the media and she was determined to prove how wrong things can go. She fought for years and ended up winning and using her voice to make a point. “Women who had the strength to really stand up for something that they knew needed to be done is the best example of no matter how small you might feel, how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole, no matter what color you are, no matter what gender you are, you have a voice and you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right.” -Meghan

You may have to CREATE YOUR OWN SOLUTIONS: “You don’t sit back and wait for solutions; you take action and create them.” -Harry Harry had to make some very tough decisions for the sake of the wellness of his family, so he had to find a new path; create their own new solutions. It wasn’t easy.

Overall, it was a very informative series with a whole, new perspective on the Royal family. I fell in compassion and love with Harry and Meghan, their love story and the strength they carry in all they do. They are a great couple who is striving to do great things. That is the best we can ask from anyone. I sincerely wish them the best future together with their beloved family. I hope beautiful things for their life. I appreciate their incredible influence for good. You go.


Peace. Love and Light. xoxo -H


“Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls, our influence is determined by the quality of our being.” -Dale Turner

My heart sinks every time I talk to my brother because his life is under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol has become his out, his “honest communication,” his excuse, his best & only friend, his world away from his reality. He is almost fifty years old and literally has become an alcoholic within the last ten years. How does that even happen? He didn’t even drink before that! What!?! Conversations with him have turned family against him, his children don’t talk to him anymore and he is creating more and more of a burnt bridge to anywhere he remotely is. Slowly but surely no one will be able to reach him. It is a sad reality.

I thought about the phrase, “Under the Influence,” and it began to hit me that life is a constant influence. What influences are you allowing to rule? What influences are you living? Are you an influence for good? Are you under the influence of light or darkness? Are you under the influence of good or bad relationships? Are you under the influence of addictions, whether they are food, shopping, drugs, lying, drinking, media time, gaming, etc. It is even easier to get sucked in to various avenues of influence because the world seems to attract the weaknesses that exist within us.

Would you say that you are aware of your influence? How are you around other people? What kind of energy do you carry? Do you lift and build or pull others down? Do you judge or shame? Do you gossip or hate? What do you say to others? Are you an influence of positive or negative? Think about it.

Again, what influences are you under? What influence are you? What influences you? good or bad. Look at your life.

My brother who has a drinking problem has been in a very serious life eddy and it has been hard for anyone in our family to pull him out. He drinks and drinks, sends text that say F*** you to my dear mother and other family. He has no respect for others and it is so hard to see him spiral under such an influence. He often uses the excuse, “it makes me be honest with my feelings.” He will call me so drunk and never remember our conversation. It is so hard. But, the saddest part is how it has ruined his relationships with his children. He could be such a positive influence within their life, but he chooses alcohol every time. It is a vicious cycle of such a mind-numbing, life-stealing, heart-breaking, addictive influence.

What is influencing your life??

How are you spending your time?

Be selective of who you spend time with, what you do with your time, where you spend your money, what influences you allow in…what you are filling your life with. Every single decision you make…it is a choice. It will have a direct influence on you, whether it is good or bad. Think of it like this. Do you think you will feel better by getting lost on social media for hours or taking one of you kids out for a one-on-one dinner conversation. What about tv time—would it be better spent getting lost in a reality show of hot bodies all vying for shallow intent or a documentary where you will learn something and expand your mind? Honestly, influences are all around you, so you have to be aware and make daily decisions on how, what, where and when your influences will sway you for your life.

“In every day, there are 1440 minutes. That means we have 1, 440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” -Les Brown

“We have a responsibility to influence the people in our lives to be the best possible people they can be: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” -Henry Cloud

I have talked to my daughter numerous times about this topic. She is in her second year in college and the campus she is on has been a challenge on various levels. My daughter is a very outgoing, bubbly, positive light of a person, but the time she has been there has been very lonely. She has found people don’t have the social skills to reciprocate her positive energy. She is constantly filling up other people with kindness, compliments, connections, bringing people together, planning gatherings, etc. Only to have everything feel very one-sided. It has been very tough.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” -Napoleon Hill

We had a conversation about influence and how she needs to just keep trying to be that positive influence, to continue shining a light and doing those things that will help fuel good…to plant good seeds within those people around her. She continues to strive to just be an influence for good. Sometimes you just have to plant the seed and have patience that it will grow into beautiful things across the campus. She is a leader, so it is in her nature to influence for good. It is a great gift that she has been given. Sometimes it might be hard to open the gift, but with the right intentions—good things come.

How can you be a positive influence for others? According to the Keller Institute, There is an ever-increasing epidemic of unhappiness in the world. There are 580,000,000 people Googling “How to be happy?” People complain, find fault, reject, criticize, and ridicule. Often for no reason other than they have found this the best way to get attention. Or perhaps they believe this is their only option for action. But there is another way to get attention or to find additional options. You can get others to respond to you with excitement and eagerness. How? By using positive influence. Positive influence is the impact you have on another person (AND yourself) by pointing out strengths and virtues. It is how you are, what you do, and the power you have on others to value what is best within themselves. Positive influence helps a person be better today than they were yesterday.

“If you can’t be your authentic self, you are connecting with the wrong people, they are wasting your time and holding you back. Meaningful connections require you to be your authentic self.” -Dr Henry Cloud

Strive for authentic connections. Ask people great questions, be genuinely interested in their life/stories, seek to understand their personal journey. Find those stepping stones through care and conversation that will bring authentic connection. I am always talking to my daughter telling her that questions are the building blocks to friendships, deeper relationships, etc. She is always afraid to ask deeper questions and I continue to push her to that authentic part of her that is vulnerable to share and let others in. We are all a work in progress, but with those connections comes greater influence, respect, care and deeper authenticity as a person.

Be positive. Be aware of the energy you carry. Do people truly want to listen or be around people who complain, vent, brag, negatively gossip about others, put down people in conversations, etc. Do your best to keep your conversations in a positive direction, listen, build, be aware of the energy and influence that you are sharing. You can FEEL what you are giving off or sharing with others. Is it good or bad?

Be kind instead of needing to be right. We are human. Everyone wants to be right, but being right is always putting yourself first and not listening or being aware of another person’s needs, voice or feelings. Kindness comes in as a equal.

Lead by example. I always tell my daughter, “Be the kind of friend you would want.” Begin with you. Put good out into the world, lead with love and others will notice and follow your example.

Be exquisitely present. How you listen, they way you resist the urge to talk over someone, avoid distractions (phone, texts, other people, etc), your eye contact, the genuine care you place in your conversations will make people feel seen and heard. Your influence with them will be reflected. It is the golden rule…treat others how you would like to be treated. It goes the same for being present with someone…listen with intent, truly listen to what is being said, don’t think about your response, just BE there with the other person.

“By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before.” -Edwin Elliot

Do you. When you are freely sharing your gifts, your enthusiasm, your light….then it also allows other people to see your vulnerability and feel like they can be more themself. When people can be who they authentically are, that is when things begin to change, which leads to groups of people using their gifts and talents, which brings greater influence and bigger changes.

Share your purpose. Thousands of people today don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life.  And others believe in a life purpose but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it.  Those with positive influence feel otherwise.  They have found that there is a purpose to their life, and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “mess into a message,” or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others.  People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside – unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this time. -Forbes. Love that! mess into message.

Always be a beginner. I love this idea…to always be learning and growing…always a beginner of something. I have lived most of my life this way. I LOVE learning and have challenged myself to take various community education classes to grow. Whether it has been teaching a yoga class, taking a photography trip with strangers, meditation, writing, art, Irish dancing, Sailing, etc. There are so many things to learn in this life…that is an incredible influence, in itself. You can always be learning and loving the process of becoming better by just beginning.

Share your visions and ideas. The world only changes by the ideas and visions we can create. Nothing changes without the influence of artists, creators, visionaries, those willing to expand their thinking and share it with others.

“YOU have the power to make a favorable. impact and a positive difference in the world just by being YOU.”

Those are a few ideas to get you influencing others. But the real work begins with you and what influences you are under and how they effect your world. Look at where you are, what you want from life and be selective in the process of what you allow into your life. The people, the circumstances, the environments, the choices, the mindset, your self-talk, the way you communicate, the way you dress, the way you live…there is an influence in all things—be aware and choose the best directions for your life. It is your life. Make it the best possible adventure you can live. It begins with YOU.

xoxo Peace, Love and Light to you. -H