Find your YOUniqueness!

570fd34c4dd35c2149fcb5e0ed7879da--epic-quotes-godly-quotesMy daughter has been going to a summer camp this week at our local aquarium. She has been learning from all sorts of people–some love to scuba-dive, some love ‘cats’, some train the parrots, one guy loves toads and another guy LOVES coral.

As I have sat and listened to my daughter explain these various people, my mind truly connected on how different each and every one of us are. We each have our own strengths. We each have our own ‘loves.’ We each are drawn to various things. We are each so very unique! It was truly an aha that someone could truly become so attracted and drawn to coral. Who would have thought!! But that just shows how the world is full of variety on every level. Each and every individual is suppose to unearth their ‘YOUniqueness’! Their one and only gift to the world. The things that make them come alive.

That makes me think of this great quote:164351-don-t-ask-what-the-world-needs-quote

Here are some tips and tricks to unearth a deeper, bigger part of YOU.

Look at your passions/gifts/strengths: What do you enjoy doing? What could you do for hours and not get tired of doing it? Look at your hobbies & evaluate what you enjoy about them. Figure out what you are good at, what you enjoy, what lights you up & build on that.

Look at your strengths and build on them: I truly believe investing in yourself is a great step in moving forward in developing yourself. Take a class you are drawn to, but have been avoiding because of feeling uncomfortable. Take time to read something that will lift and build your life. Learn something new each day. Practice something you excel in each day (even if it is only 15 minutes). Take a strengths test–see link below.

Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else: You are YOU! You have your own unique qualities and characteristics, so when you compare yourself to others, you are desiring to become more like them & NOT yourself. Practice seeing YOUR unique life gifts and the great things you do.

Don’t shrink so others feel comfortable: I think society makes many of us feel like we need to wear certain things, drive certain cars, participate in all the fads, have the “best” things, etc. I think we sometimes put our own styles aside to fit in. I think we say things to fit in. I think we do things, buy things, talk about certain things to fit in. How does that serve the world?? If we all become exactly the same & shrink so we ‘fit in,’ how is that shining our uniqueness for the world to embrace?  That reminds me of another great quote–one of my favorites.

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Take a fun test to learn about your strengths & personality traits: There are all kinds of personality and strengths tests out there. Find one that sounds interesting to YOU. I have taken a couple–The Strengths Test (StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath–which helps you identify different strength qualities you have). Recently I took the free 16personalities.com test & that was a fun test to take. The tests are fun just to see how accurate you feel they are & give you additional insight to you in a different way. Try it & see what you learn about yourself.

Here is another article with some tips: Top 10 Ways to Discover your unique gift. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-berman-fortgang/personal-development_b_1925875.html

Great article with some additional ideas to help you seek your YOU.  http://www.yoursuccessprogram.com/blog/19-steps-to-becoming-your-unique-self/

A list of different ted talks to help you find your purpose: https://www.ted.com/playlists/313/talks_to_help_you_find_your_pu

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Have a BeYOUtiful day!!

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Valentine ideas for those you LOVE

Purple heart in the handsSince Valentines Day is very close I wanted to make sure to create a fun list of thoughtful gift ideas to give to the ones you LOVE.  The following are some ideas I have done for my little family over the years, so I hope there will be something that will inspire you to LOVe those special people in your life.

Have a thought or theme that inspires your gift giving: One year I cut out about fifty paper stars and wrote, “For every Star in the Heavens, there is a reason I love you.”  I then wrote things I loved about my husband and hung the stars with fishing line all around our living room. I made a huge bed on our living room floor, we ate take-out, picnic style, had a warm fire, watched movies and had a wonderful evening.

Make something that is handmade or Personalized: One year I got a glass bottle and etched a message on the outside. Inside I had a special love note…Message in a bottle.  Another year I created a sheet that had things from the year my husband was born (#1 song on the charts, News Headlines, Best selling toy, candy, funny facts from the era). Make a cd of his favorite music, buy a basketball or football and have the kids sign and decorate it, etch a frame or a pair of goblets, beer or coffee mug, you get the idea. Make it personal and from the heart.

Share all the reasons you love them: Scream it! Sing it! write little notes and gift them in a jar, write them on a poster and hang it on the bedroom door. Whatever you do…Tell them you LOVE them.

Give them something special: Is there a hobby or collection they have? Mu husband had a father who collected toy cast iron cap guns, so he inherited the collection from his father. One year I found a small pistol to add to his collection. My husband also has a love of western movies (prob watching them with his father as a kid), so this year I found some fun replica coins from a brothel house (good for one night) & I am going to add sweet notes with each one & gift them in a neat jar with a good, western movie classic.

Do something sentimental: Make a Q & A journal to do together, then each evening or specific night of the week take some time, enjoy a special dinner and take the time to fill in the journal. Another idea that I have done that my husband loved—his mother’s cooking!! I took a day and went to his mother’s house and she shared all her secret family recipes, which I then put into a personalized cookbook with pictures, quotes and the special ingredients to all her yummy goodness.

Give a themed gift: What does your love enjoy doing? My husband enjoys triathlon racing, so one gift I gave him was a runners magazine, a waterproof iPod, a water bottle filled with hershey kisses, packaged in a nice workout bag with a towel. He also likes to BBQ so another gift I gave him was a nice set of BBQ utensils, a personalized apron and a grilling cookbook.  Make sure, no matter what you give, that you add some cheesy note to make them smile…something like…”Your Hot”  “You really know how to spice things up!” Have fun with it.

Make something yummy: Make a night of his/her favorite recipes, gift their favorite chocolate covered strawberries or make them a special batch of carmel pretzels. Whatever they love to eat, take the time to make it memorable.

The following are some fun gift ideas to make Valentines special for the Kiddos

Quality time: Make a Q & A journal to do with your kids. Take the time each week or each evening to talk, listen, and ask questions. This will be guaranteed quality time, with the questions leading to answers and stories that will be memorable.

Fun gift ideas:

Nail polish or lipgloss (in shades of pink and red) wrapped in a cute bag with a note that says “You shine.”

Personalized PJ’s or T-shirts: Use fabric paints, Tye dye or use iron on sparkles to make something personalized and all your own. A gift that will be appreciated.

Charm me: pick a cute charm with your child in mind, add a little necklace chain or bracelet and start a special charm collection for them. Add a little note why the charm reminded you of them. Every once in a while surprise them with a new charm that has a special meaning.

Give them something handmade: hair accessories, quilt, scarf, hat, a beaded animal, etc. Something handmade always says it is made with the heart.

Start something new: Give your child a fun apron with a special cooking lesson and coupons that include: make a cake together, make pancakes for Sat breakfast, make a spaghetti dinner for the fam… or you could give them a little garden kit with a package of seeds and a pot they can decorate.

Boo: the cutest plush dog. I am a sucker for stuffed animals, but I think this one would make any child smile. To personalize it, make a bead collar, add your child’s name or bandana. I got one of these darling dogs when my daughter was in the hospital, we took it home and beaded a collar and leash. It is adorable.  Here is the link for it on Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Gund-Boo–Worlds-Cutest-Dog/dp/B006U4SHMS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359059855&sr=8-1&keywords=Boo

One last FUN idea:  Make a fun fort out of a sheet and personalize it for your kids with iron on patches. Then the week of Valentines, put it up and surprise them. Have a fun pizza party in the fort. To make it extra special you could buy a small lantern & attach a note that says “you shine.” or “you light up my life.” Another fun detail, make a cute fleece pillow and attach a note that says “sweet dreams.”  It would be a Valentines to remember.

It’s the memories that count the most, so put some thought into the little, loving gestures you do for the ones you LOVE.  Hope these ideas help.

Good luck in spreading HAPPINESS and LOVE   -Heather

Seize the day…every blessed moment

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We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  ~Thornton Wilder

The fragility of life seems to be ringing all around me. The many things we seemingly take for granted…so many sobering stories hit me with such a need to be grateful for every little detailed gift we receive each day. We don’t think about hugging our kids, or kissing them in their bed & not a hospital bed. We don’t think about the gift of strong knees that can run or a happy outlook that keeps our day filled with joy.

These are the stories that have been ringing in my ear the last couple of days. Maybe they will help you stop for a moment and ponder the many blessings we take for granted…

Friends and neighbors were all praying, cheering, texting and conveying their need and support for Justin Bieber to visit a local seven-year-old girl who is struggling with her third round of Leukemia. Everyone waited in anticipation to receive a picture of Justin with this little girl in the hospital the night of his concert. Thank you Justin!                       It was a very sobering thought looking at this little girl with sunken eyes, dark circles, life slowly drifting away and thinking about what her mother must be going through in trying to give comfort, hope and faith for her daughter’s young life. I wondered how I would handle my nine-year-old grappling with such an illness. I thank God for my healthy daughter and send prayers of hope to this young family.

The very next day I heard another story about a woman with two young children who had got a babysitter to go on a bike ride one afternoon with her husband. She had a small bike wreck, her helmet had a dent the size of an orange, that left her paralyzed from the neck down. I instantly thought of the heartache you would feel not being able to hug your children, to wrap your arms around your husband, to skip down a path with your little ones, to make them breakfast, to hold a book and read them stories. My heart broke for this women, for the very thought of what she could and could not do, the depression she would deal with, the moments where you would miss your life while striving to embrace your new existence. How hard it must be to embrace an existence that leaves you immobile, fragile, feeling worthless and unable to do so many things. I can’t imagine. I pray for her family.

Then, if that was not enough heartache, my little neighbor came over and shared a story about a funeral she had just been to. It was for a mother of six children who had gone in for knee surgery. She returned home. One day she began to feel ill, yelled to her son to get his father. She looked at her husband and told him she felt like she was dying and passed out. She had a blood clot get into her lungs and she was gone. The family was left to miss her.

You just never know when or how or what will be your time. These stories shook me to my core and in sharing them I hope they give you a moment of sobering existence into the charmed life you have at this moment. Embrace your children, kiss your loved ones, dance in the kitchen, go outside, sing, smell the fresh air, breathe, yell, play, live your life to its best. Take each moment and cherish it, find every happiness possible in the little things that make life big!

Live your best day!! your best moment!

God bless these families in all they do. -Heather

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal.  It’s a way to live.                         ~Attributed to Jacqueline Winspear

A beautiful gift to give

The holidays should not focus on the opening of the gifts, but opening our hearts to those we care about.

The process.

If you can give your child one gift…give the gift of your loving words, your prayers for their life, your belief in who they are and the beautiful potential you see in them. Writing a loving letter is a perfect way to express all these things. It is a gift they will cherish and have the rest of their lives. Write as often as you feel necessary (once a year, every six months, as a Christmas present, on their birthday, a special occasion, etc.) You choose the timeline that fits for you.

A few different style ideas:

1. You can just write a letter describing things you love about your child, special memories, their favorite toys, movies, songs, books at this particular age. Include funny things they say, activities they are participating in, how they are doing in school, events they have enjoyed attending, their friendships, their dreams, etc.

2. You can also put a scrapbook heart in the center and branch off of it specific details you love about your child and then write a letter below. Add small pictures to the page (you can have mini pictures 2×3 printed at Walgreens–probably anywhere) that would add to your letter. You can decorate the page in colorful markers, add favorite song lyrics, quotes, words, memories, etc.

Share the Love.

There is no question of the special bond that ties a child and mother, but these letters would be a beautiful gift to anyone. Write one to your spouse, a friend, mother, grandmother, Heavenly Father or to youself (you are important and need to feel loved—even by your own words)

Take the time to share feelings, life lessons, thoughts and inspiration, gratitude, gifts of this life. The people who are part of your life add the little details, the conversations, the heartache, the experiences…they are the witness to your life. Sharing with them the love you have within, makes living more valuable. It creates a full circle of love that continues to grow, sharing in love and leaving letters of remembrance. It is a beautiful gift.

Happy gift giving. Would LOVE to hear about the gift you love giving during the holiday season.