Spring Cleaning for the Soul 2

woman-reading-in-hammockNEW TO YOU: Growth, Challenge, Change.

When most people decide they want or need to personally grow they look to those around them to learn from and then they also dive into the pages of good books. Reading has always been a well-spring for me personally. You can find educated people, people who have struggled and share their stories, adventurous people, people you can learn anything from. Books are a good starting point.

I also believe in just reaching out. If there is someone you want to learn something from–email them. The internet is a gift in that way, that you can connect with anyone. You know I have reached out to  Catherine Johnson(who did Mamma Mia (she was WONDERFUL), shared musical ideas with  Mika(never heard from him or his team), gone straight to book authors for ideas or museums for direction) Reach out. Learn. Grow.

ACTION: I have done my share of coaching classes, retreats, actual coaching of clients, but this tool I came across and thought you may benefit from. Its the ‘GROW’ tool:  This may help you in any life decision. Go for it!

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” -E Butterworth

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largeBEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE & OUT.  Embrace and love your body. It is the most amazing thing you will ever own.

“You are an original, an individual, a masterpiece. Celebrate that; don’t let your uniqueness make you shy. Don’t be someone other than the wonder you are. Every star is important to the sky.”  -Douglas Pagels

ACTION: “When you look at yourself in a mirror, do you like what you see, or do you judge your body and use the word to tell yourself lies? If you believe that you are not attractive enough, then you believe a lie, and you are using the word against yourself, against the truth.”  -Migual Angel Ruiz

“Your body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.” -BKS Iyengar

How do you take care of your body: 

Take time to exercise

Make sleep a priority–7 to 8 hours at least

Eat well and savor it

Listen to pain

Slow down

Keep a journal because it is therapeutic

Read because it is relaxing and is also a good escape

Have personal self time

Unplug

Talk to yourself in a positive manner

Positive affirmations

Play. Do things you truly enjoy doing

Learn something new because it not only stimulates your brain, but it invigorates your life

Dont forget to hydrate! You need at least 8 x 8oz glasses

 

3ekmbaSERVE

“We rise by lifting others.” -Robert Ingersoll. I LOVE this thought & it rings so true. Think about a time when you did something/anything for another person….YOU were lifted. My sweet daughter was running into the gas station to get me a drink & she always holds the door open for people who are coming and going. She lights up & one man gave a sweet gesture in return. She went up to the cashier to pay & he jumped in to pay. She lit up & he gave her a fist bump. She almost skipped out of the gas station & lit up as she shared the details of the story. Something so small (holding a door open) lit up his day and hers. We truly do rise by doing even little things for others.

“Spread LOVE everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving HAPPIER.” -Mother Teresa

ACTION: 

Seek /create opportunities to serve.

Be the reason someone SMILES today.

Send someone an encouraging note.

Pay it forward. Be generous in opening a door, allowing someone to go in front of you in line, get your mom a drink. smile.

Ask God if there is some way you can serve another.

 

ed4a6334ee35d635282ee8e090e1f577PLAY. FIND JOY. BELIEVE in MAGIC…be young at heart

” The heart that LOVES is always young.” -unknown.    “To a young heart, everything is fun.” -Charles Dickens.    “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age.” -Aldus Huxley.

ACTION: 

READ: Take time to read your favorite classic stories.

TINKER: Figure out how something works.

PLAY: Skip, Explore, Create, Be silly, climb a tree, do bubbles, collect rainbows, daydream

HAVE A PICNIC: eat outside, something you loved as a child. (chicken nuggets, yogurt, cheese puffs, etc), fly a kite, play a lawn game, look at the clouds, lay on a blanket.

CREATE: Make a card or something hand made and gift it to someone. Be CREATIVE: Doodle, dress-up, make-believe, have theme days/parties, tell a tale w voices.

COOK: Learn something new & get messy.

IMAGINE: use your creativity & make something colorful, bright and imaginative.

GO OUTSIDE: throw rocks, paint a rock, skip down a path, make something from nature, take a picture, breathe in the fresh air, play in the dirt, shoot an arrow.

SMILE & LAUGH: tell jokes, watch a funny movie.

DANCE: be free to move & play your favorite tunes.

NAP: Take a nap & not care what time it is.

Be CURIOUS: want to learn about something–stop & ask. Read up on a topic or ask an expert. learn, grow.

WONDER: See the magic everywhere. Life is awesome!

 

8778035b1067fcd00d00070776aac23bREMEMBER YOU ARE LOVE

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GREAT STORY

6eb60d5fcde77af6bd352606ef09bb3eI have been reading Pam Grout’s newest book, “Thank & Grow Rich” which has been a great read. THANK YOU, Pam!! She has some great stories and I wanted to share one that truly shares how money cannot buy happiness.

I think it is easy for all of us to think if we had more money, a bigger house, a better car…we would be finally HAPPY. Even though we have heard time and time again by the richest of rich that money doesn’t buy happiness, we still wonder. Reading stories like the following reminds us of the reality of what is truly important. Enjoy!

Here is the story from Pam’s book…

The only thing the one-percenters have over the average Joes is this: They already know that accumulating money doesn’t bring lasting happiness. They’ve already figured out that having a gazillion dollars in the bank doesn’t produce the profound contentment after which the rest of us lust.

Take Ken Behring, for example. Growing up in Depression-era Wisconsin in a house without central heat or hot water, Behring fell for the lie that he’d be happy if only he were rich. As a young boy, he mowed lawns, caddied at golf courses, delivered newspapers.

He had spunk and drive and eventually became an uber-successful real estate developer. By the time he was 27, he was a millionaire. And he got all the stuff he thought he wanted: a big house, a boat, fancy cars.

When that didn’t bring any real happiness, he tried “better stuff”: bigger houses, a bigger yacht, fancier cars.

Eventually, that began to reek like the other stuff. Maybe he was going for the “wrong stuff”; maybe he should try “different stuff.” Maybe buying the Seattle Seahawks would make him happy.

Nope, foiled again. He eventually sold his professional football team and started hunting in Africa, flying over in his private jet. When he could, he’d take supplies, books and medicine for the local guides and their families.

LDS philanthropies (the charitable branch of the Church of Latter-day Saints) heard about his trips and asked if he’d be willing to make a detour, to drop off supplies to Kosovo war refugees. After loading up 15 tons of canned meat, they noticed extra room and added six wheelchairs.

While in Romania, Behring, who passed out the wheelchairs himself, was grabbed by one of the young refugees, who had stepped on a land mine and lost his legs. “Don’t leave just yet,” said the grateful young boy, who refused to let go of Behring’s leg. “I want to memorize your face so when we meet again in heaven, I can thank you one more time.”

“It was the first time I ever felt real joy,” says Behring, who has since given away nearly a million bright red wheelchairs. “It changed my life. This [charitable work] is the greatest thing I have ever achieved in my life.”

The good news is that because our financial system us an antiquated cultural story, it can be changed.

It starts with a new definition of wealth: the ease and freedom to be generous. The ease and freedom to pursue your dreams. The ease and freedom to live for the upliftment of all creation.

Choosing the joy and gratitude frequency generates a different kind of capital, one that feeds the soul, one that serves your real desires–to be of service, to be a channel for love, to create insanely beautiful things.

 

I LOVE THAT STORY. I hope anyone who reads this (or her book) will walk away feeling that life is about a higher purpose and that we are the instruments to channel the good things of this world. I hope we can all begin to see the larger scale of humanity and the direct connections we all have and begin to use our gifts and talents to touch the lives of others.

Peace and Love to you today.  -H

Look Outside…of YOURSELF

Homeless-2-Ian_Spence_largeLook outside…of yourself!

We get so use to seeing what we don’t have, wanting things that other people have, sometimes pulling a tantrum because we don’t get the $45 moccasins we have to have!! After watching my daughter struggle not getting her way I jumped at the opportunity to get her out of herself and help another. We were circling a round-about & saw a man standing on the street corner playing his guitar.

I had seen him there the day before, but looked away & tried not to see him– often we look away trying to avoid the moment of judgement, the heartache, the wonder if he is honest, what he’ll do with the money, etc. We hate that part of ourselves, so it is easier to pretend it is not there.

I looked at the man playing his guitar, he was wearing a yellow t-shirt & a ratty, old straw hat. He was playing with his heart and soul. I looked at my husband & said, “let’s go by him some lunch.” My husband replied irritated, “okay, if you guys want to.”  I was a little taken back that my husband seemed put out by the request, but I knew getting out of yourself and doing something nice for someone—helps everyone!!! We grabbed him a combo at Arby’s & I knew this would be an excellent opportunity for my daughter to forget about not getting what she wanted and thinking of someone else. I looked at my little girl & handed her the bag. She lit up & jumped out of the car. She ran over to the man. His face lit up & he smiled a big, child-like smile. He was so gracious & made her feel appreciated. I jumped out of the car & ran over to catch a glimpse of this old soul, this man who played with heart. I wanted to hear his voice, to see his smile, to understand his story for even a moment. He explained how he was trying to make ends meet before the snow hits & then he has a few jobs lined up. He told us how he just loves to play & it brings him such joy. You could feel and see his passion. He looked at us & with enthusiasm said, “Would you like to hear one of my songs?”  I smiled “we would love it.” My daughter and I just watched as his hands began to finger the strings & his quiet voice shared a story of heartbreak, hookers and love lost. My husband was now getting out of our car to hear the song. When he was done he explained how all his songs are his personal stories. He said he writes about many of the young girls he meets who have been beaten, abused and broken.  I replied, “I bet you get to see your fair share out here on the street.” He humbly agreed.  He then began to strum his guitar quietly while he told us that we could see his story on Vimeo. He thanked us again & began to play. He smiled his big smile & wished us well. He began to strum and sway to the story he was about to tell.

We climbed back in our car and everything seemed better, there was a perspective of gratitude, a humility of following your heart to help someone & knowing that guidance was on purpose. I looked at my little girl,  “See, everyone has a story.”  She smiled.
We waved and honked at our new friend, “The General.”

On our way home I did find his story on vimeo & I shared it with my parents. Later that day they also saw the General & stopped to give a little bit of themselves. Spreading the love truly does have a ripple affect.

I want to share his story with you, so whenever you see someone in need you will think…EVERYONE has a story to tell. Hopefully we will listen & come out a little better for it. Love to you.

Here is the story of The General   

An Easter Aha!

ImageI was reading my young daughter a story of how the Easter bunny arrived into the folklore and magic of this holiday season. It was an idea that bloomed from the forest floor, Spring had arrived, but the children did not notice, so the animals of the forest decided there needed to be someone who would bring a little spring surprise to the children to let them know that Spring had come once again. Here is the link to the story if you would like to read it: http://www.fairystory.org/classic-western-fairy-tales/the-easter-rabbit.html

This reminded me of how everything yearns to be praised and appreciated. The forest wanted to see and feel the delight of the children dancing around the forest floor, smelling the flowers, enjoying the lush, green grass and the new birth that was in abundance. 

It is the little things we seek to be praised and appreciated for. I heard a powerful thought on a podcast recently with Sara Ban Breathnach, she was talking about how if we are created in God’s image, then He too yearns for praise and appreciation, (this was an aha for me) for us to notice the little gifts he grants us daily. He wants us to find wonder and possibility in every single day. To have gratitude for all that is given. 

This Easter I want you to ask yourself and your family—What can we do this Easter to bring our family together to celebrate and rejoice in His name, to remember the truth of the season, to be grateful for the colors, for the spring blooms that are beginning to pop out of the earth, to look up into the beautiful sky and see the hues, the warm sun, the colors that are echoed in the details of Easter. There are so many little details that Easter brings, tiny designs etched in lace, the chocolate bunnies that take us back to our childhood, the textures of grass gently tucked into a sacred basket, small eggs in a multitude of colors to remind us of the new birth of spring, a new day. 

A Easter Bunny may not seem appropriate for such a special holiday, but if we can see the symbol in a new light, a beloved creature that gathers details of a new day, a blessed day that is a gift from a God that loves us, as a reminder of His love, then we can embrace this cotton-tailed friend and see it in a new perspective…of Love, Wonder, Delight and a special offering to remind us of Him. We can then take this special reminder and give thanks and praise in all we do. 

So here are some additional ideas to gather your family together and make this Easter even more special…

Resurrection Eggs: Last Easter we did the story of Benjamin’s Box and had a hunt for resurrection eggs. It was a very special story tied into the special eggs. My family loved it! You can either make the eggs yourself (scripture quotes with small symbolic things held within a plastic egg–there are a variety of versions. Just google “Resurrection Eggs” & find one that suits your family) or there are also pre-done eggs you can buy (Amazon has a set by FamilyLife Publishing for $12.99)

Legend of the Sand Dollar: This year I am going to read The Legend of the Sand Dollar since we found many sand dollars along the coast this past summer.  I have not read the story, but I will let you know how it is once I receive it. It is an Inspirational Story of Hope for Easter. Bought it on Amazon along with a basket of sand dollars that I am going to give to my nieces and nephews after sharing the story. 

Easter Lily: gather your family around and explain the meaning behind the Easter Lily. There are many stories associated with the Easter Lily: One says the shape of the Easter Lily looks like a trumpet shape and is a symbol of God the Father calling his Son Jesus home. Another story said these Lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. It is said that the lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow. 

One personal interesting fact—this summer on our trip along the Oregon Coast down to the Redwoods we came across fields where the largest producers of Easter Lilies were grown. It was amazing, miles and miles of fields that then reached up into the forests of the mighty Redwood trees, filled with towering Cathedrals, protective boughs, breath taking silence and then you came out of the forest into a town that was dark, felt ugly and held one of California’s prisons. It was like polar opposites—Beauty, Light, Peace, Cathedral trees into a dark, ugly land.  Interesting.

Have a special meal: If you have a family tradition, then enjoy it. BUT, don’t be afraid to go out. Last year we were not home for Easter, so we enjoyed a beautiful brunch at a local restaurant. At first I couldn’t believe what we were doing, but I was happily surprised to see families together, some dressed up in their Easter best, enjoying their time together. We enjoyed every minute and every yummy, little detail.  The best detail—being together.

Spend part of the day in service: Serve Easter dinner at a homeless shelter, make cookies and share them with an elderly home, make fun, decorated, edible eggs and hand them out to the homeless, give an Easter Lily to someone who is elderly or in a home because of the symbolic hope and life it brings, maybe you can take someone who is alone a special Easter meal, have your child make a special Easter gift to give to her teachers at church & school. Make handmade Easter cards and send them to friends and family. 

Resurrection Cookies: I came across this recipe idea, so I thought I would add the idea for anyone interested in making them with your kids or making them and giving them as a special gift to someone.  Here is the link: http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/kids/resurrection-cookies-printable-recipe/

Make a Easter gratitude tree: I usually do this around Thanksgiving, but Easter would work too. Make or purchase a wire tree that you can hang the small, colorful wood eggs on. Have each member of your family pick a few of their favorite colors & with a small sharpie write something they are grateful for—a beautiful gift they can praise and appreciate for Easter. Gather everyone around and have them share each one before putting them on the tree.

Dress it up & remember: Usually Easter involves new spring dresses and new ties, so make sure you take a special moment with your family, find a beautiful spot in your home or yard and take a picture to remember the moment.  Then give every member of your family a piece of cardboard & have them write down 3-5 things that either symbolize them at this point in their life, a personal motto or quote or things they are grateful for. Have them write them down, decorate the cardboard & take single pictures of each person. You will see them & what was important to them at this point in their life. It will be a fun memory to cherish.

“For I remember it is Easter morn, and life and love and peace are all new born.”            -Alice Freeman Palmer

I hope you enjoyed these ideas. I hope they get you thinking of things you could do to make this Easter memorable. Have a beautiful weekend with your families.  -Heather

1 Act of Random Kindness makes a difference

Image

Hello and hope all is well in your world!! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite weeks in the whole year…RAK (Random Acts of Kindness week). Each year the organization randomactsofkindness.org has a week that inspires people to break away from the norm and share kindness in the world. It is usually a week in February (the month of love–fitting). This year it is FEBRUARY 11th through the 17th!! So I wanted to share some ideas and getting you thinking and planning to do this with those you love. Make it a fun event—plan for it & share it with friends & family, get out and make a difference in your community, your neighborhood, your family, your world!

I was lovingly reminded that this RAK week was coming up as I was watching the sweet movie “Evan Almighty” with my little daughter. It reminded me as Morgan Freeman spelled out the words ARK…1 ACT of RANDOM KINDNESS will make a difference.

So, in the spirit of LOVE, HAPPINESS and making a DIFFERENCE, here are some thought and ideas to enjoy your RAK week…

If you have read my blog you know I have a nine-year-old daughter who is an only child and one of my greatest fears is that she is going to grow up and be selfish!! Especially after reading an article about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who was an only child and personally admitted how selfish he had been. Every red flag went up, Am I doing enough to help this little person think of others??? 

Ever since she was little we have done random acts of kindness…made brownies for the fire department, created hand made valentines for a local old folks home, handed out teddy bears to crossing guards, bought cookies for the McDonald’s employees…

I am always trying to think of ways to get our little family out of ourselves and doing something for someone else. Hopefully we are heading in the right direction, it is an ongoing, loving lesson for our lives. When we think of others, the world is better for it! Our family is better for it!

This last year (during RAK week ) was especially fun because we got others to celebrate RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) with some neighbor girls.  We made a 15 foot banner filled with kindness ideas kids could do & we hung it at their school. In the true spirit of RAK week I made a flyer and sent it to a large local email list in hopes that people would feel the giving spirit & it worked! I received a call from one of my neighbors (that I did not know very well) and she was filled with enthusiasm at the idea of RAK week!

She expressed how her 38th birthday was this particular week and that she decided she was going to take her family and do 38 random acts of kindness in celebration of her birthday!!.

Outstanding idea!

I saw her the next week at a school function and she lit up!! It was soo wonderful to see someone so excited to share in their experience. She told me how they handed out quarters to kids at a local hamburger restaurant so they could use the candy machines. They bought food for the people behind them in the drive-thru, they took a bunch of water bottles and handed them out at a local rec center…the enthusiasm was infectious. I loved it!! Then she got really quiet and she said, “but the best part of it all was that my son (who I struggle with) truly got in the spirit of giving. He is kinder today, he was writing notes to our family, he was moved more than anyone by this experience.”

That was the best part! She even said that he wanted to do the same thing for his birthday!

What a beautiful thing!!

If we can do one thing for our kids…it is to be an example of love, get out and do something random for someone else. Teach them to write thank you cards, help them each week think of some way to serve someone else. Make a dinner for someone in need, take a batch of brownies to someone you don’t know, say thank you to EVERYONE! It is truly the little things that make a big difference.

Here are some additional ideas from the RAK website and other sources:  Clean up graffiti, Donate used books to a library, Give care packs to the homeless (or a blanket), Share your talent of music with the elderly, Help someone with yard work or snow removal, Let someone go in line in front of you, Write a note of appreciation to a teacher, Mentor a child who needs a friend, Pay for a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks, Return shopping carts, Thank your police or fire department with a fun note or treat, Write a letter or email to someone who made a difference in your life, Visit an animal shelter, Take a bag of dog or cat food to your local shelter, pick up trash at the beach or nearby nature trail or neighborhood, Send a nice note thanking a soldier, Be a designated driver, Give someone flowers, Visit someone who is sick, Collect canned food and give it to your local food bank, Donate $1 to your child’s favorite charity, Start a charity day at your work & give the money to a good cause, Help someone with their groceries, Give hugs, Leave a nice note for your local mail carrier, Thank your child’s bus driver or crossing guard, Plant a tree, Give compliments, Send something inspiring to those you have on your email list, Be a nice driver on the road, Take shorter showers this week, SMILE, Start a piggy bank for a cause, Share something yummy with coworkers, Say thank you to your school principal and office help, Tell your parents (or send a letter or email) how much you appreciate them & everything they’ve done for you, Let your staff leave a little early from work & thank them for all they do, give flowers to be delivered with meal delivery programs, Make valentine hearts for the elderly home, Give someone a “heart attack” on their door (bunch of paper hearts that say nice things), Invite someone new in the neighborhood over for dinner, Have your child take a bunch of fun stickers or suckers and hand them out when the final bell rings & remind everyone that it is RAK week, genuinely thank your waitress for doing such a good job, make and share kindness bookmarks or give them to the school library to give away, Leave a $20 in an envelope and leave it for someone in need, give freely, spread LOVE everywhere you can…

-Spread Love, Heather

–not sure who to credit the picture, but thank you.