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Relax

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Relaxing is not always a time to do nothing. When I come home with the intention to relax, I find myself looking for things to do that I enjoy; such as, craft projects, reading a book, or even a simple sewing project. When I mention to people how I spend a relaxing day or evening, they are quick to point out that if I spend time sewing or working on craft projects I am not relaxing. They view these activities as work. Actually, my idea of relaxation is doing things that I enjoy–things that make me smile, think, and unwind.

Relaxation doesn’t always have to be about napping or resting. Sometimes it is just taking a break and seeking out something you haven’t taken the time to Enjoy lately.

Relax and let your creative mind take charge.

Relax. Enjoy. Refresh.

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Happy Holidays

hope 2Keeping it simple does not mean the holiday can’t be festive and enjoyable; in fact, a holiday filled with simple, relaxing events can prove to be empowering. Getting caught up in the excitement and anticipation of any event can cause some anxiety, but if care is taken to minimize spending, you feel more satisfied at the end of the season. Spend the holiday enjoying each other’s company. Share good times—especially memories that live on forever. The best holiday joys are the ones that cannot be contained in wrapping paper.

Be sure to remind family, friends, and guests that their presence is much more valuable than the presents.

Remember to do your part to create a good season for yourself, and for those around you.

Happy Holidays to all!

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008The past is a story that was begun in our childhood years. It is etched in the memory from a child’s perspective. In order to gain the power that the past holds for your present and future, you need to reevaluate bad or troubling memories–from an adult perspective. You might have to go back several times. The great news is that you will be enlightened, inspired, and empowered. Avoid holding on to unhappy memories; they will surely form an unhappy present and future. The adult version of the story will help you to see yourself and your family in a new light. The best way to release yourself from the past is to review your story. You will laugh, you might cry, but you will feel a renewed sense of admiration for the people who raised you and protected you in the best way they knew. Move forward with the positive aspects, which are the memories that will help you to grow. These memories will also give you a better perspective for enhancing your parenting skills. A child’s mind could never have found logic in why parents protected and cared for us the way they did. When I became a parent, it all made sense–well, most of it.

My heart goes out to those who have overcome, and built stable lives in spite of troubling events that may have occurred in their past.

(I published this blog post in August of 2009. I inserted it in a piece I wrote later titled Parenting for a Change)
Image: Print Artist

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You’re a Winner

008Many challenges in our lives have proven to be bigger than we may have envisioned. The challenges we encounter do not always reveal the rewards at the onset, so we become fearful. I believe that if the prize was immediately known, we would probably move forward fearlessly.

Sometimes we take on challenges that are outside of our strength capacity. I believe we do this because we instinctively know that there is a reserve of strength. When winning was the only option we would accept, we went as far as we could, then a little more. Trust that the reserve of strength and determination is ever present to support us in all aspects of our lives. Learn to challenge it—that’s how winners win and then win again.

A sure way to reveal the winner in you is to chase fears away; the best way to do that is to start celebrating your victory in the mist of doubtful thoughts. Once your fears and doubts have been dispelled, the path is wide open for you to forge ahead to victory.

You’re a winner!  Get ready to celebrate!

(Originally posted Nov. 2011-thegdrblog.com)

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Interaction Is Smart

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I am amazed to see the number of parents who give infants and children their smart phones, as a way to settle the child down. Even though there are numerous entertaining apps that will hold the child’s attention, verbal interaction should still be maintained.

Many children are content playing with smart phones and computers. Most can go for extended periods without interaction with other children or adults. The educational apps that are available for young children and infants can give them a head-start on basic learning. Meanwhile, the parents get a chance to complete tasks like housework, shopping, homework, or for just taking a much deserved break.

There were no smart phones when my child was young; therefore, while shopping, he would attack a box of cookies or a sugary drink. I knew I would pay later when he started bouncing off the walls. Some parents still resort to the “shopping cart buffet” method of keeping their young children quiet and content during shopping trips. Those parents are not always willing to give up the phone—because they are talking on it, and cannot be distracted, for fear of missing what “he” or “she” has said.(aka, the latest gossip) So the child ends up overeating, hyper, and sick from sampling whatever can be easily opened in the shopping cart.

Parents will do whatever it takes to keep their children quiet; they do not want to be bothered while they complete their tasks. Whether at home, out running errands or out for a stroll in the park, most parents rely on their smart phones to keep children busy—and quiet.

Here are a few helpful suggestions to ensure that children learn the value of interaction and communication:

Make it a point to engage in a conversational exchange with children. (Even babies will respond)

Interact with them to discuss the games or apps they played on the phone or computer.

Encourage children to talk about what they just did; ask them to explain how to operate the game or app.

Create active conversations about how things work in the home. (Appliances, electronics, television)

The interaction created will help children develop communication skills and logic when they attempt to explain a process. This does not have to be a difficult task for the child. Parents just have to fill in the gaps to keep the child talking. The fun part is watching them gain confidence as they see how the parent is relying on them to understand how things work. If time allows, this type of interaction should be practiced on a daily basis.

Technology has given us lots of gadgets that allow us to communicate without interaction. Have fun with them, share them, and use them to teach. Above all, make sure you find ways to use them to encourage children to communicate the old fashion way—by talking, by answering, and by elaborating.

Interaction is smart; show your children how it is done.

(I came up with the content for this blog post after observing parents on outings with their young children.)

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008It is inspiring to see that more and more people are becoming aware of the great benefits of healthy eating. Adopting healthy eating habits should be an adventure, a personal quest. No one has to be informed of your pending project until you are sure it is what you want. Once you are well on your journey, and have overcome some of the challenges, you might want to share your triumphs with friends and family. Set your sights on the things that will keep you on a successful path, as well as ways to stay motivated and focused.

As with any lifestyle change or adjustment, your doctor should be consulted to ensure that your lifestyle adjustments are right for you. You may be advised to participate in an exercise routine that coincides with the new diet. If your doctor provides a meal planner, follow it, but learn to be creative in food preparation. The internet has many food sites; you will be enlightened on ways to spice up healthy eating.

Even though the weight management companies are available for individuals who need help in their quest to an improved lifestyle, it would be more rewarding if you rely on your determination and willpower. It is gratifying, as well as motivational when you accomplish goals on your own. No matter which route you decide to take, set your sights on success.

As your adventure unfolds and a healthier you emerges, invite friends and family to join you. Celebrate your efforts, and start someone else on the path to their healthier lifestyle. The more the healthier!

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A Plea for Better Days

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Grant us, young and old, the ability to hold our tempers.
Help us to pause long enough to think before we make costly or fatal mistakes.
Above all, guide parents to instill morals and ethical values in their children

while they are young.

Grant parents the wisdom to become better role models for their children.
It is time for us to invest in the task of building communities;
The only way to accomplish that is to invest in our children.

Smile down on us.

Grant us the power to change the trend; young lives are being taken, and families are being torn apart.
Give us the strength and wisdom to create better days.

I send my plea out to the UNIVERSE.

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My Friend Gypsy

imageBlue van 11I have always had a problem finding my way around; it doesn’t matter whether I am walking, driving, or on public transportation, I manage to get lost. However, when I purchased a GPS navigation device, I thought my wandering days would be a thing of the past. Most of my trips are by automobile, so I looked forward to the possibility of driving to places I had previously avoided. I decided to call my GPS unit Gypsy. She would be my best friend forever; I would never leave home without her.

Several of my friends commended me for making such a wise purchase; so, I thought it odd that they told me to keep a map in the car. If I could read a map, I probably would not need a GPS, which is the acronym for global positioning system. Furthermore, having a map, for me, just meant I would spend more time being lost—while attempting to read the map. I mounted the unit in a special place on my dashboard. Actually, it was the most convenient place, but I wanted Gypsy to think I had gone out of my way to make sure she was safe and comfortable; after all, we would be taking lots of fun trips together. I know this sounds strange, but over the years, electronic gadgets have actually taken on personalities; therefore, I thought it was ok to talk about my GPS as though it were a person.

My first trip with Gypsy was to my mom’s house. I knew how to get there, but I wanted to hear the cheerful voice that would be directing me to places that I, previously, had not dared to go. After I entered my mom’s address, Gypsy’s friendly voice began to give me directions. The route we took was not the one I was used to, but no problem; I was confident that Gypsy would get me to mom’s house, using the best route. After a short time, and a few turns, I heard the announcement that I had arrived at my destination; surprisingly, I was in front of my own house. Of course, I assumed that the device had malfunctioned. I rechecked the information I had entered; everything looked fine. Then I figured out what the problem was—I had, inadvertently, entered my own address. With a quick, smooth motion, I turned the unit off. I did not want my new best friend to know that I had made such a dumb mistake; I resumed the trip to my mom’s house, without any assistance from Gypsy. I suddenly thought of a science fiction movie I had seen, where the computer took control of its operator. After thinking about the possibility of Gypsy taking over my car, I actually laughed out loud.

Even though I felt good about having the GPS to help me navigate to unfamiliar places, my fear of getting lost did not go away. In fact, I was afraid that Gypsy would direct me to a location, and then not know how to find its way out. I became so paranoid that I would not listen to the directions from Gypsy; unfortunately, on those occasions, I got lost. Of course, when that happened, I would wait for Gypsy to recalculate and put me back on course.

The GPS unit came with a number of useful features; the one that appealed to me most was the trip simulator. I thought, if I used it to preview the route, I would feel at ease when it was time to make the actual trip. That was not the case; unfortunately, after going through the route on the simulator, I became confused and nervous. On more than one occasion, I cancelled the intended trip because… yes, I became paranoid about making the trip. Nevertheless, I was confident that Gypsy would, eventually, make my trips fun and relaxing; therefore, I did not give up. I was determined to start following the directions exactly as they were given. I just needed to relax, listen, and allow Gypsy to be my guide.

Another feature on the GPS unit, allows the user to pick a vehicle that would be displayed on the screen during the trip. I picked a red Corvette; I had never driven one, so I thought it would be cool to have it on the screen. That was not a good idea. I decided it would be better if I saw my own vehicle on the screen; therefore, I changed the display avatar to a blue minivan, identical to mine. I know this sounds crazy, but I needed to see the little blue minivan always in the exact location as mine. If there is ever a glitch in the system that would cause the vehicle displayed on the screen to disappear, I would reach the highest point on the paranoia scale—if there is such a scale.

At some point, the friendly voice of the Gypsy made me feel relaxed, but whenever she was silent, I still panicked. Since I have no logical thought process when I am driving to unfamiliar places, it took me awhile to figure out that Gypsy only talks when there is a change in the route. Again, having the blue minivan displayed on the screen assured me that my friend, Gypsy, was still there to direct me to my intended destination.

In spite of my paranoia while traveling, Gypsy took some of the worry out my driving trips; as well, I saved money on gas. Prior to having my GPS, I would drive miles and miles off of my intended course. Sometimes I would end up is suburbs that I would not have been able to find if I wanted to; so, being lost sometimes led to discovery. Once, before I purchased the GPS, I got lost in a nearby subdivision; after about 25 minutes of driving around in circles, I asked a resident to lead me back to the main street. The trip home, from there, only took me about ten minutes. I’ve heard that laughter is the best medicine; that day, I laughed, off and on, for the entire trip home. I laughed even more when I got home and told my husband about the incident.

Though it is obvious why I need my GPS, I am embarrassed about my ineptness when it comes to traveling by automobile. Admittedly, I am even more embarrassed that the incidents I described really happened to me. But I am happy to say that my automobile trips have become more relaxing, and I actually look forward to driving to new places. Gypsy is truly my best friend forever. The one thing I can depend on is, no matter how far off course I go, and no matter how obnoxious and angry I become; the cheerful voice of my friend, Gypsy, will always recalculate—and then tell me exactly where to go.

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Reach out Anyway

Helping hands 1Reaching out to others could project you beyond your emotional comfort zone, thus, opening the possibility for rejection–or for an experience that might turn your life around and give you a better prospective.

Some of us have the desire to reach out, but are waiting for someone else to take the first step. We sometimes deprive ourselves of some of life’s most rewarding experiences because of the fear of rejection. If the journey of a successful individual was illustrated by a list of accomplishments and rejections, you would probably be amazed at the number of rejections that appears on the list.

While there is no guaranteed formula for success, it is certain that determination plays a major role in the life of all successful people. The same holds true when you reach out to others—some may reject you, but you will feel good for having made the effort. After all, even if the experience does not turn out as you intended, you have planted a seed that could influence positive actions later.

Reaching out to help someone doesn’t have to be a major undertaking; in fact, a simple act of kindness can have a lasting impact. There are greeting cards available for many different occasions—you don’t have to wait for a card that says, “I see you could use a hand,” for, that card is created in the heart.

Each of us has the ability to help someone; even while you wait for help, actively use your abilities and resources to help someone else. And above all, even if it looks like your efforts might be in vain–reach out anyway.

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Challenge 22Sometimes we place obstacles in our own path. Is that our way of avoiding pending challenges? Challenges condition us—mentally and physically. They give us a chance to tap into the reserve of strength that reveals itself when all other options have been exhausted.

The road to success may have various obstacles, but we can maneuver much faster if we don’t bring our own road blocks.

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