Will This Matter A Year From Now?

Yup, it is Monday morning.  Even worse is the fact for some it is after a LONG 4-day holiday weekend filled with food, family & friends and lots of shopping.  Time to get back to work as we start to juggle the holidays with work.

Black Friday has passed.  Small Business Saturday is done.  Cyber Monday is in full swing.  But the question I have for you this morning is…

Will This Matter A Year From Now?

The countless hours spent rushing around for gifts?  The baking? The decorating?  The non-stop whirlwind of activity?  Some would say yes because despite the craziness, they are enjoying the moments.  For others, you are so busy racing around, you don’t even remember the moments.

Life is constantly changing…. just when you think you got what you were looking for, doubt starts to creep in.  Maybe this year you have more money (or less) for gifts.  Maybe you are working countless hours missing out on time with family and friends.  Maybe you have lost who you are as you spend time pleasing the rest of the world.

If you answer to the question above is a resounding NO!  Then “let it go”…. (here the music for Frozen playing in the background)

Why do we spend time worrying about things we can’t control or fighting for things which don’t deserve our energy?

Did holiday celebrations with family trigger a button inside?  You know the one of self-doubt, fear, or anger.  Did the inner gremlins rear their heads because you allowed someone to push your button? Now you are spending your time on things which are insignificant in the big picture of things…

Maybe it was fussing with a rude store clerk during holiday shopping, or making a point with a trouble-making co-worker, or nitpicking over every mistake your child might make. The reality is some things simply are not worth it.

Fighting every battle leaves you little energy for the ones which really matter. In the process, you can damage relationships and stress yourself out. When you are intentional about which battles to engage in, you are more effective in resolving those challenges. After all, if you let go of the small stuff, it becomes clear the battles you choose are important. As a result, the people in your life or more likely to take notice and listen.

As we head into what is probably the craziest time of the year, I challenge you to let go of at least one battle this week. Enjoy the drop in your stress level.

What battle(s) did you engage in over the long weekend? Will it matter a year from now?  If it won’t matter a year from now, are you willing to drop similar battles when they arise?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Busy Mom Tips

Hopefully by now you have settled into a routine after the back to school craziness.  Are you wishing you could put an “out of order” sign on your head and run away?  Thank you to The Peaceful Mom for the inspiration for today’s blog…

Are you searching for a way to get it all done and stay sane?  Do you wonder if it is even possible to do that?  Is your to-do list growing while your time seems to be slipping away?

I know my daughter is grown but I do still run into days like this.  I think I still suffer from the same overwhelm I did so many years ago juggling work, business and family.  Here are some tips from the Peaceful Mom and me.

#1 – KICK MOM GUILT TO THE CURB

It is okay if you don’t get everything done.  Let me repeat “it is okay NOT to get everything done”!  Some things can wait.  Yup, I still suffer with mom guilt.  🙂  The best way for me to get things done is to set THREE tasks a day as my top priority.  I used to do this when Belinda was growing up.  Picking just one or two things to get done during the week while I was working full-time and being mom taxi.  I seemed to forget how well it worked until a business coach, Desiree Wolfe suggested the same thing for my business.

Some tasks can wait, it all depends on what needs attention at the moment. I have started using my Passion Planner for more then just keeping track of office hours, weekly to dos, business stuff and medical appointments.  I am using it to list my 3 things for the day.  I love the fact it has space to make lots of notes  as well as a spot to celebrate “good things which happened”.  Now, I am sure you could accomplish more than 3 things in a day BUT for those days when getting 3 things done is a struggle, you will want to have this system in place.  Sometimes the list looks like this:

Yup, when brain fog sets in, this could be my list of things to do.  The biggest accomplishment is no losing my temper and on some days it is a true miracle.

#2 THINK TINY

Do you have “time pockets”?  You know the 5 or 10 minutes while you are waiting for the kids in the school line or washing some dishes as you cook dinner.  I like the term “time pockets” instead of multi-tasking.  Pick a task to do while you are waiting (one which will only take a few minutes)… waiting for the kids, waiting in line to check out, waiting for your gas task to be filled.  How many time pockets do you have and how can you fill them to get more things done?

#3 – CHOOSE YOUR TOOLS

Busy moms need practical, functional tools to stay on top of all the details. Let’s face it we are not only juggling our own stuff but things for the entire family.  I use a paper planner, the calendar app on my phone and Notes on my phone.  I talked about my Passion Planner.  It is where I dream big, set my goals and priorities then create a weekly plan to pull it all together.  I use my smart phone calendar to set notifications and keep track of appointments because it is linked to my iPad and my MAC.  The benefit of Google Calendar is you can keep everyone’s stuff organized then share it with everyone across all devices.  You need to find a system which works for YOU.

#4 – MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF

I take time each week to plan for the upcoming week. My planning time is Sunday evening and I plan out:

  • My Calendar: Set the goals, projects and top priority tasks for the week and time block on my calendar.  I also prep for the week for posting on all of my business pages with CinchShare.
  • Meals:  Planning for meals is a BIG help for busy moms.  Since I only cook twice a week, it is not tops on my list.  
  • Money:  This is now part of my Sunday night routine.  Review the bills which need to be paid and figure out what the budget will be for the week.  

When you take the time to plan, you will find the week goes some much smoother.  Include scheduling the planning time on your calendar so you don’t make excuses.

#5 – BUDDY UP

Carpooling can be a life saver for the busy mom.  Team up with someone to share the mom taxi role.  You take the kids to practice, she picks them up.  You watch her kids so she can run errands and then swap so she watches yours.  Remember we don’t have to do it ALL!  Teaming up with other moms gives everyone a break.  No help?  Why not limit your kids extra activities and your extra commitments.  No, it won’t make you a bad parent!  

The BIGGEST tip is to remember what is really important and stop obsessing over little things.  For many years, I felt guilty for leaving Belinda a daycare from the time she was 6 weeks old BUT when things came together and I was able to quit my job to work at home, I realized what was important.  She didn’t remember spending days at daycare when she remembers (I hope) is the time we spent together while she was in HS and my schedule was flexible.

Remember you are doing the best you can do with everything on your plate.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Do Happy People Do?

Last week I talked about three things happy people do, remember it was:

  • They don’t dwell on the past
  • They focus on the here and now
  • They recharge

Believe it or not, there are 4 more things they do.  Have you every searched “things happy people do” on Google?  OMG!  There is a ton of stuff.  I have scanned a lot of it and it really comes down to just a few things said in a different ways.

So here are a few more things happy people do and those who aren’t happy 24/7 don’t do:

#4. They don’t spend time with toxic people

We all have had or have people in our life who are toxic.  The ones who say things behind your back. Or are constantly putting you down.  Maybe they promise to change but it just never happens?  Being around people like this over a long period of time, will bring you down. Happy people don’t let this happen.  They quickly recognize a toxic person when they see one. Me, not so quickly.

Here are some tips to help you recognize a toxic person, and what to do about it:

  • Notice when someone puts you down. Are the words they use positive or not. Body language can also tell you how someone feels about you. Don’t feel good around them? Gradually close them off.
  • Notice when someone constantly cancels on you (leaving you feeling bummed)  If someone doesn’t want to spend time with you, and they are constantly cancelling on you, it might be time to direct your energy into something or someone else.
  • Be aware of those who take advantage of your kind nature. I’m happy just going along with things most of the time but some people will use you for it.
  • Don’t let people take advantage of your generosity – whether it’s time or money, don’t let people take advantage of you.  It is okay to say no. What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Spend time with those who make you feel cherished, valued and happy

#5. They value their self-worth

We are all human, so at some point in our life, we are going to have negative thoughts about ourselves. Happy people control these thoughts, or at least recognize when their self-worth is low. They know the moments will pass, and at the end of the day, they are just thoughts.

When your mind starts to wander to thoughts of low self-worth, or doubting yourself, spend time focusing on the good stuff. REMIND yourself of the great things you’ve done, or take yourself away to a happy moment in your life.  Being happy is all about choosing to be happy. Lacking in self-worth can be controlled just as easily as controlling your thoughts.

#6. They keep things simple

How have you felt after you cleared out your closet, or tossed/donated items you didn’t need anymore? Awesome, right? That’s the beauty of keeping things simple. “Clutter in the house clutters the mind”

“It is simple to be happy, but it is difficult to be simple”.

Our lives are complicated and busy.  I don’t know about you but I long for things how they used to be.   So how do we keep things simple? Here are a few ideas:

  • Toss old stuff away. If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, are you ever going to need it, really?
  • Keep some time in your schedule clear – you deserve some time off
  • You don’t need to be busy to feel validated. Being busy and being productive are two very different things
  • Looking for a solution, and can’t find it right away, come back to it tomorrow. Obsessing over things for long periods is not going to get you a solution.

#7. They smile often

Yes, smiling makes people happy. When you smile, your face lights up. When you’re on the phone and you’re smiling, your demeanour changes.  EVERYONE looks and feels better when they smile.  Happy people tend to smile more. Consider this quote from Scientific American:

“It would appear the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies which help to reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study.

Our emotions can be affected by our physical body, too. Feeling down, stressing – SMILE!  It might just do you a bit of good, and help you improve your mood (even just temporarily).

Are you a happy person 24/7 or do you strive for it?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Fireside Lessons

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I have learned many lessons from my husband about how to do ministry. Dan is a people person and views strangers as friends he simply hasn’t met yet. But his heart beats for the lost man who seems to be running from God with every ounce of energy he has. Dan’s passion gave birth to the Fireside Ministry.

Every Sunday night men from all walks of life gather in our driveway around a fire pit to share what God is doing in their lives as well as the struggles they are experiencing. They ask for help. They pray for each other. Fireside time is a holy time where God shows up and works in amazing ways.

One Sunday night I slipped into the garage to grab something out of the refrigerator we keep there. When I heard Dan talking about the spaces we have to create in our lives, I stopped and listened.

For months, I had been brutally examining my life. I was very busy doing good things, but were those things ordained by God or tasks simply assigned by my own need to be seen and heard? I was tired and discouraged – ready to give up.

I sat down on the garage steps and listened as a master teacher laid out a life-changing truth for me.

Dan said, “I give Scott a hard time about his fire-building technique. But there is a truth here for all of us about the spaces we need to have in our lives. Scott cannot stand to see space in a fire. The minute one of the logs burns through, Scott jumps up and replaces it with two logs … and the fire always struggles to keep burning. Here’s why. A fire has to have space to burn its brightest. There has to be room for air to get through and fan the flames. If there are no spaces, the fire will soon die out because it can’t breathe.”

“Mary, you need space in your life … for Me,” the Father whispered to my heart.

I immediately knew what I had to do. I had to lay down every commitment, every ministry, and every log in my life at the feet of Jesus. I was smothering the power of God because there were too many logs on my fire and no space for Him to fan the flames of His plans for me.

I’ve repeatedly tried to defy my God-given need for rest, thinking that I’m somehow above both the occurrence and consequences of exhaustion. Some urgent task will always call my name, as will that person whose life will absolutely disintegrate before my eyes if I don’t do something right now. My ego loves those deadly toxic strokes that are from the pit and smell like smoke.

Stress shouts, “Get busy! There is so much to do!” Stress applauds and dances with delight as I keep on “doing” instead of “being.”

Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details! Instead, God calls me to rest.

I don’t want to rest.

When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.”

In Psalm 23:2 the psalmist writes, “He lets me rest.” Don’t let that gentle statement fool you. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says it this way, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” I can personally testify to the fact that the word “makes” holds a world of possibilities in the hands of our creative God.

Throughout the years God has gently grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent loving Father and well aware of just how much rest we need and when we need it.

We will rest – one way or another. The logs will come off and space will be created for our good and His glory. God’s love will see to it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Did you start humming the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?  I do every time I see or hear this line.  Have you ever wanted some of the “pink kool-aid” people who are alway happy take?  You must know someone who always seems to be happy, I have one or two people I know like that.

When I am not having a MS flare up (of the depression kind), I am pretty much a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Yes, I have times of sadness, anger, frustrate – don’t we all? I mean if we didn’t have a variety of emotions we would be “like a wet noodle” or a “block of stone”.

I will be the first to admit, on days when depression hits I enter a black hole where there sees to be no way out.  It can last for an hour, a day, a week and sadly there are times when it can last for longer.  You know those times when even the simplest word will make you cry.  Key the song “Cry Me a River”. LOL.  Thank you to “Modern Day Girl” for inspiring this post.

1. They don’t dwell on the past.

I know I do especially on a bad day.  The shoulda, coulda, woulda kick in and the path into the black hole gets deeper.  What happens when you start with the stinkin’ thinkin’? Things get worse instead of better, right?

So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? Remember “It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”.  So you need to change your mindset.  Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not hard either.  When you focus on the here and now, it becomes easier to get rid of the old bad habits.

FIRST, recognize you’re dwelling on past situations. I know, easier said then done.  When you spend time being more aware of your thoughts, it is easier to change your mindset. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.  When you’re aware you are dwelling on thoughts of the past, you can work on ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.

2. They focus on the here and now

When you get rid of the thoughts from your past, you can dwell more on the here and now.  I have been told meditation helps and will teach you how to focus on your breathing and what is around you.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I haven’t given up.    Here are some ways meditation and yoga (still need to try this) can help:

  • When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
  • We miss moments in our lives which may have been the happiest.
  • When we let our thoughts control us , we feel unbalanced
  • When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)

So, if meditation and yoga aren’t for you, find a way to focus on the here and now.  Journal your thoughts.  Take a few minutes to “zone” out.  I like to sit outside and watch the clouds float by, imagining it is all of my past floating away.  I guess my own form of meditation.

3. They recharge

Recharging is something we all need to do.  For happy people, it is part of the every day life.  Not sure what this means? Well, it means different things to different people. Think about what you like to do in your spare time? I know, what spare time, right?  I’ve been there.  The truth is having a chronic disease has helped to me identify when I need to recharge.  It is usually a SMACK but I am learning to stop and rest.  Maybe one of these will work for you:

  • A good book and a cup of coffee
  • A nap
  • Exercise of some kind
  • Drawing
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Painting
  • Spending time in a spa
  • Eating chocolate in front of the TV
  • Pretty much anything that makes you happy

The truth is, we live our lives in overdrive, always rushing to the next thing.  Our bodies need time to relax and recharge. How happy are you when your schedule is jammed full with no time for fun?  Probably not very, right?

If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard, believe me I get it.  I was a single mom working full-time but you need to schedule time.  Maybe when the kids are napping, grab the book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether online or paper).

Happy people value their time and know cultivating happiness is important.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!