Finding Joy

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it hard to find joy with how crazy the world is. Every time I turn on the news, I hear something traumatic creating anxiety and frustration. I feel hopeless with current events allowing it to steal my inner joy.

Many of us, including myself, turn towards materialism and worldly success as distraction hoping it will find the joy we have lost. But this is not the path to long-term joy and happiness.

When you use material things or accomplishments to make you happy, it’s only temporary. The truth is happiness comes from within. When you choose to find happiness within yourself, it’s long-lasting. Nothing external can bring lasting joy. If you wait until the tragedies of the world dissipate before you find happiness, you will be waiting forever.

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Ten Ways to be More Grateful

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of my favorite holidays. Spending time with family and reflecting on God’s blessings brings me joy, laughter, and a feeling of gratitude. Plus, I eat yummy food all day without worrying about the calories going into my body. Free pass… calories don’t count!

But you don’t need to wait until Thanksgiving to be grateful. You can make it a part of your daily life. Here are some ideas to express and feel gratitude.

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Turn Pain Into Power

Not one of us escapes pain living in this world. Experiencing trauma, pain, disappointment, and loss is a part of being human. It’s inevitable.

When you’re in swirling in chaos and being swallowed by darkness, it’s hard to understand you will get through to the other side. It seems too impossible to comprehend or believe one day your pain will go away and happiness will appear.

But no matter difficult things are, you always have a choice. This pain you are experiencing is bringing you to a crossroad.

You can take the road to the left and walk the path of resentment, self-destruction, and victimization.

Or you can take the road to the right and walk the path of healing, empowerment, and transformation.

The choice is yours.

Lost, But Never Gone

For the past few months, I’ve been feeling…lost. My sense of who I am vanished making me a stranger to myself. I thought I knew who I was moving forward in a specific direction towards my goals. But then out of nowhere, I was thrown way off path leaving me disorientated, unsettled and bewildered.

Have you ever felt lost and out of touch with yourself? Have you felt you were on the “right” path but then suddenly went astray moving into unknown territory? You knew for sure where you were going and where you were headed but unexpectedly, you veered way off course.

It’s unnerving and upsetting being lost in a chaotic and distressed world. Especially when you thought you knew where you were going. The notion to choose our destination and stay on track no matter what is drilled into us. Don’t get distracted. Don’t move your eyes from the prize. And heaven forbid, don’t look backwards. You are expected to keep driving down the road you started on at all costs. 

Discover the Joys in Difficult Times

This is a very difficult year for many. Maybe one of the hardest. No doubt. We are all suffering from constant trauma, crushing stress and debilitating fatigue without much respite from the daily challenges we face. For me, I have trouble sleeping at night thinking about the division, hate, sickness, the suffering of others, climate change and the civil unrest in this country and worldwide. 

But in the midst of troubling times, there are gleams of light shining through muckiness revealing the joys hidden underneath. It takes intentional effort to see the goodness when all things seem dark and dreary. I know I find it extremely difficult to be positive and to see the limitless sky beyond the raging storm.

COVID-19: WTF???

A riveting and captivating movie. My eyes locked on the screen with my hands gripping the seat waiting to see what happens next. 

The plot is about a coronavirus called COVID-19. This virus turned into a pandemic and has taken over the world. Across the globe thousands are sick and dying with the numbers growing by the second. 

Hospitals and medical professionals are overwhelmed with the influx of infected patients leading to lack of supplies, limited hospital beds and exhausted personnel. Doctors are forced to make the heartbreaking decision on who lives or dies based on the resources they have to provide the care patients need to survive. 

Grocery store shelves are empty with limited food, no toilet paper, no hand sanitizer and no cleaning supplies. Even the ice cream is gone! 

In attempt to control the spread of this deadly disease, the world stops with countries in lock-down. People’s lives are turned upside down within minutes. Businesses are forced to close leaving many unemployed. The stock market tanked with definitive signs of a deep global recession. Schools are closed leaving families to homeschool their kids. All sporting events, concerts, kid’s activities, museums, libraries, universities, weddings, tradeshows, conferences and more are cancelled. And the horrific list goes on…

But wait? Guess what?  THIS IS NOT A MOVIE.

IT’S REAL. 

WTF????

How could this happen? I mean seriously…don’t you feel like you’re living in science fiction movie? How could we experience such suffering financially, physically and emotionally on a global level? Why us and why now? 

It feels surreal like it’s not really happening but yet… it is.

I know you’re receiving lots of information about the coronavirus so I won’t take too much more of your time. We’re all trying process the drastic changes thrusted upon us in a short period of time. 

This experience is unprecedented. None of us have dealt with this before in our lifetime and never thought we would. Whether you think these changes are an overreaction or you’re feel overwhelmed, we are all suffering and in this together. 

I’ve been researching on how to deal with the pandemic and want to share these findings with you. The other day I listened to the Rich Roll podcast on dealing with the corona virus pandemic featuring Rich and wife Julie Piatt. 

Julie said something that resonated with me. “This is our divine moment.” Wow! Beautiful and true. This is our time to show our inner light, learn more about ourselves, be connected with humanity and to serve in deeper ways with humility and reverence. 

Here are the ideas I found to get through this challenging time of dealing with a pandemic and social distancing.

  1. Look inward using meditation. Learn more about who you are and trust yourself. Ease your anxiety with silence and creating mental space.
  2. Get closer to God. No more words needed here. 
  3. Help your neighbors, friends and family who are immune compromised or elderly. Go grocery shopping for them, cook a meal and deliver it or run their errands.
  4. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray…. did I say pray?
  5. Do the hobby you always wanted to start but didn’t’ have time. Now you have no excuse.
  6. Work longer on the hobby you started because you have more time. Still have no excuse.
  7. Read, draw, write, paint or do something creative. Creativity is healing for the soul.
  8. Call your parents every day. They never get sick of hearing your voice. 
  9. Go outdoors and play with your kids, take your dog for a walk or go on a quiet walk by yourself to feel connected to nature. 
  10. Catch up on Netflix. No guilt allowed.
  11. Experiment with healthy meals. You’re not going to restaurants anyway.
  12. Don’t stop giving to charities or your church. Giving is healing.
  13. Try fun exercise programs online. Who knows? Maybe you won’t need to pay for that gym membership anymore.
  14. Give reverence to those who passed from COVID-19. Every life matters. They deserve to be remembered and honored.
  15. Be grateful for the medical professionals, truck drivers, grocery store workers, teachers and everyone working long hours to keep us healthy, fed, educated and taken care of.
  16. Don’t hoard toilet paper or food. Who buys ice cream when they’re trying to stay healthy? And don’t get me started on the toilet paper. Makes zero sense…
  17. Find humor wherever and whenever you can. The toilet paper memes! 
  18. Limit your time watching the media. They’ll make you crazy.
  19. Check out some online learning programs to expand your skills. Now’s the time to sharpen your abilities.
  20. Get some rest and good sleep. You have permission to sleep in on the weekends… finally!

Like what Julie Piatt said, this is “Our Divine Moment.” Make every second by serving and helping others, get closer to God choosing faith over fear, feel connected to the world knowing we are all one and be the light shining love to all.

Take care and stay healthy.

Don’t Feel Bad for Saying No

I have a problem.

I have trouble saying no.

And when I do say no, I feel bad.

Then I obsess over and over about being a bad person for saying no.

But when I say yes to something I don’t want to do or don’t have time for; I berate myself for not saying no. 

With all this ridiculousness and mental nonsense going on in my brain, I had an aha moment.

I should never feel bad again for saying no to something if it’s not a priority, if I don’t have time, if I don’t have the energy or if it’s not aligned with our current goals. Saying no when the situation isn’t right, is healthy for my well-being and inner peace. 

But even with my mind-shattering aha moment, I still apologize for saying no like I did something wrong or need permission to choose what to do or not to do in my life. 

I know! Crazy, right?

Do you struggle with the same thing? Do you feel like a jerk for saying no when your heart says yes? If so, why the heck do we do this to ourselves?

  • Fear of making someone mad, upset or disappointed
  • Fear of losing out on an opportunity
  • Fear of hurting someone’s feelings
  • Fear of being perceived as unhelpful or rude
  • Because we are people pleasers
  • Because we’ve always done that thing in the past
  • Because it’s expected of us

But these reasons are phooey, rubbish and pieces of junk. Saying yes when our hearts say no leads to resentment, frustration, stress and burn out. Neglecting self-care, family time and the space to pause are vital for a joyful and peaceful life. 

Yes, there are times to sacrifice when someone really needs your help. But on a regular basis, saying no and setting boundaries creates the space you need to expand your creativity, deepen your faith, to serve in areas most meaningful to you and to be present with your loved ones. 

When you feel bad for saying no, investigate yourself and ask these questions:

  • Why do I feel guilty for wanting self-care?
  • Am I really feeling guilty or not confident about my decisions?
  • Am I imagining others being upset with me or is it really true?
  • Am I afraid to be who I really am in front of others?
  • Am I afraid of confrontation?

For your family and for yourself, the best thing to do is to create healthy boundaries and sticking to them. Saying no and setting boundaries is hard at first. If you’re not used to it, you’ll feel mean and rude. I know I am still working on it. It feels weird, and I feel like a jerk!

But once you get over this initial hump, you’ll feel empowered and free. It will feel healthy instead of feeling oppressed with another weight added to your to-do list. 

When you say no, you are saying:

  • Yes, to honor what’s most important.
  • Yes, to allow the time to be creative.
  • Yes, to make family time a priority.
  • Yes, to have the space to heal and relax. 
  • Yes, to focus on my passions and goals.

One of the best decisions to make, is learning the power of saying no… and not feeling bad about it. You’ll be in charge in your life with the confidence to make the right choices regardless of what anyone thinks. If you want to live your best, harness the power of saying no. 

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Unsubscribe

For 2020, I want you to unsubscribe. What??? (not from me of course lol). I am asking you, including myself, to unsubscribe from all thoughts, actions, commitments, or activities holding you back from living in peace, vitality and joy. 

Unsubscribe yourself from:

  1. Feelings of unworthiness
  2. Toxic relationships draining your energy
  3. Thinking you’re not good enough
  4. Trying to control everything 
  5. Overcommitting and filling your plate too high
  6. Not saying no
  7. Eating unhealthy foods and not taking care of your body
  8. Not getting enough sleep
  9. Allowing others to take advantage of you because you’re nice and generous
  10. Being a people pleaser instead of a God pleaser
  11. Spending too much time on social media
  12. Making excuses for not doing what you love
  13. Comparing yourself to others. We are all unique and special created by God.
  14. Not spending enough time with family and friends
  15. Negative self-talk
  16. Watching too much TV
  17. Not having the courage to be yourself
  18. Being too serious
  19. Worry, fear and doubt
  20. Trying to be perfect
  21. Clutter and obsessing over material things
  22. Whining and complaining
  23. Living in the past
  24. Giving up when things get too hard
  25. Not believing in yourself to accomplish your dreams
  26. Being a victim
  27. Drama
  28. Settling for less
  29. Playing it safe
  30. Not forgiving

Subscribe to things bringing you joy, peace, energy and love. Fill your mind with books, music, entertainment and articles to grow your consciousness. Nourish your soul with prayer, meditation, creativity and spending time in nature to embrace your true essence. Feed your body with healthy foods and activities to thrive with vibrant energy. 

Let go and release yourself from all the junk and crap holding you back from the life you deserve. You only have one given to you by God. Not it’s time to really start living your life with meaning, love, passion and purpose to be all you are meant to be.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Every Moment Matters

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Psalm 90:12

We rush to wake up in the morning to get ready for work and our kids to school. 

We drive on autopilot hurrying to the next destination not knowing how we got there.

We mindlessly eat our lunches not paying attention to what we’re eating so we can return to work ASAP. Or worse… we work through lunches while we’re eating.

Because we have so much stuff to do at night, we rush through cooking missing smell of our home cooked meal.

When a friend talks about their problem, instead of being a good listener our minds wander thinking about yesterday’s incident on repeat mode.

We rush. We hurry. We don’t pay attention. We live on autopilot. We miss our sacred moments. 

Constant overload. Never resting. Always worrying. Overfilling our plates. All. The. Time.

This way of life is complete and utter nonsense. It doesn’t serve us, God or anyone around us. Call it ridiculousness.

And I am guilty as charged. My sentence is the mental prison chained to the limitations of wasted time and lost moments. The only way to break free is to listen and act on God’s charge for us.

The Bible states God wants us to live with awareness“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. God wants us to be present with all our experiences so we can feel His love and hear Him speaking to us. He wants us to be aware to serve, live with purpose and to love others.

To live, breath and act according to God’s will, we must be aware of what we are doing, thinking and feeling. If we are too busy, overloading our schedule, worrying about things that don’t matter, we lose our connection to God.

But when we slow down and take a deep breath, we have the ability to make our moments matter. Small moments. Ordinary moments. Mundane moments. Big, earth shattering moments. Life changing moments. Every moment.

Every day we either gain an opportunity to use our time wisely or lose an opportunity by wasting our time. We can be aware of your life by being present or miss precious moments by not paying attention. The choice is ours. 

When you make every moment matter, your time with friends and family is richer. Your connection to God is deeper and stronger. You’re more creative and become an open vessel for new ideas and effective solutions. You live each day to your fullest by tasting the food you eat, hearing the music on the radio, feeling the warm breath of your kids when they hug you, seeing the sunset on your drive home, and feeling the peace and grace of God’s presence

When you are at church, listen to the sermon. Every word. When your friend tells you about their tough day, hear their struggles with all your heart. When you are with our kids, laugh with them and see their bellies vibrant with every giggle. When you watch a movie, be drawn in with your full attention. Immerse yourself in every scene.

Savor the life God has given you by choosing to live your life with purpose and meaning. The Bible says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:10.

What is God calling you to do with your life? God has chosen you. You are uniquely made with mission built for you based your talents and abilities. He wants to be aware of this calling and walk with a mission to serve others in the best way you can. 

God wants you to make every moment matter. To make your life matter. And to love one another to make their lives matter. Choose today to make every single moment of your life matter to live the life God has meant for you to live.

Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash

Creativity is Good for the Soul

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul.” 
— Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

Creativity has been a part of my life for as long as I remember. As a child I drew pictures, wrote short stories, recreated my favorite logos and sketched fashion design. I loved being creative. It was an escape into another world allowing me to explore new adventures and visit unchartered territories. 

I still love being creative. It’s safe to say I was destined to be the writer and graphic designer I am today using my creative abilities on a daily basis. 

My lifelong journey of being immersed in creative endeavors has showed me the value of creativity and how essential it is for the soul. When I am not creating, I get depressed. When I create, I feel alive. Creativity allows the space and time to connect to my true self with a sense of intimacy and meaning.

But what is creativity? Creativity is an activity that solves a problem. It’s the process of coming up with new ideas by making connections between concepts and unrelated things. You learn to see patterns across different mediums to read between the lines. Creativity takes your ideas and imagination bringing your dreams and vision to life with form, function and beauty.

The great truth about being creative is that anyone can do it. You don’t need to be an art genius like Picasso, Mozart or Leonardo Da Vinci. I don’t even come close their talents, but I still choose to create every day. You only need to give yourself permission and the time to develop your abilities.

God wants you to be creative because He is the source of all creation. Creativity opens your heart and mind allowing the Holy Spirit to work through you for inspiration and intuition. When God nudges you to create something, trust this. It’s His way of speaking to you making creativity a form of prayer and communion. It’s your opportunity to create something special for His glory and to heal your soul.

God wants you to express yourself in beauty, originality and authenticity. Creating is a method of communication for your soul to speak to yourself and to the world with your own unique voice. It helps you to learn who you are, the depths of your heart and the talents you possess. 

When you take the time to create, it allows you to be with yourself in solitude, peace and joy. It challenges you to try new things and overcome obstacles when things get difficult. When you create, it feels like time ceases to exist because you get lost in the moment being connected to God and your creation. 

Sometimes we stunt our creativity by doubting ourselves, setting unrealistic expectations, believing it’s a waste of time or thinking we don’t deserve to spend time being creative. No matter what the excuses are, let them go. Give your soul a chance the thrive and become alive with the spirit and energy of creativity. 

Some might say, I don’t have time to be creative. But you can always find time if you really want to. Instead spending an hour on Facebook, surfing online or gossiping on the phone, trade it with an hour of writing, drawing, painting, sculpting or taking photographs. Maybe let that load of laundry sit for a bit longer or do the dishes tomorrow morning. You can practice your creative skills by being creative with your time management.

Start with 20 minutes day. Over time, 20 minutes will turn into 30 minutes then 60 minutes. You’ll get into a groove making it easy to add more time. Once you feel the benefits of being creative and start to gain more confidence, adding more time will happen organically. 

God is calling you to create using your unique talents and abilities to bring more beauty and light into the world. Something you create might seem nothing to you but to someone else be a source of healing and joy. Your soul is begging for your creative heart and mind to awaken and become all who you are meant to be, to experience and to give. 

So get up and start creating today!

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash