30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

Great list for anyone interested in improving their life.

Pearls and Paris

I found this article on LifeBuzz & it is a MUST read:

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.

Marc and Angel, two passionate writers, life-hackers and “admirers of the human spirit,” have come up with an amazing list of 30 things to stop doing to yourself. If you like their list, make sure you check out their site and sign up to their amazing newsletter.

#1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your…

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photo copy 3

Everyday I read about people who are creating great products or doing some really fun things. On Friday’s I share my favorites. Today, it’s Everest.

Everest is an online company that inspires you to live your dreams and achieve your personal goals.  I love their attitude and their tag line: Everyone’s got their Everest. We help you climb yours.  I don’t know about you, but I could use some encouragement when it comes to my dreams and goals.

One feature I like about Everest is they encourage you to capture moments (i.e. photos) as you chase your dreams. The idea is to inspire others with photos of you accomplishing your goals. They believe that through social engagement we’ll be more motivated to achieve our goals. I’ve done this with other apps and it does work for me. Accountability helps keep me on track.

The App has a feed of public challenges for you to choose from or you can create your own. I’ve included a few below.

Everest MenuI picked Get Out of Your Comfort Zone as my first “dream” along with 113 other people.  There are only seven steps so I have a shot at actually accomplishing it!

Everest challenge

Here are the steps:

Everest stepsI’m planning to start tomorrow that’s why there’s been no progress.  Does that sound like procrastination?  Maybe that should be my next challenge.

Check it out and if you sign up, let me know what you choose.  In the interest of full disclosure, the app isn’t perfect.  It’s new and there are some bugs that need to be fixed, but give it shot and see if it helps you accomplish your goals.

We can succeed together. 😉

http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/14/everest-app/

Hope Wins

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Last week I was contacted by a woman and asked if I’d be willing to read her story and write about it on my blog.  She initially asked me to reflect back on the holiday season and post about something I’m thankful for as well as share a bit of her story with you.  As I was reading her story and preparing to write the blog as requested, one phrase struck me so powerfully.  The phrase was, “with hope the odds don’t matter.”   I read her story a few times and each time I came back to that phrase.  How powerful and true is that statement?  With hope the odds don’t matter.  Immediately I knew I wouldn’t be writing about reflecting back on the holiday season, but about the power of hope in our lives. I hope Heather doesn’t mind.

Hope, according to Merriam-Webster, means to expect with confidence.  Imagine what we can do when we expect with confidence that something good will happen.  Heather’s story is based on that expectation.  She didn’t give up when the doctors gave her 15 months to live.  She was only 36 when she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.  She had a three-month-old baby girl and a loving husband.  She admits that throughout her life she’s been accused of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. I think her rosy outlook saved her life.  She expected with confidence that her outcome would be good.  She never gave up and today she is an eight-year mesothelioma cancer survivor. Because she beat the odds and is one of the few long-term survivors, she is on a mission to spread awareness of mesothelioma by sharing her personal story.

Hope is powerful.  I have many friends who have battled and survived cancer.  I am so grateful they have beaten cancer and are living examples of hope for others and myself.

Please visit Heather’s website and help her spread awareness about mesothelioma.  mesothelioma.com/heather

Hope Wins!

 

 

 

Why 2013 May Be The Best Year of My Life

Sunrise Crystal Cove

As we approach the end of another year and reflect back on it, I can honestly say that 2013 may be the best year of my life.  My family is happy, healthy and doing well in school and work. That would be enough to make it a good year, but this year I’ve been blessed. Starting over in a new city allowed me to release the pressure of fitting in, keeping up and staying on course. I can’t explain how unprepared I was for my life in the Midwest.  At first, I didn’t understand that living where we lived meant conforming.  The expectations were subtle and often cloaked in smiles and invitations, but it all felt phony. For years, I was confused and frustrated. I’m not the kind of person who likes being told what I “should” do. I’ve never had a desire to fit in and be one of the crowd so I was a stranger in a strange land. I resisted the standards that were being thrust upon me, but eventually one must conform to a certain degree or be lonely and outcast.  Moving gave me a fresh start. There were no expectations of me in our new town.  And for the most part, there still aren’t. People here are eclectic and eccentric. I love their creative and free spirit.  I love people who follow their dreams, not the money.  Following the money leads to unhappiness.  I worked with many high earning professionals in the last few years and I can honestly attest that money is more of a burden than a blessing to them whether they realize it or not.  But that’s fodder for another blog post.

Moving gave me a fresh start. I started taking pictures again and reading more books. I took walks on the beach. I explored our new area. I found a church that we all enjoy. I started practicing yoga three times a week. I started writing again. I reconnected with family that live in the area. I avoided getting involved in activities that might fill my time, but rob me of the newly acquired peace I’d found. I met a few people, but I was in no hurry to jump into friendships that might make demands on my time or me personally. I feel free. I don’t feel trapped by the expectations of others or the location of my home.  I am happy, content and grateful.  I thank God everyday for the blessings of 2013 and look forward to his plan for 2014.  I wish the same for you.

 

Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past

Christmas

This daily prompt is a few days late, but when I read it I knew I had the perfect memory to share.  Last weekend my dad sent me an email with a photo of four-year-old me proudly standing with my cherished Santa gift.  In my family Santa gifts weren’t wrapped, they were proudly assembled and ready for play when we came running out to see what he left.  That particular Christmas morning I came out to find a miniature ironing board and iron.  I was so happy with that little board and iron.  I can’t remember if I asked for it or not, but I truly was thrilled with it. This should tell you a little something about me as a person. I’ve always been a neat-nick with OCD tendencies.

I love that memory and have told my kids about it many times.  What makes it even sweeter now is the note my dad sent with the photo. I hope he won’t mind me sharing it with you.  He wrote, “You always seemed content with what you got.  You never expected a lot and as your father, I love that about you.”   My first reaction was, “Wow! I don’t remember myself this way.”  It is possibly the best compliment I’ve ever been given.  It makes me want to be the person my dad remembers and enter this Christmas holiday with the expectations of that content little girl.

Merry Christmas!

St. Nicholas Day

St_-Nicholas

Today is St. Nicholas day.  An Italian friend of mine introduced me to this tradition when my kids were young and I remember it every year.  It is known as the Festa di San Nicola. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated by putting shoes outside the bedroom doors or hanging an empty stocking by the fireplace on the evening of December 5. St. Nicholas then comes during the night. On the morning of December 6, those people find their shoes/stockings filled with gifts and sugary treats.

St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop in the Catholic church.  He was raised in a wealthy household to be a devout Christian. His parents died in an epidemic while Nicholas was young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to aid the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God. Bishop Nicholas became known for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Bishop Nicholas also suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

Although my family does not celebrate St. Nicholas day, I enjoy remembering it because it reminds me to be joyful about giving.

“Be as generous with the Lord as he has been with you.” – Sirach 35:12

 

Unbroken

I follow Crossing Paths…the Blog and enjoy his posts, but today’s post is worth a reblog. It hit me in the heart because my neighbor was laid to rest this morning and I’ve watched his wife navigate life as a grieving widow. Her friends have rallied to her side and God has brought others into her life to give her strength, support and comfort. Though alone she could be overpowered by grief with God and his support she will not quickly be broken.

Crossing Paths...the Blog

Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

~Ecclesiastes 4:12

In recent days, I have witnessed beauty in some ashes. In one case, the marriage of a friend of mine has been put to the test due to an unplanned extended absence due to some legal issues. The husband is stuck in Ohio for three months, while his wife is holding down the home front in California. If this wasn’t challenging enough, there have been those close to them who have offered “advice” along the lines of giving up on their marriage.

In another example, the mother of a friend of mine passed away just a couple days ago. It automatically took me back to when I lost my mom. It is a painful experience to lose the woman who brought you into the world. I believe there is truth…

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Inspired by an Instagram Activist

Photo by Ruddy Roye

Photo by Ruddy Roye

I recently discovered Radcliffe Roye through the Instagram blog.  His work is brilliant.  It is raw and inspiring.  His profile describes him as an “Instagram activist.”  I was intrigued by that description and once I starting looking through his feed, I was hooked.  I couldn’t stop.  I think I spent half an hour going through his gallery and reading each caption.  I got lost in the stories of the people in his community.

Radcliffe Roye is a Brooklyn based photographer.  His style is gritty documentary photography.  He documents the lives of the people he sees in his community of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brooklyn. Sometimes his images break my heart and sometimes they make me smile.  Beyond the images, his captions tell the stripped-down stories of the people he photographs.  His work is honest and beautiful.  I’ve read that some people find it hard to look in the face of the needy and disenfranchised people he photographs, but isn’t that what society should be doing?  I am inspired by the work of Radcliffe Roye.

You can check out his work @ruddyroye on Instagram, ruddyroye.tumblr.com or http://www.ruddyroye.com.

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A Tribute to A Life

Beach

On Monday, my neighbor went out body surfing and never came back. I didn’t know him well, but I know he was friendly. He was the rock of his family. He loved music. He played the trumpet and piano. He loved living near the beach and he loved body surfing. I suppose there is comfort in knowing he died doing something he loved. We should all be so lucky. But, I am struck by how sad my family and I are at his passing. Even though we didn’t know him well, he brought us joy. We enjoyed listening to him play his music. We enjoyed chatting with him and watching him play with his dog. We will miss him. He touched people everyday in small ways. We all do. Maybe something as small as a smile or kind words exchanged over a fence can change people’s lives.