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How has your year been?

street size intersection of stress and relax

Holy Smokies 2019 is Almost Over!

In 2014, during my seven weeks in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, pain was pretty much a constant, but in times of extra special pain, my go-to expletive was, “Holy Smokies!” Said with an extra-long ō. Now just to be clear, I can actually swear like a sailor –– I’ve actually been a sailor –– but during times of my greatest stress, I somehow muddled through the pain with a bit of humor.

2019 has been, for me, a whirlwind of family and work pressures. Although much of the discomfort actually comes from good changes, the busyness still feels like overwhelming stress. More than once, I have found myself swearing like a sleep-deprived sailor over things that are definitely not life and death.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the less critically painful situations are the hardest to handle? I have been facing minor league circumstances with major league stress –– not following my own advice and experience. With the year 90% complete, I am thinking that it’s time to turn a corner.

Do you need to turn a corner?

As we move into the final stretch of the year, with all of the extra hullabaloo of the holidays, now is the very best time to not just talk about “Peace on Earth” but to actually plan for peace in our daily lives. Where are the little gaps in your day that you can fill with mindful rest instead of mindless worry?

I got an app that a few times a day will remind me to BREATHE for just 1 minute. It’s extraordinary how long 1 minute feels and how just focusing on my breath during that time can bring calm to mind. In case you’re interested, the app is in fact called Calm. (For the record, I don’t get any sort of referral fee) See it doesn’t take much to turn a corner – just a microshift in turning attention from “stress” to “relax.”

What microshift will you make to bring moments of rest

to your otherwise busy days?

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Making money does not equal winning.

chess board with crowned queen in the middle

Making money does not equal winning.

It took nearly losing everything for me to learn that. Read more

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4 Life Lessons from May Day

jeans with flowers, wrench, and the words "happy Labor Day"

On May 1, while many herald the arrival of Spring by dancing around Maypoles or delivering flowers in homemade May baskets to neighbors,  workers around the globe celebrate International Workers Day, also called Labour Day. Although in the U.S. we celebrate Labor Day on September 1, the international observation of Worker’s Day had its genesis in Chicago. In America, May 1st marks a completely different, but connected, little-known observance called Loyalty Day. I geeked out a bit reading up on this day’s complicated backstory. Here’s a quick history lesson: Read more

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Are you already failing at your New Year’s intentions?

statue of a young Aristotle

We’re only halfway through January and already I’m failing.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions or goals? Less than a third of the people I talk with say that they do. Some tell me they set goals; others have a general notion of what they want to change or accomplish. A few just continue on with the status quo. A small handful does as I do and sets a particular word or phrase to focus on for the year. In one way or another, we all set intentions. Even if you don’t intentionally set an intention, you have set an intention to change nothing. As the old adage goes, not making a choice is still a choice.

This year, my word is HABITS. After nearly five years of feeling like I’m only moving from one health calamity to another, I’ve fallen into some unproductive patterns. Let’s not call them “bad” because they served a purpose, but basically, I’ve become very good at resting. While that’s a wonderful contrast to my old workaholic ways, it doesn’t exactly accomplish all that I set my mind to. On New Year’s Eve, while on the plane flying home from San Antonio, I laid out my Top 10 list of habits I want to embed in my life. By practicing these things, they will simply become a part of my being.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Interestingly, this was not Aristotle, as it is so often attributed. The statement was actually penned by Will Durant in his book ‘The Story of Philosophy’ while summarizing a portion of Aristotle’s ‘The Nichomachean Ethics’. Nerdy sidenote: One of my final papers toward my degree in Philosophy was a review of The Nichomachean Ethics. I do love some good ol’ Aristotle.

Read more

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A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

Photo of my 3 kids in front of a Christmas tree when they were little

Our favorite ornament on the tree was received by my husband 16 years ago. A round red globe holds a small framed photo of our children. When you press a button, 3 little voices ring out in an offbeat chorus, “I love my Daddy! I love my Daddy! I love my Daddy! Merry Christmas!!” The kids and I laugh every year about struggling to get them to say that in sync. I finally gave up and ‘settled’ for having it in a round. The imperfection and shared memories are what makes the ornament a treasured memento.

When life doesn’t go as planned, lean in and laugh. That’s where the magic hides.

This year, on Christmas Day all but one of our family of five will board a plane to San Antonio to celebrate the holiday with our sweet red-headed Alex. He has been at Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) since October 30th. I have missed him so much!! 

Unfortunately, this Christmas our family is dealing with more injuries and disappointment. This time it’s not me; it’s Alex. Both my husband and I have had a hard time focusing on Christmas or much of anything else because our hearts are already with him in San Antonio. I know God won’t give us more than we can handle, but geez I wish he’d stop trusting our resilience so much! Read more