Sunday, October 24, 2021

POSITIVE THINKING SHOULD BE SECOND NATURE

 POSITIVE THINKING SHOULD BE SECOND NATURE



That is a very powerful statement! If I think about it though, it all comes together. I don't know about you but I choose to have power over my circumstances instead of them having power over me. Already, I can hear the naysayers out there. So, please give me a chance to explain how we can do this. 

Stuff happens. Yes, it does. Stuff that is out of our control. I could not agree more. However, the manner in which I choose to react is the way I can turn my circumstances around. It is a matter of turning positive thinking into a habit. Like any habit, it will take time and persistence to build. 

The way that I work on it is to find a time to repeat an affirmation. It can be while brushing my teeth, washing my hair, taking a walk...just keep repeating that affirmation and soon you will believe those words. Start with a simple affirmation. For me, I am working on my sleeping pattern currently. So my affirmation is that I will get to bed by a certain time so that I will be able to get a minimum of 8 hours sleep and wake up early enough to feel I have put in my definition of a productive day. 

Retired, for me, does not mean staying up so late that I then must sleep the morning away and waking up to  knowing in my mind, I have no energy to get myself dressed and to start my day at 11 AM. I actually become jealous of those who have already had breakfast, completed what they wanted to do in order to feel fulfilled (and everyone is different). If this is ok with you, then it works for you. Let me repeat - Everyone is different!

Gratitudes are what I like to focus on. It helps to make me in control of my circumstances. Setting an intentional theme such as letting something go, whatever it may be and instead focus on reaping the positives. Thinking of what brought me joy in the past week or even yesterday and then what is ONE thing that I would like to change about my life. 


Moving with intention toward being kind, not only to others, but to myself as well. After all, we are in this world together. Continue to work in small steps. I work on myself, then bring in family and friends and those that I may not even know personally. That is where my journal writing comes in handy. Just to stop and listen and focus on kindness.



It is true that every act of kindness creates a ripple with no end. Maybe one that you are not aware of at first. Just trust that it is there. And at some point you will be able to harvest that for yourself and others. 

An author named Robin Kimmerer said that we owe it to the world to at least give them some of our attention. He came up with a loose code that can govern our relationships into positive relationships.

  • know the ways of the ones who take care of you, so that you may take care of them
  • Introduce yourself and be accountable
  • Ask permission before taking
  • Never take first or last
  • Take only what you need and only which is given
  • Never take more than half
  • Harvest respectfully
  • Give thanks for what you have been given
  • Always give a gift in reciprocity for what you have taken
  • Sustain the ones who sustain you and the earth will last a lot longer
A question that I stop and ask myself is what was I just thinking about? Was my mind wandering? There is real value in pausing to redirect my thoughts into positive affirmations. I have learned that what I focus on will expand. This can be in a good way or a not so good way. When I focus on the goodness in life (and there is plenty of that) I am able to create more goodness, positivity and kindness. 

Do I need reminders to help me achieve this? Of course! I am only human! Just remember that:


This quote from Oprah helps to sum up my blog. 



Saturday, October 16, 2021

GENERAL THINGS IN OUR LIVES

 GENERAL THINGS IN OUR LIVES


For some reason my mind kept coming up with random general thoughts, sort of like an old timey General Store. I am using the word random because general thoughts could be mistaken that all of the thoughts are on the same subject; such as cooking, dancing, fashion. My thoughts were truly random just as items are in most General Stores. 

Something must have sparked a topic and my mind just ran with it. It started with watching a woman open a door to go into a doctor's office and without a blink of an eye, she just walked on it and the person close behind her had to grab the door for herself. To me, that was just not polite. Perhaps if the first person had no clue that someone was behind her? I suppose that could happen but then I thought of manners in general. 

Manners definitely are a true reflection of our character. It cost nothing to be kind. Saying yes ma'am or no sir, being punctual, writing thank you notes, expressing and sharing gratitudes. Paying it forward is just a nice gesture. I had it happen to me at a drive-thru coffee shop and was so taken aback that I did the same for the person behind me. Kindergarten teachers were so right in trying to have their students live by the Golden Rule. It seems quite a few adults need a refresher course in this. 

Table manners ran through my mind when I witnessed a family of 4 at a restaurant waiting for their meal and there was no conversation. All were too busy on their cell phones. 😒 Not exactly good manners being demonstrated. While I was thinking about the use of cell phones and shrinking into your own little world, I started to think about the use of texting vs phoning vs e mail. I guess any of these methods will get your point across and there may be a right time to use one over the other. For a quick little note, a text might be in order over disturbing someone with a phone call. And then an e mail may be better when giving out specific information that needs to be reread and digested to understand it. To me a phone call eliminates innuendos that can be read into a text or e mail. A good rule that I try to always employ is when I call, I ask if this is a good time to talk? Just a polite question in case your call is interrupting something important.

In the same restaurant was a single person eating as if no one had ever taught him how to use a napkin or silverware correctly. This picture is an exaggeration. But I thought it made a point as to why we should always try to show good manners.






Common sense does not grow in everyone's garden. You never know who is watching you. We don't all need to be the sharpest pencils in the drawer however it would work in our own favor if we at least exhibited some common sense. 

With autumn here now, it is coming upon the time for plants to be pruned, brought inside, or actually start a garden from seeds inside the house to enjoy through the winter.             


Do you ever feel like you need to check in on your Mood Elevator to get the most of your day? I know that I do. It helps me visualize how I may be feeling and to acknowledge it and then do something about it.


If I am feeling frustrated and impatient then it will be hard for me to be creative. For me, being creative helps to spark myself up to a higher level. I treat myself better and it is a good form of self-care. I feel happier when I am doing something creative. 


I find it challenging when I have many creative ideas and am grateful enough to know that I have the opportunity to choose whichever one that I want to focus on. Whether it is some art work, writing, gardening, cooking or working on another language. There is not a lack of creative projects to help keep my mood elevator up on the creative floor.


Before retirement, my handwriting had become atrocious. Mainly, because I signed reports, work orders, report cards, etc. all day long. Now, I like to work on proper cursive and even some fancy-smancy cursive, with special pens. 

Speaking of writing, does anyone use recipe cards anymore?     

I have some in a book that I keep. They are family and close friends' special recipes. Now, that may be the only time that I need a card to fill out. Otherwise, I have learned how to store recipes that I find on the Internet in a special folder. I was running out of room when I printed them. Then once printed, I never could find them when I needed them. If in the proper folder on my computer it became easier to keep the ones we liked and to delete those we did not care for.

Have you ever wondered about why companies send out so many catalogs?
                                    

Why? With Smart phones, tablets and computers, any company that you want is at our fingertips. Maybe there are people out there who think recipe cards and catalogs are quaint. I for one think we need to save our forests. 

When I was out driving yesterday, I was noticing that some people do not see street signs the same as I do. How did I miss these: "Speed up. You got this."
          "Signals are for cowards."
          "Lanes are suggestions."
          "No fishing in potholes."


Two days ago Facebook went down. Oh my goodness. People were losing it. Someone wrote that it was down so long that they FedEx'd their information to the person who needed it. (Yes, that was a FedEx joke!)

The secret is out. My head is full of random generalizations. I don't know if it is a good sign or something that I should be concerned about. I just know that is how my mind works and I am sticking with it. Sometimes it takes me all day to get nothing done. Just hold on while I overthink this. The men in the white suits have not come yet to take me away. 


I have my Retirement 'to do' list:
1. Wake up!
GOT THIS NAILED!
 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

RESET YOUR MIND

 RESET YOUR MIND


The other day I was reading an article that I could relate to in various ways. The person writing it basically was mentally going through what I felt like I was going through. I did have to take it to another level and that would be the way that I could make work for me. 

Never ever have I heard of Sensei in Lanai, Hawaii. Two very prominent people, one a physician and the other one a technology mogul got together to discuss why can't health care expand beyond treating it and focus more on preventing it. They thought that using data from trackers, sensors, and biofeedback sessions could help in bringing more happiness and less chronic disease later.


One of these individuals owned his own island in Hawaii and Sensei is a wellness brand that brings in spas set in The Four Seasons Hotel chain. One or two are open now with another one set soon to open. To make a long story shorter, I already know the likelihood of staying at any Four Seasons Hotel so add in signing up for the spa with it? I just could not see that happening for me. 

Being usually optimistic, I thought that after reading this article, I should be able to find a way to get out of my funk. No, I did not have all of the "tools" to get specific reasons going on in my body but I did have my FitBit information on mindfulness, calories in, calories out, breathing, sleep patterns...etc. So, I felt confident enough that I could navigate my own way  through the process. 

After reading and studying my own data, I was able to come up with some ways to RESET my mindset to help guide me through my trouble areas.

  • Instead of feeling guilty for not exercising enough, I should fit in scheduled times of the day for walking and biking. Some is better than none.
  • Back pain can and will go away sometimes by taking care of the fascia when it is becomes stresses and tightens up. I have learned that rolling my foot over a ball for one minute a day and wearing proper fitting shoes make a huge difference in walking and reducing backaches. 
  • For foods, I reset to focus on fiber and plant based foods. I was sort of on the right track in this area in that a high amount of carbs is not good for the body. It causes an inflammatory response. Does that mean giving up a cupcake or slice of pie now and then? The key words are 'now and then.' Thinking before eating helps. Pause and think if I really need that cookie or if I really want to celebrate with wine and cheese with my husband or friends. When I think about nutrition, I try to now think of it not as good or bad but more of is it something that I really need at that time and will my meals before and after an indulgence help to make up for the intentional indulgence? 
  • Resetting my mind on breathing was a little harder. I thought that I had that under control. I recently learned how breathing can stop anxiety and stress, it is just that I need to be sure that I am breathing from my abdomen. Watch a baby sleeping and how their abdomen moves up and down - not their chest. Two other ideas is that when I breathe in the positive vibes, then I exhale the negative vibes. Recently I heard another method which I can definitely relate to. The beach and waves are my happy place. So breathe in the wave as it is coming to the shore and exhale as it is ebbing outward toward the sea.
  • Stop telling myself to, "Suck it up, Buttercup!" I would never say that to a friend so why am I talking to myself this way? Self-criticism is not good for anyone. Self-compassion is much more helpful. My brain can be retrained. 



For me it is about getting into a routine, managing social media and using my alone time for meditating (even short moments) and exercising more, not longer. Continue reading my fiction and working on writing with soft jazz playing in the background. Most of all it is getting more sleep. That takes getting up and turning off the tv. It will be in the paper tomorrow or on YouTube to revisit if I think it is someone I want to see past my set bedtime.

“Every sunset is an opportunity to reset. Every sunrise begins with new eyes.”
― Richie Norton

Sunday, October 3, 2021

HAPPINESS

 HAPPINESS


This famous picture of Snoopy doing his "Happy Dance" is how I want to feel most all of the time. Is that possible? Well, not exactly. There are times that can be sad, as well they should be. There is a time for all emotions. Most of all, I need to close my eyes and think what I can do to make my life happier. I did this little trick and like most people would I be happy if I won the big Powerball? DUH! Yes, I would. Not just for me though. I would want to use it wisely to help our children and ourselves take care of the things that are always out there hanging over our heads to try to bring us down. Stuff like student loan debts, mortgages, car payments...things like these that I listed will always be there. The question is if someone could snap their fingers and all of this "stuff" would disappear would you be happier? 

We tend to forget that there is always wonder and joy surrounding us all the time. Little things that I know I can easily overlook. I bet you do too. It is the small moments that we need to focus on. 

A perfect example for me was when I went to my local coffee shop for my Keto Pink Passion Tea, the barista told me that the car in front of me had paid for it. I was shocked. 

So, I said well then, scan my card and I will pay it forward for the car behind me. I came away so happy with the feeling of being on the receiving end of my purchase but also in the giving. Little moments. If I had been at home it could have been brewing the perfect cup of coffee or tea. Or my husband bringing in the coffee that he took time to brew for me while I was dressing.

Even getting up at 6 when 8 would be so much better, it is all up to me whether I am going to be a grump or happy to see two furbabies who are so excited and happy to see me and curl up on the sofa with me. How can anyone not feel the love and happiness that they are sharing with me? Usually it is dark and I am the only one who can take the picture so you will just have to trust me on this one. Pets can bring all of us such happiness. Just pay attention. Sort of like the saying about take the time to smell the roses. These are the things that can bring you happiness.




Check out things like the stars in the clear sky, the moon in all of its phases. 



I have started taking notes of the little things that feed my soul and writing it in my journal. Remembering that  happiness is not getting everything I want. It is the ability to allow myself to take the time and energy to see what I can use to put in my happiness bank. Nothing and no one will make you feel happy except yourself. Plus, the good news is that happiness is found within ourselves. It is so much more simple than most of us believe. Happiness is a matter of believing in ourselves.





As I go through my life searching for those little things that make me happy, these rules are guidelines to becoming happier. We all have that choice.

I came across a poem written by Abimnola T. Alabi  titled The Choice Is Mine.

Life may not let me choose my lot,
But whether I'd be happy or not...
That is my choice.

To leave hurtful memories behind 
Or allow them to bother my mind...
The choice is mine.

To fret over a mistake when it's done
Or learn from it and move on...
The choice is mine.

To be bothered by all that people say
Or ignore them and go my own way...
The choice is mine.

To hide my feelings, pent up, unspoken,
Or say my mind and ease the burden...
The choice is mine.

To enjoy what I've been able to gain
Or ungratefully regard it with disdain...
The choice is mine.

Sometimes I won't get to pick my lot,
But whether I'll be happy or not...
Will always be my choice.



Sunday, September 26, 2021

Rebooting

 


How many times has a techie told me to reboot my computer when it is not functioning properly? Well, I would be a millionaire, for sure. Now, most of the time, I remember to do this. Yet those frustrating times when I am feeling rushed, I can easily forget to do that. 

Our very own brain is our original computer. In the times that we are living in today with the pandemic and violence, I started thinking that my brain needs a reboot. It needs to be reset before I allow myself to fall into a rabbit hole of hopelessness. 


With my list making skills I started working on ways that I could go about rebooting my brain. I knew that I was already doing some things right to combat so much negativity being thrown my way. Everyone was getting it thrown their way. Close friends and family talked about it with me. We help each other out by doing check ins. Some times all it takes is a positive word from someone close. And a reminder to turn the news off. Hearing too much chatter about the same thing over and over is never a good idea. There still is some good news out there. 

Even before the pandemic I always started my day with a positive mantra. I knew that it helped to get my brain on the positive track. Just like most things in life, the brain involves both nature and nurture. Some people have the genetic code to be a constant worrier or perhaps the happy go lucky type; their family genes lean one way or the other. Not everything is programed at birth. The environment can have a great impact and alter your genes. I read a study that suggested thinking of my genes as the computer hardware and then my physical, mental and emotional environments as my software - I could see the whole picture. Even normally positive people (and I put myself in that category) can have thought processes that can be brought down if too many negative events come my way. This theory works both ways.

My list of ways to reboot my brain is to start my day with our alarm going off to the sound of wonderful music. The normal alarm clock sound is so dull and gives me no happiness in waking up and coming alive. Plus, I have the option of changing up the music. 

The very next thing that works on my software is to make coffee or even more exciting is when my very thoughtful husband brings a cup of coffee to me as I start my dressing and make up routine. However, I catch myself as not taking the time to actually close my eyes for a moment and just let my whole body indulge in this special time. I felt like it was just a ritual if I did not take a moment to smell the coffee and actually taste the flavor of what I was drinking. Positive thoughts all the way around. Perhaps even a short meditation.
Coffee has often received a bad rap. Coffee drinkers already know that it does bring on a higher alertness, but there are studies that suggest it can improve our moods and protect us from depression. In fact, regular coffee drinking has been associated with a lower risk of dementia, Alzheimer's and heart disease. I am not suggesting that anyone go overboard on coffee consumption. In fact, too much can take one over to the danger side of many other different diseases. Moderation! That is the key. 

Knowing how I get into my day after breakfast, it is a good time to do my short exercise routine. Stretching and walking, plus using my weights to work on upper body strength.

Next stage is to have a healthy breakfast. It can be a healthy protein bar for those times when I am not able to prepare food such as eggs on guacamole toast. 


Before getting into my day, I found that a way to really reboot my brain is to work on using my nondominant hand for something all day long. It really reboots if you can do it for a week. Things such as wearing your watch on the other wrist, brushing your teeth using the other hand or even eating with your opposite hand. It tends to stimulate our brains and this produces a protein whose levels drop when you're under stress but it has been proven vital to the growth of neurons linked to long-term memory and mood.


As I start my day, I like to find the perfect mantra. Usually, I post it to my social media page. It is for me, and many friends have told me it was how they were thinking also. When I worked at a school, I posted these little mantras in the teachers' mailboxes and I was shocked when teachers showed me their collection of my mantras and told me how it helped them rethink their day.


Eating a healthy lunch with veggies and other valuable nutrients is important to give my brainpower a little extra boost. Yes, a good old-fashioned hamburger is good now and then. Key words for me? NOW AND THEN!  Dr. Mindy Pelz, a nutrition health coach says that if we fix our gut then our brain will change. 

To help avoid the after lunch sluggish feeling, it is time to take a little break outside if possible. 


It is also a great time to work on a new skill. I have enjoyed painting, writing, and learning a new language. Something creative that can sometimes be woven in to what is happening at your job, such as new technical skills, redesign your office or cube, headphones on to hear a language lesson. Open your mind and if it is not possible to do at that time, then save it to do after dinner. Definitely it would be more beneficial then staring at the TV when there is nothing on to watch and enjoy. Or get creative in the kitchen with a new recipe. I have amazed myself with some of our creations that we cook together.



While dinner is baking, I like to use this time to write in my journal about how my day played out. This is not the time to write in the negative. "I should have, could have, etc." Unless I add the positive spin of how I may have handled a situation if it happens again. It is a time to sort of have a conversation with myself and to write about my gratitudes of the day. 

The process of getting ready for bed is as important as the sleep...well, almost! Getting clothes out for the next day, sitting down and taking off make-up and taking my medications and finding something comfy to wear. Sleep shirts are my favorite right now. It is crucial to have the right temperature and sounds off, as well as any blue lights. My phone charges by my bed, but with the screen face down and the sound is on mute. 



"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
Wendell Holmes


Sunday, September 19, 2021

AS TOLD BY MAGGIE MAE

AS TOLD BY MAGGIE MAE

Being the youngest in the family does have some perks, especially if you are the most vocal one. I am Maggie Mae, a two year old Goldendoodle. The story has been told over and over that my human pets, Lola and Smiley, took my brother, Davis out to the very same breeder(the best ever) where they found Davis. This was to allow Davis to help by finding a pup in the litter who had some response and interaction with him. 

Apparently, they did even debate if Davis would love having another dog in the family or want nothing to do with the other dog. Every puppy that was brought out to Davis there was nothing happening. No fireworks. No Ka-booms. Until I arrived on the scene. We hit it off right away. He let me climb on him, pull on his tail and speaking of tails...both of our tails were wagging as if to say, "Yes, pick me!"


And I am so glad that he did. I believe it was a perfect match. Davis is rather quiet. But over time, I have taught him how to join in my barking and howling when necessary. 

Also, I believe that my Lola and I have the same blonde hair and I know that I am lucky to have the natural smoky eye effect. Don't you think? The good news is that I am the 'natural blonde' and I don't have to apply the eye shadow. Just natural coloring. Lola lets me sit with her when she is using her make-up. So glad that I don't have to do that to my eyes.



The other thing is that she is a writer and sometimes I believe that she works too hard and needs to play more with us. I have found a good way to get her attention. It works!

Some things that I like to do is get all dressed up with my fancy bows or bandanas. I love to go riding in the car or watch out the windows so that I am seen for sure. Love it when we go through Starbucks drive-thru and the baristas talk about how cute we are and give us a puppuccino. One of the local stores actually put a dog bone in the top of the cup. 

Ahhh, the wind blowing in your face. Heavenly!


I know that Davis and I have a lot of fun at Walnut Grove Doggy Daycare. We have not been in a while because Davis has a touch of inflammation in his right front paw and then he stepped on something and ended up with a puncture wound. We will be back as soon as Dr. Taylor, Lola and Smiley get him all healed. I had a little female surgery and had to wear this unbelievable collar. Wow, was I ever happy when it came off. Davis tried to help me sometimes but he always got in trouble for helping to untie it. We both can be little devils at times.






Here is a picture of the Dynamic Duo and others showing what we like to do best. I can't understand why Davis loves the water so much. Not me. He did try to teach me how to jump high for water. I just stayed further away from the hose. I do prefer to play hide and seek on the jungle gym and do flying leaps off the top slide. Davis and I pretty much stay together at Daycare but there are times I find my way around some other friends.











Just being together is the way it should be. We are a team.





We do love cuddling together and Davis will even bring pillows to me to lay my head on for a nap or cover me the best he can when he thinks I am chilled.










Sometimes, I just have to take what is available, so I don't think that I am too spoiled.



Now I do need to let you know that my brother is a blanket thief. My blankies. His crate stays open all of the time. What is his is his and what is his is mine. However, my crate must be closed when he is roaming. Why? He goes in it and takes my blankies. I love my soft blankets and pillow. If my door is left open then I must stand guard.





When I was really young, he pretended that he was guarding me. I think that he was but I know he really wanted that blanket. I guess that he did not like it when I tried to get into his food and water.



Davis has taught me about Christmas and oh how I love that. It should be coming along soon. Still there is no tree up. That is the clue, I have learned. Also, all of the stockings are put out.



The TV has become one of my favorite things to watch ever, mainly when there is a dog in the movie. That Turner and Hooch show is the best ever. The Art of Racing in the Rain is also good. Smiley watches a veterinary show with all kinds of animals. That is another favorite along with the different dogs prancing in dog shows for Best in Show. 

Then there are my girls. BG and Sky. With the pandemic it seemed like forever before I got to be with them again. Finally, with vaccinations for the grownups, it was safe to be with them again. 



When you get lucky and have a big brother who gives you the bully stick first, it is a grand feeling. He gets it in the end, one way or another. It is the thought that counts.


Somehow, I just knew that I wanted to be the lil' sis. So I stayed smaller by 30 pounds. I know that we keep Lola and Smiley entertained. Sometimes maybe a little frustrated but they seem to always smile at us and talk softly. Even over my loud barking at delivery people, squirrels, people walking or riding bikes. I have encouraged Davis to start howling like a wolf to join in a duet. Usually, it involves a brief time out. Just long enough to stop the noise. 


We belong together always. We take good care of each other, as well as Lola and Smiley.