The home stretch: bidding farewell to 2019

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How’s the year wrapping up in your world? Mine resembles a project still in the works: missing pieces to the puzzle; loose ends, tangled and frayed. Unfinished business: words left unspoken; goals unrealized. As well as one certainty: I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life or the end of next year—or the end of next month—without seeing progress. Although baby steps still mean we’re moving forward, we might fall on our hindquarters, take two steps back for each one we advance or veer off the original course. But we shouldn’t drop to our knees where we are and stop—unless it’s to pray. So as we bid farewell to 2019, I pray for: a clear vision for the New Year, favor to succeed, strength to overcome, confidence in our convictions and the peace that passes all understanding. And that any loose ends or unfinished business or missing pieces to the puzzle serve as stepping stones from one chapter to the next.

Cheers!

Image courtesy of Krishna arts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Size doesn’t matter: the power of prayer

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Christmas Day dawned cold and rainy. For the second year in a row, my husband and I volunteered through the Salvation Army to deliver dinner to the homebound. While driving to the Phoenix Convention Center to pick up meals, windshield wipers slapping at the spitting rain, I mentioned my prayers for a clear day. “I must not have prayed hard enough,” I said, noting the heavy clouds hovering over the mountaintops. “You don’t really expect God to answer that prayer when other people, like farmers, could be praying for rain?” I glanced at my husband in the driver’s seat. “Uhm… yes.” A few deliveries under our Santa Hats later, the clouds parted to reveal blue skies, the sun a yellow glow that warmed me from the inside out. “What were you saying about God answering prayer?” I said, a big smile on my face. “I just love when He shows off.” Never underestimate the power of prayer—even the small ones.

When have you witnessed answer to prayer?

Image courtesy of nunawwoofy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A better way: approaching seasons of ‘excess’

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On particularly rough days,
when you’re sure you can’t possibly endure anymore,
remind yourself that your track record
for getting through bad days so far
is 100%.

For many of us, this season rings in “excess.” Excess busyness and consumption. Excess worries, expenditures and expectations. Half the time, I’m torn between the “If you can’t beat ‘em…” and the “Enough is enough!” spectrum. But the more we give from a heart of excess (see “…Sharing the gift of ourselves”), the more we have to give. As we find ourselves wrapped up in this holiday’s hubbub, I challenge each of us to adopt an attitude of excess kindness. It costs little to share a meal with an elderly neighbor (bring an excess so she can enjoy seconds). Or deliver dinner to the homebound. It simply takes a generous heart. And perhaps our kindness will be an answer to someone else’s prayer on a particularly rough day. Remember: holidays aren’t required for excess kindness to make a difference.

Merry Christmas!

It’s your birthday! Sharing the gift of ourselves.

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To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~ Bessie Anderson Stanley

As we mature, birthdays can be a funny thing. Some people dread them; others don’t afford them a second thought. Still others, like me, welcome them with a childlike excitement. Recently, I renewed my annual membership in Club 50, complete with “signature” tiara and full-day (OK, three-day) celebration. Nothing fancy—except my princess attire—I embraced every moment. Because here’s the thing: birthdays are non-negotiable until they run out. And, if nothing else, they offer an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months of our journey, as well as provide a blank slate on which to write our stories for the next 365 (or 366) days—much like a brand-new calendar year. My plan? To be a better steward of my life going forward. After all, there’s no better way to give to others than to share the gift of ourselves.

What’s your take on birthdays?

Brave enough: finding strength to admit our brokenness

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From the start, my purpose for writing “A nasty word called addiction…” centered on a message of hope and redemption, as well as a way to mark a milestone in my own journey of healing. It’s no secret that many of us suffer in silence from a laundry list of afflictions. Yet, the older I get, the more I feel a kinship with those who hide behind the fake smiles, the false bravado. Because I, too, share the DNA of brokenness. Yet, as I navigate—aka stumble, skip or sidle (depending on the day)—this season of Club 50, I often entertain second thoughts about broaching various “taboo” topics in conversation or my writing. However, if we’re unwilling to allow ourselves the discomfort of vulnerability, then we miss an opportunity to engage in deeper connection with humanity, and ourselves. Transparency, I believe, serves as a catalyst to healing and a collective oneness. And affords us strength when we’re brave enough to admit our brokenness.

Are you brave enough?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Get up, dress up: showing up for your ‘best day ever’

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The other morning, a whirlwind in jeans and boots and a flirty (if I say so myself) smock, as I passed a gentleman in the parking lot who shares an office near mine, he asked, “How are you?” To which I replied, “Great, and you?” His response: “I’m great too; best day ever! Every new day is the best day ever!” Did I experience a drama-free day? No. Did I get cranky when my laptop acted up? Yes. But when we get up and dress up, it’s our job to be intentional with how we show up. Try these 10 ways to jump start your best day ever: 1) be present, 2) do less, 3) get one important thing done, 4) plan your perfect life (and start taking steps), 5) declutter, 6) go for a walk, 7) focus on three projects, 8) listen to great music, 9) watch a sunrise or sunset and 10) spend time with a loved one.

What’s the secret to your best day ever?

20/20 vision: ring in a new look, new direction

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Anyone else brimming with excitement over the ball dropping in T-minus 19 days? I love a blank slate—revisiting previous goals and dreaming new dreams—366 new beginnings to be exact (yes, it’s a Leap Year). And this year begins a new decade, so I hear—along with my new “word” for 2020: growth. For those of you who have experienced your own growing pains that often accompany progress, you know that growth can manifest itself from the inside out. This undoubtedly requires an exercise in patience when unable to immediately discern external change. Or, it may appear messy on the outside initially but, as you cultivate your goals, the fruit of your efforts begin to blossom. Stay tuned as I grow in tangible ways, including a new direction for Always The Write Time blog. I’m thrilled to share this fresh season with followers of my rhetoric and ramblings—the messy, the colorful and everything in between. Buckle up for an exciting ride ahead.

Happy New Year blessings!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A nasty word called addiction: from bondage to freedom

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In today’s post, I share a snapshot of a decades-long journey from bondage to freedom. Until six months ago to the day, I lived as an addict most of my life. Ever since I can remember, food consumed me (pun intended). Not so much the taste and health benefits, but the ways it [temporarily] anesthetized my emotions and contributed to a false sense of control. For years I engaged in an active bulimic lifestyle (see Body shaming comes in all shapes and sizes), bound by rituals that revolved around binging and purging. More than three decades ago, I “beat” the physical cycle of abuse but, throughout the subsequent years, lived with the psychological torment of a distorted body image, yo-yo dieting (an unhealthy practice with hidden dangers) and self-inflicted shame. Social interactions where food played a major role—parties, work lunches, friendly get-togethers—served to debilitate and oftentimes paralyze my mind. Until I finally surrendered these thought patterns. Bottom line: there’s always hope.

For more information, contact me.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Absolutes: yes, no or maybe?

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Growth comes not from hating what is wrong, but in loving what is right. I heard these words during yoga practice a while ago, another “ism” shared by our instructor. As a child raised in a Christian household, I soon learned that in life there are absolutes: yes and no. Right and wrong. Good and evil. Sickness and health. And the list goes on. Throughout the years, these (and other) absolutes remain, yet many have become muddied over time; shades of gray splashed onto a canvas of black and white. Rather than accept or reject, we choose to tolerate. Instead of casting blame or offering forgiveness, we overlook. An exception to the rule might take the place of “always” or “never.” Yet when it comes to growth, compromise won’t garner the results we seek: Because what we give out, we get back in the same form. However, I believe we can’t go wrong with love. But we’ll never be right about hate.

Do you struggle with any absolute(s)?

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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