Holiday Perfection

 

The December issue of Country Living Magazine is sitting on my kitchen counter.

On the cover, there’s a pretty white farmhouse.

In front of the house sits an old mint-green truck with a freshly cut Christmas tree on top. Every window on the house has a wreath with red bows and garland hangs from the porch rails.

I wonder what it must feel like to live in a house decorated like that.

I imagine how special it must feel to celebrate the holidays in a house like that.

I look around my house.

The tree is up, but there are no lights or ornaments yet.

I bought two wreaths but they’re sitting on the front porch floor.

My dining room table is covered with boxes of decorations and ornaments.

I look again at the magazine and wonder how other people do it.

How do they get their houses to look so perfect?

And I don’t mean just the houses in the magazines.

I mean all the houses I pass in my neighborhood and surrounding towns.

Where do they find the time to create such perfection?

It seems I go through this every year.

These feelings of being not good enough.

Of feeling overwhelmed.

Feeling exhausted before it’s all even started.

And then that voice in my head asks me, What is perfect?

Wasn’t it perfect last week getting to sit with my parents for all those uninterrupted hours after my Dad’s surgery?
(He’s home and doing really well)

Wasn’t it perfect driving to Vermont to meet my sister for a pre-holiday lunch and walk our dogs along the river?

Wasn’t it perfect sitting next to my girl at the latest Mother-Daughter flick at our local cinema?

Or even writing this email and sharing these thoughts with you?

I could have been hanging wreaths and putting up decorations, but look what I would have missed!

So instead of beating myself up, I’ll remind myself, and you, that what’s really perfect is slowing down, loving life exactly as it is, showing up exactly as we are and being present to yourself and those you love.

That, as far as I’m concerned, is Perfect.

Ask Yourself: What Do You Need

When our daughter was little, there were times when she was so out of sorts, I felt helpless in helping her.

One day, I opened up to a friend and shared this with her. In return, she offered the suggestion of asking our girl the simple question – What do you need?

That question became my magical go-to.

I remember the numerous times I knelt down, put my hands on her bony shoulders, and asked her, What do you need?

Often, she didn’t know, but the fact that I cared to ask and listen, seem to be exactly what she needed.

I offer this to you today, because so often, many of us find ourselves in times of uncertainty and feeling out of sorts.

This is an opportunity to ask ourselves this very question– What do I need?

And in response, just listen.

Let your voice from within tell you what you need.

Maybe you’ll hear:

Rest.

A bath.

A good cry.

A long walk.

The cup of tea with a friend.

A turkey sandwich with lots of cranberry.

A romantic comedy.

A night out belly up to the bar with with a salted margarita.

A pillow to punch and get all my anger out.

What do you need?

Your turn.

Ask yourself – What do I need?

Write down the first things you just heard.

And let the Magic begin!

How to Respond with Gratitude

How to respond with gratitude

Last week, my life was full of Magical Moments – but probably not the kind you’re imagining.

On Monday, we discovered that we’d accidentally cut the gas line to the stove while doing some DYI landscaping (no explosions or injuries, thank God!)

Tuesday, the septic backed up and had to be pumped.

Wednesday, the plumbers arrived to repair the first-floor bathroom emergency and were back on Thursday when the problem reemerged.

Friday, the 12 yards of landscape stone arrived from an hour away and turned out to be the wrong stone.

You can’t make this stuff up, right?

So why in the world would I say I had a week full of Magical Moments?

Here’s how. I applied the Magic Formula that I learned years ago from Jack Canfield.

E + R + O
Event + Response + Outcome

Here how it works.

You can’t really control the events that happen in your life, right? i.e. cut gas line, septic backing up…

But what you can control is your Response to the Event, which in turn, controls/determines the Outcome.

That is where the Magic happens.

Last week I could have responded to the chaotic events by feeling all poor me. Instead, I put the Magic E + R = O formula to work and quickly changed to a response of gratitude. Gratitude that folks were able to respond so quickly, I got to meet so many helpful and friendly people, and our problems were solved.

Now it’s your turn!

Put this Magic Formula in your back pocket and carry it with you, so whenever an unexpected Event arises. You get to choose your Response and see how that affects the Outcome.

Here’s to hoping your days are full of even more Magical Moments as a result!

Lead with your vulnerability

Lead with vulnerability

When working with coaching clients, whether to help uplift and transform their lives or bring their book to life, the theme that constantly emerges is Vulnerability.

Lead with your vulnerability, I so often say. Open your heart and share what is there. That is where the magic begins. That is where others will connect to you.

Easier said than done, I know because today it’s my turn. My turn to lead with vulnerability.

Today is my turn to speak about the sadness I’m feeling.

We took our boy to college this past weekend. I didn’t think it would be a big deal. After all, he spent all of last year on a gap year in England and now he’s just a five-hour drive away.

And yet…something is different. 

He is not here. With us. It kind of feels like a light has gone out in our home. I keep looking to replace the burned-out bulb, but it seems the entire lamp is missing.

I know it will get better. I know we’ll find our way and get used to the more dimly lit rooms and find other ways to bring in the light. But today, I’m just going to allow myself to feel all of this and lead with my vulnerability.

Today and in the coming days, I’ll practice what I preach – giving myself the self-care support I need. I’ll meditate and walk and read and rest and feed my body, soul, and mind, as I find my way down this new path.

I will allow myself to be vulnerable and receive support from others.

Which has already happened, for just as I was writing this, a dear friend and ongoing parenting mentor, happened to call. After we spoke, she sent me this –

Welcome Blessing

She advised me to have tissues. Glad I did.

So… not only do I have a kid off at college, but a daughter heading into her senior year of high school and looking for the college where she’ll end up next year. Sigh.

How can you lead with vulnerability today?

What is yoga to you?

What does yoga mean to you? A question to meditate on.

I was recently thinking about a yoga class where my teacher posed the question, “What is yoga to you?”  She wasn’t looking for any raised hands. The question was more of an offering; something to meditate upon throughout our practice.

As I began bending and twisting, I thought that yoga was just simply moving my body. Keeping it limber and flexible – stretching in response to all the driving and sitting I do.

As I kept moving, more bends and twists, my breaths grew deeper and fuller, and I could feel myself letting go of everything I’d carried in with me to class.

As I continued to bend and twist and breathe even more deeply, I felt me return to me. I felt myself remember who I was.  I felt the real me, deep inside of myself, awaken and smile up at me.

Because a lot of the time I forget. I forget the deep me hidden away inside. I’m just a busy body doing whatever it is I do.  Too busy to stop and say hello to that inner me.

I had found my answer. For me, yoga is simply… returning to me.

I didn’t raise my hand or share my answer with anyone else. I just tucked that knowledge in my pocket to know I can pull it out whenever I need a friendly nudge to get my body moving.

What about you? What is the movement that brings you back home to you? Is it a walk in nature? A run on a treadmill? Gentle movements on a mat? Maybe you’re not sure. Only one way to find out – start moving.

Because moving your body is one of the key elements in Igniting Your Magic!

You Have Permission to Take Care of Yourself

Give yourself permission to care for yourself first.

With kids home for the summer and the house feeling wonderfully noisy and chaotic, I was just thinking back on the days when the kids were little and even more noisy and the house was even more chaotic.

There were days when I was so exhausted, my eyes wouldn’t focus properly. Yet even on the rare occasion when the kids were napping at the same time (miracle!!), I wouldn’t dare lie down.

Not because I had too much to do – I always had too much to do. Instead, I was afraid someone might discover me napping!

How dare I? I used to think.

So I’d force myself to “suck it up” and keep slogging through my to-do list, all the while becoming more exhausted, resentful and angry.

You have permission to take care of yourself, even when you're a mom! Paying attention to self-care can mean the difference between total burn out and a wonderful day. #selfcare #momlife #motherhood

Boy have I come along way!

Today, when I’m running on fumes and not showing up as my best self, I ask  – How dare I not?

Best of all, I don’t care what anyone else thinks!

And I certainly don’t need permission from anyone.  And neither do you!

I simply pull out my Magical Living Daily Planner (hint, hint) and right under the Soul column, I write in big and bold letters – NAP.

And later in the day, when I’m feeling like a little rest is in order, I take a nap. Happily. And so should you!

Nap, or do whatever feeds your soul and allows you to show up in the fullness of you.

Go ahead, give yourself permission! Maybe take it a step further and write yourself a permission slip – giving yourself permission to take care of You!

 

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

The Power of Writing Down Your Dreams

The power of writing down your dreams

Last week, I was talking to a dear friend about all the changes he really wanted to make in his life.

“Write them down,” I told him.

In my coaching sessions, when my clients describe their dream life, I say to them, “Write it down.”

There is something so powerful about writing words on the page. It begins with the seeds of a wish; a thought you may dare to dream. But if you really want to make that wish a realization, I can’t urge you enough, Write it Down.

I know first-hand that this practice really works.

Eleven years ago, when we had to move from the 200-year-old home we so adored in Massachusetts to New Hampshire for a job change, I had the entire family, including six-year-old, Andie and eight-year-old, Tucker, write down exactly what they wanted in our new house.

We all wanted another old house. Andie wanted a bigger bedroom (hers was a closet in Mass), Tuck wanted a sledding hill, I asked for apple trees, stone walls and fireplaces and Lee wished for garages (he’s an old car nut), 25 acres, and ceilings that he wouldn’t bump his head on. And most importantly, we needed to be able to afford this dream house!

Writing down your wishes, goals and plans for the future can be a powerful way to set your intentions. Get your kids involved in intention setting when it effects the whole family! #intentions #goals #family

It’s was tempting for the “yeah, buts” to sneak in and list all the reasons why it would never happen, but after I wrote it down, I practiced saying the simple motto, Ask, Believe and Receive.

And no joke, the very first house we went to look at in NH, was 200 years old, had a sledding hill, big bedrooms, tall ceilings, garages, fireplaces, stonewalls, all on 25 acres and, best of all it had been sitting empty for over two years and the owners were looking to unload it!

I must admit, even I was surprised by this incredible manifestation, but since then, I’ve never doubted the power of asking for what you desire, by writing it down.

And when the “yeah buts” try to creep in, simply remind them that anything is possible and keep believing in your dream.
Photo by Ella Jardim on Unsplash

3 Simple Tools to Help You Stay Balanced and Present

Stay balanced and present this summer

I don’t know about you, but Summer is my season.

The long, light-filled days nourish my soul and replenish my well.

I love the lack of structure and ease that comes with the more relaxed days.

And, yet, without the usual rhythm and routine of my days, I have to be even more deliberate about practicing the habits that keep me balanced, or I can easily become overwhelmed.

I have a super simple solution, which I call my 3 keys, that I utilize to bring just enough consistency, structure and self-care to my days.

So, whether you’re traveling, have a house full of guests, or a new puppy, like me, you’re able to stay grounded and present.

new puppy in our family

My 3 Keys to Creating a Magical Summer:

Movement – This is a must!!! 

It’s so easy to fall into the rhythm of hanging out on a beach towel with the kids, or spending lots of hours in the car driving to various activities – but your body needs to move, not only for the physical benefits but the mental clarity that movement brings as well.

Many of the folks I work with use the old, “Idon’thaveenoughtime” excuse, but inevitably, when we look more closely at their schedules, we’re always able to find at least 20 minutes for a walk or a quick yoga video, even if it means getting up a little earlier in the morning.

Meditation – Or sitting still time

If you already have a meditation practice, great. Stick with it.

If you do not, summer is a perfect time to get started.

Again, keep it simple. Set the timer on your phone for 5 minutes, put on a piece of relaxing music, plop down on a comfy chair, put both feet on the floor, take a few deep breaths and just be.

That’s it. So simple, yet the results can be profound. And if you want something a little more structured, I use this free meditation app Insight Timer and these are a couple of my favorite meditations: 

These three simple tips help me to stay balanced, even through the busy summer and back to school season. #selfcare #momlife #lifetips

Nourishment –

Summer days tend to be long and full of activity, so it’s a perfect time to nourish your body with fresh fruits and veggies from local farm stands and markets.

And be sure you’re keeping yourself well hydrated.

Remember, our bodies are made up of mostly water and energy flows freely through water. So drink up!

I always keep a big jug of water in my car and on the counter to fill my water bottle throughout the day. You may want to do the same.

That’s it!

3 simple tools to ensure you stay balanced and present throughout your summer days!

I always try to do my 3 keys as early as possible in the day, but have fun and do what works best for you!

 

Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

A Summer Snow Day

Summer Snow Day

There’s nothing I love more than a snow day.

When I was a classroom teacher, I’d listen to the radio announcements with my fingers crossed – willing the announcer to say the name of my school.

Then when my own kids were in school, I’d say a little wish before opening the computer to check.

Last week, we had tremendous thunderstorms here in New Hampshire, both kids were sent home from their outdoor jobs (lifeguard and mountain bike guide).

I was so excited to have them both home unexpectedly and declared it a Summer Snow Day!

Tuck used the day off to visit the chiropractor and get a haircut, but Andie and I decided that a rainy day called for a matinee.

We went to see the documentary about Mr. Rodgers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I am so deeply glad we did.

What a special movie. What a special man. What a special message.

A message we need more than ever in this world.

Spread kindness.

Care for others.

Love is at the root of everything.

Listening is an act of love.

The development of our children is of vital importance…

and so many others.

Andie never really watched Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, but she was deeply moved by the movie.

I loved our time together and felt so grateful for the thunderstorms that made it all possible.
But it reminded me, that we don’t have to wait for the “snow days” to play.

We can give ourselves permission to play and take time for ourselves, regardless of the weather!

I’m going to try and do so more often, and I hope you will, too!

Won't You Be My Neighbor

 

Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life Preorder Special!

Pre-order SpecialHello Dear Friend!

I hope this finds you well and soaking up every last minute of summer!

My thoughts are turning toward my book launch, as A Mom’s Guide to Creating a Magical Life is released nationally on September 10th

So…Between now and September 1st, when you Preorder A Mom’s Guide, you’ll also receive my online class, Ignite Your Magical Life, for Free! (It’s a $297 value)

I hope you take advantage of this opportunity and pass it along to family, friends and anyone else that you think could use a little more Magic in their life!

Many advised me against offering the course as a complimentary gift, saying that’s “crazy” or “it’s too much” but I am grateful for the support you have provided.  My new book and course go hand in hand, support each other beautifully, so I feel it’s important for you to have both. This gift comes straight from my heart to yours.

Click the link below and you’re on your way! Make your purchase from any of the retailers on the page and return to the page to add in your invoice or purchase number. The simple instructions are right on the page. 

MOM’S GUIDE TO CREATING A MAGICAL LIFE PREORDER

A Mom's Guide to Creating a Magical Life is on pre-order! Order your copy now for delivery starting September 10th! Read this powerful book to help create more space, care and magic in your life. #momlife #selfcare #alittlemagic

 

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash