posted 1 day ago
When I saw it, I immediately thought of my Toastmasters club. Every Toastmasters meeting has a timer, and my #rethinkChristmas photo features the lights we use to inform speakers whether they are under, within, or over their allotted time. This is not because Toastmasters are rigid perfectionists. Rather, it is to encourage us to communicate our messages effectively in the time allotted. Being respectful of the time and the attention of others helps us be better communicators and better leaders. Time can never be replaced once it is lost. It is a sign of ultimate honoring of the audience when a speaker respects the time allotment he or she is given.
During this Advent season, I am trying to make better use of the gift of time.
posted 1 day ago
I spoke in my podcast this week about finding ways to enjoy Christmas more and stress about it less. I want to reinforce that message with today's Wednesday link-up. I love the website onegoodthingbyjillee.com, and Jillee wrote a few days ago about her perfectionistic tendencies. I recommend this link to anyone who, like me, risks losing the fun in making things perfect. http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2013/11/give-perfectionism-a-holiday-this-year.html
I will post my #rethinkChristmas photo in a separate entry.
posted 2 days ago
It's funny how sometimes things pop up in our lives when we need them the most. In the #rethinkChristmas list, today's word is "peace." Peace is something I have been lacking lately, and I found myself tasked with taking a photo to illustrate it.
I mulled over the reasons I had lost my feeling of peace. A physical challenge, arthritis, has forced me to change my lifestyle, and I have been angry about that. I did something this weekend that made a a friend angry, and I have been fretting and feeling guilty about that, even though I apologized to the best of my ability. My business hasn't grown as fast as I hoped it would, and I have been anxious about that. Anger and guilt and anxiety will rob a person of peace in a hurry.
As I looked around for an illustration of peace, my gaze fell on an angel ornament one of my daughters brought me a few years ago. She had traveled around the world, largely on her own, and she said she thought of me when she saw the angel. It was in a market halfway around the world. I had fretted about her traveling; I worried about her decisions; I worried about her future. I also realized that I had no say in what she chose to do or the risks she chose to take. My time to make decisions for her and to protect her had passed. She was an adult, and the only choice I had about her decisions was to accept them.
When she gave me the angel, I decided to hang it in a prominent place year-round. I wanted it to be a reminder that acceptance is the way to peace.
I have arthritis. I disappointed a friend. My business may succeed or it may not. After I do everything I can, the only way to find peace is through accepting what is.
posted 3 days ago
It's the second day of December, and the Christmas countdown has begun. It isn't too late to rethink your holiday plans, whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. You don't have to be overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed!
This podcast draws from the excellent ideas found in the book Unplug the Christmas Machine by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli. (If you purchase the book by clicking this link, I receive a small commission. Unplug the Christmas Machine)
This is also day 2 of the Advent photo challenge. Today's word is "bound." I thought an image of tangled Christmas lights might be a good representation of how many of us are so bound by tradition that we feel tied in knots. Letting go of "shoulds" and making conscious choices about holiday celebrations can be the beginning of happier traditions.
posted 4 days ago
Today is the first day of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas. The photo project word for today is "go." My photo represents my younger daughter going back to college after being home for Thanksgiving break.
Like it or not, all families evolve. We all grow older. Some of us grow wiser. My children have grown up. One has lived on her own for many years; one is just beginning to make a life away from the family home, residing for the short term in a college dormitory.
The celebration of Christmas is the celebration of transformation, the movement from darkness into light. I hope that my daughter finds her college experience enlightening in many ways, and I hope she finds a career path that will challenge her and bring her satisfaction. As much as I hated to see her go, it is what she must do, in order to grow into the woman she is destined to be. So although my heart whispered, "Stay," my lips said, "Go."
posted 6 days ago
My dear friend Becky Durham writes a thoughtful blog that often encourages or challenges me. Sometimes, both. Becky is a Presbyterian youth minister who is planning to enter seminary as she continues on her spiritual path. I, on the other hand, gave up organized religion several years ago and have no plans to go back. I do remain committed to spiritual growth, but I choose to explore my path outside the confines of Christian church tradition.
On her blog today, Becky told of her plans to participate in a Rethink Church photo project for Advent, the period of time leading up to Christmas, beginning on December 1. I followed along as Becky did the same type of project during Lent this year, and I was fascinated at how her thinking and her blogging were sparked by the words she needed to illustrate with her photographs. Because I have been looking to build the habit of blogging more regularly, this feels like the right challenge to join.
You can read more about it here: Becky's blog.
posted 10 days ago
Our feelings often stem from automatic thoughts that pop into our heads, unbidden. The best way to stop feeling depressed and anxious is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Expressing gratitude is a quick and simple way to lift your own mood, as well as the mood of the person you are grateful to.
It is Thanksgiving week in the United States. I am very grateful for those who tell me I make A Decided Difference in their lives.
posted 15 days ago
I am a fan of Cheryl Richardson, who was a life coach before there were a bazillion life coaches. Her books helped me find my way out of depression.
Her newsletter this week deals with the decision to feel better when you feel sad. I recommend it most heartily. You can find it here: Cheryl Richardson newsletter.
posted 17 days ago
Have you ever considered who taught you to think? Have you ever even considered that you were taught to think?
What if the epidemic of depression and anxiety in the 21st century has to do with the fact that many of us have never been taught how to think effectively? It may be that we may have actually been taught to think in ways that are destructive to our own minds, our own hearts, and our own happiness. In this week’s podcast, I examine these questions and make suggestions for healthier thinking.
posted 22 days ago
I am adding a new regular feature to the blog: the Wednesday link-up. Each Wednesday, I will connect you with another blog, a news article, an opinion piece, or anything else that I think will support you in making A Decided Difference in your own life. These are items I have discovered in my travels around the internet, often shared with me by friends. I make a regular practice of reading positive, well-reasoned material that supports me in my mental health and happiness, and this is an easy way for you to begin doing the same thing.
This week, I will share a powerful piece from the Psychology Today website. It is a bit lengthy, but I believe it will help you in setting appropriate boundaries. (For more on boundaries, I refer you to my most recent podcast: #35.)
posted 24 days ago
Is that pie? Mmm, pie! Imagine, if you will, a holiday celebration that involves actual celebrating. Yes, with some effort, it can be done!
The holiday dinners and parties are coming, are you ready to really celebrate? Or will the toxic people in your world once again serve as carriers of depression and anxiety?
In this podcast, you will learn tools and techniques to make your celebrations not only fun, but peaceful and drama-free.