Most of us have a desire to accomplish something big, a dream we’ve always hoped would come true. Too often  we get paralyzed by our fears. It may seem hopeless. Circumstances in life can make you feel trapped. All too aware of our responsibilities in life, work, family obligations, and paying bills. Maybe you feel stuck in a job that isn’t fulfilling. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business, go back for that degree, travel the world, run a marathon, pay off debt, travel to places you’ve never been before, go back for your degree (or get another degree) or go for that promotion. Whatever IT is, it calls to you now and then. You may shove it in the back of your mind for a while, months or years even. It will always resurface and make your heart skip a beat once again. Knowing what our heart’s desire is and being afraid to take the leap is common. Conquering your fears is key. They are holding you back. What are you afraid of, really? Failure? You might fail, yes. But you might also succeed. It’s been said that nothing will change unless you make a change. 

I believe there is more to life than struggling to make ends meet, working at a job that doesn’t make you look forward to waking up every day, worrying about your future, when and if you’ll get to retire. There should be more to life than that. I’m grateful for my children, my love, my family and friends that bring me happiness. I’m truly blessed. However, I want to accomplish a few goals for myself (and for them). Something halted my dreams, for many years. It was always ‘something’. Financial instability, relationship issues, or family health problems. I can cry about it and wallow in self pity (I’ve done my share of that). Overcoming many obstacles, I know now I can stand up, hold my head high, wipe the tears and get busy. I have stopped waiting for ‘my luck’ to change or for things to ‘eventually’ work themselves out. I’m capable and willing to take chances to ‘make it happen’. I have a bucket list a mile long and I intend to check every one off (eventually). Where there’s a will, there IS a way! I am through taking the back seat in life. Yes, it will be very difficult to rearrange my schedule and make time for what I must do. Admittedly, it’s terrifying just thinking about holding down two jobs and getting my masters and still spending quality time with my kids. But, it will be worth it. I want to better myself, learn and grow as a person. I want to make my dreams come true. In a couple years, I’ll look back and say, “Damn that was tough, but I did it!” 

Are you in? What’s your dream? Why? I mean who or what is IT all for? Know your ‘why’? Remind yourself every day of that driving force. Whatever it is, write it down, figure out what steps you need to take to accomplish ‘it’, make a plan. Tell your best friend. Gather up your posse for support. Turn to them for encouragement and the pep talks you need when times get rough. Then put on your big girl pants and GET IT DONE! 

Living in the Present

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

We spend much more time than necessary, thinking of the past or the future. Reliving and going over and over in our mind what happened in our past, or worrying about how our lives will turn out. We all have pain, hurt or events in our past we’d like to do-over. We all have dreams we hope will come to fruition. We worry and stress about the how, why and when. What if we didn’t? What if we just focused on what is happening right now, today? What if we just concentrated on who we spend our time with, at that moment?

Our past has shaped us into the people we are today. And yes, we live today based on what we want in our future. So, some analysis of what has occurred and what is yet to be is necessary for acting in a way that helps us achieve our goal. However, over-thinking can hurt our present living. Not living in the moment takes away from the people we’re with now in the present. I, like all of you, have events in my past that have been painful. What I need to remember is that it IS in the past. I need to leave it there. Yes, it shaped me into the woman I am today. I’ve learned from it. I grew from my experiences, but I need to move on. We can’t help but have thoughts about the people or things that upset us. It happens all the time to most of us.

I believe that entertaining those thoughts for too long takes away from the present moment. There are many times, while I’m at work that I worry about my children’s health, school grades, how I can convince them to do their chores without an argument. It can lead to oversights or missed appointments or a mistake. Sometimes I’m at lunch with a friend or date night and worrying about other things or other people. Don’t get me wrong; it’s healthy to vent or get worries off your chest, especially with your inner circle of people. They may have great advice and will often support and encourage you. All I’m suggesting is, don’t dwell. Recognize your issues and concerns, listen to help and then change the topic. I have learned that not only does it infringe upon my time with the person I care about, but it tortures me to go over and over a bad situation. We all do it at times. I have worried about the bills I have to pay while “relaxing” on the beach. Not very relaxing.

It happens though for sure. It’s natural even. Of course, I think and worry about my loved ones, the bills I need to pay, what my future will turn out to be when I can go on my next vacation. The key is to recognize the thoughts, acknowledge the situation and then let it leave your mind as quickly as it enters. It takes practice. However, practicing mindfulness in every case does truly pay off. It reduces stress and worry. Practicing mindfulness increases the feeling of happiness at that moment. Your problems in life will still be there after work. You will always have the same concerns after date night. Those same worries may even exist after yoga class. Focus on, better yet, enjoy the present. Soak in the person, and the moment you are in at that given time. Allow your mind to rest, so your heart can enjoy. Live your best life.

Adulting is Hard!

Wow…life is busy! Schedules are hectic. And the to-do lists are daunting tasks. When did life get so crazy? I often find myself thinking, “Life was so simple then.” You know what I mean. Pre-career, pre-mortgage, pre-major responsibility life. Think hard…you can remember. Nowadays, I sometimes feel like I don’t know if I’m coming or going. In addition to writing and working a small business, I work 8 hours a day teaching middle schoolers Health and PE, and I’m a single mom to a 16 and 12-year-old. After teaching, I have errands, food shopping, appointments, dinner to cook and household chores. Those of us that are working parents, also play taxi for our kids, and in the process try to squeeze in ‘quality’ time. Most nights I don’t sit down to unwind and relax until 9 or 10 pm. And guess what? Tomorrow, I get to do it all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for the loving people in my life that make it all worthwhile. However, life is hard sometimes. Am I right? I KNOW we all feel this way at times. Some days I’m so overwhelmed by all I have to accomplish, I can’t even get out of my way enough to start. So in my, eh-hem…forty…eh-hem….something years, I’ve learned a few things that work, for me, to bring a little calm back into my life. You might want to give a couple a try. Hopefully, they help you as well.

First of all, years ago, I hated the term “me time.” It seemed so selfish and self-centered. I’ve always been a people-pleaser and raised in an old, Italian, Catholic home. I watched my Nonni, wait on my Poppop and my mother wait on my father daily. They were happy to do it and the men in my family, were not only grateful, but they also did plenty to please their wives as well. Win-win. So I didn’t understand people who would spend a lot of their time, regularly to do something for themselves!?!

Now that I’m older, I’ve learned that there is real value in taking care of yourself. For the longest time, I felt selfish leaving my kids to get my nails done or go to a yoga class or for a long walk. Truth be told, I still feel bad at times. But I’ve learned the worth of self-care. One of my new favorite sayings is “you can’t pour from an empty glass.” Wow, that is so true! There have been many days I’ve exploded unnecessarily, snapped at someone or been overly grumpy due to sheer exhaustion. That doesn’t help anyone and accomplishes nothing except feeling bad later and regretting something I’ve said due to frustration and stress. Imagine a romantic date, a bike ride, stroll along the beach, a massage, a yoga class, or even sit alone, in a quiet place with a great book. It may sound too good to be true. It may seem impossible to fit into your busy life. But, trust me, not only is it possible, but it’s essential!

We have many responsibilities. That will never change. Make time for yourself. You won’t be much good to the people you love if you’re not practicing healthy self-care. Go ahead, live your best life. Take care of YOU! Because you are worth it.

The Parenting-Struggle is REAL!

The love we feel for our children is immense. We do everything we can for them from the time they’re born. We willingly sacrifice time, sleep, money and our sanity. They are part of us and fill our hearts with such a powerful love. And although we experience waves of joy and pride, we also feel disappointment, stress and agonize over our decisions. Our children are our whole world. When they hurt, we hurt. When they need help, we want to solve their problems. When they’re angry, all we want to do is make them happy again. The anguish is in knowing when and where to draw the line. When do we step back and let them figure it out on their own? When do we intervene? When do we listen? When do we preach? We doubt ourselves as parents. We often wonder where we went wrong or if we handled a situation in the right way.

In my world of a 12 and 16-year-old, many issues need my near constant attention. Currently, my 12-year-old daughter is finding her independence and wreaking havoc in the process. She has Down Syndrome, so every accomplishment is a real celebration in my heart. However, in the process of her learning and achieving, I have one mess after another to clean up after. Her recent antics include making her own breakfast and taking care of her own business in the bathroom. Both of which, she’s made clear, must be done independently, aka without help from mom. As proud as I am when she takes care of herself, inevitably I must follow behind, without her realizing, to ‘finish the job.’ There are times I have her ‘help me’ clean, and thankfully she loves that chore too. I’m not complaining, it’s just the extra time involved throws off my own timeline of getting myself ready and out the door in time. The added stress takes its toll from time to time. Not to mention, I fight the urge to ‘just do it’ or how much to help her, just to get it done. Many times she and I are both frustrated. That’s when I feel like I’m failing as a mother.

My smart, albeit somewhat lazy, yet very social, 16 yr old son, is a procrastinator. Keeping him motivated to finish his school work or house chores can quickly turn into an argument. Did I mention he’s sixteen? I’m battling with knowing how much freedom to give, when to allow him to learn things the hard way, and lecturing on the importance of responsibility. I wonder at times if I’m too hard on him or expect too much. He’s such a great kid and an awesome, loving, patient, big brother to a special needs little sister. So I often wonder…how can I be upset with him?

All parents stress over their children. It doesn’t matter if they’re babies, young kids, teens or adults. We worry about them and at times doubt our own effectiveness as parents. Remember that your children are part of you. You know them better than anyone. You’re aware of what makes them tick, what brings them joy, and what upsets them. And in your heart, you are sure of what’s best for them. I am certain some things are absolute. All of our problems will not be solved today. I love my children more than life itself. My kids know I love them, not only because I have taken great care of them but because I kiss them, hug them and tell them every damn day! I follow my heart and listen to my gut. I try to do my best, as a mom, every day. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” Jane D. Hull

“A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” Billy Graham

“Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves.”Elbert Hubbard

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” Sue Atkins

Dealing with Disappointment

Every once in a while, things fall into place just as you planned. Life seems to be going along smoothly…great even. You’re hard work and dedication is paying off! THEN…out of nowhere, disappointment smacks you in the face! At times, it’s a minor situation and bouncing back happens without too much discomfort. Sometimes, though, disappointment is so major that it’s absolutely, life-changing. We all juggle so much, day to day, with work, school, love, kids and friends, disappointments are bound to happen. Unfortunately, it’s part of life.

Many of us get disappointed with how things are going in our careers. Sometimes we wait for that big promotion and unexpectedly get passed over. Other times we work hard on a difficult project and after countless, difficult and frustrating hours, we’re left feeling exhausted, and everything still goes terribly wrong. We tend to beat ourselves up and run through each event over and over in our minds, trying to figure out what we could have missed? How did we allow this to happen? When we work diligently and give our best efforts into our jobs and don’t get our expected results, disappointment is natural and to be expected. The truth is, many disappointments are completely out of our control. So, try not to beat yourself up.

Some disappointments in your relationships or love life may be minor and easily overcome. Miscommunication can lead to hurt feelings. It’s often not intentional and they do not mean to hurt or disappoint you. Even in relationships, not everything is or should be earth shattering or a deal breaker. With discussion and healthy communication, the misunderstanding can be clarified and catastrophe avoided. Other times, unfortunately, it’s more severe. Disappointment can be major. Sometimes, after several months or even years, of what you thought was a loving relationship, something goes terribly wrong!? Betrayal is devastating. Feeling betrayed by someone you trusted, and loved deeply, leaves you feeling heartbroken, confused and devastatingly disappointed. What once was wonderful, is now wrecked and ruined beyond repair. It’s heartbreaking, shocking and of course, disappointing, to say the least! It is life-changing, for sure.

In addition, anyone who cares for children, whether you’re a parent, older sibling, teacher, coach, aunt or uncle, will at some point be disappointed by children’s ‘negative’ behavior. Keep in mind, it’s usually not intentional. As hard as it is, we can’t take it personally. They will at times make bad choices, fail a test, shirk their chores, mouth off, make a mess, or all of the above. After more than 20 years in education and raising my own children, I still, of course, don’t know it all. However, I’ve learned a thing or two. Kids are not mini-adults, they are children. Child development is just that, a child developing, learning, growing and maturing, in their own way, over all their years. Some can age gracefully, others make you pull you’re, now gray, hair out… repeatedly.

There many different types of disappointment in life. Some are annoying or upsetting but somewhat easily overcome. Others are devastating and life-altering. So…here are a few options that may help you cope.

First of all, go ahead and wallow. That’s right, vent to your best friend and allow yourself to get it all off your chest. The initial blow can be hard to deal with, so give yourself the time to acknowledge what has happened. Talking it out with those we trust, provides perspective. We must recognize when situations are out of our control or what we could do differently, in the future. After doing so, sometimes we realize it’s really not as bad as it seems. If it truly is life-changing, seek help, if need be. You have to allow yourself to feel it before you can move on. It’s crucial not to allow it to turn into depression. It can be devastating and heartbreaking but, please believe me when I say…. you’re going to be okay. It may not seem so now, it will take some time. Many disappointments can lead to a learning experience. Think about the lesson in the situation. And although it may sound trivial at first, look on the bright side and focus on the positive aspects of your life. Learn to communicate your frustrations and feelings. In relationships, it’s crucial to tell the person that may have disappointed you that you’re hurting. It may be hard at first, but it WILL get easier. Hang in there. Stand tall with your head held high and before we know it, it’s in the past and we are able to move on.

What is YOUR ‘Best Life”?

Living your ‘best life’ is different for everyone. What does it mean to you? Is it having a happy, healthy family? A fulfilling career with purpose? A huge bank account that leads to travel? Many people just want undying love. And then, there are the people, that some would call the dreamers. They want it ALL!

Is it possible to have it all? If you believe, it is, in fact, possible, then what is holding you back from achieving your hearts desires? You may be interested in some of the following great reads I’ve come across in my own quest. Books like,”The Power of Intention”, “Wishes Fulfilled”, and “Manifest Your Destiny”, just to name a few by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. Tony Robbins has written “The Power to Shape Your Destiny” and “Awaken the Giant Within”, among many others that are meant to inspire and motivate. They speak of dreaming, setting goals and manifesting all of your wishes to come true. In addition, there are countless seminars about how to make millions in a career you love. And even more books on how to find and keep passionate, unwavering love. Can it really be? Can we actually have it all?

Some would say NO. That believing in ultimate success in every aspect of our lives is simply not attainable. Furthermore, to believe such rubbish only sets us up for failure and leads to constant and repetitive disappointment. Such people suggest and claim to be ‘happy’ settling for one or two from their wish list and warn against buying into the ‘having it all’ mentality. They believe it may be true for the rich and famous, but agree that most of them have minimally one area of their life in shambles, at least according to the tabloids. But, as far as the ‘regular folk’, like us, it’s the ‘heaven on earth’ thinking that leads to crime, abuse, failed relationships, addiction and depression. This group of people accepts the fact that realizing all of your dreams is just not possible.

Ahhh, but what IF?…..

There are people that do believe, not only can you have it all, but that everyone can. It’s more than just thinking positive. They behave as though their prayers have already been answered. These people take their destiny into their own hands to realize their dreams and hearts desires. They know they have the power to make it happen. Not only do they believe in abundance, they believe that there is more than enough to go around. There is such an abundance in the world that anyone and everyone can have everything they’ve ever wanted. Living an abundant life is believing in countless opportunities and following a specific way of life. They simply don’t allow themselves to doubt, but to always search for and find an opportunity, grab it by the horns and run with it. These people focus on the abundance in their lives, not where they’re temporarily lacking. If they are lacking in a specific area, they focus on the ability and recognize the opportunities to achieve their goals.

Which of the two categories do you fall into? Haven’t we all dreamed the dreams? Don’t we all wish for financial success, without having to sacrifice our loved ones in the process? Have you ever thought you’d like to travel without breaking your bank account? Do you dream of that true, passionate, unwavering love? Maybe the possibility has crossed your mind. Possibly doubt or fear have held you back. It could be that a rough childhood or horrific circumstance in life forces you into complacency. Perhaps, a great loss left you troubled or weary. Or, maybe you still secretly wish for ‘it all’ and yet don’t allow yourself to truly believe.

Either way, wherever you stand, doesn’t have to be where you remain. It’s your choice. It’s your life. Your dreams can stay just that…wonderful dreams. Maybe you’re happy getting by, enjoying the unexpected pleasures life throws your way. But, maybe not…..

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” – Wayne Dyer

“When you are grateful fears disappears and abundance appears.” -Anthony Robbins

“Having everything is just an expression of complete inner freedom.” -Deepak Chopra

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We all feel beaten down by our circumstances from time to time. We can feel overpowered by the never-ending to-do lists and responsibilities. In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives we are often on auto-pilot. Until the moment it hits us, like a mac truck, and we come to a screeching halt. Panic sets in and we become paralyzed with worry. We then feel defeated before even beginning. Okay, okay, yes I know. But, the good news is, we can recover and come back stronger than ever. There IS a light at the end of the tunnel…

First of all, cut yourself a break! It happens to the best of us. Take a deep breath. Realize that we’ve all been there and unfortunately, we will again find ourselves in the chaotic state of overwhelm. You are not doomed to failure. You just need to focus. Meditation can help and does for many. I recently gave a presentation, in which I discussed mindfulness and meditation. It can be a minute or two, or even 30 min for some. If it’s new to you, start out with just a couple minutes. There are many apps you can download onto your smartphone if you’d like to give it a try. It may just work for you. With a little practice you may enjoy it. At the very least, take a break, even for 5 or 10 min. Go for a walk. Grab coffee with a friend. The key is to remove yourself from the situation in order to calm down.

Then, step back and take a look at all you have to do. You can only do one thing at a time. Prioritize the tasks at hand. People that know me best, know I’m an avid ‘List Maker’. I actually number each list item or sometimes color code, according to the area of my life it pertains too. (OCD much?) Yes I know. I’m teased about it regularly. And that’s okay. Because why not? It helps. At least it does for me, so maybe you want to give it a try too? That may be too much for some people but at the very least, make a list. Decide which jobs are most important and what can be put on the back burner. Immediately, you’ll feel some relief because you can start to see more clearly which chore to tackle first. Then figure out what ‘supplies’ you need or errands to run to complete your first task. The best part…When it’s done you get to check it off your list! That’s such a great feeling. “Check. That one’s done.” When you’re overwhelmed, it’s a relief to have something accomplished. It gives a shimmer of hope and you’re on to number two. Before you know it, you feel calmer and focused and that list is completed in no time! You may even start to wonder what you were so worked up about. The sense of accomplishment brings your confidence back, just in time to move on to what’s next.

Learn to say NO! Sometimes, as you prioritize, you realize ‘one of these does not belong’. Many of us hate to disappoint people and tend to ‘bite off more than we can chew’. Other times, we’ve taken on a job that really doesn’t align with our own over all mission. In that case, that task may need to come off the list all together. There’s no rule that says once it’s on your list you can’t revise, edit or omit whenever necessary. If it’s not crucial and doesn’t assist you in reaching your ultimate goal, maybe it’s something for someone else to do. Learn to delegate some of ‘your’ chores.

Stress can be devastating. When we are troubled by too many things all at once, we can feel defeated before we even begin. In living our best life, we need to pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and refocus on what we really want to accomplish. When we get our priorities in order and do one thing at a time, we get a small taste of accomplishment with each task completed. That first victory will lead to others and you will prevail!

“Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are reordered.” —Phoebe Snow

“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” —Timber Hawkeye

“When life gets hectic and you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to focus on the people and things you are most grateful for. When you have an attitude of gratitude, frustrating troubles will fall by the wayside.” ―Dana Arcuri

“Our greatest battles are with our minds.” – Jameson Frank

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” – Aristotle Onassis

Confidence…How you see yourself matters!

Your self-concept is how you view yourself and absolutely has a huge impact on your confidence. We all lose faith in ourselves, from time to time. Life can knock us down and kick us while we’re there. Stumbling blocks, mistakes, fears, doubts and of course ‘failures’ can bring your confidence to a crashing halt. It happens. The key lies in learning necessary strategies to regain your own strength and ‘put your best foot forward’. Here are several ways you can recover and start to believe in yourself again.

Focus on your strengths. When we’re at an all-time low, we need to see ourselves through a fresh set of eyes. So call upon your biggest cheerleaders. The people, in your life, that love and support you are your biggest fans. Turn to and lean on them when you need a boost. Being reminded of your best attributes and past successes, will give you a surge of confidence again. Surround yourself with people that lift you up.

Recognize and accept your limits. Be realistic. Runners that hit the road for a few miles, once or twice a week, don’t just run a full marathon the next day. I’m not suggesting to allow your ‘limits’ to stifle your dreams, just find a new way of getting there. There are many amazing marathon runners that have completed the race with a prosthetic leg, so….where there’s a will there IS a way! Just be realistic in your endeavors, know how to work around your limitations or you’ll set yourself up for failure. If it’s something you truly want to accomplish one day, then put a plan in place, work hard and once you’re prepared you’ll be able to conquer your goal!

Watch your language, mister! Self-talk can be very empowering, or it can be damaging enough to paralyze progress. Too often we are our own worst critic. The common thoughts such as “That was stupid!” or “I’m such an idiot!” or worse yet, “I’ll never be able to do this.”, can and will thwart all efforts and ensure failure. Practice positive self-talk like, “Okay, (insert your name), you can do this! Stay focused.”, or “I got this!”, or “I’ve done this before. I can do it again.” Sometimes it’s helpful to stop and take a few deep cleansing breaths. Mantras like this may help: “Breathe in confidence. Exhale doubt.” Remember to be kind to yourself. Believe in yourself!

Celebrate your successes. We often give a friend a ‘pat on the back’ or an ‘atta boy’ for their achievements, so why don’t we do it for ourselves?! Even the smallest reward can give us a boost to keep moving forward. So, the next time that big presentation goes really well, go ahead and treat yourself to a new outfit! When the boss compliments you for a great job on that big project, toast to your success over drinks with your special someone. You deserve it! Praise goes a long way in motivating us to continue working hard, refocusing and continuing to make progress. Don’t make light of a compliment…reward yourself…you earned it!

Don’t dwell on your mistakes. No one is perfect. We all ‘screw up’ from time to time. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes. Stop to reflect…..What went wrong? What could you have done differently? Create a new plan to do it better next time. Sometimes our train gets derailed or may even stop at the ‘Feeling Sorry for Myself Station’. Remember, this is temporary. Don’t get off your ride and unpack. You don’t live there. Move on.

Confidence is crucial to our happiness and in reaching our goals. Always remember your strengths. Set realistic goals. Stay focused. Be kind to yourself. Through it all, always BELIEVE in yourself!

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

“Beauty has so many forms, and I think the most beautiful thing is confidence and loving yourself.” Kiesza

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ ” Eleanor Roosevelt

All You Need is LOVE!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about LOVE. I once read, “Where there is love, there is life.” They’re not my words, but I believe them to be true. Keep in mind, there are numerous kinds of love, but for now, I’ll just mention the obvious….. the love you have for yourself, your family, children and friends, and of course, the amazing feeling of being in love with that special someone.

The love you have for yourself is necessary for happiness, in my opinion. Self- love is reliant upon your self-concept and self-esteem. When you love yourself, you ‘put your best foot forward’. We all struggle with this from time to time. It helps to recognize your own talents and good character traits. Be sure to show the best version of yourself to the rest of the world. If that’s difficult for you, “Fake it, ’til you make it.” Remind yourself of your strengths. You know the saying, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” Surround yourself with people you enjoy, those who love and support you. Try to see yourself through their eyes. Recognize your good qualities. You must first love yourself. You can create your own happiness.

Our children, family and friends provide so much unconditional love, care and support. If you have children, you know that from the moment you laid eyes on their precious faces, you instantly fell in love. We do everything we can and would do anything for them. Our love for our children never wavers. Your parents, relatives and friends are the loving people that bring us joy beyond measure. We receive support, care and concern that allows us to feel their love. They are there for us whenever we need them and we’re eternally grateful. Life is a little easier to navigate with their guidance. Treasure your loved ones. Revel in the little things. Take it all in. Enjoy making memories together. Tell them you love them everyday!

And yes…..True love does exist. Some people are blessed to have found the ONE. That one special person that makes your heart beat a little faster. The one who makes you smile like a fool when you’re by yourself, just thinking about the sweet something they said, or a wonderful night you shared. The one you enjoy, even when you’re in sweatpants just watching tv. The one that makes it their goal in life to make you happy. Love is filled with passion, romance, desire, trust, loyalty, compassion, fun and genuine friendship. We all know that no one is perfect, but your special someone is perfect for you. Your love adds so much happiness into your life.

Let’s face it, love in every form just feels good. Love makes us smile, lifts our spirit, creates happiness and makes life a little easier. So….Love yourself and love others with all you have. Love is all you need!

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 
– Lao Tzu

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” 
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Maintaining Balance

As I sit here, trying to wake up with my morning coffee, I can’t help but think about all I have to do. The kids are “running around”, there’s dirty dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, groceries to buy, meals to prepare, bills to pay and work to do.

In the quest for achieving Your Best Life, maintaining balance is very necessary. Our busy lives can get complicated and overwhelming. We all juggle so many tasks in our day-to-day lives. There are countless chores that we MUST do, but just as many enjoyable activities we WANT to do. Many experts warn of serious physical and emotional consequences of allowing our lives to stay misaligned. Stress, problems sleeping, stomach issues, headaches, emotional waves or anxiety can wreak havoc on our bodies. The good news….. creating a balance is within our reach. We have the power! We can take control of our own lives. It just requires analyzing how we currently spend our time and a little planning. Balance is something we all strive for in our lives. I tend to think of my life in 5 main categories: professional-life, home-life, physical, social and mental/emotional health.

Our professional life takes up the majority of our time. Whether you are going to a full-time job, a student or self-employed, no doubt some of us are putting in way more than a 40 hour a week. Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a career you love, which makes the grueling days a little easier. Maybe work for you is just that…..work. A means to an end. We all need money to do the things we WANT to do. In that case, it can feel like just trudging through looking forward to Saturday and Sunday. Students often have full days of classes, often 5 days a week and still have to work to pay for their education. Nevertheless, we all work hard. Damn hard. And so, it’s pretty obvious that squeezing other components into your life would be extremely beneficial.

We also all have a home-life. At the end of our very long days, we get to come home. As much as we look forward to the comforts of our soft couch and the smiling faces of our loving families, there is often much more ‘work’ to do. Household chores of cooking, cleaning and laundry can be, and usually are, the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day. However, the necessary tasks must be done. Hopefully, in your household everyone pitches in and does their share, which will definitely, not only make things run smoothly, with less stress but also knock ’em out quickly. (Think DELEGATE!) Dinner time with your family can be a meaningful way to communicate, share the events of our day, laugh and spend quality time together. Try to make that a priority and enjoy it!

With so much to juggle in life, we MUST take care of ourselves! You are no good to anyone else, if you fall apart! Your overall health and wellness can be thought of as a triangle. (I love teaching this aspect in my 6th grade Health classes!) Your Health Triangle has three sides: physical, mental/emotional and social. All sides of this triangle are equal. It is vital to any type of success. Your physical health involves taking good care of your body. Exercise regularly, eat as many nutritious foods as possible, limit high sugar foods and foods high in saturated fats (moderation), and get plenty of sleep. The social side of the triangle is all about the relationships in your life: kids, family, love and friends. I call this section my heart, because let’s face it, the people in our lives motivate us. Our loved ones are usually why we work so hard. They give us a feeling of fulfillment, providing the love and happiness that feed our souls. Spending quality time with them is crucial. Be good to ‘your people’, enjoy them and you will feel great. The mental and emotional (M.E.) side of the triangle is ‘all about me’. Be sure to do the things that make your heart smile, your soul soar and give you peace of mind. That, of course, is different for everyone. Some of us practice yoga or meditation, read a good book, dance, listen to or make music, while others may enjoy to sit by a lake or the ocean to relax. Some people enjoy a kick-ass workout or long run to wipe out their stress, while others would love to take a nap. You do you.

There are never enough hours in a day. At times, we don’t have a choice but to devote most of our time to just one or two categories. When that big project at work is running behind, you have to work more. If the kids are sick, they need most of your attention that day. It’s okay. Life happens. Expect the unexpected, and accept the fact that sometimes there will be a temporary imbalance. As long as, it’s just that….temporary. You need to work on it, and stay aware. You can always squeeze in a little reprieve now and then, such as, an hour dinner date with your love, a quick 30 min workout, a 20 min power nap or even just a 5 minute meditation or prayer time. Then, on days or weeks when nothing catastrophic happens, focus more attention on what you enjoy. The bottom line is fulfill your responsibilities, but don’t forget to always take care of your body and do what makes your heart happy!

“What I dream of is an art of balance.” Henri Matisse

“Problems arise in that one has to find a balance between what people need from you and what you need for yourself.”   Jessye Norman

“The gift of balance in your life – may you find the balance of life, time for work but also time for play. Too much of one thing ends up creating stress that no one needs in their life.”   Catherine Pulsifer