Wednesday Wellness: Happy New Year!

My friends, Happy New Year!   Have you survived the Darkness of Winter and are you rejoicing in the return of the Light?

Something about the turn of the calendar and I am inclined to reflect.  Does this happen to you?

This year I am beginning with my Shining Year planner by Leonie Dawson.  I happened  to discover it last year after I had already purchased a planner. But I finally bought one mid-year, as her followers were just so enthusiastic about how the workbooks helped them lead happier lives, reaching their goals. Even now, I wonder if I should have purchased one of the bigger planners, as the workbook enthusiasts are posting their success stories and swear by the planners.

My kids are still on Winter Break, so we have been able to enjoy doing things together just a bit longer, it seems.  Although it is the same number of days off as they usually get, somehow returning on the 9th of January just seems more relaxing, doesn’t it?  We are enjoying watching movies and going to bookstores and redeeming our giftcards and reading and playing music. My crafty daughter and I are starting a keepsake quilt made from her favorite tee shirts.  Hmm maybe we will make a video  tutorial!

It’s been a year since my Manifesting Money post, and I’m happy to report that even after all those DVDs I traded in for cash last year, I STILL HAVE MORE.  And the stack I kept in case the kids wanted to watch them sometime, well seeing as they haven’t in A YEAR, I’m trading them in! CD’s, too, as I kept a ton just in case, but my new car doesn’t even have a cd player in it, so. Bye, Bye, Bye, BYE BYE!

The best thing I did for myself last year was find like-minded friends in groups.  Two of my online friends have started groups this week, and that made me think maybe I could do the same.  Stay tuned.

After the shocking deaths of George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, I decided to schedule a routine physical with my doctor.  My heart and blood pressure are fine. My new doctor gave me some reading on relaxation techniques.  And I found that the maker of one of my favorite supplements also makes a blended product containing something new I wanted to try.  #PracticingHealth

And the most exciting news: I finished writing my book!  I am so excited to share it with the world! We have finished editing, and it is now with the formatter.  I would expect to launch in about two weeks.

Dee’s Dishes is a collection of stories, reflections, and recipes.  Have you ever had Pepsi thrown on you?  For me, more than once.  Wouldn’t you like to find out more about that?  And then there’s my recipe for Pepsi Brownies.  Sounds good, right?

Stay tuned, my friends!

What are you doing in this New Year?

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Wellness: Prepare Ye

Happy #WellnessWednesday! (Or is it Wednesday Wellness? I can never remember.) I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I notice many of my friends who are creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my humble journey to wellness.
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Having just survived that family ordeal which we call Thanksgiving, we are now entering my birth month, otherwise known as that month which always has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, run over by a train. (Writing run-on sentences and mixing metaphors, apparently, too.)

Let’s just all take a moment to acknowledge the winter holiday struggle and invisible illnesses, shall we?  Here’s “Unwell” by Matchbox 20.

Sing it, Rob

Here are a few things I am doing this year to help me find the light and keep the darkness at bay.

Honor Advent.
Many world religions celebrate the winter solstice. Read this. http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_conflict1.htm I have a book of meditations that I like to read at this time of year- part Christian, part Zen. I am also singing at church on the second and fourth Sundays.

Practice Self-Care.
I listen to guided visualizations on my phone before bed. After some basic yoga and maybe the plank challenge.
https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Yoga-Workout-Dummies-Ivanhoe/dp/B00005LQ08/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1480533014&sr=8-1&keywords=basic+yoga+for+dummies
http://gettinmyhealthyon.com/2013/09/20/30-day-plank-challenge/
Organize.
I am near done purchasing my holiday gifts, and just have to wrap them. Thanks to my handy dandy historical gift-giving spreadsheet, which I have kept up since 2004. I also search online for lists of books containing characters with my children’s and nieces’ and nephew’s names.

Give.
Tis the Season of giving. Many social justice organizations need your help now more than ever. Feels good to donate even just a little. If you are a homeowner, your charitable donation may have tax benefits, as well. There are many ways to give, starting with collecting unneeded clothes, books and toys in your home to donate to a local charity, many which swing by your neighborhood on a regular basis. Your old glasses could give someone the gift of sight. You can also donate your time. Sign up to volunteer with a local food bank or charity organization to sort or distribute donations. Sign up with a friend or family member and share the experience.

Write.
I do want to journal and blog more. Right now I am working on self-editing my new book, so hopefully I can return to regular writing in just a bit.

Calendar.
Maintaining the family calendar of all our events. We have orthodontist appointments, church, religious instruction, pageants, school, band practices, band performance, the Nutcracker, recitals, and three family birthdays. Still it’s all manageable with clever calendaring. I’m so excited that my 2017 Diary Planner has already arrived! https://shiningacademy.com/2017-workbooks/

Say No.
Even though singing with a volunteer choir sounds fun, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals. So, Ive learned to say “No, Thank you. Maybe next year.” Try it.

Read my other posts on Advent here.

Advent Calendar

Peace,
Denise

Wednesday Wellness: Giving

Happy Wednesday Wellness, Friends!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I no9ted many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I.  I hope maybe some of my experiences may help you in your own quest.  Join me on my journey today!

Today I decided to complete and post reviews for another indie author.  I had thought about writing them for some time, I don’t know what took me so long.  I had thought about it so long, I thought I had already done it.  But I did it today, posting on both Amazon.com and on Goodreads. I let the author know I had done so, and she was thrilled.  It made me so happy to know that I had done something.  She had bared her soul in a book of poetry.  And I affirmed her.  Reviews are like gold.

I also completed and shared a testimonial.  Something else that I had been ruminating but not writing.  So I did it today, let the entrepreneur know, and we had a nice friendly little chat.  She provided exemplary service, and I let the world know! Hopefully she can use my testimonial in her marketing materials.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now:  kids’ schedules and chaos.  But you  know what, I gave testimony today.  And the recipients were so thrilled.  There’s something so satisfying about giving.

All is well.

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Have you experienced the joy of giving? 

 

 

Wellness Wednesday: Eczema, Cream, and Kindness

Happy Wellness Wednesday! Okay, I know it is already Thursday. Sometimes I just need a little more time- and that’s my wellness practice for the day- practicing flexibility.  Do you know what I mean?

I was going to write about my eczema. Then I observed something today.  And it all tied together.  You’ll see.

In times of stress and too much gluten, I have this handy dandy recurring eczema on the back of my right hand. It is like an indicator button. Seriously.  It is round and red.  And it itches- screaming: Do Something!  Slow Down!  Lay off the gluten!

One time I tried eating Paleo for like a week. But it made me cranky.  And so I decided I had nothing against rice and grains, for one.  But I noticed that my eczema had disappeared.  Wait, what? So I read Wheat Belly and tried eating Gluten Free, for several months.  But then I’d go on vacation and the Sourdough bread at my favorite restaurant was calling me.  Or, hello, in Italy- how can one NOT eat pasta and pizza?  When in Rome…  I’d also tried alternate flours and alternate “breads,” but there’s nothing like flour.

So this past week or so had been a big eczema flare-up. I was just coming off a cold.  None of my lotions, oils, or serums were working their magic.  So I had resorted to using antibiotic-treated bandages, and covered the areas on my hand, finger, and wrist with them at night.  That seemed to help until the next day, at least.

I mentioned this to another soccer mom, and she listened, responding that she buys this special lotion for her daughter. She sent a tube along to school with her daughter for me, and Oh My Goodness!  This stuff really is magic!  It doesn’t itch anymore, and the big boo-boo is shrinking in size, slowly returning to my normal skin color.

I offered to pay her, and she said, not gonna happen. I said I wanted to do something nice for her.  She said, “Your relief is my gift.”

I am so touched by her kindness.

Then, this morning I witnessed a woman bring a homeless woman to McDonald’s, to dine together. She asked about her life.  I was close enough to hear them behind me, and I observed my young daughter looking intently.  Perhaps it was at the woman’s makeshift maxi skirt, made from regular t-shirts, one worn around her knees.  On this first day of Fall, we’d noticed evidence of precipitation on the roses in our yard this morning.  I can only imagine what a difference it makes to those sleeping out in the cold.  As I listened to their conversation, I was impressed with amazing warmth shown by the giver.  Treating this woman like a friend.  Asking her about her life, her feelings.  Providing food and companionship.

And I felt stupid and useless, because I wasn’t doing anything to help.

But I was providing witness. I was also providing an opportunity to show my daughter that kindness matters.

I am now inspired to gather our unused blankets at home. Lord knows, I have a ton of old purses and totes that I can fill with supplies and donate.  I may not find this woman in the pink t-shirt skirt, but somebody somewhere needs it.

Kindness and warmth.

 

How is your wellness practice this week?

 

Wednesday Wellness: Mantra

Hi, Friends!  Happy Wednesday Wellness!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, because I noticed so many of my creative friends struggled with wellness, as do I.  Join me on my wellness journey as I fumble and stumble and keep trying.

Last week I caught a cold.

It was kind of a bummer, as I am now a early bird and need to be awake and alert and functioning at o’dark thirty.   And as luck would have it, I was scheduled to attend an all-day training seminar and take my notary public commission exam.  This is my teeny tiny desk area before the start of class.

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DoubleShot

Okay, so we have to register and get our passport photos taken, as well as fingerprints scanned. This all takes a long time and should be done prior to class start at 8:30am. I thought, I’d go to the nearby CVS drugstore and just pick up some Sudafed and I’d be good to go! But no, the CVS wouldn’t open until 8am, and I had to register, so I found myself at a gas station convenience store that didn’t sell Sudafed. So I got Benadryl.

The Benadryl sure kicked in and even though I had also enjoyed the Starbucks double shot with protein in a can, I just wanted to put my head down and go to sleep. This was not my first training, in fact, this is my third renewal, as I have been a notary public for 16 years. Thankfully. The meds dried up my sinuses, and I ceased being the loudest sneezer in the room.  But then the A/C kicked in, and I was sneezing anyway.  We finished a module (chapter) at 11:50 am and I seriously started packing my things.  But the instructor cheerfully informed us that we would be continuing.  Really?  At 12:06 pm,  I practically sprinted to the Starbucks, ordering myself a Venti Mocha and a breakfast sandwich.  Even though I had recently discovered cafe latte flavored nutritional shakes and kicked the Starbucks habit, I knew this day was different.  Upon finishing my meal, I got back in line where the barista remembered me, ha ha.  “You came back!”  he said. Uh, actually, I never even left.  I ordered a Venti Cold Brew for the afternoon.  I remember noting the time the Benadryl effects finally faded.  Oh, yay!  my medicine’s up!  Oh no, my medicine’s up!  What am I going to do? I didn’t think they’d let me bring my Kleenex box into the proctored exam.  Proctors, man.

I think I aced the exam, and I even managed to pre-order my kids’ prescriptions to the local pharmacy branch and picked them up on my way home, thank you very much.   #supermom

This is a long way of saying, yes, I still struggle with balance and wellness.  I am working on my next book, which contains stories and recipes, many from my mother’s island.  I was thinking about her oldest sister,my dear Auntie Ling, who has since passed away.  I remember her saying quite confidently and comedically, “None of that is mine,”  whenever someone else was crazy-making.

And I was inspired.  That’s really profound!  I often let the crazy-making of others affect my state of being.  You probably have heard the saying: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”  This is the same thing, only more meditative. It’s hard to truly release the crazy-making circus monkeys when you are identifying them as such. Am I right?

So I started deep breathing and reciting in my mind: None of that is mine.  None of that is mine.  Then I switched it up so that “is Mine.” is on my inhale, and “None of that…” is on the exhale.  This is a little harder to do, and you have to concentrate to get it right.  But in my experience, it is so worth it. This way I can physically release the breath and psychically release the crazy-making  at the same time.    It’s my new meditative mindfulness mantra.

Try it and tell me what you think!

What mantra works for you?  Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday Wellness: Back to School

My friends, I started writing on wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted many of my artist and creative type friends struggled with wellness, as do I. 

I have never been a morning person.  In fact, I am a known night owl.  But my firstborn started high school two weeks ago, and he has Zero Period beginning at 7:05am.  So now we wake up at 6:00am.

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Sunrise (c) Alexander Briel Perez via Dreamstime

 

Waking early with a focus is changing me.  Somehow it is easier to do more extra curricular activities at night, now, too.  I think it is because I am getting to work earlier, so I am also leaving work earlier.  I go to sleep earlier.

But I am also happier.  I am no longer so obsessed with some of those dark, unhappy thoughts.  I am not finding a lot of time to write, read, or watch TV. But I am considering volunteering- both at church and with marching band.

My daughter and I watched her brother’s marching band practice for an hour yesterday.  They’ve got great music and remarkable skill.    I remember my own days in marching band quite fondly. Some of the deepest friendships I have had were born in marching band.    Even today, there is not a day that goes by that I am not in contact with one of my marching band friends, usually in social media and online games.  I just know that my dear son is forming some life-long friendships right now!

As I lay down to sleep last night, I reflected on all that is going on in our lives, and how content I was.  I did some deep breathing and practiced gratitude.  I was so ready to sleep, I was astonished that I didn’t even have any of my anxiety remedies deployed!  (Lavender sleep mask, crystals, hematite worry stone, collagen under-eye treatments…)  I didn’t need them!  I said a prayer for the missing girl from my small town, that she is found and returned safely.

God is great.  Life is good.

My Alaskan Cruise: Day 7

Come vacation with me!  I love to write about my family’s vacations.   I hope you are inspired to plan your own exciting journeys! Have you been on a cruise?  Have you been to Alaska and Canada?  Let us know in the comments!

My daughter and I rise early again for our early excursion.  I am so excited to be in Victoria, Canada! This is a special place I remember visiting when I was a young girl, and now I get to share the experience with my little girl. We are going to see the beauteous Butchart Gardens.

Somehow my in-laws didn’t see us, and so they missed the bus.  (They got on the next bus).  We love these little bus tours, the friendly guides/ drivers and their oft cheesy remarks.  It’s a bit chilly and there are clear umbrellas at the gardens for everyone to borrow, if needed.

imageThe Gardens themselves are exquisitely gorgeous, every bit as wonderful as I remember.  We take many photos and enjoy the lovely blooms.  We enjoy a rousing ride on the carousel, and a light snack of popcorn, after.  My daughter had just said, if I were separated from my granddaughter and there was a merry-go-round, I would know that that would be the place to meet.  When sure enough, her grandparents approach the carousel!  She runs to greet them, it is really cute.    The carousel and the popcorn stand accept our U.S. Dollars, and give me change in Canadian dollars.  I love the Sunken Garden, and the Rose Garden the best.  The fountains are beautiful.  I am deeply moved by the Love and Peace rose, vintage 2001.

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Butterflies by Del Sol (white indoors, sun-activated colors!)

We take a photo near the tea room where my parents took my sister and I thirty-some years ago. I tell my daughter the story of how we waited over an hour in the heat, and my little sister ordered both a chocolate sundae and a chocolate shake.  Our sweet mother balked, but my dear father said it was okay, as he knew he would be lucky enough to help her finish both!  Smart man!  She delights in this story, but we do not have enough time to dine here today.  Our tour bus awaits.  And since they didn’t wait for my in-laws before, I doubt they will wait for us if we are late.   We say goodbye to the in-laws and get on our bus. We will pass a cool spinning globe in front of a Starbucks, as well as the famous Empress Hotel. The bus is stopping at the Empress, and I decide we should exit here.  It is a lovely pier area, and very near our next excursion.   We take some more obligatory tourist pics.

 

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Near the meeting point is another Starbucks.  Happily we run inside for a lunch/snack/drink.  My sister in law and niece are inside!  They just finished their excursion: a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown.  We enjoy a lovely mother-daughter reunion and share our stories.  My husband brings the boys (our son and nephew) off the ship after their lunch, and we all meet up for the Hippo Tour: a bus that turns into a boat.  The kids are delighted- it really is a unique tour.  Unfortunately for us, although we are first to line up, they boarded from the end of the line and we ended up with the worst seats on the bus- right behind the driver / tour guide  in the heat with closed windows and no leg room. The kids squished in the middle and got good views, but all my photos have the windshield in them.

IMG_3638[1]The bus becomes a boat and we float through the water.  We see a seaplane land in the water, which was very cool.  Our Hippo sails so close to our Royal Caribbean ship that the ship’s wifi pops up on my phone!  After the water ride, we drive through a park with lovely peacocks everywhere. After the tour, we split up again, and my son stays with me to souvenir shop in town, and the others walk back to the ship via another park/playground.

We are looking for another baseball cap for my son’s collection. But of course, we must also stop for the famous fudge, that was once eaten in space! I am using my Canadian dollars and coins, and I am looking for a penny, when the cashier  reminds me that they don’t have pennies anymore!  I vaguely recall this news from more than a few years back.  Why do they continue to ring up amounts with pennies, then, I wonder?  The fudge is fantastic.  I try the famous maple, Dear Son tries another flavor. It’s quite fun exploring with my son, just he and I.  He navigates quite well, shares appropriate observations, and some punny jokes. It is in many ways, like hanging out with another adult 🙂  It is sprinkling, and I consider taking a penny cab back to the boat, but we can handle it.  And I log a ton of steps today!IMG_3695[1]

We return to the boat and meet for dinner.  Tonight will be for packing.  You can pack by 10pm and the staff will take your luggage off the boat for you, or  you can select early departure/ walk-off luggage, which is what we will be doing.  We packed light.

We join the karaoke line-up and Dear Daughter selects Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.  This Cyndi Lauper classic is a bit to high for my alto range, and I regret I did not do it justice.  Fortunately my sweet girl skips happily around me during the instrumental break, and we are saved.  But I do not think I will share that video.  LOL.

Tomorrow we will disembark in Seattle, and enjoy the city before we head home in the evening.  Can’t wait to share more with you!   I will also be sharing my godson’s video with you.