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Choose Joy

It’s December 1st.

As in 25 24 days till Christmas.

As in 24 days to figure out how to manage my money so I don’t break the bank this year.

I swear if we took out the stress and need to compete with others over gifts and decorating, we’d be much happier.  Where would we be if we celebrated what Christmas was really about, instead of beating ourselves up thinking that whatever we spend won’t nearly be enough?

Do we ever feel like what we do is enough?  How are we supposed to enjoy ourselves when the self-induced pressure is very real? (And it is self-induced).

My main goal this year is to take each of these next 24 days and make them different from what I’ve done in the past… and I’m hoping you’ll do the same with me.  What we do for others, whatever we do for others, will be enough.  Trust in that.

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5 Ways to Savor this Holiday Season…

  1.  Above and beyond anything else, focus on you and your family first.  I know finding the perfect gift for your boss or bestie feels important, but trust me, they will still be your boss or bestie after the holiday.  If you’re spending money, make sure it’s on the ones that really count.  The ones who see your bedhead and love you anyways.  The ones who know what kind of wine is your favorite.  The ones who don’t make fun of you for knitting your tenth scarf in a row.  Gifts for others shouldn’t break the bank or your sanity.  A coffee mug filled with goodies.  A bottle of wine.  A great book.  Trust me when I say you don’t need to stress about this.
  2. Stay off social media if it brings you down.  There is nothing worse than going on Facebook to check in, and realizing you didn’t decorate nearly enough as ANYONE else.  Keeping up with the Joneses is a full time job for some, and they take it VERY SERIOUSLY.  It’s okay… totally their choice.  But it’s not okay to feel like your life doesn’t match up if you don’t have a decorated tree in every room.  Or Santa outfits for your dog.  Or 64,000 twinkling Italian lights adorning your exterior (Thanks Clark!).  Decorate as much or little as you want, and do it with joy.
  3. Listen to Christmas music daily.  A Charlie Brown Christmas, in particular.  Trust me on this… the entire soundtrack will make you feel like a kid again and put a smile on your face.  If that’s not your thing, then search through Apple or Amazon Music apps.  Seems like everyone has a Holiday album now.
  4. Be a party pooper.  This time of year brings many invites to all kinds of parties.  Pick a couple that you want to attend, but certainly don’t feel like you need to go to all of them!  The next 24 days is a battle field, and the only way you will get through it is if you take care of yourself first.  That means skipping the party that you really didn’t want to go to anyways.  Pop some popcorn and Netflix, or better yet, go to the movies and see something new… Like Office Christmas Party 🙂
  5. Stay healthy.  You know the rules… drink water, skip the Doritos dinner, try to exercise a little every day (instead of 60 min once a week). Keep your life and mind in balance.  If you don’t meditate, download an app (Like Headspace) and give it a try.  Yoga and Pilates are also great for keeping yourself grounded and can be easily accessed for free on Youtube.

That’s what I call a good start… what would you add to the list?  I’d love to hear how you survive the holidays 🙂

Happy December!

 

P.S.  I made the above graphic into a phone wallpaper too.  Just tap on it and save to your photos if you want a daily reminder to CHOOSE JOY!img_1942

 

Waking Up

I had one thought this morning when my alarm went off, and it’s the same thought I have every morning…

I’m tired.

This thought enters my brain roughly 3000 times a day.  In fact, I’m not sure it ever really escapes my brain.  It’s there when I cook breakfast.  It’s there on my way to work.  It’s really loud when I’m at work.  And then at home…. oh my home life… it’s the loudest there.  Usually ending with me curling up on the couch for a power nap of some sort just so I don’t have to think about being tired.

How did I get here?  How did I get so tired of my own life that it’s literally all I think about?

I’m having this feeling lately like life is passing me by.  Every day feels the same, and I’m certain that nagging feeling I’ve had for months now is a sign that I need to change something.

But what?  A part of this feels like an adventure.  I’m heading into unchartered territory, and yet still sitting in my comfy chair, safe in my home.  I truly believe the change has to start in my head… my thoughts and eventually, my patterns.

Changing your thoughts is one thing.  I have countless books about changing your thoughts.  Being more positive.  Saying yes to life.  Dreaming big.  Being mindful.

But changing your patterns?  Your go-to, this is safe, I know what happens when I do this pattern?

That is another story.

One that I’m going to write.

So if you’re tired… weary… and want something different, grab a cup of coffee and follow along.  Life if too short to be so tired, and I want to find a way out.  I think we deserve that.

Happy Monday!

 

 

Coffee & Words

Yes, another new look… but even this will change once I figure out how, and also a new name.  This blogging thing has been on my mind a lot lately, and I feel like it needs a new direction – a new focus, if you will.

Enter Coffee & Words.

There is so much hate in the world, especially lately, and I wanted to create posts that make people feel better.  Honestly, that’s always been the goal.  I remember a job interview in the past where I actually said, “I want people to leave here feeling happier than when they arrived.”  And then I worked my ass off to do just that.

And that’s my goal here, too.

I just want a break in your reality… just a short one, that leaves you feeling a little better than before.

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So be patient with me while I post in an “under construction” site.  I promise there will be no beeping 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Moving Forward

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It’s funny – well, not really funny I guess – but before the election, I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Now that it’s over, I want this part to be done too.  Is it me or are people crazy in the head at this point and time?  I get that Trump is hated and Hilary was looked at as the great new hope for women and America, but really?  Burning flags?  Protesting the result of America’s right to vote?  Moving to Canada?  Seriously, people.

Perhaps I’m not political enough to be so involved I want to write horrible and hateful things on Facebook.  Perhaps I see a big picture that feels like most people have lost sight of.  Perhaps I just want a life that is about more than focusing all my energy on people who don’t deserve it.

Here is what the focus should be for all Americans.  Kindness.  Love.  Acceptance.  Understanding.  Patience.  GRATITUDE.

If we all did our part, and allow the government do their part, life would be different.   In years past, we would see many people posting on Facebook the November Gratitude Challenge.  Sure, it got redundant, but it’s way better than what’s out there now.  I’m taking a break, and giving my attention to what needs it most:  My writing… books… and kindness.

So to answer the question ‘What do we tell our kids?’  Tell them America voted, and someone had to win.  Yes, he was hated, but she was too.  We live in America where we have the privilege to vote.

Tell them to treat others with respect.

Tell them it’s okay to have opinions, but it’s not okay to use them to hurt others.

Tell them to win graciously and to lose with grace.

Tell them to be kind to everyone they meet.

I hope this helps someone.  I know I feel a little better writing it…

Have a Happy Thursday Peeps!

Tribe

Taylor Swift has her squad.

Oprah has Gayle.

Mark Wahlberg has his entourage.

And I have my tribe.

In this day and age, when life is moving quickly, and you don’t know what day it is half the time, it’s nice to know that a girlfriend is just a text away.  I know, I know, we’re all obsessed with our phones, and everyone just wants to unplug!

But not me.  No way.  I get nervous when my phone gets to 20% battery left.

If it weren’t for my phone, I wouldn’t have been able to get through this week.  Like, for real.

A simple text message, or a year long group text, can literally change the course of my day.  You see, on the other end of that text is someone I treasure.  Someone I can bond with over Whole30 Hell.  Someone who gets my writing struggles.  Someone who is also waiting for the end of a Championship game that has gone into overtime and a shoot out.  Someone who makes me giggle, and someone who knows when I’m crying.

I don’t think it’s antisocial – unless you’re at a restaurant with a friend across from you – because you’re communicating and sharing your life with your tribe.

And everyone needs a tribe.  I love my husband just as much as the next person, but it’s my girlfriends who have gotten me through life.

The nitty gritty stuff.
The stuff that men just wouldn’t understand.
The diets nutrition resets.
Stuff like waxing, mothering, and Criminal Minds.
Scandal textathons.
Books!  Men just don’t get books.
Fear of failing at motherhood.
Fear of failing at writing.
Fear of just failing.

I don’t know any woman who is able to handle motherhood, work (or not), schedules, meals, family, games, and travel without a TRIBE around her.  If you’re lucky enough to see that tribe every day, well yay for you.  I am not that fortunate, but I am blessed to have a list of friends I can text at any moment to share my life with.

So be thankful, today.  Thankful for the women who just get who you are and still like you 🙂  Life goes fast and I know we are only here for a short time.  Don’t hold grudges or pass judgements… you sometimes don’t know what someone else is going through.   Instead, take the high road and be kind to everyone.  Not everyone will be a part of your tribe and that’s okay.  Haters are going to hate, and you’ll always be able to find someone who can criticize everything you do.  It’s okay.  You don’t need their opinion, but you can still be nice.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point.  Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t have gotten through the week without my peeps, so perhaps I’m feeling a bit mushy right now.

Take a moment and text a friend.  Make them giggle… tomorrow is Monday and they need it.

Happy Sunday Peeps!

Endings and Beginnings

All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.”
~ Mitch Albom

So yesterday was my last shift ever at the rink, and it’s just hitting me now that it was the last weekend I’ll have to work.  The last shift I’ll have to dread.  The last time I’ll have to answer the same endless questions.

I know there will be other endless questions in my future, but we have a couple years for that.

For now, I am surprisingly content with the feeding-diaper-make faces cycle I have going on every three hours.  I actually feel like I have my life back for the first time is a long time.  Too long, if you ask me.

The past two months have been a whirlwind of changes.  Changes for my kids, for me, for seasons, and for my family.  Some are good changes and some are a little more difficult, but since I am here to find the #dailyinspiration in life, we are going to find the good in all of this.

The biggest thing I’ve learned in the past two months is that more than anything I need to write for myself again.  I spent a lot of time last year trying to figure out what anyone needed to hear.  Writing for an audience is the quickest way for me to procrastinate.  I will clean out junk drawers, do 5 loads of laundry, and bake a batch of cookies before I could figure out what to write to you.  (Yes, I’ve done all of that today).

The best thing you can do is immediately stop worrying about what everyone else expects from you.  Do your best in whatever comes your way and use your own judgement.  If something makes you

happy, keep at it.  If not, find a plan b, c, or d.

Which leads me to the next thing I’ve learned about change:  There are no rules.  Nothing in this world is permanent, and you can start over at any time.  Sometimes we are forced to start over, but hopefully it’s your choice.  Either way, make up your own rules as you go.  Don’t let anyone tell you how to do something, because nothing else matters other than how you feel or what you want.

Lastly, take your time.  Good things take time and by forcing or rushing change, you’re just making it more difficult to see clearly.  If something doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t meant to be… trust me on this.  It has taken me years to get to this point where I feel like stars are actually lining up for me.  I’m not feeling that anxiety that says things like, “When this week is over, I’ll relax.”  Anxiety is a bitch and will always make you feel bad.

I left my anxiety in the left bottom drawer… the one with the candy 🙂

I also know that life is life and won’t always be rainbows and butterflies.  But, for the time being (and a long time coming), I am happy with the changes… even the hard ones.

Are you ready for a change?

Linda’s Top Ten

So I needed a little inspiration to get into the writing tonight, and thought to myself… It’s Ping’s Birthday!  We should celebrate the day she was born!

I have my Spotify playlist for The Lucky One playing, because that was one happy memory, and here we go…

  1. The first time I ever talked to her was bonding over our extremely sad kindergarten boys who weren’t quite ready to go to school all day.  We both left our crying children in the classroom and we cried in the parking lot.
  2. She can make me laugh with just a look.  Usually that look is saying WTF?
  3. We like love the same books.  And movies.  And tv shows.
  4. For a beautiful year we were both addicted to Criminal Minds to the extent that we could text a quote from a character and know which episode it was.  “Charcoal socks…”
  5. She once sent me an email with the subject line BALLS.  For the next two years that was her nickname.
  6. We like and dislike the same people.  
  7. She may not agree with me, but I am hoping to be in-laws with her someday.
  8. She supports everything I do… work (she comes to shows and competitions), writing (I have 2 followers… and she’s both of them), life (she just gets me).
  9. She answers that call when I just need to tell her about the cute Starbucks guy.  Then she goes and gets a coffee just to see him too.
  10. For my birthday 3 years ago, she painstakingly printed every post I had ever written on my first blog.  A year after that, Blake deleted it, but I still had the majority of my writings.  I’m not sure she will ever understand how perfect that gift was, and still is.  
I could go on and on, but I will leave you with this picture taken last year in Florida.  Thank you for being my friend, Ping… I love you like a sister!  Hope you had a great day…

Mission

I’m not sure about you, but whenever someone I know dies, it has an impact on me.  I literally go about my day thinking about my own life, my mom’s life, and what it all means to me.  I begin to question everything…

what am I doing with my life?
what do I really need to be happy?
does it really matter if I’m on a diet?

Obviously, these are not the happiest questions, and certainly won’t be answered by the end of the day. I am pondering the life, and in serious need of an attitude adjustment.  Finding something to focus on is what usually helps me through times like this, and today I have been working on a mission statement.  When I was looking through my 5 book the other day, the second step after naming your top 5 values was to create a mission statement.  Something you want your life to be about;  something to guide you through the good and bad times;  something that will stand through the test of time.

About the same time I found out about my friend’s mom, someone posted this video on Facebook.  I haven’t seen it in about a year, but I have to believe I was supposed to see this today…

This kid has a mission.
Everybody love everybody.

It’s amazing how a simple video with notecards can have such a huge message and impact.

Do I have my mission yet?  I’m not completely sure, but I think it will go something like this:

My mission in life is to help people feel better.
It is in my heart that everyone around me should have a better life when I’m around.

I think that’s why I write and play Dr. Phil at work.  It’s why I’m addicted to self-help and books that make me feel good.  My life is about making the world a happier place.

Just like my mom.

RIP Mrs. Stornant.  You will be missed…

11 Words

In day 2 of my 12 Days I just want to list the 11 Words that made a difference to me this year.  We speak, we write, we hear words every single second of every day, but do we ever really take the time to think about what they truly mean?  In my never-ending quest for being present, I’m trying even harder to not only listen, but hear the words rattling through my brain.  Especially the ones that keep repeating themselves over and over again.

So here we go…

  1. Gratitude
  2. Perspective
  3. Honesty
  4. Prayer
  5. Faith
  6. Compassion
  7. Friendship
  8. Happiness
  9. Laughter
  10. Risk
  11. Love
It amazes me how time and time again, my life is about these words.  If you could pick one word to describe how you feel today, what would it be?
Have an amazing day…

Nothing

Nothing.

Today, I am thankful for nothing… but that’s not how it sounds.

Nothing to do.

No where to be.

No one in the house…. mostly because I kicked them out.

I have a glass of wine, and The Notebook is on.

Basically, this is perfection.

I haven’t had a whole lot of nothing in my life lately, so this is one of those nights I’m trying to relax.  And so I write, because I feel somewhat guilty for not keeping this up as much as I’d like.

Yes, that’s considered relaxing for me.  To say I’m wound tightly is an understatement lately.  And by lately, I mean always.  Does anyone else have this problem?  I know the main problem is I work to make money, but what I want to do is write.  I want to be a perfect mother (an oxymoron if you ask me), and I also want to lose weight.  Is it possible to be everything to everyone, including myself, and still get what I want?

Writing a novel is a lot like learning to walk or even to skate for that matter.  One step at a time.  One paragraph, one sentence, one word at a time.  And soon, you have chapters, and characters, and more story lines than I know what to do with.  Running a 5k starts also by taking one step at at time.  Being a good parent is taking one decision at a time.

For those of you who know me, patience is not exactly my strongest of traits.  I don’t want to take one step, I want it done now.  I want the book done (and perfectly so I don’t have revisions), I want to jump out and run thirty minutes straight, and I want my kids to not only be their charming selves, but excellent student athletes as well.

I suppose this is how we learn to grow.  We go against the grain of what we know, what feels right, and soon we’re doing the things we’ve only dreamed about.  Sometimes it takes a nudge.  Other times it takes a shove.  We have to learn to trust the process and let things unravel, no matter how slow, and especially when it feels like we’re doing everything completely wrong.

I know I’m not the only one in this wicked world wondering how they will get through the next day.  We get up and push through each day, because our lives would not be complete without the dreams.

But every now and then you have to find some time to do nothing… even if it’s not really nothing at all.

Have a fabulous week friends!