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Posts Tagged ‘positive thinking’

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I’m not really a New Year Resolution person – I am a believer in setting goals as they are needed all year long.  Make a change when the change needs to be made is what works for me. However, after being inspired by Ali here, I’ve been choosing a word to focus on each year for many years.  This word becomes my resolution, my intention to live a certain way, and a very simple, doable way to elevate my purpose.

Last year I chose the word “cultivate” and 2014 truly became a year of growth for me and those around me.  I looked for ways that I could improve my thinking and my understanding of many different things.  I also found many opportunities to help others to grow in different ways.  My focus on this word affected how I parented, how I served, and how I worked.  I actually loved this word choice.

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For 2015, I have chosen the word “thrive.”  I find it no coincidence that this is the word that came to mind over the last couple of months as I anticipated a new year because it goes hand-in-hand with last year’s word.  As something starts to grow, we want to nourish it and tend to it so that it thrives and flourishes.  Roots are in place.  Buds and leaves have emerged.  Now fruit and blossoms are appearing.  2015 is the time for me to thrive.

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My husband, Jason, has loved Danny Ainge since he was a young boy.  Danny played basketball at BYU then went on to play for the Boston Celtics and other NBA teams.  One of Danny’s jersey numbers was 44.  In high school, Jason and his friends replaced the word “forever” with “44-ever.”  That’s how much Jason loved Danny.

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On December 26, Jason turned 44 and I asked people who love Jason to send me a photo to help him celebrate his “44-ever” birthday.  As we anticipated this milestone birthday we decided that this would be our best year ever.  Since his birthday is so close to the end of the year, if his 44th year is our best year ever, that means that 2015 is going to be our best year ever as well!

We have no hospitalizations in sight.  Jason’s health is the best it’s been in recent years.  Coleman is flourishing in school and we love this kindergarten age.  I’m feeling good and I’m gathering the tools I need to keep improving my health and well-being.

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This is our year to thrive.

And since I am a believer of positive thinking and talking, if we do experience bumps and obstacles, we will face them with strength because we are going in with optimistic expectations.

Join me in living just a little more focused, a little more determined to become something more.  What’s your word for 2015?

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Are things looking up?  With the recession and all that comes with it, it is challenging to keep your head afloat, much less maintain a positive attitude.  I had yet another friend let me know that she is looking for work to combat these tough economic times.  I find it discouraging in my business to continually have to work harder for less.  Everyone is pinching pennies, tightening their belts, and making ends meet.

I’m taking a photography workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking called “Picture Spring” by Tracey Clark of shuttersisters.com.  More than technique, it is simply a workshop of great inspiration as we attempt to capture spring in a new, beautiful way.  As I was prompted by Tracey to “Look Up” and photograph the sky, I was able to capture this physical reminder from nature itself that there is always blue sky, even among the clouds.

How are things looking up for you?  Maybe your circumstances have remained unchanged.  Maybe your financial situation is not as rosy as you would like.  Maybe you are dealing with family issues, health concerns, or just juggling daily life.  Many times these adversities cause us to shrink into ourselves, keeping our eyes down with exhaustion, concern and even fear.

But hope is the warrior against fear.  The strong, immovable sense of being that overcomes adversity and helps us see the blue sky peeking out from around the clouds and feel a little warmth of sunshine on our faces.  Look up, my friends!  Look up!  What do you see?

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I know that my blog is called “The Art of Choosing Joy.”  I have taught a Big Picture Scrapbooking workshop with the same title.  But my month-long bout with postpartum has given me a reason to pause and really think about that phrase “choosing joy.”

In dealing with all of our challenges with regard to Jason’s health and lengthy recovery from his car accident 12 years ago, I learned what it meant to say that happiness is my choice.  True, we may not like our circumstances or situations but we still have the autonomy it takes to decide if we are going to feel joy within those circumstances.  I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to like hard things in order to be able to be happy within them.

So as I found myself hit a low about a month ago, I looked at my blog header and wondered, “Is it really true?  Do I have the choice to be happy?”  I knew that I wanted to feel better.  I wanted to feel like my old self – optimistic, positive, ready to tackle what was placed in front of me.  I wanted to have hope.  I wanted to do more than take naps and feel exhausted.  I wanted to feel something other than overwhelmed and unsure.

But for some reason, for the first time in my life, I couldn’t get there on my own.  Yes, I got help from a doctor.  He said, “I think you are going to pull out of this yourself.”  To which I responded…”I don’t think so.”  I know myself and I know what it took for me to simply see the doctor in the first place.  I had no desire to try and muddle through postpartum issues on my own for months.  I was ready for help.

I have never had to take medication for anxiety or depression of any kind and as I started the medicine I began to wonder how much a little pill really could do to help me.  Sure it would level me out like I needed it to, but what about the rest?  What about my role in this healing process?  Where did the idea of “choosing joy” fit into this scenario?

I have decided that this experience of postpartum depression is no different than any other difficult situation that we have gone through.  I had to choose that I was going to heal.  I had to choose that I was going to be happy.  I had to choose that I was going to do everything I could to put myself in a position to let the medication do it’s job.  I had to choose how I thought about things, what I did and how I lived my life in order to feel the best I possibly could as I made my way back to the real me.

Some of you might think that this comes naturally or automatically when a person is happy by nature.  But although I am a very positive person, it didn’t come naturally.  I had to work for my joy.  I had to make conscious decisions that I knew would help me feel better.  There was nothing accidental or automatic about pulling myself out of my postpartum pit.  Instead, my most effective weapon was living very deliberately and learning about yet another aspect of this idea of “the art of choosing joy.”

Joy is a choice.  I have always believed this to be true and after the last six weeks I am even more convinced of it.  I have the power to decide if I am going to be happy within my circumstances.   Some days may be harder than others and that’s ok.  There is a year or two of our lives that I wouldn’t mind erasing completely from my memory!  But the point is that we recognize that we have a say in how we feel.  We decide to fight back when the blues threaten to overwhelm us.  Our arsenal may be small and we might feel weak compared to the challenges we face but we have to do something to fight back, block out the negative influences and take control of our own happiness.

How did I do this?  I’ll tell you about my hands-on, real life strategies in my next post.  And in the meantime, recommit yourself to your role in “the art of choosing joy.”  I guarantee that you’ll be happy that you did.

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I am a strong believer in the power of personal choice when it comes to how we respond to life’s ups and downs, twists and turns, and peaks and valleys.  I know that times are tough for many of you out there right now.  I don’t have to look far in our own neighborhood to see the effects of the economy.  We feel the pinch in our lives as well.  And if that isn’t enough, many people have challenges with health issues, relationship problems, self-esteem struggles, natural disasters, and anything else imaginable (as well as much that is beyond imagination) to deal with.

But through it all, no matter what your individual challenge is, we each have a choice.  We get to decide how we are going to respond to our circumstances – those of our own making as well as those out of our control.  Yes, things are hard right now for many people.  Yes, it might be discouraging or scary or overwhelming.

So take a moment to pause.  You may not like what you are dealing with but you have to go through it anyway.   How are you responding to your circumstances?  Can you change the choice you are making in how you deal with things you are facing?

True, there are definitely people who struggle with chronic depression and I know it’s hard to overcome that.  But if you can, remember what Jason would say:

Happy or sad I’ll still be in a wheelchair, I still won’t be able to walk…so I might as well enjoy the ride.

This week’s download is a quote that our lucky Big Picture Scrapbooking students got to have a few months back and now I want to share it with you.

Give happiness a try.  In spite of everything – make the choice to be happy.  Choose not to complain.  Look at the positive instead of the negative.  Be grateful.

You just might be surprised at how your life changes when you do.

Be

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I’m a planner.   So I woke up this morning before my alarm went off.  I was thinking.  I have a dilemma.

We’re having this baby in February.  I work from home.  Which is great in itself.  In fact I feel very blessed to be in a position to work from home.  My problem is that my work revolves around deadlines.  Every company I work for has different goals and products that they want to get out and I manage my time based on what is due when.

I’m trying to get prepared – work-wise – for this baby.  The advice I received from Heidi Swapp a few months ago, from one designer to another, was to make sure I paused once the baby was born to enjoy him.  Even though I am my own boss, she said she wished she had taken more time away from work to enjoy those first few weeks especially.

Because we are doing the year long workshop at Big Picture Scrapbooking, it involves developing a great deal of content each month.  And to make sure that the site is ready each month, I have to have content finished at least three months in advance all year. For example – January is due in two weeks, February is due by the end of October, etc.

Needless to say, I woke up feeling just a little overwhelmed.  No wait…I had a much more realistic look at it than just overwhelmed – I really wonder if I can do it.  This is a classic case of knowing that if I prepare myself in advance then I will be much, much happier later – but how do I get myself prepared?  How do I tackle this set of tasks that seems a mile long over the next six months?

Here’s what I came up with while I was thinking it through in the morning’s early hours.  I’ve decided that it’s a good set of 8 steps for anyone trying to tackle something big.

1. Make a Calendar List of Everything and When It’s Due. I have to get my due dates on paper so I know where I’m headed.  I’m going to create a master calendar today and put everything on there until the end of January – no due dates in February to worry about except the most important one!

2. Break It Down. Once I know my due dates, I will break down each one into smaller tasks.  Those will go on my calendar as well so I know week by week what has to get accomplished in order to chip away at the large deadlines.  This also helps me organize the different companies I work for – I do best when I work on one project (such as the next $1 stamp set for Michaels), finish it then move onto the next task.  I have to have a certain amount of time dedicated to each task to do that.

3. Gather Supplies. This applies to BPS – I will need to have project supplies on hand to accomplish each task so I don’t waste time waiting for things to come in the mail or heading to the scrapbook store every other day.

4. Get to Work. I know that I can organize till I’m blue in the face but it still won’t get the job done.  I have to stay focused and get to work.  If I put something off it will only make things harder to make up the next week.

5. Give Yourself Rewards. To keep myself from getting crabby, I will give myself rewards.  If I accomplish one set of tasks then I get to go read a book or take the weekend off or spend the day with my sister…whatever comes up that I want to do that week.  Something to work for instead of just the never-ending task list.

6. Adapt. Does anything ever go the exact way we think it will?  Of course not.  In that case, I am promising myself right now that I will choose flexibility instead of freaking out when bumps in the road come and I have to adjust my calendar to adapt to them.

7. Don’t Forget to Love the Moment. I think I’ve gotten better at this over the years.  Even when I’m working hard I can still love what I’m doing and pause for moments here and there to chat with Jason or play Rock Band with him or call a friend.  My experience will be more enriching if I embrace moments intermingled with the tasks.

8. Just Do Your Best. Discouragement paralyzes creativity so I have to remain positive about how I am doing.  This is a mental control thing – I’ll pause, take a deep breath, and try to let go of those feelings of frustration and negativity, and focus on what I’m doing well.

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.         -Charles Mingus

Does anyone else have a plan to get something done?

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