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Who or What Are You Taking For Granted?

How quickly we forget God’s great deliverances in our lives. How easily we take for granted the miracles he performed in our past. David Wilkerson, Christian evangelist and author

It’s a cool, cloudy day in southwest Florida today. It makes me realize how I take the parade of sunny days for granted. In northern Illinois, where we used to live, clouds were the norm in the winter which is one reason we moved here. 

How easy it is to take the beautiful, constant events or people in our lives for granted. It’s important to guard against this complacency lest we dilute our attitude of gratitude. 

Affirmation: I acknowledge my daily blessings.

Coaching questions: Is there anything or anyone you’re taking for granted? What are you willing to do to remedy this? 

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Is Lack of Sleep the New Smoking?

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. Study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Is sleep deprivation the new smoking? Years ago, we had evidence about the diseases caused by smoking but the public blithely smoked on. Later, after diligent stop smoking campaigns, the public generally woke up. The same can be said of sleep today. The research is in. During sleep, the fluid-filled ventricles of the brain open so deadly toxins, including the plaques the cause Alzheimer’s disease, can drain. In addition, adequate sleep strengthens the immune system and helps protect us from cancer. Plus—we’ve all experienced the productivity and behavioral bonuses that come with good sleep.

Sleep isn’t a “waste of time.” It’s a significant player in the scheme of healthy living. When we know better, we do better.

Affirmation: I get adequate sleep.

Coaching questions: Are you pushing the evidence aside and convincing yourself that you’re fine with less sleep? What is it costing you? Are you willing to take the risk?

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Enjoy the Magic of Flowers

Flowers always make people better; happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank, American botanist

Yesterday I took my out-of-town friends to Naples Botanical Gardens, a magical land of plants and flowers. Being there, we felt relaxed, happy, in tune with nature. Flowers truly are medicine for the soul.

If you’re living where it’s cold and snowy, take yourself to an imaginary garden. Look at photos of flowers, buy a blooming violet plant, or look through a seed catalogue. You’ll feel better about yourself and the world. 

Affirmation: Flowers feed my soul.

Coaching question: What will you do to let flowers work their magic on you? 

  1. IMG_2759.jpgI took this photo in the Orchid Garden.

Stop Being So Nice!

Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one. Eleanor Roosevelt

Being an individual, being yourself, means learning to say “no.” It means being less “nice.” Not being as nice isn’t showing a lack of love or respect. It is learning to say no to the demands of others that take away from your rights. It’s saying no to someone’s whim about what you need to do. It’s safeguarding your time and energy by saying no even to things that sound interesting but push you outside your boundaries. 

Overlooking bad behavior, saying yes when you want to say no, taking on more than you can reasonably do may make you the “nice” neighbor or friend but it will chip away at who you are, your right to be an individual.

Affirmation: It is okay to say no.

Coaching questions: If you’re considered the “go to” person who is always “nice” and says yes to every request, what is this behavior costing you? What would your life look like if you weren’t so “nice?”

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Life’s Rusty Nails

It happened in New York, April 10th, nineteen years ago. Even my hand balks at the date. I had to push to write it down, just to keep the pen moving on the paper. It used to be a perfectly ordinary day, but now it sticks up on the calendar like a rusty nail. Donna Tartt, author

What date sticks up on your calendar like a rusty nail? The day you lost your mother or another loved one? The date of your divorce? Perhaps it’s the date you found out you had cancer.

We all have a date or several dates etched on our minds and hearts. Dates that bring us sadness or a sense of fear. Ordinary days that became life changing in their impact on our lives. Know that you’re not alone. Embrace the dark side knowing that you’re moving towards the light.

Affirmation: I am in the light.

Coaching request: Consider your “rusty nail” date(s). Acknowledge and affirm your journey forward. 

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Lessons Learned As We Age

Many of us have learned that happiness is a skill and a choice. Mary Pipher, clinical psychologist

In her New York Times article, The Joy of Being a Woman in Her 70’s, Pipher writes, “We have learned to look every day for humor, love and beauty. We’ve acquired an aptitude for appreciating life. Gratitude is not a virtue but a survival skill, and our capacity for it grows with our suffering.” 

In addition to gratitude Pipher talks about the importance of attitude. As we age, we learn that, though we can’t control all the circumstances of our lives, we can choose how we respond. We can choose to move forward with joy and grace.

Affirmation: I choose gratitude and joy.

Coaching questions: What new joys have you discovered as you’ve aged? How has your attitude made a difference? 

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How to Play the Hand You’re Dealt

Life isn’t fair, so you have to play the best game you can with the cards you’re dealt. Marla Acosta, author

As I thought about my post about boredom yesterday, I knew I had to tell you a story. My BFF, Nancy, will be 84 in March, she’s a widow who lives alone in the country and is  confined to a wheelchair. She no longer drives. Doesn’t this sound like the most boring life ever? Not to Nancy. She has learned to reframe her circumstances and knows how to “let the magic happen.” She loves to watch the birds at her various feeders, makes cards for shut-ins, reads, makes jewelry, plays word games with my husband and others who live around the country. She attends church functions, family events, and has frequent outings. She cooks, does laundry, irons, washes dishes.  

In addition, my friend is the most delightful person you’d ever want to be around. Her personality attracts frequent visitors and callers. I always feel uplifted when we speak on the phone and treasure the three or four times a year we are together. Bored? Never. She has learned to play the hand she was dealt and is winning the game.

Affirmation: I want to be like Nancy.

Coaching question: How do you want to show up as you age? What can you do now to plant the seeds for a fulfilling life—no matter the hand your dealt?

 

 

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This photo was taken at a tea a few years ago. Nancy is on the left