In the Fall

How beautiful leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
John Burrough

 

I didn’t realize how ready I was for fall until….

 

Two weeks ago, I asked my husband Billy to pick up pumpkin spice creamer from our neighborhood market, and THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT!!!!

 

I guess I could have made this LOL….

 

 

 

 

I also keep trying to wear jeans to work LOL. Thankfully I have enough sense to dress in layers because in our neck of the woods, we are still having 90 plus degree weather!!!!

 

 

Fall is the unofficial kick off of the holiday season.  Because seriously, before you know it, it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving’s a blur, and then we’re cramming in Christmas shopping LOL.

 

 

The fall season separates us into neat little categories:  team apple cider vs. team pumpkin spice.

cider

 

Or, those who go “all out” for Halloween, those who throw costumes together the night before, and those who turn the porch lights off, and retreat to the movies LOL.

 

Can you guess in which category we fall?

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halloween2

 

 

There is so much to love about the fall season. I always print up little bucket lists like this, which are fun to check off as a family….

fall-checklist-2

 

By the start of fall, it seems kids’ sporting activities have quieted down  allowing more time to socialize with other families.  We really try to host as much as we can at this time since Christmas is flat out crazy!

 

One of our favorite things to do is outdoor family movie nights.  We have a screen that we either rig to our arbor or attach to an inflatable “stand” so the audience can view from our lawn. We stock up on a variety of popcorn, candy, and mosquito bracelets LOL.

Amazon link for Mosquito Repellent bracelets

 

Here’s two fun guides about how to put on outdoor movie nights….

How to bring an outdoor movie to your backyard

DIY Outdoor Movie Night

 

We hope this season is filled with memory making moments and reflections of the many blessings that abound in our lives!

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the Other Side

fear

 

I’ve thought a lot about this quote. Isn’t it the truth?

 

We fear…..

 

*taking risks

*what people will think when we take risks

*we fear the possible outcomes of our risks

Oh My God Wtf GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 

Besides fear, there is something else that keeps us stuck:

 

contentment

 

Don’t misunderstand me….

 

Don’t confuse gratitude and contentment.

 

I believe it’s imperative that we are grateful for the MANY blessings we are afforded in life.

AttitudesOfGratitude_PA

 

BUT (here’s the big but LOL)….

 

If we aren’t happy about a situation, whether it be relational, professional, or whatever, it is up to us to make that change.

 

We are in the driver seat.

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I understand some things are out of our control. Some things can be very, very difficult…

 

BUT, we can control our response to situations.

 

Those who can say “PLOT TWIST!” and adapt to change, seem to be the most resilient, successful,  and the HAPPIEST.

 

Unexpected Grace Helbig GIF by This Might Get - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

I’m still learning how to “flow” with change….

 

*Allowing myself to experience different situations/changes outside of my comfort zone

*Grieving over the loss of “what was” in some circumstances

*Transforming anxiousness into excitement to prepare for change

 

 

I’m not sure where you are in your life: if you’re considering a change, or if you’re already in the midst of one. Wherever you are, I pray that it is a smooth transition….

prayinghands

 

For more on this topic, check out the following:

A Change Would Do You Good

 

Enough

 

 

Our Mystery Plant

We have a plant that was placed to the right of our waterfall feature- YEARS ago.

 

The leaves are spiky, and the trunk has some girth now.

 

It started with one dominant trunk. Then, developed a second.

 

Notice I am referring to it as “a plant”?

 

We don’t remember what type of plant that it is LOL.

 

It was actually a source of debate a few months ago when I posted a picture of it on Facebook.  Most seemed to think it was a Yucca plant.

 

Here’s what a Yucca looks like…

yucca-brown-400x400

 

Here’s what our plant looks like…

yucca

 

There’s definitely some similarities, but I’m not convinced….

 

A couple of months ago, our “mystery plant” started to grow shoots at its base.

 

My husband Billy and I thought “oh, that’s interesting….new growth….” Besides that, we didn’t give it a second thought.

 

Then, a couple of weeks ago, Billy pointed out something disturbing to me:

the leaves on the tallest trunk and its bark had turned dark brown.

 

That portion of the plant is dying.

 

Billy said,”I had no idea that those shoots would drain the plant. I wish I had uprooted them when I first noticed them.”

 

I heard the regret in his voice, and immediately my thoughts composed an analogy:

 

We are often aware of our unhealthy habits; however, we let them flourish in our lives like the shoots of our “mystery plant.”  If not addressed, these habits can impede our ability to thrive, and they can keep us from living the life we were created to live.

 

We must be intentional about uprooting negativity in our life!

 

 

 

Feed Your Focus

Can we agree that some people are more distractible than others?

 

Squirrel Entrepreneur GIF by Stoneham Press - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

 

Some have issues related to executive functioning.  Their brains have difficulty getting organized and starting tasks due to deficits with planning, focusing, and their working memory. Here’s a bit more on that….

 

executive-function-poster_orig.jpg

 

Others are easily distracted for other reasons.

 

I fall in the “other reasons” category…

 

After taking multiple tests online, I’m pretty sure that I’m a casebook “Highly Sensitive Person.”

 

According to the article 9 Common Traits of Highly Sensitive People in Psychology Today, if you have any of the following traits, there’s a chance that you are too….

 

*Do you feel overwhelmed when you have a lot on your plate?

 

*Do you withdraw when you’re overwhelmed?

 

*Do chaotic, noisy settings unnerve you?

 

*Do you sense when others are uncomfortable?

 

For more traits, check out this link……  9 Common Traits of Highly Sensitive People

 

I experience quite a few of these Highly Sensitive People traits, and I would add another: I am an empath.

 

Not in a paranormal, X-file-y way.

X Files GIF by The X-Files - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

I deeply feel the emotions of others.

 

I know that is the way God made me, and I’m thankful for it. It enables me to teach my son and my students how to show empathy.

 

However, I have to be careful.

 

I am easily pulled into emotional situations. Thus, enters- distraction.

 

Social Media can be a double edged sword for me: I love the connection it affords me to friends and family near and far; however, negative posts really get to me lol.

 

Which isn’t surprising as drama in general gets to me LOL.

Mary J Blige GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

I’m realizing the importance of being intentional about how I spend my mental energy:

 

*that fine balance of being a sounding board for others, but not being sucked into drama

 

*worrying less and praying more…

 

*Realizing so much is out of my control. And, reluctantly accepting that….

 

*Understanding that energy and time wasted on distractions, keep me from my goals.

 

I believe that we have to train our minds to be intentional, and to re-calculate when we are distracted.

 

churchill

 

 

I’m not saying I have it figured out. Or, that it’s an easy fix….

 

How DO we train our minds to focus on what matters most? It’s a topic worth further exploring! Stay tuned!

 

starvedistractions

 

 

 

 

Spotlight: Jay Shetty

 

Since 2016, his Youtube channel has garnered ONE BILLION hits, making him the most viewed person on the internet internationally.

 

jay

 

 

Every time I watch one of his videos, I’m impressed by his depth and truth.

When he releases a new video, I wonder if it can be any more relevant than the ones before it. They always are.

How can this young man under the age of 30 have such insight about life?…

Jay Shetty describes himself as an award winning host and ex-monk on his official Facebook page. That wasn’t enough information for me.

I wanted to know more about him, so I perused his official website…

 

As a young Londoner, Jay was quiet and withdrawn in school.  He was overweight, and was often bullied by other students. He began stepping out and making risky decisions, but all that changed when two close friends were killed in accidents. This had a significant impact upon Jay.

Shortly after meeting a monk, Jay shifted his goals from career and money making to serving others. From the age of 22-25 year old, Jay lived as a monk in India and Europe. At this time, he studied different world philosophies, science, and meditation. Half of his day was spent on his personal development and the other half was spent serving others.

Upon deciding to leave the monk way of life, Jay spent months transitioning back to the modern world. He became a speaker at his friends’ companies, with a focus on stress and pressure in the corporate world, applying what he had learned as a monk.

After becoming Accenture’s Social Media coach for executives online branding, Arriana Huffington hired Jay to be the host of Huffpost Lifestyle of New York. Later, he developed his own viral video agency.

 

 

Here’s a sampling of his powerful videos. I’m confident that they will provoke your thinking, and you will never be the same….

 

 

 

Make sure to check Jay Shetty out on Facebook and on Youtube. Let us know which of his videos resonate with you the most. They are definitely blueprints for living an intentional life!

It’s Time to Awaken Your Strengths!

My temperature would rise.

I would squirm in my chair.

 

I would clear my throat nervously…

These were my physical responses every time a job interviewer asked me this question…

“What are your strengths?”

No matter how many times I contemplated this question, no matter how many times I practiced my answer before the interview, it always felt like an out of body experience when the time came for me to respond.

“I’m a good communicator. A team player. I’m a decent writer…”

Post interview, I would always reflect upon my answer. I never felt it completely captured who I am. It sounded so cliché.

I used to think, “maybe it’s because I don’t like talking about myself.” That is true. I am not one to toot my own horn…

But, it wasn’t until I watched a recent FB live that I had a bit of an epiphany: I DON’T REALLY KNOW MY STRENGTHS.

My next thought was: “Oh, my God, if I don’t know my strengths, how can I live to my potential?’

Then….

 

If I don’t know how to identify my own strengths, how can I teach others to identify and to capitalize on their own strengths?

Then I contemplated the impact upon my son Liam, my students, my family, and everyone in my life…

THIS IS A BIG DEAL!

 

Are you also unsure of your strengths?

Most people spend the majority of their lives trying to correct their weaknesses instead of capitalizing upon their strengths. This is not where our focus should be.

I always tell my students: “we need to work smarter not harder.”

Not that we don’t want to work hard..

 

I was so thankful when the presenter in the FB live shared a book that has helped him determine his strengths and talents. It is entitled Now, Discover Your Strengths.

 

Here’s the Amazon summary….

 

Marcus Buckingham, coauthor of the national bestseller First, Break All the Rules, and Donald O. Clifton, Chair of the Gallup International Research & Education Center, have created a revolutionary program to help readers identify their talents, build them into strengths, and enjoy consistent, near-perfect performance. At the heart of the book is the Internet-based StrengthsFinder® Profile, the product of a 25-year, multimillion-dollar effort to identify the most prevalent human strengths. The program introduces 34 dominant “themes” with thousands of possible combinations, and reveals how they can best be translated into personal and career success. In developing this program, Gallup has conducted psychological profiles with more than two million individuals to help readers learn how to focus and perfect these themes.

So how does it work? This book contains a unique identification number that allows you access to the StrengthsFinder Profile on the Internet. This Web-based interview analyzes your instinctive reactions and immediately presents you with your five most powerful signature themes. Once you know which of the 34 themes — such as Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic, or Strategic — you lead with, the book will show you how to leverage them for powerful results at three levels: for your own development, for your success as a manager, and for the success of your organization.

With accessible and profound insights on how to turn talents into strengths, and with the immediate on-line feedback of StrengthsFinder at its core, Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the most groundbreaking and useful business books ever written.

discover

 

Here’s the Amazon link to Now, Discover Your Strengths

 

Over the coming weeks, I will intermittently share what I learn from Now, Discover Your Strengths. If you decide that you’re going to read it, please let me know! Knowing your strengths (and capitalizing upon them) is a key to living the life we were created to live!

 

It’s time to awaken our STRENGTHS!

 

strength

 

Be Brave

Her 40th surprise birthday party had been epic, surrounded by friends and family.

 

Exactly a year later, Melissa was sitting at her dining room table in front of a supersized birthday cookie- that she had picked up.

 

Her name misspelled in its frosting.

 

Clearly her special day was an afterthought. A thrown together family event. When asked by her two young children to make a wish, she hesitated….

 

Then reflected. She was tired. Tired of letting fear and opinions restrict her.  As she inhaled to blow out her candles, she determined 41 years old would be different. It would be a year of “yes”. A year that she would try new things. Things outside her comfort zone. ….This was the birth of Eat Cake. Be Brave, a book by Melissa Radke, that chronicles her personal journey to find her self-worth and to live the life she was created to live….

 

eatcake

 

My disclaimer: this is definitely a book written by a woman for women. In my opinion, every woman will find some way to relate to Melissa. She is raw yet maintains her humor despite the heartbreaking struggles she has endured. Her perspective is refreshing and inspiring….

 

By the way, don’t give up reading today’s blog post if you’re a guy! LOL

 

As I was in the midst of reading this book, we were faced with a difficult decision.

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It was a decision that required us to say goodbye to a comfortable place.

 

A “place” we had planted a seed that had grown for a season, yet was no longer thriving.

 

We had to get real with ourselves: what part had we played in this? What parts were outside of our control?

 

After reflection and prayer, we chose to BE BRAVE and to move from our comfortable “place.”

praying-hands

 

The response to our choice has had mixed reviews, which we expected. We have even been threatened, which  hurt us deeply.  We had shared so much of ourselves only to find out that OUR WORTH was contingent upon what they GAINED from US…

 

So we move on to a new chapter, full of hope, and with the support of our loved ones. We love all of you. You know who you are….

 

thank you

 

Click the link to check out Eat Cake. Be Brave.