Monthly Archives: July 2016


WordsWords are powerful. You can say the same thing in two different ways with completely different reactions. Try to make your words positive. Words can be hurtful–whether you mean them to be or not–so watch how you say what  you want to say.

If you need to have a difficult conversation, think about what you want to say. Don’t just launch off while you are upset. That will only serve to upset everyone. And people tend to turn off their ears and focus on the hurt when they are upset. You can get your point across and be nice at the same time. Then both people leave with the message that they actually heard because you didn’t verbally attack them.

It also means you should use your words to ask for help, give help to others, and build others up. Don’t use your words to bully people.

I saw this video several years ago with one of our keynote speakers at a NALS Conference and rewatch it from time to time. It speaks volumes about the power that words have. Watch it and keep its message in mind the next time you open your mouth and use your words.


I Wanna Hold Your Hand!

Let's hold hands!There is no greater feeling than a small child’s hand in yours. Except maybe an older child’s hand in yours. Or maybe the hand of the love of your life in yours.

Holding hands with anyone is a great feeling. It is a connection to another person in a tangible way. It is a way of speeding up or slowing down and keeping up with someone else. It is–by far–the ONLY PDA (public display of affection) I want to see from anyone!

When I see people holding hands, my brain immediately says “Aww” and it makes me happy for them. My husband and I are not big hand holders, although we do when we’re out together (but I think mostly to keep me from speeding off ahead of him or wandering off).

I love (and have loved) holding my childrens’ and grandchildrens’ hands. It just makes me feel like I have a great responsibility, I have another person to take care of, I have someone depending on me. And they are (or have been) so very small. But they fit just perfectly in mine–as if they were designed to fit together.

So the next time you are with someone you love (don’t try this with strangers or you could be charged with kidnapping!), grab their hand and hang on. Pretty soon, they will relax and hold your hand back. And they will probably look at you and smile! Plus plus! It’s an unobtrusive way to show love in a pda (private display of affection–in all small letters because it isn’t screaming out for attention like the PDA!).

My husband always says that women love getting flowers, but they love getting flowers at work more so they can be the envy of all of their coworkers. The same holds true with hand holding. It is nice on your couch watching a movie, but it is better in public. What better way to scream “THIS PERSON LOVES ME!” than by holding their hand.

The Worst Bully I Know!

STOP BULLYINGI HATE BULLIES! I hate that children think they need to be cruel to other children. I really hate when adults are cruel to other adults. But what I REALLY hate is the worst bully I know–ME!

I am harder on myself than any bully would ever be. When I screw something up (which does happen and with a fair amount of frequency), I tend to beat myself up hard . . . and for a very long time. I think I’m pretty good at “forgive and forget” except when it comes to myself. I “relive and dwell” which certainly helps no one–ESPECIALLY me. You would think that after all this time I would learn. The problem is that I know I need to get over it, but I haven’t developed that skill yet. I do eventually get over it, but it is always there in the back of my mind taking up very valuable brain space (that gets even more valuable every day!).

I also tend to bully myself when I’m trying to decide what to wear (“That doesn’t fit because you’re too fat!”), whether to read a particular article (“You won’t understand it anyway, so why bother?”), whether to accept a social invitation (“You don’t have time for that. Look at your overfilled calendar! Don’t you ever say ‘NO’?”), or whether to play Monopoly with my grandkids or mop my floor (“The house is disgusting. Don’t you ever clean?”) My inner voice is a real bully sometimes. Other times, that same voice must be having a good day because all I hear is “You should go out with your friends. The housework can wait! You won’t get this chance again!” It is obviously a psycho inner voice!

So what do I do to tame that bully? Sometimes I go through my Pinterest quotations board or immediately stop my brain bully and change the voice to something like “Think how much you learned from that error today and now you know you won’t do it again.”

I think I bully myself because I am more worried about disappointing other people than about disappointing myself. I really dislike when people are depending on me and I blow it. I feel like my reputation is at stake. It doesn’t matter that the last gazillion things I did were OK, it’s that one thing . . .

But when my rational mind thinks about it, it probably is not the end of the world, it can probably be fixed, and hopefully they will eventually forget about it (or perhaps the next big screw up will take its place!).

So what do you do when your brain bully wants to beat the crap out of you? Please share your tips below so I can beat my bully back into submission . . . at least for a while.



I Am Thankful!

BE (3)Today’s thought is to be grateful. No matter how bad you think things are, you can always be grateful. Did you wake up this morning? Be grateful. Do you have a place to sleep? Be grateful. Do you have clothes to wear? Be grateful.

If you stop and think about all the things you do have and be grateful for those things, the things you don’t have may not seem so important.

While you’re thinking about that, think about the difference between “need” and “want.” defines “need” as a “requirement, necessary duty, or obligation.” It defines “want” as “to feel a need or a desire for; wish for.” There is a big difference. When you “need” something, it is necessary for you to live. You NEED food, you NEED some kind of clothing (mostly because you will be arrested otherwise), you NEED water, you NEED some kind of shelter. However, you WANT dessert, you WANT expensive, fancy restaurant meals, you WANT designer duds, you WANT the biggest, most ostentatious house on the block. You don’t NEED the WANTS. 

I’ve said before that I have worked really hard for a long time and so I do give in to my WANTS from time to time. Lately on my way to work, there has been an obviously homeless man near my office. He is dirty, unshaven, and has matted hair. Worst of all he is barefoot . . . in Arizona . . . where it has been over 110 degrees most days and where asphalt is even higher temperature. He is still living and breathing and I’m sure he would feel that he has many things to be thankful for. It puts things into perspective for me in my nice car with my expensive cell phone listening to my iPod in decent clothes and air conditioning on my way to a job that pays me well and allows me to have nice things. Since I’ve seen him two or three times so far, I will find an old pair of my husband’s shoes and throw them in my car in case they might fit him. And, yes, I’m grateful for what I have and I love to share some of that with others.

There are many ways to keep track of your gratitude. There are journals, there are apps, there is pen and paper, there are friends, and there is what I end up doing–when I first lay down to go to sleep, I think about my day and come up with three things I’m grateful for. Unfortunately for me, the time between my head hitting the pillow and being asleep is not always enough to name the three things, but I think a lot of that is thinking about happy thoughts as I drift off. The advantage to actually writing it down somewhere is that you can review it later–particularly when you are having a bad day.

At work, I have a “warm fuzzies file” where I keep particularly nice emails, cards, reviews, anything that makes me feel good. There are many times when I’m having a bad day and listing the pros and cons of why I do what I do when I dig out that file and remember that there are people who appreciate me and what I do and that the pros list is much longer.

Just remember there is always, always something to be thankful for. As long as you are breathing, you should be grateful for all the little things. Thinking about all of those will keep your mind so busy, you might just forget the one thing that was upsetting you. Just. Be. Grateful.

Use Your Gifts And Have No Regrets!

Use Your GiftsI came across this in my Facebook feed. I don’t usually take the time to watch longer videos, but this one is important. We all have gifts to make the world better. Don’t regret not using yours. Please take the time to watch this and really think about whether your gifts are being wasted and what you need to do–right now–to stop that. Let me know what conclusion you come to by commenting below. Enjoy!

Music Tells My Story

Music that (1)One of my favorite things to do is listen to music. And one of my favorite parts of music is the lyrics. Most lyrics tell a story. I have different playlists on my iPod and on Spotify that I play depending on my mood. One of my favorites is my “Motivation” playlist. I play it sometimes when I feel particularly beaten up by life, when I feel like I’m pedaling hard and not getting anywhere, or when I don’t feel like I’m making a difference in anything I’m doing at that moment. So here are some of my favorites from that playlist and why I particularly like them:

1. Unstoppable by Sia. I’m becoming a fan of Sia’s and have ended up with several songs by her or with her. This one reminds me that being unstoppable is up to me.

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today

2. Roar by Katy Perry. This is truly a power ballad–a kicking ass and taking names song. Some of my favorite lyrics:

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

3. Shine by Ashanti. This I heard first on a Biggest Loser episode when she showed up at the Ranch and sang it to the contestants and it really has a great message. Don’t let others dim your light!

Shine, they can’t shut out your light, no matter how hard they try
They try, but they never can win, cause they can’t stop what’s inside
They’ll try to take you, try to break you down, remember you are born to shine

4. What are You Waiting For? by Nickelback. I’ve been a Nickelback fan for a while, but hadn’t heard this song until I was driving home from a meeting about losing weight and getting healthy. It was what I needed at the moment and the message was spot on. Lyrics I love:

Everybody’s gonna make mistakes
But everybody’s got a choice to make
Everybody needs a leap of faith
When are you taking yours?

5. Try by Colbie Caillat. My granddaughter and I were listening to this song this past weekend and discussing what it means to her. Her explanation was pretty simple–you don’t need to wear makeup if you don’t want to–but I explained to her that you don’t need to change yourself to make someone like you. It took me a long time to figure this out, so hopefully she listened.

Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you’re all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

6. Secrets by Mary Lambert. I don’t remember where I first heard this song, but it struck me the first time I heard it and even more when I listened to the lyrics. My favorite part:

They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things that we don’t like about ourselves
Inside ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it

7. Life is Good by Jo Dee Messina. This one warms my heart. It makes me think about all the things in my life that are good. These lyrics really hit me:

We spend so much time climbing up the ladder
And then we’re missing all the things that really matter

8. Masterpiece by Jessie J. This is truth. Even at my age, I am still working on me–my masterpiece. Lyrics that specifically speak to me:

I still fall on my face sometimes
And I can’t color inside the lines
Cause I’m perfectly incomplete
I’m still working on my masterpiece
And I, I wanna hang with the greatest
Got a way to go, but it’s worth the wait
No, you haven’t seen the best of me
I’m still working on my masterpiece

9. I Was Here by Beyonce. I actually first heard the Glee version of this song (yes I am a Gleek and miss the show!), and this is my goal. I want to leave something so people know I was here. I don’t want to just live and die and no one but my family even realizes I was here on this Earth making a difference.

I want to say I lived each day, until I die
And know that I meant something in somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see

I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know

10. For Good from “Wicked.” This song is my anthem to my friends and says it all:

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…

Because I knew you…
I have been changed for good…

11. You Are More. I don’t remember where I heard this one first, but it is what I wish for all my children and grandchildren as they become adults.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

12. Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw. I’m a big Tim McGraw fan. I have most of his albums and have seen him in concert at least twice. A lot of his songs have a great message (Live Like You Were Dying still makes me cry!), but one of his latest just has a good message.

Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

13. Happy by Pharrell Williams. I just can’t listen to this song and not feel happy.

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

14. Brave by Sara Bareilles. This is probably my personal power anthem. This song reminds me how important words are and that I should say what I need to say instead of keeping it all bottled up inside.

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

15. The Breath You Take by George Strait. This one gets me every time and helps me remember to slow down and be present in my family’s life and live for the moments that take my breath away.

But life’s not the breath you take
The breathing in and out
That gets you through the day
Ain’t what its all about
You just might miss the point
Trying to win the race
Life’s not the breaths you take
But the moments that take your breath away

Well that’s a start with part of my current “Motivation” playlist. I’ve tried to add a Spotify Motivation playlist here (so hopefully it will work!). If you haven’t heard some of the songs I mention, give them a listen. Then, let me know what song lyrics motivate you! I’d love to add them to my playlist too.


Get Lost!

get lost!When I go on vacation, I really like to take advantage of the new locale. In another state, it might be dining at a local restaurant rather than a national chain. Yelp is really helpful for this. In international cities, it might be eating what that region is known for–at least once.

If you don’t take advantage of learning the most you can about an area, you are wasting part of your vacation. Taking advantage of local customs really makes you pay attention to where you are. Particularly if you can (safely) venture off the beaten path.

In my first European trip, I tried cassoulet in France and we got lost (intentionally) in the streets of Venice. The cassoulet was delicious and was different from what I would have normally chosen, but I was pretty proud of myself for venturing outside of my comfort zone. And I didn’t die! So I will be testing that again on my next trip.

In Venice, we just meandered. We stopped for cappuccino when we saw somewhere interesting and stopped where we saw interesting things to admire–like Italian leather purses. If we had just stayed in the “touristy” areas, we would have missed it all, we would have missed the window boxes, the curtains in the windows, the age and architecture of the city, and REAL people living in REAL houses. It was–quite simply–amazing. We are returning to Venice next year and are already planning to get lost again.

I can’t imagine traveling that far to visit McDonalds or Starbucks (although I actually did do that once in Spain!). Venture outside your comfort zone and try it out–even just once. It may just make the time and money you spent to get there worth even more!

What’s Your Word Of The Year?

Untitled designI don’t take part in New Year’s resolutions because I never manage to meet those goals. I know that about myself and don’t want to set myself up for failure purposely, especially since I tend to do a lot of that accidentally. The one thing I do do is find my “word” each year. Here is my list for the past few years:

2016 – Promisekeeper – to remind me to keep the promises I made to myself. Promises like drinking more water, walking more, etc.

2015 – Choose – to remind me that I am in charge of the choices I make in my life.

2014 – Blessed – to remind myself to remember how blessed I am in my life.

2013 – Grateful – to remind me to be grateful for everything in my life–both good things and the things that teach me something.

2012 – Control – to remind me that I have control over the choices that I make–no one else, only me.

I usually visit Etsy and find a shop that does custom necklaces and choose what will work for that year’s word. Then I hang it from my car’s rear view mirror since that’s where I spend a lot of my “thinking” time. But there are so many options for ways to remind yourself–leave Post-It Notes with your word wherever you will see it throughout the day, write your word on the front of your journal and then use the word to spur your postings each day, write your word on your mirror with a dry erase pen, make a graphic with your word the background on your phone, or if you’re really enamored with your word and want to make it a lifetime word, get a tattoo!

It really does help to choose a word and then keep reminding yourself of your word to keep you on track. The word can be anything you want that means something to you and will motivate you. You can try it out for the rest of this year or plan to start fresh in 2017, but think about seeing how it will work for you and then let me know what word you chose and how you are reminding yourself of it.


One Sweet Bite

ONEI feel like I’m a lifetime dieter. Well, maybe not lifetime, but certainly over half a lifetime! One thing I have discovered in my many ups and downs–because I am definitely the QUEEN of Yoyo Dieting–is that while it is important to eat healthfully, watch calories, and not binge, it is equally important to not deprive yourself of things you really want. I know if I tell myself I CAN’T have something, it makes me want it more (I think my inner child Lucy is very, very stubborn!). If, instead, I have just a bite of what I want (and push far, far away or destroy what remains), I am usually satisfied. Otherwise, I finish my entire meal and then go home and start digging for something more–all trying to quash the craving.

So sharing desserts with family and friends is the perfect solution–as long as they will eat more than you. Usually taking a single bite, putting your fork down, concentrating on enjoying the flavors on your tongue of that bite, and being conscious of the joy from that bite will satisfy you. But you need to concentrate on that one bite and not eat mindlessly. Savor that one sweet bite!

Desserts are important to end the meal on a sweet note, but it is not imperative that you eat an additional 1,000 calories of sweet. If you’re trying to lose weight or eat more healthfully, try the one sweet bite. If you’re not trying to lose weight or eat healthfully, then come with me and eat the rest of mine!

Tell Me Now

Thank youNow that there are fewer than 30 days until the “big day,” it’s all getting real. Somehow I will soon be 60. And, honestly, a lot could happen in the next 30 days. You never know when the last time you see a loved one will be. So why are we so negligent in expressing our love and appreciation?

It always strikes me when someone dies that their Facebook page is full of expressions of how much their family and friends loved them. Why don’t we tell them now? Why don’t we tell them while they are alive to hear it?

I’m getting better about it, but still struggle with expressing to all of the people who have had an impact on my life, how much of an impact they had. And I like to think I have impacted the lives of others throughout my life. It is always nice to hear that we’ve done something good for someone else.

In fact, when people HAVE taken the time to tell me that I’ve had an impact in their life, I’m usually surprised. I have no idea that in going along my way, I did or said something that they needed at that moment that they remember and take the time to thank me for. Those moments are priceless and tend to entice me to continue doing what I do, showing interest in teaching others, and just being kind.

Just this week, I received an email from a reader of my proofreading blog about how much they appreciated it and were entertained and educated by it. That simple act made a huge difference! Sometimes you feel like whatever it is you are doing–writing, training, mentoring–isn’t making an impact on anyone and you are just basically wearing yourself out without anyone noticing. It just takes a couple of people taking time from their schedule to let you know they appreciate you to make it worth continuing what you are doing with renewed vigor.

So if you know someone who has made a difference in your life, take a minute and let them know. I’m sure they would agree that hearing something like that now is oh so much better than someone posting it on your Facebook wall or writing it in an obituary guest book after you’re gone. There is no greater gift in the world than true appreciation and it’s an easy task. We just need to take the few minutes it takes to let them know. Then you will be making a huge difference in their life!