Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chasing Happiness

Note:  This is a repeat of a newsletter article I wrote in December 2009.  Enjoy!

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CHASING HAPPINESS

I woke up the other morning, and realized I was happy. Nothing had happened. No dream that I remembered. I was just happy. How the heck did that happen? I’ve been on a roller coaster of ups and downs recently. Luckily, I’ve spent more time on the up side, but those pity parties occur here and there. So how the heck did I reach happiness that morning? If I had a step by step action plan for reaching happiness, I’d undoubtedly have a publishing contract and be on a book tour of major cities in the US and Canada. But being famous and traveling on a schedule not of my own making is not my idea of happiness. That, and I have no clue how this happiness occurred.

When I was in my early 20s, I was searching for the love of my life. I had a few long term relationships, but I dreamed of being married and having a family. The more I searched for the man that I thought would bring me happiness, the more less than desirable dates I attracted. When I decided to quit looking, and just enjoy myself, I was introduced to the man I have now been married to for greater than 30 years.

Earlier this decade, I had a dream job that I loved, but I was becoming more and more aware that the job was not fulfilling to me. I spent some time imagining the perfect job. I did nothing more than that. I just imagined what it could be. Within a year, that job, just as I had imagined it, came to me.

These two examples are major milestones in my life. In between those times have been those experiences where I’ve pushed, pulled, prayed, pleaded and pursued happiness to no avail. I have no words of wisdom, really, concerning this topic. I just know that happiness is something everyone wants to have, and that there is no magic formula. Happiness just happens.

While you are waiting for or maybe already experiencing your happiness, allow me to share these quotes I found on the subject. Some are profound. Some just made me laugh. I was happy just reading them. Enjoy!

The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase, if you pursue happiness you'll never find it. – C P Snow

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right? - Charles Schultz

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. – Denis Waitley

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. – FDR

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. – George Burns

Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you. – Fran Leibowitz

The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy. – H.H. The Dalai Lama

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. - Helen Keller

Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. - Nathaniel Hawthorne

People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within. – Ramona L Anderson

Monday, November 24, 2014

To Shop Or Not To Shop On Thanksgiving Day

I'm not shopping on Thanksgiving.  I'm also not shopping on Black Friday.  I'd love to say it is because I'm done with my shopping, but that would not be the truth.

I'm not shopping on Thanksgiving, because I will be cleaning house.  I'm not shopping on Friday because my family will be celebrating Thanksgiving that day.  It was the only day that week that we could all be together as a family.  And to me - that is the point - the act of being with loved ones, creating memories, enjoying good food, counting our blessings.

So what is the big deal about shopping on Thursday?  I have friends and relatives who adamantly oppose shopping on Thanksgiving Day.  The general feeling is that employees should be home celebrating with their families and friends.  One of my friends boycotts those stores that are open on Thanksgiving for the entire year (and not just until the end of the calendar year, but for the next 364 days)!  I admire those people that feel so strongly about something and take such a personal stance.  I may not agree with them, but I do admire them.

Let's face it - lots of people work on holidays.  First and foremost - the first responders (police and fire department personnel, 911 operators), hospital employees, utility workers.  What about airline employees, hotel and restaurant workers, tax cab drivers?  Grocery store and 24 hour convenience store employees?  Are you going to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the football game (Go Seahawks!) or binge watch something on-demand?  Somebody is working on Thanksgiving Day to provide that entertainment for you.  The list goes on and on.  We can't boycott every business that has employees working on Thanksgiving.

Remember, there are blessings here as well.  People who work the holidays generally get paid double time.  Customers usually tip better for services they receive on the holidays.  That added income may make a huge difference to those workers.  And not to mention that huge savings and increased sales do make a difference to the economy for both customers and investors.  In a perfect situation, all employees would be given the choice to work or not.

As in all things, there are pros and cons to each side.  My point is that in the general scheme of things, IMHO, having stores open on Thanksgiving is neither good nor bad.  It is an individual choice as to whether or not you will shop or not that day.  For those of you that feel strongly about not shopping on Thanksgiving, I respect your opinion.  I won't be shopping - I'll be cleaning and prepping for our celebration on Friday.  However, I will be grateful for all those that will be working on the holiday.  May you be blessed, appreciated and rewarded for your time and energy.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, no matter what you are doing.

And did I say - Go Seahawks!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Greek Marinated Chicken Recipe

I found this recipe on Pinterest (pinned from the website budgetbytes.com)

Mix together until well blended:

1 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt)
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
the zest of a medium lemon
juice from one half of the lemon
¼ bunch fresh parsley (I used about 2 tbsp dried parsley)

Pour into a gallon ziplock bag.

Add 3-4 lbs chicken pieces.  (I used 4 thighs and 2 breasts - skin on, bone in)

Seal the ziplock bag and moosh everything around until each piece of chicken is well coated.  Open the bag and remove as much air as possible, then reseal.  Place bag in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Pour chicken and marinade into a greased 9 X 13 pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes.  (I did 60 minutes because the breasts were pretty big.  If I were just using thighs, I probably would have just done 45 minutes.)

This recipe was well received by the whole family.  I still prefer grilling my skin on/bone in chicken coated with just olive oil and a little salt and pepper, but this is a nice little change.  I will be using this recipe probably once a month or so.  Would be great for company!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Mexican Chicken (Recipe)

I save a fair number of recipes on my Pinterest page.  Most of these recipes turn out to be just so-so.  This is one of our family favorites.  Serve it on top of rice, or fresh corn off the cob, or diced cauliflower.  Or use it in a wrap.  So easy and so good.

Grilled chicken cut into cubes.  (I've used boneless skinless breasts and thighs, or even frozen grilled chicken strips)

Taco/Mexican seasoning and salt. (I make my own taco seasoning mix.  If you use an envelope, don't use the whole thing - unless you like it really spicy)

1 can green enchilada sauce.

4-6 oz shredded sharp cheddar.

3 green onions sliced.

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8 X 8 dish.  Lay cubed chicken in bottom of dish.  Season with taco mix and salt to taste.  Pour enchilada sauce over the top.  Stir to coat the chicken.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Add green onions on top.  Cook another 3-5 minutes.

Yum!  Yum!  Yum!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Reality TV - Are You A Fan?

I wasn't.  I didn't understand why anyone would watch Survivor or The Bachelor or The Amazing Race or The Apprentice.  My kids were young when these programs started, and I just didn't have the time to get involved.  I swore I would never watch.

Then I found out that my boss's sister was one of the competitors on The Apprentice, and damn, if I wasn't drug in to the world of Reality TV.  First The Apprentice, then America's Next Top Model, then Project Runway.  That was it.  I was done.

But what was it about The Amazing Race that it was always winning the Emmy for Best Reality TV Show.  Okay, one more. Survivor?  Better make it two more.

But wait, what was it with The Kardashians?  American Idol?  The Voice? And then after getting hooked on The View, I had to find out what Big Brother was about.

We won't even begin to talk about those few ones that I occasionally watch while flipping channels, like Duck Dynasty, Love It Or List It, House Hunters International, Joan Knows Best.

Oh God help me! How the hell did this happen?  I've become a Reality TV junkie....sort of.  It is bad enough that I am a TV fanatic, but to add all these Reality TV shows into my viewing schedule, it is embarrassing.  What is even more embarrassing is that reason for this post is that I am so bummed that one of my favorite contestants on Big Brother was voted off this week.  And I needed an outlet to express my sadness.  This is pretty sad, indeed.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Power Of Positive Thinking - A Book Review

The book, by Norman Vincent Peale, is a classic in terms of New Thought books.  Once you get past the old style of writing, speaking and relaying of stories, you will find classic gems and ideas, with practical pieces of advice on how to approach life in a positive fashion.  He bases most of his suggestions on the teachings of Jesus and uses experiential/anecdotal stories to support his teachings.

Here are the Chapter Titles:

Believe In Yourself
A Peaceful Mind Generates Power
How To Have Constant Energy
Try Prayer Power
How To Create Your Own Happiness
Stop Fuming And Fretting
Expect The Best And Get It
I Don't Believe In Defeat
How To Break The Worry Habit
Power To Solve Personal Problems
How To Use Faith In Healing
When Vitality Sags, Try This Health Formula
Inflow Of New Thoughts Can Remake You
Relax For Easy Power
How To Get People To Like You
Prescription For Heartache
How To Draw Upon That Higher Power

I started my Spiritual Journey in the mid 1990s.  It was a time when I stopped thinking in terms of religion (dos and don'ts) and more in terms of spirituality (my personal relationship with God).  I read many of the newer books published under the categories of New Age, New Thought, Metaphysics and Spirituality.  At some point, I discovered the older ones - those written by Florence Scovel Shinn, Emmet Fox, Charles Fillmore and so on.  The book, The Power Of Positive Thinking, was published in 1952.  Honestly, I didn't really learn anything new reading this book.  It is most likely that many of the authors of newer books on Spirituality were inspired by these other authors from the early and mid 20th century.  Still, I'm glad I read it.  When I'm browsing used book stores or estate sales, if I find other books by Norman Vincent Peale, I will most likely pick them up.  Very rarely will any of us pick up a non-fiction book and read entirely new ideas.  The information is the same thing that has been written before, just worded differently, or marketed in such a way that it grabs the attention of the general public (The Secret is an example of genius marketing).  And there is nothing wrong with that.  We all respond to things differently.  The way one author words something may just click, where another writer expressing similar ideas just does not have the same draw for you.

Will I read this book again?  Hard to say.  However, my yellow highlighter did get a good workout, so obviously there were some gems that caught my attention.

Next up, I'm re-reading The Celestine Prophesy.

Happy Reading All!





Sunday, August 10, 2014

Let Loose...

Let go, and let God handle it.  If it (and "it" could be a job, a home, a husband or wife, an item, a business, etc) is yours by Divine Right, then it is yours, and no one can take it from you.  This morning, I read an essay by Emmet Fox.  In it, he talked about the phraseology of The Ten Commandments.  Where the common/usual version says "Thou Shalt Not....", Fox suggests that the true meaning was "You Can Not". He goes on to say that if we have our minds on The Christ (which as Jesus taught means the divinity within us ), then no one can lie, steal, kill, covet, anything that is ours by Divine Right.  If our thoughts are so focused on the positive and loving aspects of life, and we have that deep intimate faith that the Master Teacher Jesus spoke of, then nothing can go wrong.

If you are anything like me, your daily prayers may include, "Lord, help to me understand how to have that kind faith!  I'm pretty tired of muddling through life wondering what the heck happened."

At one point, I had a job I absolutely loved.  It was "work" I enjoyed doing. (Note:  I used the quotes to signify that if it is something you love doing, it really isn't work at all, is it?)  I was well paid.  There were many benefits that I received.  When I took the job, I had a feeling it would be about a five year gig.  And then it would be time to move on and do something else.  I just knew this in my heart. Five years came and went.  I loved this job and couldn't imagine doing anything else.  However, the longer I stayed, the less enjoyable it became.  It became stressful.  There were changes going on that didn't sit right with me, but I really loved the work.  I began to worry about everything associated with the job.  And then, all of a sudden, I was fired.  I was upset.  I was scared.  I was embarrassed.  I knew I had done a wonderful job.  I had been an asset to the company.  I also knew I had been getting that nudge from Spirit - it's been five years; it's time to move on.  I finally realized that this was one of those blessings in disguise.  However, my ego was having quite a time dealing with it all.  Even to this day, the whole thing still jumps up and hits me in the gut from time to time.

What I finally realized this morning was that if that job was mine by Divine Right, it could not have been taken from me.  You can not steal.  Was that job no longer mine because my thoughts had shifted to fear and worry.  Or was that job no longer mine because it was just time to move on (and I had not taken the steps on my own)?  Who knows.  What I do know is that in letting loose of the job, letting go of my hurt and anger, and letting God take care of me, I am now happily retired, enjoying my grandkids, exploring the USA in our RV, and loving life

So to my friends and family, and those of you reading this who don't know me from Adam - if that job, that relationship, that car, that fill in the blank is yours by Divine Right - it is yours!  If not, something better will come to you if you keep your mind focused on a positive outcome.  Out of all situations only good (God) can come.  And so it is.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

When People Respond To Your Posts

or don't, do you take that personally?  One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  One of the "agreements" is to take nothing (anyone says or does) personally.  I do try to remember that when I write a blog post.  I try to remember that I don't always respond to someone else's blog, even though I enjoyed reading it.  I think if you feel compelled to write something that someone, somewhere, will get something out of it - a laugh, a memory, inspiration, information or something - otherwise, you wouldn't have been inspired to write.  What will you write today?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When Bad Things Happen To Good People

I want to first say that I have a very strong faith.  God (by whatever name you choose to call that omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent power, no matter your religious or spiritual belief) is the Source of all supply.  God is love.  God knows only good.  Therefore, out of all situations, only good can come.

I just found out a friend lost his home due to one of the devastating wildfires happening in North Central Washington.

Out of this situation, only good can come.

A dear friend, after finally securing ongoing work, had her car die in the middle of the freeway.  She was blessed with help by a passing motorist who stopped traffic and pushed her car to the side of the road, and out of danger's way.  Yet here she is with another WTF moment.  Why is nothing going her way?  Yet...

Out of this situation, only good can come.

I have a friend who is over-wrought about the situation in Israel and Palestine.  I can feel her pain, and yet I am unable to comfort her.

Out of this situation, only good can come.

Some of my family members are going through tough times.

Out of this situation, only good can come.

I have a two friends who have had spouses in the hospital.  I am very grateful they are doing well, even though the recovery process may be a challenge.

Out of these situations, only good can come.

I have friends that lost their son to leukemia a few years ago, and I know they are still hurting.

Out of this situation, only good can come.

I truly believe that!  Out of all situations, only good can come.  Yet some how, when those around you are going through especially challenging times, it sounds almost cavalier, if not downright thoughtless and mean.  It is not meant to.  And hearing it may not be helpful at the moment.  But it is the truth.  When one door closes, another one opens.  Challenges are often blessings that you can see only with 20/20 hindsight.

When you can't keep the faith, I can hold it for you until you are ready.  Out of all situations, only good can come.

To my friends and relatives, you know you can call anytime and I will be there to listen, and to pray for you and your situation.

To any readers that I may not know personally, I will be glad to pray for you as well, but even better are the wonderful volunteers at Silent Unity . This is my go-to place when I need help and prayer support.  This is where the majority of my tithes go because I believe so strongly in the power of prayer.  Nothing is impossible for God....no matter how bad, no matter how awful, no matter what.

Out of all situations, only good (God) can come.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

When Celebrities Die....

(I really wish I had a very clever line to follow the title of this entry, but alas, I do not......)

Usually when a celebrity passes away, you hear about it via social media, on the radio, on the nightly news or on a ticker tape type scrolling on the bottom of the screen if you are watching the ET network.    Often times we think, "Oh that's too bad...I really loved him/her in fill in the blank ."  Sometimes, it might be an actor that you are currently enjoying in a TV series or blockbuster movie sequel.  For me, I really mourned the death of John Spencer who played Leo McGarry on West Wing.  I loved the Leo character, and I loved the way John Spencer played that role and many others in film and TV.

Another passing that upset me was the death of Robert B. Parker.  I loved his books, and the characters he created.  As I work on my first novel, Robert B. Parker continues to be an inspiration to me.  I was very sad to see the last of those characters.

But wait!  Mr. Parker's estate has allowed the characters to continue, through the talents of other writers.  While I enjoyed the Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall series when Parker was writing, I haven't read any of the new releases by other authors.  I have, however, just discovered Ace Atkins has continued with the Spenser series.  I bought the three books released so far, and was praying that Mr. Atkins was able to write dialogue and create story lines worthy of Spenser and Robert B. Parker.

I'm now on the third book and I'm happy to say that Ace Atkins has not disappointed me.  And actually the whole purpose of this blog entry is to share a line from Robert B. Parker's Cheap Shot by Ace Atkins.  (A little background if you are not familiar with the books and/or character.  Spenser is a former law enforcement officer.  His significant other, Susan Silverman, is a Harvard educated fashionable woman.  His dog, Pearl - and technically in this book it is Pearl the 2nd - is a German Shorthaired Pointer.)  I just love it when I'm reading along and come on a line that so perfectly describes a situation that I can pretty much hear it, feel it, see it, and know exactly how all parties are behaving and thinking.  Maybe you have to be a dog person to get this....

"She picked at the pizza, taking in little nibbles in a distinctly Susan Silverman way. Pearl seemed frustrated and annoyed by this.  Gobbling was the appropriate course of action."

There are a number of authors and actors that I pray live long and prosperous lives, continuing to do the work they love (at least I assume they love it as they do it so well), and Ace Atkins, blessings to you for letting Spenser live on.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Reincarnation

There was a time when my husband and I had many discussions on the topic of reincarnation.  He believed in multiple lives, where you lived, died and came back again as a baby to try, try again.  I believed in a single life; you were born, you lived, you died, you went to heaven or someplace that was not heaven.  (I've never believed in the concept of a fiery hell where you burned for all eternity - The God I knew in my heart would not punish His beloved children in such a way.  The God I knew in my heart was a loving and forgiving God.)  These discussions never went anywhere because of course neither of us had any proof that the other one was wrong.  It was just what we believed as individuals.

Then came the fateful (to me anyway) morning that I awoke and suddenly announced that I now believed in reincarnation.  I have no real explanation for the change in my opinion.  I just woke up believing differently.  Now, if you have had any training or read any books/articles on the topic of metaphysics, you may believe I was taken to "class" or "school" on a different plane during my dream time.  And that I had a break-through, thus waking up with a very different understanding of the topic of reincarnation or being born again.

Perhaps that is what happened.  Or perhaps I was taken over by a demon.  I don't know.  And if you hold a strong opinion, one way or the other, that's okay with me.  This is not about your opinion.  It is about my experience.

It is because I don't know why I had such a dramatic change of opinion that I find the subject of reincarnation fascinating.  When I took my hypnotherapy training, one of my favorite subjects was past life regressions.  For the record, I was never anyone famous, and no one that I regressed was anyone famous.  All experiences were just learning experiences.  It reminds me of something Joel Osteen said in one of his sermons recently.  He was talking about the challenges in life, and he said, "Don't go through it - GROW through it."

This morning as I was reading Around The Year With Emmet Fox, a book of 365 daily meditations, I came across this entry and wanted to share it.

"Why is reincarnation necessary?  Why do we come back for short excursions of perhaps seventy or eighty years instead of, let us say, living one very long lifetime of perhaps a thousand or even several thousand years?

"The explanation lies in man's reluctance to adopt new ideas and adapt himself to changing conditions.  In each new experience, however, he wants to do things in new ways; then as the years of his maturity go by, the strong race suggestions all around him gradually get their way.  He begins to acquire vested interests (mentally) in the status quo.  The only remedy, when crystallization sets in, is to remove him from the earth plane altogether; send him to the etheric planes for rest, reflection, assimilations, and general readjustment; and then bring him back once more as a baby, to experience a new youth and a new period of true spiritual production.

"There are other reasons why multiple lives are necessary.  You need to develop every side of your character.  You need to learn lessons of discipline and self-restraint, and you need to learn to use authority in the right way.  You need to learn the lesson of getting on with other people, and you must also learn to be alone.  You must learn to bear failure and disappointment with fortitude and you must learn to stand success without allowing your head to be turned.  You have to learn both patience and the lesson of enterprise and adventure.  Above all, you have to move about in time and space so that you may learn that nothing God made is really foreign or separate - and this could not be done in one lifetime."

Something to think about anyway......

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Status Symbols

A short thought for today:

Rather than having the coolest car, the biggest house in a gated community, the current fashion trend clothes, the newest luxury RV, or the biggest bank account, I choose peace, joy and integrity as my status symbols.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Problem Solving

I stumbled on this method for problem solving while reading Norman Vincent Peale's The Power Of Positive Thinking.  I've used variations on this technique before, with good results.  This version just appealed to me today, so I am sharing it.

Take a wire basket or box, and tape to it a 3 X 5 card on which you have written "With God, all things are possible."

If you are struggling with finances, into this box goes all your bills.

If you are wanting a raise at work, into this box goes your pay stubs.

If you are having a challenge with a legal matter, into this basket goes any correspondence or paperwork related to the matter.

If you are having a struggle with a problem that you haven't been able to solve, write it out and deposit it in the basket.

Remember that with God's help, all things are possible.   There is nothing that is too large or too small for Divine Intelligence to handle.

You, of course, must do your part as well.  Be responsible.  Pay your bills as you can.  Prioritize them.  Call your creditors and let them know you are doing your best to resolve the debt.  Ask your employer for a raise, and be ready to justify why you are deserving.  Pray for the perfect outcomes.  Let the Universe surprise you with miraculous ways in which your problems can be resolved.  Try not to pre-determine how you think the results should come.  Be open and receptive to new opportunities for growth, and divine intervention.

For me and my wire basket, God is handling the sudden onslaught of bills for my upcoming surgery, my husband's dental work, the annual homeowner's insurance policy, the cost of some tree trimming, and replacing the flooring (which is showing signs of rot) in our fifth wheel trailer.  I continue to affirm with confidence that God is the Source of my supply, and I know that with God, all things are possible.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Reflections And/Or Heavens To Betsy

I'm back to thinking about how the heck I got to be 60 years old!  My first reflection (and you'll have to pardon the pun) came from looking in the mirror and seeing my mom!  I no longer just resemble her; I am her....with a different hair style.  When did that happen?

My next thought was who da thunk I'd be where I am now.  Firstly, I'm not sure I ever gave much thought to being 60 - at least not until about a month ago.  Here I am, retired from any traditional form of employment (and I thought I would work well into my 70s).  I'm traveling much of the year with my husband in our 33' fifth wheel trailer (and if you have known me for any length of time, you'd know my idea of camping was a 2 star hotel).  Our home is paid for.  We have no debt, other than the things you can't escape like utilities, phone, food, gas, health insurance (and don't get me started on that!).

How did I get here?  Why has life been so good for me?  LOL - That's me channelling my father, the king of worst case scenarios.  As I reflect back, I can tell you that it was my mother's influence on me that did it.  She told me that she only owed me three things in life:

1.  An understanding of God (or whatever term you may use for that Universal Power that is bigger than ourselves).
2.  An education.
3.  The tools to be able to distinguish right from wrong and how to use those tools to make intelligent decisions.

While my mom was pretty traditional in her beliefs, and I am more New Thought/New Age, she did introduce me to the power of the mind and the power of prayer.  And basically, I believe that it is due to those two "powers" that I am where I am today.

I recently found a box of books that had come from my mom's house.  In the box was The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.  In a chapter entitled "I Don't Believe In Defeat," Dr Peale talks about our subconscious minds picking up and processing all our thoughts, random or intentional.  It doesn't matter if these thoughts are good or bad, positive or negative, love based or fear based.  The subconscious mind soaks these thoughts up like a sponge.  The more negative, fear based thoughts you have, the more not so pleasant (dare I say, WTF) experiences you will attract.   And conversely, the more positive, love based thoughts you think, the more pleasant experiences you will have.

In 2014, this is NOT new information.  The first printing of Dr Peale's book was in 1952.  One of my first spiritual teachers, Catherine Ponder, wrote about these things in the 1960s.  And Florence Scovel Shinn and Emmet Fox were writing about these techniques in the 1920s and 1930s.

Dr Peale says, "I have found the best way to eliminate them (and he is talking about negative thoughts here) was to say a positive word about everything.

I must concur.  And this is what I have been doing for greater than 10 years now.  And that is how I got from bankrupt, unemployed and miserable to having reached critical mass (living off investments), retired and very happy.  It worked for me, and I know it can work for you too.

To that end, I have put together a simple brochure/pamphlet called "Heavens to Betsy: Affirmations For A Better Life."  I would love to offer it to anyone who would like to try this method.  No cost.  No charge.  Just my gift to you.  I will send it via e-mail, as an attachment.  You will need a printer that can do two sided copies.  Or you can put it on a jump stick and take it to a  UPS or Staples store or any other printshop.

Just spend 5-10 minutes every morning, reading or saying aloud these affirmations.  It will make a difference in your life.

If you'd like a copy, just drop me an email addressed to "betsy at betsy m brown dot com" replacing the at and dot with the appropriate symbols, removing any spaces and the quotes.  (If you are on Facebook, you can drop your email address in my inbox, if you prefer).

If sharing this information helps but one person, I will be a happy camper.
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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Birthdays Ending In Zero

Why is it the birthdays ending in zero are so monumental?  At ten, you are finally into the double digits.  At twenty, you are almost to legal drinking age and would be considered an adult.  At thirty, you wondering and/or worrying about your career, your marital/family status, and seriously pondering if you shouldn't be more mature and wise at this stage of your life.  Along comes forty, and you realize that getting older isn't all that bad.  You've become more confident and secure. And then comes fifty....okay getting older isn't bad, but what is with all these aches and pains?  At least you are beginning to be comfortable with who you are.

I've arrived at sixty.  I'm blessed to be able to say I am quite healthy.  I'm retired and enjoying life.  I am looking forward to sixty-five when hopefully Medicare will kick in, and maybe the cost of health insurance will no longer be my biggest monthly expense.  It saddens me that many friends have already crossed over to the other side of life.  I hope they are partying up a storm - I'm sure that is what they would be doing if they were still here.  With age does come wisdom and a greater appreciation for life, with all its ups and downs, challenges and celebrations.  You learn to live in the moment and appreciate the little things in life - that first cup of coffee in the morning, the sound of the birds chirping, a phone call (or smart assed text message) from a friend, the sound of laughter and so on.  Really, getting older ain't at all bad!  And this coming from a person of that generation that thought 30 was older than dirt!

So Happy Birthday to me!  It's time to get today's party started.  Now where did I put the cork screw?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Camping in Leavenworth, WA

Technically, I would say we are RVing.  For me, camping means a tent and sleeping bags, or at the most boondocking with no services - OK, I'd say if it just had water at the site, I would still call it camping.

At any rate, we are up in the mountains, near Lake Wenatchee, Washington.  The weather is warm.  Life is good.  We are only here for four days.

Musings:

There was a brochure for whale watching at the local Safeway Store.  If you ever watched the old Arsenio Hall shows, this could be filed under the category of "Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm"

When there are "Bear Sitings signs" posted along the nature trails, it makes you think twice about walking along that trail.  It's a good thing I'm just fine with sitting and reading.

Although I am enjoying the forested outdoor setting, I'm not enjoying the bugs/mosquitoes (and it is not even really mosquito season yet).  And I miss my DirecTV!  We are not getting a signal.  Yes, I'm whining....

And speaking of wine, I saw one of the following on Facebook this morning, and one in a window of a wine shop in Leavenworth.

"If you have to ask if it's too early to drink wine, you are an amateur, and I'm sorry, we can't be friends."

"How much whine would a wine drinker whine if I wine drinker couldn't drink wine?"

The answer to the last question is "A Lot!"  I left my cork screw at home!  Good thing my husband brought extra Coronas and a bottle of gin!

A candid shot of Kim enjoying retirement!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Somewhere Along The Line, I Lost A Week

And I just hate it when that happens!

Last Saturday was just one of those days.  We had unexpected company show up, and we had dinner plans to celebrate a friend's 75th birthday!  Good Lord, I remember the days when I didn't even know anyone that old, with the exception of grandparents!  Now I have friends that age.  It's really rather frightening!

Anyway, as the company was family, we had no problem ditching them to go out to dinner at Arnie's Restaurant in Mukilteo, WA.  It was a lovely surprise party for our friend Bruce.  Good wine.  Great food.  Excellent cake.  A beautiful view!

Did I mention the cake?  Oy Vey!  A white cake with fresh fruit (blueberries and strawberries) and the best white chocolate cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted!  The waiter cut these huge slices and what possessed me to eat the whole slice is beyond me.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of the night with horrible upper abdominal pain.  I had 3 other episodes earlier this year while we were on our RV journey.  This one had lasted 5 hours and was getting worse.  So rather than enjoying Mother's Day by relaxing with a lovely brunch and mimosas, I spent the day relaxing in the ER with IV Dilaudid and an anti-nausea medication.  I'm sure with our new high deductible health insurance policy, this little visit will end up costing me more than if I had actually taken my kids, their spouses and the grandkids out for brunch.

The general consensus was that this was a gallbladder attack, and I was scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound.  I am to follow up with a GI Surgeon on Monday the 19th.

I hate to state the obvious, but being sick just sucks!  It has taken me the whole week to get back to feeling normal.  I'm extremely delighted to say that I am having no more pain or nausea, and I'm back to eating like I usually do.  The ER Doctor had recommended a no-fat diet.  Like that was going to happen .  I tried low fat for a few days but I just felt off.  I like to eat a whole food type diet.  I shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.  I don't choose low-fat because the manufacturers just add sugar and other chemicals to the product to make it palatable after they remove the fat.  I do feel best filling half my plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with a whole grain bread or starch.

We will see what the doctor has to say on Monday.  I've spent this week blessing my gallbladder and expressing gratitude for my healthy body.  Change your thoughts, change your experiences - that's what I teach, what I preach and what I believe.

And on the woo-woo side of things - when I was laying on a gurney in an Emergency Room,  I heard the woman next to me say her name was "Aleda".  That was my mom's name.  As we were leaving, I asked the woman how she spelled it.  It was just as my mom did - Aleda.  I had never met anyone with that name, spelled that way.  Neither had she.  If that wasn't my mom reaching out from heaven to say "Hello" - I don't know what it would be.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom - I hope yours was much more comfortable than mine!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Sounds good, right?  Getting to the point when you can just turn off the negative chatter in your mind isn't always easy.

I come from a long line of worriers on my dad's side of the family.  Oh, he believed in potential - the potential for everything to turn into a disaster that is.  A simple case of diarrhea from eating too much rich food was surely a pre-cursor to colorectal cancer.  A squeal when you tapped the brakes meant the brakes were bound to fail, causing a head on collision.  It couldn't be that the brake pads were damp because of early morning dew.  Having a disagreement with my husband meant I would be asking about asking divorce attorneys.  Or could we just be having one of little fights all couples have over stupid issues.  None of these potentials for disaster ever occurred in his life.  In fact, for all the worrying he did, he lived a pretty uncomplicated life.  I'm not sure how that happened, because I do believe that we do attract those types of experiences about which we think.

Perhaps it was my mother's attitude that counteracted my dad's worst case scenario way of looking at things.  While I don't necessarily recall my mom being a cock-eyed optimist, I do remember that when difficult situations arose, she had a calmness about her.  I guess I'm thinking about my mom's influence on my life because Mother's Day is tomorrow.  I've recently been searching for something to spark my spirituality - something to kick my spiritual butt into action once again.  When I went looking for something to read as part of morning prayer time, I really shouldn't have been surprised to find The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale in a box of books I had collected from my mom's estate.  I picked it up and started reading, and knew at once that this was just want I needed.  I could feel that energy of the words changing my vibration.  In my life, as I supposed it is in  many others, there are a few challenges that could be recipes for disaster.  I find those dreaded "what ifs" running through my mind.  I'm already working on solving problems that have not even occurred.  That's me channelling my dad, bless his heart.  But then I remember how my mom would have reacted.  I close my eyes, take a deep breath, say a little prayer and affirm that out of all situations only good can come.  That is one of my go to affirmations.  It's not easy, training yourself to shift your focus from calamity to peace, but it is possible.  It takes practice, but once you realize what a difference it makes in your life and your outlook on life, you won't go back to worrying (at least not for long).  So don't worry - be happy.

Enjoy this little bit of joy to help you on your way! Pharrell Williams - (If You're) Happy


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spiritual Stagnation

I have a morning routine that includes what my mom used to call her "daily devotions".  I call it my quiet time.  It's a time for meditation, reflection, and spiritual study. For a number of years, I have been reading Around The Year With Emmet Fox by Emmet Fox, and 365 Saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.  Each year I try to use a different colored highlighter or pen to mark the passages that jump out at me.  Many lines are marked and remarked, underlined in different colors and there are even ones that are starred and circled.  Occasionally, there will be a phrase or sentence that is only highlighted or underlined once.  It makes me wonder what was going on in my life at the time.  And even more, it surprises me when a new sentence jumps out at me.  Did I not read that before?  Was I not ready to read/hear what the author was saying?   Those are my two primary daily devotionals.  I usually have a few other books going at the same time.

If I had to describe my spiritual beliefs, I would probably say I fell somewhere between New Thought and New Age with a healthy dose of the teachings of Jesus.  I was raised in the Lutheran Church and never attended another church until I was in my 40s.  At that time, I discovered Unity.   While I never actually joined my local Unity church, I do connect with the teachings of Unity, and if I had to declare a church affiliation, that would be the one I would pick.

So given the above, why in heaven's name was I finding myself so attracted to some of the various Catholic authors?  I love the writing of Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.  She is so down to earth and practical, and lives her faith.  I am also very fond of Father James Martin, and especially his book, The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything.  Oh my goodness, I loved that book.  It is about the teachings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and learning how to see God in all things.  Father Martin has a very easy to read style, and his books are full of funny stories and humorous anecdotes accompanied by user friendly teachings and examples.

I tried some other Catholic authors, and I just wasn't connecting with them.  In one book, the author even wrote something to the effect that if you were not getting anything out of his writing, maybe this was not the book for you. Okay, good to know.  I'll move on.

When you feel stuck and are looking for something to expand your vision and understanding of things spiritual, often times your first inclination is to look for a new author or a new teacher.  However, through experience, I've often found that the best thing to do is go back and re-read some of the books and authors that you previously connected with.  We all have those ones - the ones where you first went "ah-ha".  I have a friend who calls these insights "just another piece of the puzzle."  And that's how it feels.

We are all working on different puzzles.  We all get stuck at different spots.   Next time you are stuck, try going back to the basics.  Find the straight edged pieces of your puzzle - this is your foundation.  and go to work from there.  You may find things just start coming together.  Or you may find there is a missing puzzle piece, just waiting to be discovered.

I noticed I've been stuck recently....stuck in the sense that I felt like I was just not making any progress.  Therefore, I'm pulling out my foundation blocks - Catherine Ponder, Florence Scovel Shinn, Emmet Fox.  I will re-read some of these authors and I'm sure that just like in my daily devotional reading, I will find bits of wisdom that jump off the page that either I just didn't read before, or I wasn't yet ready to read.

I plan to just keep on keeping on.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I'm Baaaccckkkk

Well, sort of.  I am back in the sense that we have returned from our 7 week RVing venture to Southern California and Arizona. I was posting on our RV Virgins Blog pretty regularly.  We got home and any blogging schedule I had established came to a halt.  First there was unpacking the rig, a task that always takes longer than one would think it should.  Then there was (and continues to be) yard work. One of these times I am going to budget for a yard person to come and take care of the mowing and the weeds before we get home. (Bless my son-in-law for mowing a few weeks before we got home, otherwise, it would have been a disaster!) And of course, we had to have time with our grandsons!  Love them to pieces, but they are little germ factories!  So after loving them up, we promptly got sick.  I was the last one to get hit with the current GI bug, but I'm up and feeling inspired this morning.

My first question to myself is why am I more productive as far as blogging goes when I am on the road?  Perhaps because I'm having new experiences that I'd like to share.  Perhaps because I'm not distracted by the endless household and yard chores that are calling to me when we are home.  Perhaps because I made it a priority while we were gone that I was going to do some writing each day.  In my mind, I was going to be working on my novel.  HA!  Never wrote a word on it.  I refreshed my mind about where I was in the process when I put it down last year.  Thought about it a bit, but never wrote anything.  But, I did blog.

I made my way through Julia Cameron's book The Sound Of Paper.  I kind of wish I had read it before I worked my way through The Artist's Way.  Maybe I would be more committed to my creativity.  Ms. Cameron does hammer into your head that the "job" is to show up.  And that you have to be willing to be bad in order that you can be good.  There are times I think I've got the "bad" down and am ready to move toward good, but I leave out the first part of the job, which is showing up.  So I am back also in the sense of making a commitment to write something each day.  I'm willing to be bad in order to become good.  I'm willing to be bad at writing, bad at sketching, bad at painting, and bad at cooking.   However, I may surprise myself.  You never know when something magical is going to happen when you just show up.

Today, I show up.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Advice From A Tree

It's been a while since I have written anything on this blog.  I have had lots of ideas, but very little motivation.  We've been traveling and I have devoted my blogging time to my other blog.  RV Virgins

We took a day trip up to Julian, CA for some pie and some scenery.  I found this bookmark in the Birdwatcher store, and I loved the sentiment:

Advice From A Tree:

Stand Tall and Proud
Sink Your Roots Into The Earth
Be Content With Your Natural Beauty
Drink Plenty Of Water
Enjoy The View

by Ilan Shamir

You can find many more bookmarks of this nature here:

Your True Nature

Blessings to you all for a beautiful and laughter filled day!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Trusting God When It Doesn't Make Sense

.......THAT is true faith!  We've all been there.  Those WTF Jesus moments.  I apologize if that offends anyone; it is not meant to.  It is just recognizing those moments when we think we are doing everything right, and then something goes wrong.  We think we are headed toward heaven, only to find ourselves looking at hell in a hand basket.

I was watching Joel Osteen this morning, and that is exactly what his sermon was about.  In fact, I "borrowed" the title from what he said this morning.  If you check his website, www.joelosteen.com , it is program #606 under the link to Broadcasts.  It's well worth the half hour's time to listen to his message.

Here are some of the notes I took during the program:

"Sometimes what we see as a set-back is really a set up for something better.

Every set-back is not the enemy.    Everything works for our good.

If God (Infinite Intelligence, Spirit or whatever name you choose to use for that Power Greater Than Ourselves) allows it, it must be strategic for our own destiny.  God is creating opportunities."

I put that information in quotes although they may not be exact.  My shorthand is not what it used to be.

We've all had setbacks.  And it takes that old 20/20 hindsight to realize that it was a set up for something better.  It's happened to me many times.  No one said the process was easy, but it just that - a process.  I was fired from a job that I thought was the best job ever, and was fearful I'd never make enough money again.  A few years later, here I am, having reached critical mass, I was able to retire, to begin traveling (to where I want to go this time around), to enjoy what really is THE BEST JOB EVER - being a grandma.  Had I not been fired, I'd probably still be working.  It was just a set-back - a "plot twist" a term I've heard being used recently.

I had a bout with thyroid disease.  In my mind, I thought I could handle in out a spiritual level.  I thought I had advanced enough that I could heal myself using spiritual techniques.  Ha!  A lot I knew.  I went through four years of medical treatment before I was considered in remission.  But you know what I got in the long run?  I received a number of eye surgeries, paid for by my health insurance, which included lid lifts and corrected vision - things I had been praying for, mind you - all because of this set-back.

Set-backs - not the enemy - they are just opportunities waiting to happened.  I love the phrase "strategic for our own destiny".  We all know we are what we are today because of what happened yesterday.  The more we realize that, the more we look for the blessings in our set-backs, the quicker the rewards will appear.

With blessings to all,
Betsy

PS:  Joel Osteen's story about his wife's missing ring is hilarious.  Listen to program #606 if only to hear that.  You will come away chuckling about set-backs!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Joys Of Dieting With A Double Gemini

Along with a large number of the other people, right around the first of the year, my husband and I decided we needed to make some dietary changes.  We are headed south to warmer climates and will be wearing shorts and bathing suits.  We both need to drop between 20-40 pounds.  With a 20 pound weight loss, I'd look better.  With a 30 pound weight loss, I'd look good. With a 40 pound weight loss, damn, I'd look great.

My initial thought was to start with Atkins.  We bought Atkins products - frozen meals, meal bars, desserts.  I don't like to cook.  I can cook, but I don't get the pleasure from it that those who list "cooking" as a hobby do.  This lasted a few days.  It really is hard to eat that much protein.

Next up, the low carb plan.  Okay, this was better.  I do like my veggies with my meat.  I'd heard eating at least 60 grams of protein a day was what I should aim for.  There are these protein drinks from Costco, I think they are called Premium Shakes, that we were using.  Two shakes per day gave you the 60 grams of protein that this meal plan called for.  They were filling but they weren't anything I looked forward to drinking each day.

Two days later, jeez, I want a sandwich!  Scrap the low carb plan, I'm on to proper food combining.  I had followed the Fit For Life plan (based on the work of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond) for a long time many years ago, and I did feel wonderful.  I could have a tomato, lettuce, onion, cucumber and avocado sandwich.  Yummy!  However, now that I look back at it, I didn't really need to lose any weight at that time.  I just wanted to eat more healthily.  I can do this!  Proper food combining is not difficult.  Well, except when you want cheese and nuts on your side salad accompanying that roasted chicken.  Or if you want a toasted cheese sandwich.  Oy vey!

I was driving my husband nuts.  He is still using the shakes and leaning toward low carb meals.  For my part, I try to cook only meats and vegetables plus a salad for dinner; no white potatoes or bread.

For me, well, I am currently trying to eat just whole foods.  However, I have found this harder than I thought.  There are a lot of processed foods out there.  A lot of the items used in recipes are processed.  I knew I would not commit to this either, for more than a few days.

While browsing Pinterest looking for recipes, I stumbled on a blog that cracked me up.  If I can find the blog again, I will share it here, but of course, at the time I didn't know I was going to want to refer back to it.  It was written by a regular mom, wanting to provide good food for her family.  She started her blog by saying that she was sharing recipes she found or developed.  She didn't know the calorie count, or how many grams of protein were in each serving, or any other nutritional information.  And she wasn't going to figure it out for anyone.  If the reader wanted to know that information, the reader could just go to another site to work it out.  (FYI, here is a website that will calculate nutritional values for your recipes, if you are interested.  http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp )  She went on to say that if you posted a comment asking for the information on her blog she may either delete the comment or respond with a smart ass comment, depending on her mood.  This is my kinda gal!  She cracked me up.

However, what I came away from her blog with was this little gem, which I have paraphrased because I said above, I don't remember what the name of the blog is.  "I do the best I can, keeping processed foods out of my family's diet.  But everyone is going to splurge at some time or another.  I can't control what my family eats outside of my home.  I'm not going to tell me kids they can't eat a cake made with a mix at a birthday party.  We go to the movies, yes, we are going to have popcorn and candy.  I figure if I can do 80% whole foods and 20% processed, I'm doing good."

So that's where I am, right this minute.  I try to do proper food combining.  I try to use only whole foods.  I try to serve my husband a dinner that works with his low carb diet.  I've been following the exercises in a dandy little book called The Ancient Secret Of The Fountain Of Youth by Peter Kelder.  I've been journalling my food and reading Julia Cameron's book The Writing Diet.  So far I've learned that I really need to quit blaming my weight gain on the 4 years of Prednisone I had to take while treating Graves Disease.  Granted, it is what spurred the weight gain initially, but it has been almost six years now since I have taken that medication.  I haven't lost the weight because I haven't put the consistent effort into the process.

Over the last few weeks, my husband has lost a few pounds.  I've lost a grand total of 0.2 pounds.  However, and I say that with emphasis, I have lost a few inches!  I am thankful for that, and I look forward to losing quite a few more - never to find them again!


Friday, January 24, 2014

A Few Gems From Florence Scovel Shinn

We all have our challenges in life - different ones at different times.  I've been struggling with some minor health issues.  And by "minor", I mean teeny, tiny, little ones - like this damn cough that won't quit.   It is so frustrating.

I am really good at affirming my way to most everything I have ever needed or desired.  However, this is one area which I find very challenging.  I feel like it is being stuck for 100 plus days on some level of Candy Crush.  I know I can do it, but what little hint or tidbit of wisdom am I missing here.

Although I rarely use oracle cards/tarot cards any more (meditation is more useful to me at this time), when I'm stuck on something, I find the cards to be a useful tool.  My card deck of choice today is Florence Scovel Shinn's The Game Of Life Affirmation and Inspiration Cards.  Here are a few gems that spoke to me personally as well as a few for others who may be struggling with a different sort of challenge.

***************************************************************

Divine Love floods my consciousness with health, and every cell of my body is filled with light.

I put this situation in the hands of Infinite Love and Wisdom.  If this situation is the Divine Plan, I bless it and no longer resist; but if it is not divinely planned, I give thanks that it is now dissolved and dissipated.

I am always under direct inspiration; I make right decisions quickly.

I am one with Infinite Intelligence.  I know everything I should know on this subject.

I call on the law of forgiveness to neutralize this situation.

I have wonderful work in a wonderful way.  I give wonderful service for wonderful pay.

I deny this appearance of disease.  It is unreal, therefore it cannot register in my consciousness.  I am a perfect idea in Divine Mind, pure substance expressing perfection.

***************************************************************

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Achieving Goals - Long Lost Notes

When you make that New Year's Resolution to clean up your office, sometimes you get a surprise.  For instance, I stumbled across some notes I had taken.  I'm not sure what I was reading or listening to, so I cannot credit the source.  It dates back to about 2010, based on what else was written on this notepad.  The main subject seems to be about achieving goals.  Here's what I apparently thought was note-worthy.

Raise your own vibration before doing a visionary plan.  From that place, you will write more of what you want, not what you think is possible.

Write down the vision for your business.  It is a powerful way to bring it from the "unseen" world (imagination) into the "seen" world (physical).  Writing it down impresses on the unconscious what you want to manifest in the here and now.

Ask the angels for specific guidance and direction, then take inspired action based on what they say.

Does spiritual marketing sound like an oxymoron?  Sell is not a four letter word.  Actually, it is a five letter world - serve.

The Law of Attraction has the word "action" in it.

Whether a class has 4 or 44 or 444 participants, always give your best.   Remember, Louise Hay started out giving classes in her living room.

To be successful, you need to keep on keeping on.

Be selective in your listening.  Turn off the doom and gloom about the economy.  As Louise Hay says, "It's not about the economy; it's about consciousness."

Let your uniqueness, beauty and wisdom shine.  The world needs you!

Your light, love, and prosperity consciousness are precious gifts and beacons of hope for humanity.

Sit back, don't worry about how to make it happen.  When we work with Spirit, we can get clear guidance every step of the way.

If you had all the money you needed, and there were no worries, what type of clients would you want to attract?

********

Not sure why I found these notes at this time in my life.  Of course, not all of these little nuggets apply only to teaching classes or promoting your work.  I'm at a point where I'm getting ready to start writing again, more for myself than anything.  I'd like to learn to paint and to speak Spanish.  I pray each day for spiritual understanding, wisdom, intelligence and opportunities to be of service.  Perhaps it is because of that last part (the opportunities) that I needed to read these notes again.




Sunday, January 5, 2014

Getting From "Oh Crap" to "Holy Shit"

You know you are gaining ground on your spiritual path when you find yourself with a mixture of "Ah-ha" and "Holy Shit" moments.  The Ah-ha moments are when you read or hear or think of something that just clicks, and the flood gates open, and you all of a sudden understand a little bit of how the Universe works.  The Holy Shit moments are what Metaphysicians and New Thought Teachers (yes, I know, they are basically the same thing) call a "demonstration".  I call them Holy Shit moments because when they happen, the first thing you think is, "Holy Shit, this stuff really works!"

I've had my fair share of both kinds of moments.  And the "Crap" moments that come in-between.  Those are what we optimists call "Opportunities For Growth".  Makes you want to gag, doesn't it? However, it is okay to call a spade a spade.  Those opportunistic moments usually suck, big time.  And it is very hard when you are right in the middle of it to remember what to do to shift to the place of Ah-ha, and then wait for your demonstration.  But if you practice, it will happen.

When I first started studying New Thought/metaphysical techniques, it took a lot of reading and studying, but I finally made my first big demonstration.  I manifested the money to attend a class in San Diego that I really wanted to take.  From there, I went on to demonstrate a dream job that allowed me to work at home and that paid very well, all expense paid travel to very cool places, and the opportunity to teach and be of service.  For five plus years, I was experiencing Heaven On Earth.

And then …. wait for it …. (cue the music) da-da-da-duh.  Crap!  I got fired, let go, released, freed to explore new opportunities.  Whatever you want to call it, it sucked.  Luckily, I remembered what I had learned.  I affirmed, over and over and over, "Out of this situation, only good can come."

And it did.  It wasn't instantaneous; it took time.  I had a lot of personal anger and issues to work through, but eventually I got there.  I'm back experiencing the Heaven On Earth.  I'm retired.  I've reached Critical Mass.  For the last four years, I've got to spend unlimited time with my grandsons.  And now in 2014, my husband and I are getting ready to travel in our RV, and hope to see large parts of our wonderful country over the next few years.

It's a New Year.  Are you finding yourself wanting to get from Crap to Ah-ha to Holy Shit?  The path is different for everyone.  I really can't tell you how to do it.  I can, and will, share some books and teachers and ideas that helped me.  You will have to take your first step on your own path.  I think one of the big keys to help you jump start the process is to trust your instincts.  When you read, hear or think something that is totally right for you, you will know it!  And when you read, hear or think something that doesn't click with you, you will know it!  Trust your gut.  What works for one, does not always work for another.  And that's okay.  All paths lead to the same destination, eventually.

Here are some authors in general and specific books that I found helpful.  Perhaps you will too.  If you are not a "church" person, and I'm not either, don't get too hung up on the use of the word "God" in many of these books.  Either find another term that you can relate to, such as Spirit or Divine Intelligence or Unconditional Love, or just get past passed over it.  Personally, I find the idea of The Force from the Star Wars movies a good substitute.

Authors:

Emmet Fox
Florence Scovel Shinn
Catherine Ponder

Books:

The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz
The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything by Father James Martin
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Creating True Prosperity by Shakti Gawain

Wishing you all the best in 2014!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I try to start each day with a little spiritual renewal time for myself.  One of the books I read each day is 365 Saints: Your Daily Guide To The Widsom And Wonder Of Their Lives  by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker.  Although I am not Catholic, I became fascinated with the idea that your every-day, normal (well that's debatable), regular folk could be inspired and then become inspiring.  I have found that many times it is just a casual comment someone makes, or a little snippet you read in a book, that just clicks.  It turns out to be the key that unlocks a puzzle that you may have been struggling with.  My spiritual path started that way (and continues to do so) with a casual comment a woman made to me many years ago. After over-hearing a conversation I was having with someone else, she leaned over to me and said, "You really should read Catherine Ponder's The Dynamic Laws Of Prosperity."  At the time, I did not take her advice too kindly.  Fast forward a few months, and as I am wandering around a used book store, take one guess which book fell off the shelf and hit me on the hit.  Yep - good old Catherine Ponder.  I took it as a sign, and read the book.  It started me off on a path that there was no way I could have seen coming.

The entry for January 1st from Woodeene Koenig-Bricker's 365 Saints book says:

"….As we begin a new year, let us resolve to accept with joy the twists and turns life brings us.  Let us open our hearts to the wonder of each new day and trust that our lives are unfolding the way they ought."

Did someone say twists and turns?  From that day in the bookstore through the present, I've had so many twists and turns I should be puking from motion sickness.  I'm happy to say that the blessings have far outweighed the losses.  However, even those losses have turned out to be blessings in disguise.

Woodeene ends her entry for the day with the following affirmation:  "Today, and everyday, I will trust in the goodness and wisdom of life."

And I do!

(Side note:  The journalling question that accompanies the entry is "Do I have to be in control of everything?"  Oy vey, do I really need to answer that?  That's a therapy session in and of itself!)

My Favorite Things - The 2013 Rendition

And yeah…I don't mean raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens.  I'm thinking more along the lines of Oprah.  Unfortunately for you, I'm not gifting each of you one of everything on my list. However, many of the things are my list are under $20 so you can try them out.  I am including links so you can see what I'm talking about - I haven't figured out how to import just pictures.  (Obviously, I'm a long way from calling myself a professional blogger, but that's another blog entry for the future.)

Here we go - my top 13 product finds from 2013.

1.  Jockey Underwear - specifically I love the 100% cotton Elance French Cut .

www.jockey.com

2.  DHC Skincare Products - I really love The Cleansing Milk, Antiox C,  and the Camu Camu White Day Milk with SPF 20.

www.dhccare.com

3.  Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner - Although it says "waterproof" - it comes off easily with the DHC Cleansing Milk (which is not your mother's cold cream - but works like it).  The eyeliner is easy to apply, a definite plus for a make up klutz such as myself.

http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod3590029

4.  Physicians Formula Lash Extending Mascara - I hope they continue to make this product.  It doesn't clump and it removes easily with the DHC Cleansing Milk.

http://www.drugstore.com/physicians-formula-lash-extending-mascara-black-brown/qxp90558?catid=183541

5.  Tempur-Pedic mattress.  I'm not even sure which model we got, but I think it was the "Cloud" line.  It was the middle of the road - not the plushest but not the bare minimum model either.  It takes a few weeks to get used to it, but I sleep so well now.  I'll never go back.

http://www.tempurpedic.com

6.  Blue Bunny Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream - Yummy!  Better than chocolate!

http://www.bluebunny.com/Products/d/Premium_Ice_Cream_Red_Carpet_Red_Velvet_Cake

7.  Obsession by Calvin Klein - For many years, I worked in an industry where it was inappropriate to use perfumes.  I understand that many people are sensitive to scents, but I missed wearing fragrances.  I missed smelling good.  Now that I am retired, I can wear perfume if I want.  And mostly, I want it for myself and my husband, but it will also be nice to have the grandkids associate a fragrance with grandma….much like every time I smell White Shoulders, I think of my grandma.  My sister-in-law, Rebecca, often wears Obsession, and I always remember how good she smells.  This year, I bought myself a bottle.  Not the $70 version below, but the $8 small bottle I found on eBay.

http://www.calvinklein.com/shop/en/SearchDisplay?storeId=10751&catalogId=12101&langId=-1&pageSize=200&beginIndex=0&searchSource=Q&sType=SimpleSearch&resultCatEntryType=2&showResultsPage=true&pageView=image&searchTerm=obsession

8.  Fleece Microfiber Sheets - I stopped to look at these at Costco and got into a conversation with an elderly woman who just swore these were the most comfortable sheets ever.  I was skeptical, but needed to replace my old flannel sheets for the cooler weather, so I took a chance.  I love them!  Not so much the fleece pillowcases, but the microfiber ones that come with set are divine.

http://www.costco.com/Eurow-%2526-O'Reilly-Coral-Fleece-Microfiber-Bed-Sheet-Set---Queen.product.100070147.html

9.  M&M Pretzel - Salt and chocolate!  Does it get any better?

http://www.mms.com/us/product/pretzel

10.  Apple Products - I made the leap from android/PC products to Apple.  I love my iPhone, iPad and Mac Book Pro.  The screens look basically the same.  I am able to navigate around the systems and figure out much of it on my own - without calling my husband for assistance, who then complains because he is a true PC guy.  I won't go back.  I would like to figure out how to capture a picture (non-copy righted) to post on this blog.  Then you would have pictures, not links, after each product, but oh well - maybe in 2014.  A big thanks to all my friends who encouraged me to make the switch!

http://store.apple.com/us?afid=p219%7CMSUS&cid=AOS-US-KWM-BRAND

11.  Subaru Forester - My first Subaru and I love it.  There are a few things I would change, the primary ones being the cup holders in the front seat and the arm rests between the front seats.  They are awkwardly positioned and difficult to reach, especially if you have short legs.  The seats could be a little cushier, but as my husband pointed out - we did not buy a Lexus or other higher end vehicle.  They aren't bad, and I don't spend that much time in the car for it to be a real issue, but it will be something I consider in 10 years when we go car shopping again.

http://www.subaru.com/vehicles/forester/index.html

12.  Embryolisse - A skin care line that is fabulous.  I discovered this in a Birchbox I received (makeup and skincare samples).  I love this line.  I use this in the winter, and then the DHC products in the warmer weather.

http://www.embryolisseusa.com

And last, but certainly not least……

13.  Murphy Goode Winery - I discovered this vintner when one of their Merlots was served as a dinner pairing at The Bellagio.  Loved it so much, we made a point to stop at the Tasting Room when we were on a road trip to California.  I've joined their wine club, and every bottle I've received has been wonderful.  They run about $20-$30 a bottle.  (My back up is Columbia Crest Merlot - $8 - $10 a bottle which is more in my everyday range).

I hope you enjoyed my list of my favorite things of 2013.  I hope to find 14 new things to add at the end of 2014.  Or perhaps it will be my favorite 14 destinations of the year as we will be hitting the road again soon.

Happy New Year to all.  May your 2014 be filled with blessings, love and laughter galore!