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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spring Is Coming...Right?

About this time every year I start to get anxious for spring to arrive. Tired of cold weather, dry skin, gray skies, and snow, I eagerly begin looking for signs of an early spring: Did I just see a Robin? Are there buds on the trees yet? Is it just me, or do I hear more birds singing in the morning? With the recent accumulation of more snow I decided that I needed a little mental “pick-me-up” and started browsing through my “Quotes” board on Pinterest for a bit of inspiration, reminding, and simple enjoyment.

Sometimes I need to be reminded to keep things on the positive side.
So what do I love about winter? I love watching the snow from a cozy spot indoors. I love all the winter holiday's. And I love that no one is pressuring me to go camping! 
Sometimes I need to be reminded of the wisdom found in my Irish heritage.
And remember to relax, and allow myself to find the humor in life. I love this following one because it reminds me of my sister, Patty, for our mutual love of books, and the song it represents!  ;) 
And this one because it reminds me that I am a paradox
But sometimes I just need a little bit of something else.
When I am really feeling the winter blues I just need to remember this:
And this:
But most of all I need to take a step back and think like this:
And just keep thinking...Spring is coming!

What do you do to help get through the winter blues?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Much Discipline Do You Have?

What is it about that elusive thing called discipline? Those who have it accomplish amazing things personally, professionally, physically...and those of us who don't have it look at those who do in wonder.

I'm not very disciplined, and yet I'm amazingly disciplined. In fact, I would say I tend to be consistently inconsistent. Yes, I'm a paradox. I can set a goal I strive wholeheartedly to accomplish and meet the finish with blazing colors.  Yet, I can set a goal and find every excuse in the world to not meet the finish. Why is it this? How can I fix this? How do I make myself become more disciplined in all area's of my life?

Thankfully I have someone amazing to help me each and every day. In fact, you could say I have my very own discipline "personal trainer"! And now, thanks to my "personal trainer" you can learn how to be more disciplined too. Do you struggle with meeting weight loss or fitness goals? Always trying to save up money but never seem to be able to? Want to set a project goal and know you will meet it? Want to build better trust with friends and family? Then I have the perfect, quick and easy read, book for you! Want to find out more? Simply go here.
What area's are you most disciplined in? Or what would you like to be more disciplined in? 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Entertaining Those Who Are Abstaining

For most Christians, Lent is a time sacrifice, prayer, and reflection. It is about the things we do, and the things we don't do. We give up our addictions, material comforts, and distractions so we can focus more on our spiritual life and relationship with God. Considering that I am Catholic, I am writing this post from a Catholic perspective, but I'm sure it will be relatable to Protestants, and people who have Catholic friends, as well. So, what should you expect when you invite a Catholic (or are invited by a Catholic) to dinner during Lent?
It is important to understand the basics of what to expect. Some Catholics refrain from large parties, and social gatherings during Lent. If they decline your invitation, just know they will be back on the social scene after Easter, and ready to feast! Catholics must abstain from meat on Friday's with the exception of fish. Allergic to fish? How about pasta, salad, or cheese pizza? Most Catholics I know tend to give up alcohol, and sweets for Lent, so if you bring your hostess a bottle of wine, or a lovely dessert, don't be surprised if she kindly thanks you, and then puts it away out of sight.

Many Catholic's have very specific things they have given up for Lent that need to be considered when entertaining. For some it may be meat, or bread, or even large meals. If you know you are inviting a Catholic over for dinner it would be best to ask what they can, or can't eat. However, making sure to serve something that all of your guests will enjoy is basic etiquette during any day of the year.

During Lent, each Sunday is considered a "Mini Easter," and some Catholics take this day off from their Lenten sacrifices. For those who do "take Sunday off" this is the perfect day to invite them over during Lent with no restrictions. Again, make sure to ask first, because a lot of Catholics do not take Sundays off, choosing to see it through until the end.

Rest assured, in six weeks time your Catholic friends will be breaking out that bottle of wine, thawing out that fabulous dessert, and ready for some celebratory fun!

What did you give up, or choose to do, for Lent this year?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

So Selfishly Selfish

We have all been selfish at one point or another. Sometimes it seems that the mantra of the modern world is "I want what I want, when I want it!" Me, me, me...now, now, now. Walking over friends, and family just to get what we think we deserve because we think the world owes it to us. Allow me to put it plainly: You only deserve that which you have earned from hard work and sacrifice. Anything given to you for free is a gift, not an entitlement.

Time and time again I have watched people use, and abuse others with their own self seeking behavior. These people are often so self absorbed that they don't even know they are being selfish. In fact, they often think they are being quite generous. Often times you will see people make excuses for their selfishness by trying to garner sympathy for their troubles. "I'm sorry I screwed you over, but don't you see (insert dramatic reason) is more important!" or "I really am in a bit of trouble (due to dramatic reason), and I really need you to loan me, cover me, let me borrow with no intent of return...because (said dramatic reason) really isn't my fault!" Yet this type of behavior is never ending. It's not just ONE dramatic event that is never their fault, it is event, after event, after event.
While the rest of society has to grow up and maintain responsibility for their actions, commitments, and relationships, selfish people want the mature people to do these things for them. Never owning up to personal responsibility, they continue to devour every generous person in their path leaving a wake of broken friendships, family relationships, and chaos...that is never their fault. Greed and Pride are two of the deadliest Cardinal sins, and also the hardest to overcome because they both require huge amounts of humility. And we all know the hardest thing to eat is a slice of humble pie.

My advice to those who encounter selfish people is to never, ever, fall into their trap of continual manipulation to begin with. Occasionally it may be the right thing to be generous regardless of what the other person does with your generosity, but it's when your generosity makes you the victim that it's time to change your response. Don't offer any help that would put you in a bad situation. Offer to help them get on track by helping themselves. Listen to them with compassion, offer to help them help themselves, and encourage them to be more independent. Sometimes tough love is the most charitable and best love you can give a person. Use your best judgement, but don't become someone else's doormat. Helping someone during a time of great need is a lot different than enabling that person's dependent behaviors.

My advice to those who may be contemplating if they are this type of selfish person is, always do the right thing. Do the right thing even if you don't want to. Do the right thing even if it means going out of your way to do it. Do the right thing for other people even if you feel justified in your own actions. Doing the right thing will always make you feel good in the end. Follow through on commitments, keep promises, become more self sufficient and less of a victim, borrow less and give more. Be Selfless!

As human beings we all fall into traps of selfish behavior. The key is to not make it a habit or a lifestyle.

Have you ever had to deal with a selfish person? Or have you had selfish tendencies you had to overcome? What advice would you give people in this situation?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Curvy and Beautiful!

Last week I was browsing the “Top 100” list of books on Amazon and noticed that the majority of them were associated with dieting, weight loss, and fitness. It then occurred to me that it was January, and most people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and get in better shape. I too have been a participant of the endless weight loss cycle for many years. As I reflect on this I realize that for the majority of those years my weight loss goals were mostly for someone else’s expectations of what I should look like, and very rarely for my own.
Throughout history society has always had expectations of what a woman should look like. In the 1800’s women were required to be fully covered during the day, but display bare shoulders and d├ęcolletage in the evening. They were required to wear extremely tight corsets made with whale bone stays to give the image of a large bust, tiny waist, and curvy hips. However the internal damage caused by corsets speaks for itself.
The 1920’s woman was attractive in shapeless dresses. Large busts were looked down upon and many women went under the knife to reduce their breast size.
In the post war era of the 1940’s and 50’s we see a return of the curve.  The silver screen was filled with women like Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, and Elizabeth Taylor who unabashedly flaunted their curves, and we continue to view them as feminine icons to this day.
The late 1960’s and 70’s brought shorter skirts, straighter hair, straighter bodies, and the return of shapeless clothing.
No matter what era or decade we look at, women have been slaves to fashion and cultural expectations. One day we are too fat, the next we are too thin. Last week we were too tan, next week we will be too pale. Too short, too tall, curly hair, straight hair…change your nose, change your lips, and change your bust size! When will women learn to be who they were born to be and flaunt their own unique image with pride?

I’m not saying that I shouldn't continue to strive to be healthy, but I am no longer going to change my body image to please other people. I can wear my hair and makeup however I like to, and I will not wear crew neck shirts and turtle necks to appease someone else’s expectations of modesty.  Whether I am a size 12 or a size 16, I can rock my plus size curves and be comfortable with myself. I am beautiful and so are you!
How do you feel about society’s expectations of women?