Halloween

Halloween

Another Halloween has arrived. And this day filled with tradition is being fought over in a way I don’t ever remember hearing about before.

Some people are batty (pun intended) to abolish the holiday because the argument goes: Halloween is evil, it promotes worship of the devil and is the secular version of the wicca day of samhain.

On the other side of the argument people feel Halloween is a festive opportunity to dress up, throw parties and enjoy the camaraderie with friends, neighbors and family.

What stands out to me is that this is just another topic to have an argument about and pick sides for!

Here is what I suggest we do about Halloween:

If you don’t want to celebrate Halloween, participate in the dressing up and the giving of candy to trick or treaters–don’t.

Don’t call it Halloween, call it Wednesday. Go about your normal day and turn your porch light off so kids don’t ring your bell.

If someone happens to ring your bell or knock on your door- feel free to ignore it. The door belongs to you, after all, and you are under no obligation to open it.

However, if you are a big Halloween person–enjoy it! Decorate, dress up and give out all the candy you want.

While you are enjoying it, you don’t have to worry about the folks that don’t want to participate.

It is none of our business what our neighbors do or think about this day–and it is not worth the argument or the taking of sides.

As for me, I have never been a big Halloween person. But when my girls were little we did dress up and go trick or treating, we gave out candy and we enjoyed the outside time with our neighbors.

When the kids outgrew it, we ordered pizza, gave out candy some years and not on other years. It was never a thing.

And that is my point–don’t make it a thing. In these times of so much division do we have to take sides on this as well?

In the very sage words of Linus, Charlie Brown’s best friend: “There are three things I’ve learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”

Happy Wednesday!

El Dia de los Muertos

El Dia de los Muertos

This week we will celebrate not only Halloween but a very significant and cultural holiday for Hispanics-the day of the dead.

It is culturally not a celebration of ghosts and goblins but a celebration of the lives of our loved ones that are no longer with us.

There has been some comments I’ve heard lately that Halloween and El Dia de los Muertos are un-Christian and further inspired by the devil himself!

It never ceases to surprise me how people who know nothing about a subject will have the strongest opinions about it. So let me tell you a little about how I understand El Dia de los Muertos.

Although this is not part of my cultural heritage it is part of my husband’s and many friends’ culture–and over the years, one that I have come to respect and enjoy.

The idea behind it is that we are provided a day in which we can remember and celebrate those that came before us–our parents, grandparents, children–that were once our family and have passed away.

Altars are created with their pictures, their favorite foods, and candles to light their way as they visit us here on earth.

Sugar skulls representing the souls of our dearly departed are also placed on the alters-which are called ofrendas- and hand decorated.

Believing that those that have gone before us visit us on this particular day feels to me to be extremely Christian.

It means–and as closely as we can almost, prove–that there is a heaven. That our loved ones are at peace and watching over us and that they have the ability to visit us here on earth.

It feels good to me to know that I can still communicate with my abuela, and my grandfather and my aunt and uncle who impacted me so much in life–and that they can communicate with me.

El Dia de los Muertos is a day each year when we have the opportunity to connect–with the past, with the future and with ourselves.

Enjoy the journey.

Vision Boards for Finding Clarity

Vision Boards for Finding Clarity

A long time ago, I started creating visions boards….in the 80’s, when I was in high school, I would comb through magazines and cut out pictures of things I liked, places I wanted to go, ideas for future adventures.  I would stick all these pictures on a poster board I would hang in my room.

I cannot tell you where I learned to make them or the fact that it is a form of positive thinking and manifesting, and setting goals for your life.

Like most teenagers my boards centered around–well me.  They didn’t necessarily have any specific goals in mind and were certainly market driven–based on the magazines I chose, but they did help clarify what I wanted out of life.

If I remember correctly some of the things I put on those boards were definately expensive (I remember having a fondness for diamonds) and I would need to have a college degree in order to achieve them.

Did that goal manifest itself?  It did.  I did, thankfully, attend and finish college successfully and been able, over time, to have all the I’ve wanted (although now I am not too impressed by diamonds anymore.)

The boards also helped solidify my values–because on them I have always placed pictures that represented family, work, God, service and country.

I’m a nerd like that–and I have always been blessed to have these strong foundations in my life, because I sought them out–at least my brain did.

In college I made vision boards too, and throughout my life as an adult.  I have even shared this little goal setting craft with my girls.  And I hope it helps them focus on what they want as well.

It used to  surprise me when something on my boards would manifest itself in my life–although it really should not have surprised me at all.  These were things that I had on my mind and the mind is so much stronger than we know.

Now that I am older–I still make them on a smaller scale, using a 12 x 12 sheet of scrapbook paper and the pictures I print at home after collecting visual images of my ideas from the internet.

I have my vision boards where I can see them daily.  And while our hurry up run around life may not allow for study of the boards–our mind’s eye sees them and goes to work.

The clarity they provide is one of honing in on the things that are really important in your life.

Now, I am not sure how it works, but I do know that it does work. I am not a scientist and cannot break down the steps the brain takes to create the vibrations from this visualization exercise to in turn create the energy in you and the world to make things happen.

But I do know this. Our brain, once it has clarity, subconsciously will lead us in the right path.  It will tell us when to turn right instead of left to find those things, events, people, and circumstances that we are meant to interact with.

When we don’t have clarity–in our lives–there are moments when things are unorganized, in chaos, and indistinct. Bad things happen to us.  We have a car accident, we make a bad financial decision, we come in contact with people who mean to do us harm. And things seem to be out of control.

Even in a world that is out of control–look at the people it does not affect.  Is it because those people are better, smarter or richer?  Or is it because they practice positivity in their lives regardless of the insanity around them?

Imagine if everyone created vision boards–and were able to create their positive energy that could mix with other people’s positive energy.  What would our world look like?  It would certainly be a different place.

My thoughts today, as I watch the chaos in the world on the news, is that they are manifesting exactly what the talking heads see in their mind’s eye. Their lives are in turmoil and it shows in their broadcasts.  Long time politicians are losing their foothold because the negativity itself is bringing them to their knees. People are being used because they cannot visualize a different way and are vulnerable to the suggestions of others, of promises that will not come true.

Each one of us is responsible for our energy–vision boards are one way–to clarify and direct that energy for good.

Change of Weather

Change of Weather

In the last 48 hours, in Texas, we have gone from the high 80’s in our “autumn” to a cold and rainy 54 degrees.  This is a major change of weather from one day to the next and it is very refreshing.   It reminds me that nothing ever stays constant.  There is always change in the air.

We can learn a great deal from mother nature if we understand that there is a season for everything–but when it is time for the season to change–we should embrace the cold front.

What am I talking about, you might think?  Well I am talking about a change in our thinking.  Sometimes we are just locked into one way of thinking and events in our lives seem to be spiraling out of control and causing harm or pain to ourselves or others.

Why does this happen? Because we are unwilling to change.  We are unwilling to see a different outcome or a different path.  We are unable to see the good side of bad situations, negative people and events that did not unfold the way we expected it to unfold.

There are many movements that have become popular now to learn how to change, to learn to think and act positively, to believe in a higher power that can lead us to the answers we are seeking.

What do all these things have in common?  Positive thinking.  It is a change of weather for many people.

I am a true believer of positive thinking, of finding the silver living in every storm, of learning from our mistakes and of putting our faith in a higher power that can help us find the miracle.

Being a believer does not make it easier–but it opens the doors to what is possible. And once we accept what is possible, opportunities will open up for us where we once thought that no path was available.

It is an amazing shift–if you allow the winds of change to bring the fresh air in!

I have seen it work powerfully in my life time and time again.  We find ourselves in a situation that we are unsure how we are going to handle and we start to panic, or we think we will just never make it through this hurdle.

But if you just stop–look at the situation honestly–and accept that there is an opportunity to change, good things can happen. Think about the outcome you would like to occur,  visualize what the situation can look like, how you intend to get over the hurdle, and the steps that will help you fix or turn around the challenge.

Then keep a positive attitude, accept the lesson the situation is teaching you and give it to God or a higher power.

Everytime, without fail, there will be a change of weather, and a way will be found where you thought there was no way.  The things and people you need will appear just when you need them and a new season will begin.

Enjoy the cooler weather–and see it as the positive change that it is–a time for renewal and an opportunity for a new way forward.

Lessons from Horner Park

Lessons from Horner Park

When I was a young girl, I would go to day camp every summer at Horner Park.  It was amazing.

Each day was filled with outdoor activities, crafts, sun and ice cream.

It never rained.  At least I don’t remember every having a rainy day those summers.

I climbed crab apple trees and ate the sour crab apples right off the branches.

I swam and I played on a T-ball team and I rolled down a grass hill.

Here are the lessons I learned at Horner Park that are still important to remember today:

  1. Physical exercise is important for health and happiness.
  2. Being outdoors in the sun is good for the soul.
  3. Never skip the ice cream.
  4. Don’t forget to climb the trees in your life and eat the crab apples.
  5. Play as part of a team–teamwork is important.
  6. Never give up a chance to roll down the grass hill.

Time passes too quickly to forget the lessons we learned at the park.  Life does not have to be complicated. Find the lessons and enjoy life.

 

 

 

Staycation Plans

Staycation Plans

One of my favorite things to do is travel.  I credit this love to my parents, who ensured we had a vacation every year of our lives until and for several years after we had finished college.

We even took and continue to take vacations with the folks from time to time throughout our entire lives with now husbands and children in tow.  Because each experience has been wonderful–it has invariably led to a love of travel.

I have a very strong desire to visit new places, discover new cultures, foods and ideas. Traveling offers an opportunity to break from the regular routine and explore different activities as well as enjoying the time for relaxing reading and hobbying.

While I have been lucky to visit many places and have a very very long list of places I would still like to explore–sometimes my favorite vacation in a staycation.

Staycations are wonderful because they can be easily planned, can last from hours to days, you don’t have to do any major packing and you also know you will be sleeping in your own bed.

What do you do on a staycation?  Well anything you want, of course!  But here are a few ideas:

  1. Visit a state or national park close to home.
  2. Look for historical points of interest in your area.
  3. Find water features–and water sports–to enjoy near you such as tubing down a river, rafting, fishing, or enjoying the lake or the beach.
  4. Enjoy local museums of interest that are a reasonable driving distance from your house.
  5. Attend local cultural performances such as plays, concerts, and symphonies.
  6. Find  a spot at a holiday or special celebration parade in your city.
  7. Support your local sports team by going to a game.
  8. Visit a veteran’s cemetery and honor our heroes.
  9. Seek out amusement parks or extreme sports activities that you are eager to try.
  10. Participate in health walks or marathons.

Sometimes we are not aware of all the wonderful places to visit and things to do that are in our own backyard.  Planning a staycation can be fun and fulfilling, it can provide you with a good break from your regular routine and it can open you up to new experiences!

Enjoy all your travels, near or far!

Lifestyle Blogging

Lifestyle Blogging

Without knowing it I have created a “lifestyle blog”–that means in part that I write about my personal interests and everyday life in my blog articles.  

What I found interesting, as I have been writing a while now and developing my blog’s “voice” are the actual things that have come out as my personal interest and the topics in my everyday life that are important.

This has been a great tool in my self discovery.  

For example,  My blog articles are all about family, home, God and country, food and nutrition, history and education and travel.  That pretty much sums up my life! Those are the things I love and thrive on and pretty much in that order.

I found this self reflection fascinating.  Especially when I started thinking about other blogs that I enjoy to read. Their authors–many of whom are also lifestyle bloggers–are very good writers about  what they do–Of course, because it is what they LOVE.

Wow! Huge light bulb moment!

Here are some thoughts for you, if you would like to start your own lifestyle blog, or if you are trying to discover more of yourself.

Write every day.

I know it seems obvious–but you really have to set aside some time each day to write.  Even if it is only 10 or 15 minutes. Journaling about thoughts that come to mind and events that occur in our lives will eventually show a pattern and that pattern will help you discover yourself.

Observe.

Although also obvious–observations about our lives and things going on around us is getting harder and harder to do.  There is so much white noise in the world now. To really observe, you need to turn everything off. Not just the TV or the radio–but also all our technology.  Tablets and phones, even if we are not observing them will ping at us–and disrupt our thoughts about what we are observing.

Let go.

I think this should have been my motto this year.  I have had to teach myself to let go of many things.  In decluttering my house (still a work in progress!) I have had to let go of many physical things that were weighing me down. In focusing more on me and my family, I have had to let go of commitments that were not serving me.  In trying to hone in on my own happiness I have had to let go of situations and people that were toxic to me. And when you are trying to discover yourself–whether you want to be a lifestyle blogger or not–you need to let go of old perceptions, opinions and mental constructs we have had from the past and be opeing to seeing things in a new light.

All of these things may–like they have for me–just help in directing our attention to the you you knew was always there–to the likes and desires, hopes and dreams you have had possibly buried for some time.  Or they may open up to you new possibilities that you never imagined you would want for yourself.

Once you decide to go for the search the road will open up before you and your true lifestyle will appear.  This gives you the opportunity to embrace your lifestyle and continue living the life you want or the opportunity to change it all to the lifestyle you truly crave.

Becoming a lifestyle blogger, I have to say, took a lot of courage for me–but it is one of the best gifts I have ever given myself.

Are you living the lifestyle you truly want to live?  What is holding you back?