Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Art of Creativity

We are creative beings by nature but sometimes that creativity gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life. Yet it is this creativity that fuels us, energizes us, and keeps us inspired.Creativity is a wonderful way to bless others as well as bless ourselves. Is there something that inspires?  Something that you can find a way to incorporate into a creative outlet expression of yourself?

Some people express their creativity in the management of their home.  Through the use of colors, decorations, or even the food they prepare. Work may provide the opportunity for creative self expression. Others pursue activities such as sewing, quilting, knitting, or scrap booking. Some folks creative outlets by writing, photography, music or woodworking.

Have you lost that sense of creativity or sense of wonder? What are the things that you used to enjoy? What are the things you keep wanting to do but have yet to accomplish? Maybe there is something you are interested in, but are not sure how to. Explore opportunities to learn; maybe a friend that can teach you, or there is a class available.

New Year Resolution or not, I encourage you to find that creative outlet and to pursue it with a passion. You may be surprised by the doors it opens. New connections, new passions or projects. Maybe even a greater understanding of yourself or even of others. What creative outlet will you pursue this year?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Success Lessons From a 9 Year Old

Friday night my 9 year old son crawled into bed with the notebook I use to track my various projects that are in the works. He was intentionally preparing for his town league basketball game the following day. He did this by creating a list of the things his team needs to work harder on and what he specifically was going to focus on during his game. It is said that going to sleep knowing what you will be intentional about the next day increases your chances of succeeding in those goals. He simply took a few moments before bed to prepare for the next day.

Saturday night came and he took the same notebook looking to identify 10 strengths of his team. I was impressed. Some of those strengths included work well together and good sportsmanship. At the end of the day reviewing what went well, things to be grateful for or one's strengths are another way to focus on the positive and increase one's chances of success.

At the end of the day....

*Identify goals and what you will be intentional about the following day. This can include a to do list, visualizations, or even some action items to make the next day more successful.
*Identify what went well, particular strengths of the day or even things to be grateful for. If it was a particularly difficult day, all the more reason to find the positive. Going to sleep with positive images will increase the chances that tomorrow will be a better day.

How can you incorporate one or both of these activities into you bedtime routine?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Last year, as the days were getting shorter and the nights were getting longer,  I found myself driven to see the sunrise every Saturday morning. I committed to myself and to friends that intention. Coincidentally, this was timed with the start of the new year. This meant getting up early enough to defrost the car, to layer clothing, select a coat, hat, mittens, and boots for climbing over the snow banks in the bitter cold. When the tide was low and there was ample room on the beach, I found myself taking long walks.  As a result of the curves of the landscape, I could enjoy the changed the view of the sun, the skies, and the reflections. Winter sunrises brought many beautiful surprises.

As the days got longer, the nights shorter and the weather warmer, I found myself setting the alarm for just after 4 AM to catch that 4:30 sunrise. By now I knew that it was well worth getting to the water's edge early to witness the wonders of the sunrise. The colors in the sky were breathtaking. A lengthy walk at low tide was peaceful and I could scan the sand for seaglass, star fish or driftwood. Early mornings were a treat!

I did this faithfully, even when clouds were thick and sometimes in the rain. One never knows what will await us at the horizon's edge.

This was not a New Year's Resolution! I am a believer that when one wants to commit to something you make the commitment when the time is right, and not just when the new year rolls around. This was a goal. It was my way of building in time for me. Time to be in awe of God's presence in my life. Through this journey, friendships have been strengthened and connections made. Now that the year is coming to a close, I reflect on this adventure and the sense of peace, satisfaction and accomplishment I experience as a result of committing to something and following through with it.  What was once a goal is now a ritual that will continue!

My question now is what am I willing to commit to next?

What are you willing to commit to that which will bring greater life satisfaction? Share this goal with friends or family that can support you in your journey. Commit your goal to paper and break it down into smaller steps. You don't have to wait until the first of the year to begin making every day better.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where is your vision taking you and who is helping you get there?

We all have plans and expectations of ourselves. We get an education and make plans. We dream. Sometimes life's unexpected obstacles force one to change those plans. 

Recently I had the pleasure of hiking Mount Agamenticus with Randy Pierce and the Mighty Quinn. Randy is one of those people whose life plans were dramatically changed while he was in his early twenties...a time when people are just beginning to formulate plans for their future. In 1989 Randy began loosing his vision and eventually became completely blind in 2000. In 2004  Randy experienced further health complications which made him wheelchair bound for over a year and a half. What challenges for someone so young, active, and engaged in life. Clearly, Randy has had his struggles. Yet, as I have reconnected with him over the past year I have come to "see"  that the vision we have for ourselves is so much greater than the vision we call eyesight. True vision gives us a sense of purpose and helps us to set goals. Randy has demonstrated incredible perseverance as he has found new ways to engage in life and refused to let his disability hold him back. 

Last year Randy founded 2020 Vision Quest with the goal of climbing all 48 of the rugged 4000+ foot peaks in the New Hampshire White Mountains by the year 2020. Randy inspires others to set their own visions and to help them achieve their own goals through outreach, education and support. I was fortunate to hear him speak to a group of 3rd graders where he educated the children about disabilities, challenges, guide dogs and the importance of problem solving to achieve goals. As he educated the students, he moved the adults to tears as he described the deterioration of his vision. His final sight was that of his service dog, Ostend. In 2005 he also had to confront the loss of this dog who had been his steady anchor since his full loss of vision in 2000.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed but once you figured out how to solve the problem it really was no big deal? Randy has been overwhelmed by many things that to us are no big deal. Have you ever tried to brush your teeth blindfolded. Might be fun once or twice, but twice a day, every day for the rest of your life? I bet it gets old real fast...getting toothpaste everywhere other than where it belongs. As a result Randy's problem solving skills have sharpened. He figured out how to brush his teeth with out getting toothpaste all over the place. While on a hike he knows how to distinguish his water bottle from Quinn's. These are the simple problems that he has solved. Imagine the problem solving it requires to to hike mountains!

Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can do a thing or you think you can't do a thing, you are right." The importance of positive thinking for Randy is strong and clear as he talks about the challenges of getting out of a wheelchair and walking or of hiking the White Mountains. Should you utter a negative comment about your abilities he will be quick to help you reframe that thought.

For Randy to accomplish his goals he has surrounded himself with a team of people that are there to help him succeed in climbing the 48 peaks as well as the outreach work. I started to realize the importance of surrounding myself with the right team as well. My team includes friends and family. My goals are very different yet my "team" consists of good problem solvers, their energy is positive and they believe in me. 

What visions have you set for yourself? Who is helping you get there?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Fun

The first day of summer has come and gone. The sun rose and set and I did not take a moment to enjoy either. I remember thinking how fun it would be to photograph the sunrise and the sunset on the longest day of the year. In the busyness of the days it can be difficult to remember to take time to have fun. There is a myriad of things to be done. Yet this is the season to refresh and renew and to play. How can I  play this summer. What will I do to make sure I enjoy the time with my family and friends? I will continue to welcome the Saturday sunrise...the good news is that it will be getting later in the day. I will play wiffle ball with my little one. I will take walks at the beach with my husband and I will make time to enjoy the company of my teenage girls. I know that play will refresh my energy and renew my spirit.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
-- John Lubbock

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Nap Time

Last weekend I was tired, had napped and then went to my daughters room to visit. I picked up her book Inspiration Sandwich by SARK and open to this, "Perhaps something to read, and if you can manage, a shaft of sunlight. All at once, you sail away into a nap, where tangled nerves are untied, and where time stops. Guilt and expectations are not welcome in napland. You can always find a reason. Find more reasons to let naps take you!"

Those words were comforting as I had felt torn, wanting to accomplish my lengthy to do list and wanting to nap.  Napping feels like it interferes with getting things done. Yet they are restorative, help to alleviate stress, increase productivity and creativity and can improve memory.

Thanks to the wise words of wisdom I feel free to slip into napland, curling up on the couch under a cozy blanket and drifting off. Having napped today I feel re-energized and eager to tackle some creative projects. This being one of them.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Renewal

Spring is upon us. We watch the flowers emerge from the ground as they blossom into beautiful signs of life. Slowly but surely the flowers push their way up through the dirt, shedding that which no longer serves them. As a  flower stretches up into the sunlight it transforms into something amazing.

 As humans we have the ability to do this as well. We spring clean, clear out closets, rearrange furniture. There are other ways that we can blossom into spring. Are there relationships that no longer serve you? Are there  habits that no longer serve you? Is there junk to be eliminated? As we make changes and clean out the clutter we too blossom. How will you choose to blossom this spring?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tea and Toast

"Not very far from bread and water to tea and toast."  A friend of mine found this quote on a Susan Branch calendar while we were enjoying some quality girl time together.  This lead to an interesting observation by my dear friend Mary, "One is survival and one is living."  Our conversation flowed as we pondered the idea that much of life is impacted by how we look at things. Are we just trying to survive or can we turn little moments into celebrations or moments of living. Even in today's difficult times it is important that we take the time to enjoy those cups of tea and to savor life's little moments.