Surrendering to God – 2017

What Happened when I chose to Surrender 2017 to God – An Intentional Spiritual Journey and Journal

IDEA

I just woke up after accidentally falling asleep, I must have been asleep for 1.5 hours, it is Sunday, January 15, 2017 and this idea came to me:  documenting the upcoming year in one blog but waiting until then end of the year to publish it.  I don’t know the story yet; this could also be an interesting study in faith.

(I start out pretty detailed and then realized no one will want to read all this!  So it becomes less detailed but still summarizes how I spent the entire year (it may be relevant in the future) There is a Summary/Conclusion at the end, so bear with me, or if you’re like me, skip the details and scroll to the very end!)

WHAT CAUSED THE IDEA

Earlier today, I attended service online via The Crossing STL, and the message was:  we need to be still at times to connect with God (Psalm 46:10): meaning don’t save our prayers for “on the go” multi-tasking moments, because we are not fully present to connect when we have other stuff going on.  I am a restless person, I’m always thinking, but this gave me a different choice:  Be Still.  So, after the 9 am service was over, about 10 am, I became still, cleared my mind, in my room, in my bed and focused on God asking him to guide me with His intended purpose for my life.  One of my prior stated goals for 2017 was to pray every day, and I’ve been doing that. I’ve also acted on whatever thoughts popped into my head in the morning when I wake and I’m not sure this is always the right thing to do (especially recently when I didn’t remember if I asked God for guidance), but it’s my intuition that I’m acting on.  This is Faith, the faith I’m putting in The Holy Spirit/Jesus/God to provide me with “the direction of the day” when I wake.  When I became “still” at 10 am, before I knew it, it was 11:30 am and I just woke up.  Wow, I’m getting good at this napping thing, which I NEVER did before, I could never fall asleep in the middle of the day unless I was sick, my mind would always come up with thoughts and those thoughts would keep me awake, but this was a different experience!  I woke up in a cheerful mood too, which is most common for me, but when I woke up from my night sleep this same day, I had a little bit of anxiety, from acting on a wake up thought from yesterday, Saturday:  sending a “facing fear” kind of message to a friend (who didn’t reply), so I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have sent that?! But there is no way to take it back once it’s out there. It’s finished. So, for me to wake up without stress after my nap, that’s a positive already!

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SPECIFIC GOALS

My goal for each day in 2017 is: at night, before sleeping, say a pray of gratitude, then clear my head/meditate until I fall asleep and in the morning:  say a prayer asking for daily guidance.  I’m excited about this, hopefully it will be an interesting and exciting positive year!

THE FIRST WEEK – EXPERIENCES ALREADY?!  FEELING DRAINED

I had an incredible weekend with my kids: connecting with them individually, laughing and enjoying time spent with them, I am so grateful!

But, being honest, right after the good times, when I felt like all was going so well, I came to the realization that a few friendships I had were finished. It happened subtly over time, not an event at all; it was just one of those moments when I realized it was time for me to move on; but at the same time it hit me hard because I care about them and I am sad, but seemed like the right thing to do. There are times when it makes sense to put in the effort to keep a friendship going and there are also times when it’s best to just let it go.  And it was the “let it go” time for me.  This was not how I was anticipating the start of my “spiritual intercession journey” at all, because I care about my friends.  But I’m having faith that there is a reason for this, and maybe someday I will know.  (After all this, later in the year I realized the friendships didn’t actually end, it was simply a break! But we never realize these things until time passes and we look back!)  Heading into the weekend, at this moment, I am drained, I feel like doing nothing, but staying in bed or lounging on the couch.  I don’t want to be around anyone. My bubbly, happy, positive, cheerful self is crashing right now.

Donald Trump becomes the 45th President- this was the first inauguration I watched, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought his speech was touching and look forward to the future with hope.

donald-trump

I’m not sure if this is appropriate to enter here, because it’s really a culmination of recent events but it’s hitting me hard on this date.  There was so much fun, excitement, and new change that I was experiencing that kept me going, positive, looking forward, but tonight, I’ve gone to a depressing place I’ve not been in a long time, and I don’t like it.  It could be grief that I am dealing with from all that happened in 2016.  I was non-stop and didn’t have hardly any quiet time last year to deal with reality, or if I did have the time, I chose to do something active rather than experiencing the grief.

Seeing bright sunshine in the morning made my next day start better.  But I had two full days of crying, I guess getting it out of my system was what I needed, I’ve not been motivated either, only trying to stay focused on what absolutely needs to be done.

SUNDAY JANUARY 22ND 2017 – TRYING TO REFOCUS

I went to church, by myself, and the staff talked about upcoming programs, which they have mentioned in the past, about getting involved and one was starting on Monday, so I signed up online Sunday night:  “Body Life”  the focus is on the church community and relationships and is a basic class for members to take before getting involved.  So this week, again I was disorganized just trying to keep on top of the most important things, but still distracted.

FRIDAY 1/27/17 – TEMPORARY RELIEF, AN “ESCAPE FROM REALITY” AGAIN

Then Friday night, I had a ticket to the Parmalee concert at Ballpark Village, of course, friends who were planning on going, couldn’t. So once again, I attended the concert solo, this is the second concert this year, that I attended solo, the first was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, concerts are easy going solo because I love music, so it doesn’t matter. But on this night, I didn’t follow through with my 30 Days to Healthy Living, I was close to the end of the 30 days, but with everything that was going on, I decided to have a Redbull and Vodka drink to stay awake, but also calm down, because I didn’t get much sleep the night before, and had a lot on my mind.  The night turned out great, a couple of people I ended up standing next to, invited me to join their group after they found out I was there alone, which was nice.  Then one of the waiters remembered me from last year’s winter concerts, kinda funny,…and said he would look out for me, so sweet!  He had been an awesome waiter with my friends and me last year.  Then the band played new songs…one was:

that haven’t been released, which was awesome because I have seen them 3 times in the past year; they are one of my favorites, so it was good to hear new music. I can’t wait for it to be released, good music!  So after the concert, Parmalee announced they would be hanging out at PBR.  Going there crossed my mind, but instead I decided to go home because I didn’t think it would be appropriate hanging out at a bar, by myself!  So I decided to post a picture on Instagram from the night and was leaning up against a column near the exit, just before I was about to leave and heard: “Excuse us please” …it was the security guards escorting the band to a room I was standing near.  I looked up and said “hello” There was a spot for a meet and greet with only 2 people there at the time, so I went there and texted my daughter to see if she wanted a Tshirt or anything while I was there, and ended up with this picture:

parmalee-01-2017

The night turned out good, I went home and talked with my daughter and her friend until midnight when her friend left and then my daughter and I ended up talking until 1 am.  Good time spent together!

SATURDAY 1/28/17 – FAMILY TIME

My phone has been blowing up with unexpected texts and messages from people that I least expected wanting to make plans.  So I made plans with them. The rest of this day is dedicated to my mom and kids, celebrating her Birthday (which was yesterday) doing what she said she wants: family time and home cooked meals.  Plus we are going to see the movie: “A Dog’s Purpose” tonight.  So my spirits are lifted!   For the weekend, I was uplifted.

family-time

“BAD LUCK” STRIKES – SLUGGISH, UNMOTIVATED, QUIET, SAD AND TRYING TO GET OVER THAT FEELING

Then Sunday afternoon I pulled into the garage and once inside after the door closed, the spring snapped and trapped my car there until late Monday afternoon.   I had to reschedule meetings for the day and get my son to school a different way.  And some awesome friends helped me out too:  Angie S., Lisa A. and Beth S. For the next week, I was unmotivated and struggling; I tried to get out of the mood, but would only for a temporary amount of time, when I was working out or listening to music.  My friends planned a weekend trip to see Florida Georgia Line, but I wasn’t up for it this time, very unlike me.  So I stayed in town and decided to take my car to get the tires rotated, which needed to be done. Well several hours later, after visiting the dealership too, I found out from two opinions that I needed some major work done to fix my car: $2,600.  That’s Murphy’s law isn’t it?  Things tend to snowball, good or bad for me!

I ended up going out Saturday night for sushi and a live comedy show with my good friend, Beth.  It was good to laugh hard. I worked out in the morning then spent Superbowl Sunday with another group of friends which was fun, but still not back to my usual self. Monday class at BodyLife, I was not very talkative and felt down, then Kelly B. texted me right after class making last minute plans to get together after work on Tuesday with a third good friend, Christi J, whom I haven’t seen in so long; so I was looking forward to it.

FRIENDS WHO LIFT US UP

My friend Beth helped me out, again, picking me up in the morning after I dropped my car off for a full day of repairs.  Tuesday evening was motivating, Kelly B., Christi J. and I met at Brick Tops Restaurant and just couldn’t stop talking, discussing plans, ideas, ventures, catching up, etc.  It definitely elevated my mood.

friends-at-bricktops

 

PURPOSE/FAITH

Part of the “BodyLife” class is discovering our personal gifts.  I took two tests to determine what my natural gifts might be and the top 3 from the first test were:

  1. Faith
  2. Mercy
  3. Leadership

The second test I did indicated:

  1. Faith
  2. Hospitality
  3. Tied: Mercy, Creative Communications, Wisdom

I guess my next step is figuring out how to serve based on those gifts.

MID FEBRUARY- STILL IN A RUTT

Despite daily prayer twice a day, I’m still struggling with this mood I’m in and I don’t like it, but can’t seem shake it.  A lot happened last year and I’m wondering if this indoor winter season gray skies is affecting me?  Or is it grief from my dad passing away this past Father’s Day?  Whatever it is, I want it to end ASAP!  Church keeps reminding me God’s timing is perfect but doesn’t align with our timing. Patience, yes that is my problem, I am not patient; I do things quickly.  I’ve been working on patience and maybe that is what I’m being taught?

This weekend is supposed to be unseasonably warm, close to 70 degrees and my friends and I are hitting the Soulard Mardis Gras – Taste of Soulard.  I’m excited about that most definitely!  Can’t wait!

taste-of-soulard-event

Several friends dropped out, or couldn’t make it due to good reasons, and the one remaining seems to be wanting to cut the event short, which is completely unlike her normally.  Kevin Hart nailed it in this YouTube clip…I’m feelin it!!  I understand this is part of life and it’s okay.  I can do whatever I want with, or without people,  but it is always more fun with people, than alone!  I decided to add some positivity to my chalkboard:

laissez-les-bon-temps-rouler

So Friday, I woke up thinking: “stop being a whiner; focus on helping other people!” and I’m in a good mood too! Turning point?

So late afternoon I get a text from my one friend, most likely canceling for tomorrow.  So question…do I really do this alone?  Uber?  The weather is just sooo nice, I love the festival atmosphere, but who to talk to?  How awkward will this be? I went solo to a St. Pat’s parade years ago and ended up meeting a group of people that I actually spent all summer with and we all went on a lake trip mid summer too, with one of my girl friends it was so much fun that summer.  I just might do it again?  I just know if I stay home, I will be regretting it all day…so I guess I’ll “face fear” again!  I’m going…there….decided.  Well my original friend did cancel, but then to my surprise, two friends who were not sure if they could go, texted, telling me they can go!  Yay!  It all worked out.

MARDI GRAS

We had a great time and ended up going both days…

BACK TO WORK THE NEXT WEEK

I had a productive work week in commercial real estate and started a new Instagram account for my Arbonne business (working on it until 2 am) on Saturday night.

https://www.instagram.com/franchise_4_u/

MY MOTIVATION: TRAVEL

So another passion of mine is traveling.   I’m always ready to go; I absolutely love it and will do it any chance I get, so this year, I made some travel plans for March and April and can’t wait for those trips. The trips give me something to look forward to!

March 2017: Spring Break with mom, visiting relatives in California and sightseeing

April 2017:  Arbonne Conference – Las Vegas (and I bought a ticket to see

The Chainsmokers!!! I’m going solo, but this is one concert I am really looking forward to seeing and it doesn’t matter!)

May 2017:  (Background) Last year, late one afternoon, after pulling into the garage I received a phone call from a Colorado area code.  I work with a real estate team located in Denver occasionally, so I answered the call thinking it might be them.  It happened to be a time share spokesperson calling with a discounted vacation package to Breckenridge, so I figured since I was going through the divorce at the time, I might need this getaway within the next couple years so I bought it. (This year) So this year I have my kids for Memorial Day and we don’t have plans so I thought maybe we should use that trip and bike ride, zipline, go rafting etc., so I booked it, but before I bought the airfare, I happened to think about this again; the weather isn’t going to be ideal temperatures…what was I thinking?!  Then I started looking for places in South Carolina, Florida, but I also have experienced rain in the gulf area of Florida in May. So after a few hours of searching, I ended up booking a trip to Arizona!  The desert!  We should get good sunshine and warm weather there!  So I postponed the Denver trip and we are headed to Arizona in May!

June 2017:  Following our Mardi Gras weekend, and me being on the lookout for events, I found the CMA Fest in Nashville in June….all it took was one text to them and I got an immediate “Book It”….so we are going!  I’m slowing down on the trips after this because I may have another business trip in October which may coincide with Denver or there may be two separate trips, but either way, I am ready! This is going to be my Travel Year!  I forgot to mention that I may also go to Utah in late June with a couple other friends!

LAST CLASS AT CHURCH

I finished the 6 weeks of the “BodyLife”classes at The Crossing on this night and decided I should serve in some manner, but wasn’t sure of what to do.  I thought maybe “Outreach” to start, but most of the dates I had conflicts already, so I spoke with one of the Pastors and told her my top gift was “Faith” asking what would be a good match for that and the answer was, really anything!  She suggested the IT/Video production group, which is a little interesting to me, but also asked more questions about what is important to me, I felt passionate about helping teens. So I then spoke with the Pastor who heads up the Teen Program and it turns out their events are on Wednesday nights 7-9, so that might really work out best with my availability. I need to submit an application and then have interviews before this happens though.  At the end of our class, we were invited to write a prayer message on a rock that would be added to the new church site under construction, if we were ready to become a part of the church. I chose to do so and my message was “I surrendered to Jesus 2017; help me follow thru”

MARCH 2017

One of my favorite winter things to do is attend the Friday night concerts at Ballpark Village, on 3/3/17 I saw Canaan Smith for the first time and really enjoyed the concert.

SATURDAY NIGHT-CHURCH

I went to church with some friends 3/4/17 and we planned to check out the acoustic concert in the cafe afterwards.  There were some unusual things that happened that night. First, briefly into the service I thought I better silence my phone and as soon as I reached for my phone, my friend’s phone went off! Then, numerous times I was”thinking ahead” when the Pastor was talking and he actually said the things I was thinking. It was happening frequently enough that I noticed how weird it was. Then the message was something that was highly relevant to a conversation I had earlier in the week. So much so, that I had to send a message to that person which I usually don’t do in church, but this time I did.  As soon as I sent the message, Pastor Greg mentions the name of the person the conversation was about. It actually brought tears to my eyes.  I let the person know the next day what happened;  too many coincidences at one time, very strange.  The rest of the night was normal fun, nothing strange just a good time out with friends.

The highlight of this month was the trip to California to visit relatives.  This getaway was perfect in every way:  I was able to spend time with family, explore and be so distracted by the beautiful surroundings and mini-adventures; it was such an enjoyable trip.  I felt re-energized coming back home but also felt like “home” is temporary for me.  I really want to move away, but need to wait for the kids to get to college.  I wrote about the places we visited in this blog link.  One day back from traveling and I went to another concert, I had tickets for both kids but Lauren had to work since she missed hours/pay from her trip to the Bahamas and Nick wanted to hang out with a friend instead, so I went on my own.  It was a fun night, great band, Judah and the Lion; and yes music is a happy place for me!

I haven’t yet signed up to serve at church, but I need to do something soon.  I’ve just had a lot of changes that I’m adjusting to and trying to get settled: taxes coming up, new estimated tax payments as a 1099 instead of a W2 filing for 2017.  All new to me, and trying to get my personal finances, will, insurance, etc. in order too.  I’m a little unorganized right now but working towards getting settled.

I received an email from church looking for people to serve at Easter, so I signed up for Good Friday at 7 pm and filled out all the paper work.  I feel much better that I’ve finally taken action on this.

I enjoyed serving on Good Friday  4/15/17, I ended up with the Pre-K kids and they were so darling, fun, and interested in singing and playing.  They had so much fun while their parents attended church.

APRIL 2017

First part of the day, Beth and I went to the Battlegrounds Bootcamp at Kor Fitness and LOVED the experience!  Such great training and strategy on approaching the obstacles; I wish I had more weekends free to do more obstacle training but this was the only one I could fit into the schedule.  Excited thinking about the upcoming mud run even more now!

So once again, Saturday night, I had tentative plans to go to the April 1st Spring Opening Celebration at Cedar Lake Cellars Winery, but as time progressed more people were unable to go (and my friend Kelly suggested an alternative plan: the Cardinals Home Opener on Sunday, which sounded even better), so my choice was go to the winery solo on a Saturday night or volunteer at a fundraiser benefiting kids that my friend was chairing…well that was an easy decision: I volunteered.  Several friends were there volunteering too, so it was a fun, but late night, with the photos (our station) and surprisingly I met someone that evening.  I was not ready to meet anyone and actually tried to avoid it when I heard that someone asked about me; I  handled everything very awkwardly but this person was someone I had seen before, many times, although we never actually introduced ourselves, we were frequently in the same places, so much that my daughter and I had a running joke comment “there is that guy again!”  So I was curious, but nervous.  Then Sunday some friends and I went to the St. Louis Cardinals home opener and had so much fun once again, he was there with friends also and ended up meeting my friends. My friends liked him, so that made it easier.

It’s so nice having good friends to spend time with and the weather was beautiful too.  Springtime!

So, I decided I’d accept the offer to meet and we stayed in touch for awhile.  Being a mom, I was most concerned about my kids and this.  I didn’t want them to find out from anyone other than me, that I was going out with someone, but it was also way too soon for my kids to meet anyone, so I asked a generic question wondering if they would want to know whenever their Dad or I decided to go out with someone following the divorce.  And my daughter responded: “I don’t want to know anything!”  then immediately questioned: “Are you dating someone?”  Needless to say this didn’t go over well at all and I decided to not say anything to my son for now.  Fast forward, and this didn’t work out anyway! So I thought all those coincidences of repeatedly seeing this person were “a sign” that I should give it a try, but not in reality.  I also have always thought people come into our lives for a reason, but maybe it takes awhile to figure out why!   Relationships or getting to know someone is best left personal and not blasted out to the public, in my opinion.   It works out, or it doesn’t, and the world doesn’t need to be involved!

On April 29th I joined a long time mentor in my life, Vicki, who has been such an advocate in helping others and mentoring, ever since I first knew her.  She had a table for the annual fundraiser/auction for Safe Connections and invited me and a guest to join her. I was pretty moved by the stories as well as the 500 attendees who were there supporting the organization in their 10th year.  It made me think more about what I need to do for others and how important it is to give back in some way.

Concerts:

Zed’s Dead and Hippie Sabatoge

MAY 2017

This month was a busy and fun one with music, travel and fitness:  Eric Church Concert, The Battlegrounds Mud Run and the Phoenix Arizona Trip.

JUNE 2017

This month was more concerts and more travel:

Luke Bryan/Brett Eldredge concert

Nashville during the CMA fest

Muse & 30 Seconds to Mars Concert

Tour of UNC visiting Nashville and Banner Elk, NC.

Florida Georgia Line Concert with Nelly 

311 Concert

Visiting the newly opened Tin Roof STL.

JULY 2017

This month again I kept very busy with more concerts and events:  the way timing worked out, I didn’t have my kids for almost 3 weeks, so I had to occupy my time with something fun and it was packed with events!

Sports:

I went to the Cardinals Game with some friends.

Live Music:

Tin Roof STL again

Jake Owen and Dan + Shay Concert on the 4th of July

Sam Hunt concert (had to take down my post due to reported copyright infringement)

One Republic Concert (my first time seeing them, one of the top concerts I saw this             year –  an unexpected surprise)

Third Eye Blind Concert

St. Louis Magazine – A List Party with Broseph Lee performing

Kip Moore Concert

Jason Aldean and Kane Brown concert

Echo & The Bunnymen with the Violent Femmes concert

Nickelback concert with Chris Daughtry

Dierks Bentley Concert,Cole Swindell, John Pardi

Country Line Dancing:

Stovall’s Grove

AUGUST 2017

More music and travel this month:

Incubus, Jimmy Eats World and Judah and the Lion

Taste of St. Louis (Chesterfield)

A trip to Washington DC

Lady Antebellum, Kelsey Ballerini, and Brett Young

The Solar Eclipse

Zac Brown band

SEPTEMBER

Getting back to the subject of Surrendering to God, I’ve been attending church frequently throughout this year, more than ever before, and praying most every day and night since I made that decision in January 2017.  I guess I had expectations that my life would change for the better right away, but it didn’t, I actually had things I didn’t want happening, happen to me, but I also had good things happen at the same time.  At this point in the year, I have to say that I may have learned something from all of this and that is:  Patience!  Patience has been a struggle of mine forever but I’ve learned to be patient, and it definitely reduces stress in my life.  Patience and letting go, not forcing anything, these were two significant experiences that truly changed my outlook on life and how I respond to change, or lack of change!

More music, events and travel this month:

Labor Day weekend at the lake– non stop laughs and relaxation!

Sublime, Offspring, The Urge

Ballpark Village entertaining clients

Brantley Gilbert, Luke Combs, Tyler Farr

This concert was such an unexplained mix of events and Tyler Farr’s song “Damn Good Friends” really summed up the night. Looking back on the night, it was one of those evenings that is best summed up numerous times: if this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened.  Hindsight puts things in a different perspective and sometimes it seems that things happen for a reason in our lives.

Wildwood BBQ Bash/Drake White

Brad Paisley

Colorado Trip to see the Aspens

OCTOBER

Cedar Lake Cellars

Football: KC Chiefs Game vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Satchmo’s to see Johnny Henry perform

Montelle Winery in Augusta

NOVEMBER

Drinks and Movie night out with Friends

Birthday Celebration with Friends

I decided to become more involved with Music, since that is what I’m continuously            drawn towards so I took action and signed up as a volunteer with Sofar Sounds.

Lantern Festival

Smithfield at Tin Roof STL

Bebe Rexa and Marc E Bassy (this one was canceled unfortunately because I was really looking forward to it!)

Tom Petty Tribute

Football: Green Bay Packers vs Baltimore Ravens

Nashville

DECEMBER

Lee Brice, Easton Corbin, Midland Concert (John SpicerBand substituted since they were snowed in Atlanta) – a memorable evening with another hindsight: if this hadn’t happened, then that wouldn’t have happened.

Old Dominion, Lo Cash, Walker Hayes

X Ambassadors

New Years Eve – ended with a quiet night at home, publishing this blog post, but the first event of the day was attending the Crossing, a great start of the day, click here for the recorded service and message it’s much better to listen directly but in summary, Tim Bounds covered one of the 10 Commandments:  regarding keeping holy “the Sabbath” the importance of giving ourselves a day of : REST (literally) , DELIGHT (enjoy what makes us happy:  friends, family, nature, etc) , WORSHIP (give thanks to God)  AND PEACE (note: Peace is not the absence of something, but the presence of Someone (God)- it’s a time to connect with God…it’s important that we all set aside time to personally connect with God

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

I arrived at a point in my life when I questioned everything about my life: my purpose, my decisions, my career, my relationships- absolutely EVERYTHING!  Looking back on my life there were definitely plenty of great moments, but I still felt like I unintentionally made bad decisions along the way and wanted that to stop, or at least lessen them, become a better person, and the only way to do that, in my thoughts, was to surrender it all to God, build a better relationship with God through prayer, because I obviously wasn’t doing exceptional at this life thing that was happening! 

This year I learned the following, from my personal experiences:

  1. Pray frequently:  in good times (be thankful and grateful) and bad times (ask for wisdom and guidance)- prayers are answered, but timing is not always understood until hindsight happens
  2. Accept the low points and bad experiences in life; those points are teaching moments and make us better people…so it’s really a positive thing in hindsight.
  3. Get comfortable being alone: take the time to improve: physically, spiritually, reflect on relationships and interactions with others, improve our personal skills during this time.
  4. Follow what we are drawn towards, even if it doesn’t make sense, don’t rush for the answers, stay in the moment experiencing everything, it will become clear with time and there will be a sense of calmness and peace when we eventually see why were drawn to something; it’s only in retrospect that we understand…just let it be, let it happen, naturally, unforced.
  5. Change equals growth; don’t fear it, there is something better on the other side!  Embrace change!
  6. Let go of what causes pain; experiencing pain is telling us something is not right, let it go: don’t hold on to anger about anything (it holds us back and keeps us in a bad place), pain teaches us lessons…”Pain is Gain” if we let go, we grow, improve and life becomes better!  
  7. Patience:  we have to be patient in order to follow through, because it all takes time and if we don’t develop patience, we will feel frustrated.  Patience is developed, it doesn’t come naturally; it’s something to acquire over time by letting go (the opposite of trying to control).
  8. People and relationships: come and go in our lives. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense “why” but I believe that people enter our lives to teach us something that we need, we will learn something from everyone, if we allow ourselves to be open minded.  People in our lives are extremely important: they can lift us up or bring us down, so learn to add more people that lift us up and eliminate time with those who bring us down or don’t support the same values as we have and be friendly to everyone you meet: kindness spreads kindness, if we want better relationships, it starts with each of us 
  9. Honesty: this is the foundation of any type of relationship; it means more than simply telling the truth: it means speaking up when something is important to us, it means not hiding something relevant, it means delivering the truth in a way that doesn’t hurt others, it means introspection about who we are, what we feel and what we need to improve about us (being authentic)
  10. But the greatest thing I finally understood was to love God above all (have faith, hope and trust) because everything comes from God.  Our individual and personal relationship with Him is the most important; He provides what we need.  There is no better way to explain this then to experience it personally; that’s the only way to grasp this concept, which probably doesn’t make sense unless you have faith, pray and then experience “unexplainable” things in your life, in retrospect.  That’s how it happened for me.   I grew up in a faith based home, so the faith concept was probably easier for me than for anyone who didn’t grow up that way.  If you struggle with this, but are open minded to explore and question everything, and are looking for a resource to grow spiritually: I recommend getting to know The Crossing, which is available online.  

I don’t like to admit this but, I grew up Catholic and when multiple friends first suggested this church to me, I pushed back and thought I’m not into that demonstrative religious service atmosphere (which is what I thought it was before I visited) :  my faith is between God and me,  I grew up conservative and that is very different to me!  However, I am also open minded enough, and know it’s not fair to draw a conclusion without exploring and experiencing it personally.  So that is what I did. I found The Crossing is led by well educated, knowledgeable, welcoming leadership who don’t force anything on anyone, but direct every question back to what is written in the Bible for answers.  This is a non-denomination Christian Church, a place where it’s okay to question whatever doesn’t make sense to us and grow in understanding through questioning.  Everyone is welcome.  I found that much of what I’ve learned through my religious education is supported by the Bible, and by this church, but I’m still learning, questioning and exploring the differences, and I’ve been participating in this church service since December of 2015, and now becoming more interested in exploring the differences and understanding why. This church also appealed to me personally because music is a passion of mine and is very present (as a form of worship) in this church.  I’ve never been to a church with greater musical talent than I’ve seen at The Crossing , truly incredible!  If you love music, you really should experience The Crossing.

 I realize 2017 was only the beginning: a year makes an impact, but there is more to come.  Surrendering all to God helped my perspective in life and someday in the future I will understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me; it’s a never ending commitment to improve, follow life with passion, purpose and ideally help, and be of value to others.  I’m excited and hopeful about the future!  Wishing you the best in 2018! It will be what you make it!

 

 

 

 

ARBONNE REVIEW

If you read my prior blog and article published by Prsuit: “DEALING WITH JUDGEMENT OF YOUR ASPIRATIONS BY OTHERS” then you will know that part of this experience had to do with my joining Arbonne International as an Independent Consultant, so I wanted to share my experiences with you about what it’s been like for me since I joined this past October 2016.   This is a network marketing company and many are skeptical of those type of companies, I was too, until I opened my mind to learn more about it and dispelled the myths.  The truth is nothing happens overnight and it requires dedication and perseverance to build a business, so as long as people know that, they will not be misled.  The reality about reputation is, when a company is growing, some people who affiliate themselves with the company may not reflect the company very well and that of course damages a reputation.  Arbonne International is not a new business, but is 35 plus years and growing. Reputation is a concern for every growing business because as a company grows, the people in front of us represent the company, and if those people don’t make a good impression, the company is then tied to that impression.

REFLECTION OF OUR VALUES

My opinion and experience throughout my life is that we should not get involved with a company unless it truly mirrors our values and purpose in life, because we become a reflection of the company and the company becomes a reflection of us.  If a company changes and no longer reflects the values and purpose that drew us to the company, we should end our relationship with that company.  As in life, nothing is perfect, a company is the makeup of its affiliates or employees, and likewise if a person no longer reflects the core values and purpose of a company, they are usually terminated.

brand-book_instagram_image

ARBONNE: PURE, SAFE, BENEFICIAL

Arbonne has done a great job of summarizing in the three words: Pure, Safe and Beneficial, the inspiration behind their products.  When I joined Arbonne, I had done a little research on my own on nutrition, but nothing on cosmetics or skincare, that was something I didn’t think about. What impacted me most of all was the statement that our skin is the largest organ of our body and absorbs what we put on it, which affects us and our health.   It does matter what we use for skincare and obviously, our nutrition too.   I’ve researched more since joining because I wanted to verify statements and there was so much I didn’t know, and I’ve learned a lot already.  I encourage you to research on your own too, not necessarily blogs, but medical research clinics and hospitals, such as Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins on various topics that we may question.

ARBONNE: MANIFESTO

This is what I connected with and related to when I made the decision to align with the company, it matched my core values:

manifesto

 

ARBONNE: THE PRODUCTS:  NUTRITION, SKINCARE, COSMETICS, BATH/BODY

Before I would recommend any products to my friends or family, I wanted to try them myself.  That is just who I am, I can’t stand behind something I don’t believe in.  My experiences with Arbonne are in process and being reflected on my Facebook Page:  annm2705 but truly I haven’t used something I didn’t like, I do have favorites and products that maybe are not necessary for me personally, but they still are high quality, effective plus I feel comfortable using them or recommending them because of my experience as well as Arbonne’s stated product purpose:  PURE, SAFE, BENEFICIAL.

essentials-daily-health_instagram_imageNUTRITION

In January 2017, I started the 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond Program and I am so impressed by the resources offered to those who participate. Of course, we buy a 30-day supply of Arbonne products that may seem expensive at first, because we are buying a 30-day supply, but when you break it down to a per meal cost, you can get the products, for less than the cost of a muffin and cup of coffee.  When you participate in the program, you will also receive the resources of Nutritionists who provide a weekly grocery list, recipes for nutritious meals, as well as suggestions for challenges we face in our eating habits, cravings etc.  I’ve found that my grocery bills are less, but I’m eating healthier.  My shopping cart is primarily filled with organic vegetables, some fruits and protein:  lean meat:  chicken, turkey, grass fed beef, and fish.  And yes, organic is more expensive, but I’m eliminating the sugar and not so good for you type of carbohydrates, so that offsets the organic cost.  And when I thought about what I’m feeding myself and my family and how it so greatly affects our health, this will likely offset medical bills in the future, by taking a vested interest in healthy eating! Not all medical bills of course, but this is something we should all consider with the rising cost of healthcare:  taking better care of ourselves and our family.  I have met people who changed their diets and then no longer needed medications. Medications are expensive and some of the side effects are destructive too.  Take some time to think about that.  If you want to join a future 30 Days to Healthy Living program with Arbonne, I provide my contact information at the end of this article.

opportunity_instagram

ARBONNE INDEPENDENT CONSULTANTS

I decided to become an Independent Consultant to get the greatest product discount after using a few skincare sample products, because I liked the products and knew I would be buying more.  It wasn’t a significant upfront cost, so I could justify it.  I wanted to learn more before I suggested the products to anyone else, which is what I’ve been doing these past several months. When I joined Arbonne, the products and the company reflected something important to me: a healthy life style and improvement, so I decided to do it; there was no downside.  Becoming an Independent Consultant has its advantages:  a discount on the products plus we can make income from products that others buy through our introduction, so why not?  Especially if we like the products and will be using them ourselves. If others like the products and want to join as Independent Consultants, they can too, there is no competition here, this is a team and growing!   The more products I tried and the more people I met through Arbonne, my thoughts on this expanded.  I saw this as such a great business opportunity for motivated individuals, who have a passion for the products: the freedom and personal development it offers too.  The improvement side of Arbonne is amazing! Not only do the products help improve others, but the Independent Consultants are provided with such great positivity, motivation, self-improvement, personal development from what I’ve experienced.  I have never met so many positive uplifting people in one place, the positive energy/vibes from the people are the best I’ve ever been around.  So vibrant, supportive, welcoming, fun, dedicated, ambitious, motivating, positive people who want to help others too.  We all have seen quotes that say we become what we surround ourselves with, right?  And I must say, this truly describes the ensemble of Arbonne Independent Consultants whom I’ve met personally.  It wasn’t long after joining that we were making plans socially, outside of the business, to have get togethers.

I met Independent Consultants who have had their lives changed by embracing this as a business and from the nutritional aspect; this certainly doesn’t happen without efforts, but, it is possible for anyone motivated to build success and willing to work for it. And the great thing about it, our team can be our friends, family, or anyone around the world, all we need is internet access to connect!  The success is not overnight like so many may be led to believe with online business promotions, it takes years of dedication and staying with it, but it is a possibility.  You truly get what you give to others…you will be improving yourself and improving the lives of others!

SIDE OBSERVATION

I have not seen this emphasized in the company, but after hearing from or talking to Independent Consultants with Arbonne, I noticed there is a tremendous amount who openly talk about their faith in God (as you may know, I am Christian; however, it doesn’t matter if others believe in something different, I have respect for all.  We each choose our belief based on our culture, experiences and connection with something Greater than us.)  Anyway, this faith component is important to me personally and I wonder if there is more purpose here than what is initially seen, especially because the core is all about improvement and giving back?   There are some amazing heartwarming stories that have happened as a result of someone’s Arbonne business success. Truly inspiring!

If you are interested in anything I’ve shared,  joining my team, or have questions, you can reach me as follows:

Facebook at:  annm2705 (Ann Dulle- Arbonne Independent Consultant Page, on this account, my purpose is posting beneficial and informative information about the products, how I’m using them, health and nutrition, my personal experiences or promoting upcoming informative events (which I have yet to do!)– so “Like” my page and follow if you are interested in receiving updates)

or Instagram:  annm2705 (this is my personal account where I post anything related to Faith, Family, Friends, Travel, Fitness, Improvement = My passions in life)

or my Arbonne Independent Consultant Page (where you can shop Arbonne Products):  www.anndulle.arbonne.com

Wishing you success in 2017!  I hope it is a great year for you!

 

CHANGE, RELATIONSHIPS, MUSIC

It’s 4:30 am and this is what comes to mind?  Well, why not write about it?  Most people are probably still sleeping, so when this happens to me, seemingly out of nowhere, it’s time to write about it, because it doesn’t happen all the time.

Tomorrow will be one month before February 14, 2017…. Valentine’s Day, so maybe it’s a good time to do this?  If you’ve seen the acronym CRM in business: Customer Relationship Management, this is somewhat related, but in this, it’s personal and it relates to Change, Relationships and Music.

ABOUT MUSIC…

“Passion for Music” probably means a lot of different things to different people, but for me, it means music is a constant in my life, and will always be, I’m rarely in silence from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep, music surrounds me and I couldn’t imagine it any other way!  That is why I refer to it as a passion of mine.  Music has an incredible power and can literally change an emotional state for us, that fact still completely amazes me!  If I think about that fact, music truly is more powerful than drugs or medication; it really is!

Here are a few links and examples of this:  Music is a source and a gift for health and wellness and used for the following, to name a few:

Military, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Correctional Facilities, Trauma, Medicine, Pain Management, Young Children, Depression, Substance Abuse

http://www.alzheimers.net/2014-07-21/why-music-boosts-brain-activity-in-dementia-patients/

http://www.musictherapy.org/research/factsheets/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/music-and-alzheimers/faq-20058173

Getting back to music and relationships, for me, and others I know, a certain song will bring back memories of a person, an experience or a specific time in life, just like a photograph does! Music captures the emotional state of being in that moment of our memory.  What we remember in life is our experiences and how the experience made us feel and if music is a part of someone’s life, it gets tied to music, good or bad! The same holds true for people in our memories, what we remember in life may not be the exact words spoken, but how the person made us feel.

It’s interesting how we may relate a certain genre of music, a musician, or a song to a person in our life, just because of an experience.  I am one who connects first with the melody, the rhythm, the sound, including the voice.  The music can be amazing alone, but when the right voice is paired, it becomes incredible and irreplaceable. Eventually I learn the words, but I have friends who immediately seem to pick up all the lyrics.  I connect with the message in the lyrics, but I’m usually one of the last to memorize the exact words for some reason.

ABOUT CHANGE….

Change can be uncomfortable, even when change is chosen, it happens when a person finally faces the fear of the unknown and decides facing the fear is better than remaining the same.  Change makes us grow, improve and learn, but it’s not easy.   In my experience, music helps us get through change.  Sometimes change happens without our choice, but it always seems to result in growth, self- improvement and learning if we stay positive with our outlook and thoughts during the change.

Change can be good, sometimes it forces us to do things we never thought we would be able to do. We may not know our strength, until the only choice we have is to be strong.  Change is about improvement and improvement is good!

Change is also about becoming a better person, it doesn’t matter how long we’ve been a certain way, if we don’t like that way, we can change it at any time, but it’s a decision that only we can make, no one can make that decision for us.  Because change is uncomfortable, we need to want that change more than anything because the effort to change will require commitment and isn’t easy, it’s work.  But I believe we can be anything we desire, it just takes effort; nothing lasting comes without continual effort and commitment. If we want it, work for it!

ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS…

We learn the most about relationships from experiences and observations.  And those who’ve had a lot of life experiences know more, but the key to success is applying what we know, experienced and learned to improve our relationships.

This relates to the “Never Settle” topic: if we learn something once from a bad experience, then don’t settle into that familiar place again, because if we are not making a change, we are likely going to get the same results and that is how people get stuck and stay stuck, don’t do it.

Experience also relates to recognizing good experiences and applying them.  We often become so immersed and self-absorbed in what’s happening in our lives, that we forget to be grateful for what we have and forget to show appreciation for those important to us.  That forgetfulness lowers our quality of life in relationships.  Relationships need attention and when it’s not given, the relationship suffers.  It’s important to recognize what we value in life, what means the most to us. We don’t have unlimited time, so the time we do have should be spent on what is most important: our priorities.

Relationships will always experience change and they only last if there is a reciprocal involvement, they don’t if it’s one-sided.  Let that person, who is important in your life know they are important.  Relationships are constant work, but rewarding.  If we get lazy with relationships, we can lose them.  If those who are important to us are not treated as a priority, we lose them.

CRM- Change, Relationships, Music

Pulling all these topics together, there are some good examples of people doing things right, and I personally respect them for this.  My blog since inception has been tied into Instagram, which is an interesting media, and powerful, so be careful how it’s used because it can make a difference: both good and bad as I’ve experienced.  As you know, I love music and follow some of my favorite musicians on Instagram.  I look forward to posts about upcoming events or concert details because sometimes that is the way I find out about new festivals, events, etc.  I also like seeing the journey musicians go through:  the creation, behind the scenes joking, and rising in success; Instagram is a great tool for connecting with fans.  There is also something that some do well and that is appearing authentic and inspiring.  While we all know that no one is perfect (everyone is human and imperfect), and everything is not as it appears on social media, there are a few who do something a little different and step out of the norm.  I can’t even imagine what it is like for musicians and their partners to have a long-term relationship, talk about a massive amount of work to keep it real and keep it a priority especially with all the outside influences!  But there are a few who seem to do this well, they appear genuine, know their priorities, live by them and are very inspiring people because of this.  They have a special gift – musically talented and staying true to, and publicly acknowledging, their values, especially in a culture that often glamorizes the opposite.  These are a few that stand out to me:

@lukebryan, @sammyhagar, @thomasrhettakins, @michaelraymusic, @flagaline

There is also one more on this list, who isn’t really in the music arena…yet (haha)…but if you follow him and know his very early on comedy scripts, you will know the tremendous amount of change that he has been through, a master of change and very inspiring:  @kevinhart4real

There is no time like the present to Make It Count –  create an incredible relationship this year and get out, enjoy the music!

 

 

 

 

DEALING WITH JUDGEMENT OF YOUR ASPIRATIONS BY OTHERS

 

I wanted to share my article published last week by Prsuit, click on this link to read my article.  It’s about my own experiences and realizations with judgement.

Life doesn’t always follow the path we expect; the only thing constant is change. And when there is change, I’ve experienced judgement as a side effect: sometimes good, sometimes bad, but other people always have an opinion, only some voice it.

Secondly there will be a forthcoming related article about my experiences with my new venture mentioned in the article, near the end of January or early February.

CREDITS:

If you arrived at this article from Instagram  @annm2705, then you’ve already seen this, but if you found this article in another way, I should recognize a few who are making a meaningful contribution to entrepreneurship and creators, if you don’t know them already, you should check them out and get to know them on Instagram @prsuit @hdfmagazine, or their websites:  PRSUIT, HDFMAGAZINE, podcasts:  The Hustle Sold Separately

If you read my very first blog, you will see how I found them in the spring of 2016 on Instagram and since then have seen so much growth from their companies.  Matt Gottesman and Case Kenny have an incredible drive and are helping others:  great resources for entrepreneurs and creators!

A Different New Year’s Experience:

THE MESSAGE AT CHURCH

I’ll write about the inspiring moments first that happened during my break for almost two full days from social media.  I started New Year’s Eve going to church, which honestly is probably the very first time I ever did.  We arrived 30 minutes early to get seats in the main auditorium because at the Christmas service we ended up sitting in an ancillary room, so this time we arrived 30 minutes early again, thinking it wouldn’t be quite as crowded, for New Year’s Eve, and thankfully it wasn’t.  If you look at the photo, this is what it looked like when we arrived:  we could have been seated anywhere here!

I went to church with my kids and met my friend, Krista, her longtime childhood friend, Dawn, Dawns daughter and mom; we had seven of us meeting, so we planned to save seats so we could sit by one another.  As soon as I arrived, I texted Krista this picture and caption:

 

the-crossing“LOL…which seat!! we went back to the lobby”

Once again, the message at church was so relevant to each of us attending. It was about meaningful friendships and how important friendships truly are in our lives:  someone who has your back, someone who is there for you!  This hit home with all of us.  We certainly had the friend presence there on New Year’s Eve with seven of us attending:  it was nice being there with friends and kids.  Further into the message, the Pastor leading the service asked everyone to reflect on the last few weeks of holiday celebrations and get togethers: “Who did you see, that you haven’t seen in a while and were glad to see?”  or “Who did you miss that wasn’t there?”  and then said that whoever’s name comes to mind in the answer(s) to those questions indicates an important relationship for you.  He also talked about the relationships that have fallen apart and how important it is to mend those relationships.  He talked about how relationships contribute to getting us closer to God and presented examples from the Bible.  It was a meaningful way to begin the evening and think about heading into the New Year:

FRIENDSHIPS!

The next day, New Year’s Day, I received a text from another friend telling me to watch The Crossing… saying “it’s crazy how on point the message is to what you’ve been thinking” …  that message blew me away because, yes, it was, I noticed that too, and now another friend noticed it as well.  So often the messages at The Crossing are perfect timing.  Like anything else, friendships go through good times and challenging times, so there is always a need for communication to keep it strong. Sometimes that’s easier said, than acted on though.  But I know it made each one of us think, and some acted on it already, but others are still thinking about it.

THE GIFT

The second inspirational event was reading “The Gift”, by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D….wow.  When I started reading this, I had one of those moments where I thought:   “I relate so much to this, I could have written this observation”, not referring to the writing style, but referring to much of the content: what’s been on my mind in 2016, what I’ve been surrounding myself with during the past year of changes and transitions. So much of this is put into words here, in a much better way than I could ever do. In fact, I put some of this into an email I drafted yesterday to send to a few friends on 1/2/17, following my social media break (haha), I just can’t be still for too long!  Anyway here are a few highlights of the book, and if you are interested you can buy it here:  “The Gift”by Shad Helmstetter PhD.  I almost posted the 12 Tools he listed, but thought it wouldn’t be fair to the author after he spent over 30 years researching and experience compiling this list!

The uneventful New Year’s detail:  How I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day:

  1. Slept in; then made breakfast for the kids and me.
  2. Played iTunes Music on shuffle all day long!
  3. Did Laundry.
  4. Went to the gym, worked out for an hour.
  5. Showered, got ready and went to church with the kids, my friend Krista, Dawn B. her daughter and mom
  6. Drove my son to an overnight party.
  7. Straightened up my place because my daughter planned to have friends stay overnight, after they return from a party.
  8. My daughter and her friend left for the party.headed-out-for-nye
  9. Heated up left-overs for dinner.
  10. Turned on the Blues/Blackhawks game, recorded earlier, but I couldn’t sit still to watch, too much on my mind.
  11. Decided to pay bills, maybe read a book later, made coffee.
  12. Drafted an email to send out 1/2/16
  13. Started writing this post.
  14. Installed new hardware on my front door and finished up at 11:50 pm, thinking..wow…this is how I’m ringing in the new year?!
  15. new-hardware-installation-prep
  16. Turned off my music and turned on PitBull and Snoop Dogg’s New Year’s Eve Countdown…it took me back to the Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert I went to this summer!  Saw the countdown to New Years, then texted family and a few friends… yeah, I can’t completely hibernate from others!
  17. About an hour later the overnight guests arrived, so I talked to them for a while, and then read a book until 2 am, then I decided that I needed to sleep so I didn’t ruin the first day of the year.
  18. Woke up with more ideas, started reading again, made coffee.
  19. Texted with some friends in the morning.
  20. Phone call with a friend in the morning.
  21. Slowly the rest of the group was waking, so I made breakfast for everyone.
  22. Picked up my son from the overnight, he wanted to play Xbox right away, so I started writing this again and finally made my own breakfast.
  23. I then got a text about the 30 Days to Healthy Living program that starts 1/2/17, so I failed my social media break, but just until I got the question answered and shut it down again…so I didn’t quite make the 2 full days. I was tempted to scroll more, but didn’t….just took care of what I needed to take care of, then got offline again! But it was so tempting to see what people posted and respond to the notifications I had.
  24. More laundry.
  25. Made lunch for everyone and we sat around and talked pretty much until late afternoon, it was great! A lazy no-commitment day with football games on TV in the background.
  26. Read more of the book
  27. Texted with family
  28. Texted with a friend
  29. Wrote a little more.
  30. Put away all the Christmas Décor.
  31. Made dinner for my son and his friend because they weren’t hungry earlier.
  32. Went to Bed.

In summary, it was simply an ordinary day, where I probably accomplished more by not being on social media and there were some good moments, it wasn’t as bad as I though it would be.

DIGITAL DISCONNECT- RINGING IN 2017

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day- break time

This year my New Year’s Eve plans are very different from any other year during my entire life. Unfortunately, the plans won’t be that exciting to anyone else because I’m ringing it in solo and disconnected:  no parties, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter, and no hangover! (So, that means next year, I might change plans up, depending on how this goes?)   I’m challenging myself to this, because I’ve never done it before and it’s the opposite thing that I would normally choose to do. I like to push myself to be uncomfortable, to face my fears, and learn something in the process.  And yes, I do have that FOMO right now…but that’s part of the challenge, to push myself to face what I fear, stay disconnected from 1/31/16 – 1/1/17, and find out what I learn from this, because with every experience we learn something, right?  And truly, will I really be missing out on much?  Well maybe some laughter…oh yeah, and the Kid Rock New Year’s Eve concert 😦

WHY?

TO BE FULLY PRESENT AROUND OTHERS AND FOCUS ON THEM –  TO BE IN THE MOMENT

TO WORK ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ME – MY FUTURE GOALS

TO AVOID DISTRACTIONS AND TIME WASTERS

TO START THE YEAR DIFFERENTLY

This idea of taking a social media break for me personally is something I just woke up with, today.  I realize it’s a short, temporary break, yet I know it will be a challenge for me, isn’t that crazy?  Just two full days, but, knowing in advance, that this is going to be a challenge for me, is bad! But the experience will be good.

I enjoy social media, but it can really become addictive, it’s like society’s life line today as well as a source of escape from reality for me over this past year.   I admit that I spend a lot of time on social media, some productive, but sometimes wasting time (which I want to do less). I continue learning about social media and how it can make a difference, the positive aspects, and I see so many opportunities.  I enjoy seeing how others are using it: what works, what doesn’t, in my opinion, of course.  My mind is constantly active and thinking; I tend to be an overthinker that’s for sure, during my alone time, but thankfully the overthinking is counter balanced my normal spontaneity and underthinking!

I’m too distracted by social media recently, so I need to make an adjustment going into the new year. This is a test and a transition for me, to rethink how I’m involved with social media and start the year with that plan.

How often have we had a breakfast, or any meal, with others and everyone is looking at their phone, not present?  Or get togethers, so many of us are never without it.  My family went camping a lot when we were kids and those were some of the best memories I have, because when there aren’t distractions, we are forced to truly be present: talking, listening, and laughing- life experiences, vacations, trips, etc., those are the memories I hang on to.  So, whomever I’m around these two days, I will be fully present, and when I’m not around anyone, I will be wrapping up that self-reflection of 2016, refocusing and working towards my goals in 2017.  I’m excited about this new year; it could be the best year yet!

Just looking at the 2017 calendar, I’ve already booked my monthly social activities January through May, because that’s my way to make sure that occasional fun happens.  Plus, it provides something to continually look forward to with excitement every month.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing this New Year’s Eve; I hope you have a great night and a successful 2017 ahead- a year that connects you with what you love most!

Happy New Year Early!