Taking a More Zen Approach to the New Year

Japan new year

Happy New Year! We all say it and sometimes we toast to it, but often it’s just like another day.

This year, I decided to use the “new year” to really gear up for 2015. But how? I wasn’t sure – making big resolutions last throughout the year can be pretty tough. I needed a way to ease into it and something that would work for me.

Before the holidays my teenage daughter wanted to build a loft in her bedroom, using some storage space we had. I agreed, because I had no clue what was stored away in that space anyway. It ended up being boxes of gifts we had received when we moved from Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. Some items like the Japanese zabuton (large floor pillows) were over 20 years old. With my daughter peering in the boxes, I couldn’t really argue that the stuff in this space was useful or serving our family. But some of it had some good memories. I’m going to get the zabuton cushions recovered and use them in our family room. Other stuff – it was time to let go of. Continue reading

Letting Kids Provide Care

Abby card

Six years ago our family went to the animal shelter and a beautiful Black Lab named Abby picked us to be her family. It only took one look at her sweet brown eyes and we were smitten. She has been a great family dog. Even though she’s 50 pounds, she curls up with our daughter on the floor when we watch movies. Please don’t tell her she’s not really a lap dog. Our daughter has grown up with this dog. So far in this relationship it feels like we have gotten way more from her than we provide.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Positive Thinking

woman painting the sun onto the cloudy sky

Relatively speaking, the end of last year and early part of this year was difficult. My dad went through 8-weeks of chemo and radiation 2000 miles away. Mid-way through the school year, my husband and I had to find a better school environment for our daughter. Plus a few other irritating things were going on that just added to the noise.

Usually I am pretty good about taking these kind of things as they come. What I wasn’t used to was having them all pile up in a few months.

Luckily I had a wonderful positivity coach during this time. It was my dad, yeah, the guy with cancer. Because of the distance, we were on the phone constantly during those months. The premise was that I was calling to check on him and boost his spirits, but often I was the one who got the lift.

He’s a true Mid-westerner. Doesn’t believe in blaming others or wallowing in your sorrows. Kind of this Abe Lincoln thinking.

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln

I’d like to share a few of the lessons in positivity I learned from my dad over these few months:

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