8 Top Tips for Personal Development

Ahhh…..early mornings spent in my cozy chair snuggled under my blanket in front of the fireplace (loving the cooler weather) reading a “good book” is one of the highlights of my day!

My ‘book’ of choice now is actually a magazine yes, I know, but I love Live Happy! What a way to start your day on a positive note with great stories and tips! *And the digital edition available on the iPad is so FUN! 😀

Growing up I used to love reading fiction but now my joie is found in self-help books. The Law of Attraction says that you attract more of what you ARE. When you become a little better in some way than you were the day prior, your life and your circumstances will improve; things get easier as you get better. Who doesn’t want that, right?

“Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better.” Jim Rohn

So how do you become better? Personal Development! By simply following a course of continual growth and striving to reach your full potential.

Here are 8 of the most helpful suggestions I’ve found for improving one’s self.

    1. Start Now 
      There is no such thing as the perfect time. Do something about your personal development plan today. Growth doesn’t happen overnight, so you need to start now. You can build on what you do today, tomorrow. Don’t become a pro at procrastination! 😉
    2. Read, Read, Read
      Make it your personal goal to read at least a book per month, or 10 pages of a good book a day. Learn from the successful people who have gone before you. Choose a trait you would like to improve on over the next 90 days and get books, lectures, attend a seminar…etc all around that topic.
    3. Me Time
      Take time every day to do something for yourself, even if it’s just 10 minutes of guilt free quiet time drinking a cup of coffee, or tea, as is now my drink of choice. Reward yourself in little ways for the progress you’re making.
    4. Journaling
      Keep a daily journal, recording your thoughts, ideas, feelings, and GRATITUDE’S. Time for Reflection is key as John C Maxwell writes in his book The 15 Invaluable Laws of Personal Growth:

      “Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you.”

    5. Be Accountable
      As hard as it is to accept, you are 100% responsible for what you are today and where you are today. No one else is to blame. Your choices and actions have gotten you to where you are today. By accepting personal responsibility you free yourself from the victim mentality and can begin to change things in your life for the better. If you want to become someone (or be somewhere) different than you are today, make personal growth your #1 priority. YOU are in the driver’s seat for YOUR future.
    6. Feed Your Mind
      Choose carefully what and WHO you allow IN. By filling your mind with positive ideas, thoughts, and people who support and inspire you, you will be happier and have no room left for the negative.
    7. Visualize
      Put up pictures of your dreams and goals where you will see them frequently. Create Vision Boards. Allow yourself to dream big WITHOUT LIMITS! Spend time every day visualizing your dreams being realized, in full color with all the sights, sounds, smells and emotions.

           “You never get what you want, you always get what you picture.”
                                                                                             ~Bo Short

             8. Never Give Up
                Life works in cycles and moves to a rhythm. You will have days when the funk hits you. When you                  hit a slow point or things don’t seem to be moving, don’t give up. Be kind to yourself and Keep Going.

And most of all, remember that there is no end to your personal development journey. So have FUN and enjoy the ride!

My own journey really began just a few years ago when I left Corporate America and partnered with Neora, a company that has a heart and is committed to Making People Better. You can see the Neora Philosophy here:

One of my favorite quotes:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)

If you enjoyed this list, please comment below and let me know your thoughts on following these personal development tips! 😀

Do you have Joy, Lightness and Ease?

This is a great question to ask ourselves as we move forward this week! 

I don’t believe in the “life is hard” almost default belief many people have, although… I do tease my dogs about how hard their life is and how tough it is for them to try so hard to get along. 😝 Lol.

I believe it’s about choices and our own mindset and us CREATING the life we want to live.

I’m definitely going to be asking myself this question, especially the Ease part. I’ve been focused on Joy and Lightness but I can see that Ease is an important element for what I’m doing to not be a burden and completely burn me out.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what “time is covering up the present moment” means to you. I’m still pondering on it….

Joie’s of a #WorkFromHomeDogMom – Ep1: Lunch

Unexpectedly is one of the best ways for JOIE to show up in your life. Yet, how do you control “unexpected” joy?

Great question. The simple answer is – you make space for it.

You choose to allow it in. Yup, it really IS a choice.

Queue the backstory…..

I’ve been married for 18 years now and even just a couple years ago had you asked me to envision my life today, I would be nowhere close. How do you imagine what you’ve never known? Watching other people who have gone before you can help but so many of the changes have been in my head, unseen. I’ve chosen a path of self care, learning and growth. I’ve explored new ideas, opened up to the “wooo wooo”, questioned the system and whoever ‘they’ are. I mean for real, who has ever met Them? Yet, we live our lives by the facts They tell us. Yes, there are loads of people who are much smarter than me and have incredible amounts of knowledge and still I will say that nobody has my best interests at heart more than me. It’s okay to ask questions, it’s okay to learn from them, it’s okay to say no, that doesn’t work for me and it’s definitely okay to try something new you’ve learned and see what happens.

How does that definition of Wisdom go? Something like this:

Knowledge is only potential power; it must be experienced and lived to really become part of you.

This #workfromhomedogmom blog series will be about me intentionally sharing my joie as this path I am on is making space for more of it to show up in my life. It can show up in yours too! I hope that my stories will inspire you to take a look around in your life and see simple ways that you too can make space for unexpected joie.

*Are you ready for it?!

Here’s today’s story….

My honey (and yes that’s how his contact name is in my phone too ??) texted me and said he would be working late, picked up 6.5 hours of overtime for our family, the babies ???? and me. I was sad it would be more hours without him, happy it was overtime as OMG, how can you not love being paid 50% more for doing the same job? It would also give me more focused time to work on logging my business receipts so I can get the taxes in on time. Fingers crossed for another huge refund! My heart was also filled with love that he would do this for us. I asked him to let me know if he needed more food and I’d take a break and bring him dinner. He said yes. I put a reminder in my phone and continued about my day.

When the alarm jingled I got to work. I got him another helping of the huge salad I’d made that morning for our lunches. I picked romaine leaves from my garden and made lettuce wraps with the leftover walnut paté. For desert I pulled out 2 frozen chocolate banana bites and some chopped frozen mango I have to keep hidden from him. ? Plus an extra banana, 1 EHT pill and 1 Youth Factor packet to keep his energy up and brain working so he stayed safe at work AND the drive home. I put it all in a simple cloth bag I love as it has good memories and was a gift from a friend.

I drove to the airport, all the while filled with so much Joie! I could’ve said nothing and let him go up to buy some food in the airport terminal. I could’ve grumbled about the 75 minutes the drive would take round trip. I could’ve grabbed a salad and the coat he asked for and left it at that.

Instead I made space for Joie to show up.

The unexpected surprise of it showing up was simply the best feeling!

I loved spending the time intentionally putting a meal together for him with love. I love how easy it is now to eat Raw healthy food. I loved my drive there thinking about how cool it was going to be for my honey in front of the other guys; he has a wife who makes him dinner and hand delivers it to him. How lucky I am to be that wife! How many other wives are out at their own offices working, unable to leave their jobs? How many other wives simply don’t take the time to make the space?

It’s a choice. I choose joy!

I took the back way my honey tells me he takes to avoid the freeway traffic for the drive home. (Nope, I’m not telling so don’t even ask! lol ?) I only saw him for 30 seconds but it didn’t matter, I wanted the whole moment to freeze. For time to stand still while I sat in the joie. It felt like a real thing, this joie. If not for being a #workfromhomedogmom this would not have been possible. I remember what my life was like back when I worked in the Corporate World. (feels like it should be capitalized, it’s such a massive entity! ??‍♀️?) Talk about feeling full of gratitude that I was able to do this simple thing.

Shortly after arriving home he texts me and says “thank you for all the food ?”. That just added on another layer to my feeling good. ? Trust me, I captured this moment in my head and marked it “do not delete”. Ever do that? I believe it really does work. Writing about it in this blog post helps too.

When your moment arises and you have a choice to make – choose LOVE. You will never go wrong. It’s the simple little daily opportunities that sneak up on you, that allow joie in, unexpectedly and yet….you had planned for it all along. ???

The next moment of unexpected joie you experience, I hope you’ll come back to this post and tell me about it. Put the “do not delete” seal on your memory by encapsulating it into words and sending it out into the ether of the world wide web.

Till next time…

Always Choose Joie!

Reflections on Health

2018 #day58 ~ as good a time as any to share my recent Reflections on my health journey.

Health isn’t promised to us so why do I take it for granted?

Why do I choose what brings Ill-health and disease?

Yes I “can” eat whatever I want. But why do I want to? It’s not like I can say I don’t know better.

Every day I wake up with choices to be made. Every day I move in the direction of greater health and wellness or I decline, no standing still.

Food is fuel and the type of fuel I put in the tank is up to me, no one else.

NOTHING tastes as great as health FEELS, this I have learned personally. It’s not a sacrifice to say no to sugar laden foods, it’s not even about being deprived. So what if you ARE deprived? Would you rather be sick ? ? ? and satisfied with eating all you crave or Healthy and deprived of sugar, dairy, toxins, chemicals?

Its not about the challenges experienced trying to eat out, it’s not about explaining to friends who don’t understand, its not about dealing with cravings, it’s not about having to wait 10 hours for flax crackers to be ready, it’s not about taking snacks with you everywhere you go, it’s not about going cross-eyed reading labels, it’s not about disliking to exercise….

The plain and simple truth is, its saying YES! to health, mental clarity, rejuvenating sleep, vitality, joy, laughter, being ALIVE, full of passion and living a vibrant life. If that matters enough to you, then you’ll do WHATEVER it takes, without question.

I am choosing to celebrate saying yes to my health, with every choice I make, with every bite of food I put in my mouth, with every way I move my body, with how I show myself love and grace. I will focus on what I’m doing right, not the challenges or difficulties; they are only there because I let them be, because I focus on them.

If you can’t beat ‘em…

It was the day after our second wedding anniversary and I was ruing the day we decided to get married 2/2/2000.

16 years ago on February 3rd, 2016 was the first ever Super Bowl held the first Sunday in February, instead of the last weekend in January as per the entire history of the NFL.

I grew up a Hockey NHL fan, not an NFL, NBA or MLB fan. Detroit Red Wings, ahhhhh, now that is a sport of skill, and made up of a league and team of players that have integrity, a work ethic and code of conduct in the media.

My husband, while ALSO a Wings fan ??? was a huge 49er and Steve Young fan and even had a 2nd team, the Cleveland Browns. That was okay as there were in different divisions. ? When his teams weren’t on there was always another game to watch. Or draft to focus on or sports commentators to listen to or early season or Pro Bowl or….seemed like the list was never ending. It’s a year long love affair.

Me, I wanted no part of the beer drinking crowd, hanging out in bars or the “friendly” competition between friends. I didn’t even drink beer, tasted gross then and that hasn’t changed.

That was the case the first 2 years of our marriage. What did change was I became a Patriots fan. ? Yup.

What changed? They moved the Super Bowl to our anniversary weekend. ?‍♀️ Would I ever have another anniversary without the Super Bowl interfering? How many anniversaries would actually be ON the Super Bowl tainting “Our Day”? ? Oh, what to do?

Seriously though, it was a decision made for the good of my marriage. I could either let football alienate us, creating schedule conflicts, spending too much time apart with our own friends and always being annoyed with the all time football took him away from me….or….I could join him, learn to enjoy the sport and make our time together fun.

So then came the need to pick a team, I couldn’t just blindly follow my husbands team(s), it had to be a real pick. A fan doesn’t support their team by default. LOL.

I picked the Patriots because of Bill Belichick, his I don’t care attitude, his football smarts, how he always did it his way, that he had players working both sides, offense and defense and when the Patriots were introduced at Super Bowl XXXVI and came onto the field as a complete unit, a TEAM, that sealed the deal for me.

Now 16 years later here they are in another Super Bowl on my anniversary weekend and I spent the day shopping for healthy snacks, making homemade hummus and getting set for a viewing party at home for the 2 of us. It’s romantic believe it or not and fun too. I’m excited for kickoff!

And while I’m still a die hard Red Wings ? fan, I’ve loved all of the memories created over 16 years of football shared with my husband. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Hanging out in bars, with a beer drinking crowd is fun. Bars do serve more than beer. Lol. And the special Football ? Drink and Food menus have always been a hit. ?

The choices you make for the right reasons ?? ? don’t have to make you miserable. Choose your mindset and perspective. Choose Joie and you will always be a winner.


Is it Woo Woo, Magic or Something More…

This story begins simply enough a week ago with the dawning of a brand new day and fresh determination to accomplish my 3 for 30 Challenge items (Self Care, Fitness & Business) before 2pm, starting with Self Care, which for this challenge meant meditation.

To back up a bit to set the stage…after being a long time woo woo, non-meditating skeptic, while still acknowledging there are lots of things out there beyond my understanding, I’d recently started learning about healing energies and wanted to know if it was possible to use them myself. This element of my challenge was because I was curious what 30 days of consistent meditation would do for me and my dogs- our pack mindset, energy, balance, grounding, peace and awareness. Could I get good at it? Could I REALLY use energy and see an impact around me?

So that morning, after meditating with all 4 dogs around me I noticed Nicklas had gotten up and was standing there slightly trembling. On immediate alert 😳 I felt over his body, checking his chest and belly in case of bloat, see if he’s in pain anywhere, thinking back over what he ate yesterday and of course I start to worry (Nicklas doesn’t do anything NON-emergency) while telling myself to stay calm. I can tell it’s something with his stomach so I take him out into the yard to try and get him moving to see how he does.

Nicklas is starting to look distressed, maybe he’s feeding off of me? He does that. The thought pops into my head that I should meditate with him and see if I can create a healing space for him and help us both to be calm, all the while I’m debating if we need to head to the vet for an X-ray, knowing from past experience, with this boy especially, that time can be of the essence.

I sat down right where I was in the yard on the grass, Nicklas laid down right by me and I meditated with him. Not sure how long I sat there maybe 15/20 minutes or so. He was calmer but the shaking started up again and I could feel his stomach rolling. I decided, “OK baby, to the vet we go.” Going inside, I started looking around to see what I needed to take and make sure the rest of the gang was set, had water and all that.

I was hit with this idea to use some Peppermint essential oil, quickly pulled out a reference book on my library selves to see if Peppermint worked on digestive/stomach related issues (I’ve never used it that way!) and lo and behold it does. 👍🏼 I mixed 3 drops with some coconut oil and applied it to half of his belly, rubbing it all in. Rolled him over and repeated on the other side. Figured it couldn’t hurt and would maybe help him be more comfortable on the drive to the vet’s office. Interesting thing is, Nicklas doesn’t like essential oils AT ALL so that he let me put them on him was a miracle all by itself. I was halfway thinking I’d have to put him in the shower and wash it off, if it caused him to stress out more.

5 minutes later he had a TOTAL shift in behavior and perked up! 😲 I proceeded to load him into the truck and sat there staring at him….thinking 🤔….should I give him some more time….what if I’m wrong?…I know at the vet he’ll be keyed up, he’ll be taken from me and be stressed while strangers hold him down to take an X ray, not giving him time to be comfortable. I know they’ll want to do lots of preventative, maybe give him drugs, pump his stomach….and if it’s NEEDED I’m completely okay with it….and yet…is that the best thing for HIM?

I decide to take him for a walk and give him a few more minutes. He surprised me by wanting to move so we ended up JOGGING to the park! I was happy that due to my better health, lighter weight and recent exercises I could keep up with him. lol. At the park I let him drag his leash and explore on his own as I slowly strolled around looping the small park several times. Finally he started to slow down so I picked a spot to sit on the grass, he trotted over and laid down very close which is completely unusual for him when we are out. I knew he wasn’t fully ok. I continued watching him for clues. Again, I started meditating with him. Right out there in the open, cross legged Indian style, back straight, hands on my legs palms up…the classic pose, right? 😛 NEVER would’ve pictured me doing this in a million years!

The wind was gusting, it was a bit chilly, clouds were moving in like a storm was on the way but, as is common this time of year in Las Vegas, really wasn’t, with some patchy sun. An absolutely gorgeous day! I sat there being filled with gratitude that he was doing “ok” at the moment and that we were spending this time out in nature together. He loves the wind, it was cool enough for him and he was calmly resting. If this had been the dead of summer, here in the desert, it would’ve been another story. I only opened my eyes, however long later, when a neighbor came by walking her dog. I had my phone but felt no need to check the time. What did it matter? We left shortly after and made our way to a couple other smaller patches of grass heading towards home. I found a big rock to sit on as I watched Nicklas investigate, then he came back and again sat close, on my feet even. I meditated with him some more and then we just sat there soaking up the day, me gently touching him, he content to lean on me. I was grateful to not be sitting in a vets office with him stressed and me worried about him. I’m sure the construction workers that were out redoing our neighborhood streets were giving me strange 👀 while I sat there meditating. On a humorous note, I would say to Nicklas – “Ok, let’s go home” – and he’d immediately flop back down flat on the grass. This happened multiple times. 🙄 I got the message!

After FINALLY returning home he laid by me on the couch, not completely himself but resting comfortably. I put peppermint oil on his belly every 3 hours or so when it seemed like the effects were starting to wear off. And I meditated with him another time or two.

Side note – I learned that it’s Nicklas’ energy that drives the pack and he needs to be my focus with these healing meditations. I’d been waffling between him and Ian but clearly saw how they acted when Nicklas was uber calm. He never is! From the moment he wakes up till he’s sleeping he’s on high speed energy. I have my work cut out for me!

After a long tiring day and my worry that he’d have a set back during the night that would have us at the emergency vet; the light dinner I gave him didn’t sit too well….I put more peppermint oil on, rubbed his stomach till he burped and his stomach settled down again. He made it through the night and was back to himself by the following late morning. 😍 It took me another day of having eagle eyes on him to believe he was really ok.

Thank you for your patience if you’re still reading through this story.😊

I’ll end with saying that I’m not advocating to boycott the vet. On the contrary, vet’s have saved my dogs lives, Nicklas’ especially, multiple times so I will ALWAYS take them in for cases of true emergency and am extremely grateful for their skills and resources plus our own financial resources that we’ve been able to use to pay for their lifesaving care.

This time though, I felt I had new tools in my tool belt and was able to actually DO something to support my dog and provide him a space to heal himself. Maybe it was nothing serious but even simple pent up gas can be deadly for deep chested dogs. Maybe the meditation helped? Perhaps it was the essential oils? Perhaps it was my remaining calm and focused on listening to him and not scaring him more by freaking out? Or was it the stomach rubs he got? ? Who knows….

Whatever it was, Woo Woo, Magic, common sense, non of the above…to me it honestly doesn’t matter. I was able to put new knowledge to work, empowered myself, created a better experience for us both and Nicklas continues to do great. To me that is PRICELESS!

I will always feel blessed for that magical, Something More, afternoon we spent together. 💝 A gift I don’t ever want to forget.

If you’re curious about the healing meditation I mentioned then connect with my friend, Jamie Lee, who has been instrumental in starting me on this path. You can find her on Facebook here, or comment below and I’ll introduce you. She’s amazing!

Jamie and Reiki

Its Time to Get Serious

What are you holding on to that is holding you back?? 

Here’s what I discovered…

My story starts by sharing that my husband and I are on a life changing journey this year and regards my eating habits I decided to be All In. What does that mean? 

I’ve taken challenges off the table and said goodbye to meat, to added sugar, to processed white & wheat flours (breads, pastries and pastas) and most recently decided that a LIFEstyle, not a diet, of Raw & Living Foods was where I wanted to be. 

Why, you ask? Great question! 

Stay with me as I back up and detour for a second to explain. 

I listened to a podcast (I love road trips!) by The Raw Chef, who I’ve followed for several years and he shared an interview he did where the conversation was on “raw” vs “living” and what those terms meant. The comment was made that being all “raw” is a calling and to be committed to it you have to know why you’re doing it. What do you want out of it? Does eating that cooked meal every two weeks ruin it? Are you looking for a title? You can still be unbalanced and unhealthy eating raw so knowing WHY you are doing whatever you are doing/eating is key. 

Me, I want to FEEL life running through my veins. I want passion, vibrancy, clarity and increased consciousness. I want an unstoppable zest for life- Joie de Vivre! 

Having said that…maybe you’re wondering if I will ever eat meat again? 

Well, I’ll answer that in two parts. 

For the first- as part of that whole increased awareness thing you get with healthy eating, I don’t see how I could forget again where meat comes from. My whole life prior to this point it was so easy to disassociate an Arby’s roast beef sandwich from the animal who gave its life for me. It was how I grew up. It was what I knew. It was normal. Maybe that roast beef is not even real meat anymore, who knows. ? I do still remember how YUMMY they taste. 

But somewhere along this journey I lost that learned disassociation and now when I see a cow or pig in a livestock hauler it makes me cry, knowing they will never get to live out their life and die a natural death after raising a family living free in nature. 

Am I humanizing them? ??‍♀️ All I can say is have you ever looked into their eyes? There’s sentience to be found. A soul. An awareness.  

Secondly, I feel amazing. My body keeps telling me what works and what doesn’t and I’m learning to listen. Quinoa pasta used to be an awesome replacement for semolina pasta, now it weighs me down and makes my brain dull. Meat is on that list too. ?

So to simply answer the question: I’m CHOOSING to feel amazing and respect sentient life. 

Back to my original point ?, I have identified a couple things holding me back from being All In that I am taking steps to correct. 

One is Cookbooks. I have several with meat, dairy, sugar and flour based recipes. When I’m hungry and looking for a new flavor having those on the shelf is NOT helpful. It’s like a safety net that I can go back to if my new eating lifestyle doesn’t work out. Well, I’ve gone through and cleaned everything out. 

I only kept a few of what I call “Memory Recipes”, handwritten ones from my mom, the dessert I made for my husband when were were dating, the Hawaiian cookbook that belonged to my husbands parents…

To put something together to store them all will be Phase 2.

It feels a little like I’ve renewed my vows. Lol. I feel lighter and more sure of my path. Still need to go through a few magazines and newer cookbooks I bought this year to lighten even more. That’ll be phase 3. ☺️

The second thing holding me back is The Pantry. Inside my much loved walk in pantry I have contriband items, like canned organic black beans, a jar of organic, no added sugar, marinara sauce, a box of edamame pasta. I’ve pulled them all out and lined them up on the counter. They will be eaten this week or else. 

I’ll use this coming week to search for new raw recipes, planning out raw meals, dehydrating/making some staple raw items and getting more organized. My Tuesday “In The Kitchen” cooking show will be fun! I think Smoky Kimchi is on the menu. ? Maybe I’ll even tackle dog treats. ?

Anyone up for helping me organize and decorate my pantry? ?? 

Having The Pantry all done up right will be a commemoration and celebration of my, our, new lifestyle. I’m excited to get started!! 

So there’s my story. ? 

I encourage you to step back for a minute and take stock of your life. What things could be acting as a crutch and slowing you down from achieving your dreams? They could be tiny and seemingly innocent, like my cookbooks. I’d love to hear what you discover and how you feel after removing the crutch! 

Cheers to the journey! 

Joie to Your Health and Mine! ??❤️?

The Joie Chronicles Day 23 – Inspiration and Dreams

It’s Day 23 of my 31 Day Live Video Challenge….

I was blessed to chat with Roberta Reeves on her magical European Quest to find lost family members and the Black Madonna.

Who/what IS the Black Madonna anyway?? She explains about the legend. Plus, she shares about her new love (it’s not a guy) and what adventures are next on the horizon!

I was so fired up and inspired afterwards, my head was exploding with ideas and excitement. I hope you feel the same way after watching! 🙂