Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Reading For Your Soul

Summer is here and that means summer reading!  I don’t always have a lot of time to read these days but when summer comes along we do spend a little bit of time up at the cottage and I always have a book for the dock. This summer I am focusing on a few books from my online circle of friends and books that make my life lighter, brighter and more abundant. 
One thing to note here is that when I say read sometimes I mean listen. I have a relatively long commute to work every day. Sometimes it can take me an hour and a half to two hours to get from my house to my office.  I decided a while ago that I needed to use that time to improve my life rather than just get angry while being stuck in traffic so I use the time to LISTEN to audio books.  It is a great way to spend my commute time because it helps me stay sane while driving in bumper to bumper traffic. 
Here are a few books on my summer reading/listening list.

Money Love by Kate Northrup
This book is still in my NEED-TO-GET-TO pile. I follow Kate on Twitter and Facebook and enjoy her philosophy about money and finance. I am looking forward to reading her book. It is all about charting your own map to financial freedom! 

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and Before Happiness by Shawn Achor
I loved both of these books. Both deal with happiness, how to get happy and how being happy benefits your personal and work life. It had me rethinking a lot of things in my life.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown 
Brene Brown is a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging. Be sure to check out her TED Talks, she is amazing. In this book she shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living. It is a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

I listened to this book for hours on my commute to work. It really got me thinking about how I talk to myself and how I interact with others.  It is worth a read or a listen to for sure. 
This one is on my must-read or rather must-listen-to. I have tried meditation. It is still a work in process. I always feel better, more focused and thankful after meditating but I feel like I am still learning to be still and focused. I am hoping this book will help me learn to find success in meditation. There are real mind, body, spirit benefits to meditation so I am looking forward to this book. 
This was a quick listen for me. It is a fun book about helping readers (listeners like me) build habits that lead to a happier and more productive life.

I would love to hear what you are reading right now or have on your must-read list. I enjoy anything that is about improving my life, helping me become happier, healthier and more productive!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Three Tips to Help You Life a Happy, Positive Life

Positivity is positively positive. 

Life is busy these days. I am the first one to admit that I struggle some days to get everything done. I often long for more hours in the day only to realize adding more time to my day probably won’t help. It really is all about working more efficiently and effectively with the time I have. It is about my state of mind. Thinking and acting positively makes life a lot more livable than thinking negatively. Being positive makes me feel better, happier really, and it makes me more effective, efficient and productive.  You know what else it does? It helps me spread the wealth and send out a positive vibe to others. You see I truly believe positivity is contagious, just like laughing or yawning.

I am the first one to also admit that it can be hard to stay positive. It is something I have been working on. It isn’t work really but it is all about improving my mind and spirit. I am always reading and listening for ways to grow and gain knowledge about living a better, happier, more abundant life.  So I am always looking for ways to be more positive.  Here are a few things I find help me stay positive and spread positivity. These are easy, simple things everyone can do, especially your children!


“Peace begins with a smile.” — Mother Teresa

Smiling is so simple. It is one of those small but mighty things you can do. When you smile it just makes you feel happier (I think).  Research shows there are many benefits to smiling, including  helping to reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine and helping to increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin (among other things). Let’s face it smiling just feels good and when you smile at others it makes them feel good too! I make it a point to smile at as many people as I can, making sure to smile at everyone I see when I am at work. 

Action Step: I challenge you to smile. Let’s pick a number, say five. I challenge you to smile at five people every day and then every week add another five people a day and see how many you can actually smile at.  Keep increasing the number, often! 

  2. Say Hello!
This really goes along with smiling. I try to smile and then say hello to anyone I walk past in my neighbourhood or when I am walking through the parking garage tunnel at my work. It is a simple thing but means so much.  I always think it is nice because it is an acknowledgement of the other person; it is all about being friendly and throwing out my positivity to the Universe. 

Action step: I challenge you to say hello when you are smiling at people.  Pick a number of people to say hello to every day and see if you can meet that challenge.  It is all about spreading your wealth of positivity. 

     3. Get Grateful

"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."-- Oprah Winfrey

Being grateful is so important to happiness and a positive attitude. I truly believe you need to be grateful for all the goodness in your life right now in order to welcome new goodness into your life.  There is a lot of research out there on the benefits of being grateful. It helps to activate the positive emotion centers in the brain for starters. Regular practice of gratitude can change the way your brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns.

Action Step: Keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down at least one thing that you are grateful for in your life. Keep it up for 21 days. Twenty one days is the length of time it takes most people to make something a routine/habit.  If you want to take it a step further share your gratitude with others. I like to post about what I am grateful on Facebook and Twitter because it helps me stay accountable and it also helps me truly see the blessings in my life.

Tell me about how you get positive? Share your tips and tricks to being positive and sharing your positivity with the world.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Funny Summer Read

How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna SteinIf you are looking for something funny to read this summer I have the book for you!

My very funny friend, Johanna Stein,  penned a new book How Not To Calm A Child On A Plane (and other lessons in parenting from a highly questionable source)

I have to say this is a really funny book about being a mother but parenting in general.  Johanna gets real on a number of topics, including pregnancy, birth and relationships. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I also found myself agreeing with her or recognizing elements of my life and parenting in her book! We seem to share a lot ideas and experinces in common ( of course I am not going to say what which ones!).

So do yourself a favour and pick up Johanna Stein's book. You will get a good laugh!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Proud Mama ... and Proud Kid

This was a proud moment for me... and my youngest daughter. All the kids at her school had the opportunity to try out for ball throw and long jump. My daughter discovered that long jump was not really for her but when it came to ball throw she did really well. In fact, she ended up making the final cut. She was one of two girls in all of grade three to move on to the area wide track and field meet. 

Awesome... right?

Well, she was more than a little excited to be going to the meet. The grade three girls were first up on the day of the track and field meet. She tossed the ball toward the target, hoping to do her best. She did her best and in the end she finished 1st of all the grade three girls at the track and field meet. 

We couldn't be more proud! She was thrilled with her effort and loved her first place ribbon.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Family Time... Is Quality Time

 This weekend the kids and I  got a chance to travel with my husband. To be honest it wasn't really that far for us. We traveled to Niagara Falls to spend the weekend with my husband who was working/appearing at the Niagara Falls Comic Con. Normally my husband travels to the comic conventions by himself but since we were only about an hour away we thought it would be fun to go and hang out as a family.

On Saturday, while my husband was working at the show, the girls and I took a walk to see the Falls and spend some time together.  Of course, the kids wanted to stop for one of their latest favourite at Starbucks, the double chocolatey chip frappuccino! We sat for a while and chatted. The sun was shinning and weather was just beautiful.  

 After my husband finished up for the day, we went for dinner together and then we got in the car for a night drive by the Falls and along the Strip! The kids love to watch the people, see all the lights and look at the Falls all a glow with coloured lights.

 We are like many other families these days and often find ourselves so busy. We are busy working. We are busy with family activities and kid activities, like dance and soccer. We often struggle to find time to just spend time together, as a family. 

It was a great few days. We laughed a lot. We ate together and talked. We shared some great time together.

What do you do to reconnect with your family? How do you find time for family in your busy life? Share in the comments

Thursday, June 5, 2014

What I Am Grateful For

There is so much of our every day lives that we take for granted. It is often these things that make our lives better, easier and more live-able. 

Two weeks ago I hurt my left foot and ankle. 

It was incredibly painful. I ended up at the hospital and they took X-Rays. It turned out not to be broken and they figured it was sprained. They sent me off with crutches and my foot in a tensor. It was still painful. I ended up home from work for two days sitting with my feet up. All good! It was all good except when I had to get up the fifteen steps to the second floor of our house, where the bathroom and bedroom are. How the heck was I going to get up there? Well, I ended up crawling up the stairs and sliding down on my bum. So fun! 

Like so many things in our lives, we don't truly appreciate our health and a healthy working body until  that is not the case. We get up every day, slide on our shoes and head off, walking, into the world (or running, biking, scootering or skipping) often never really giving it a thought. Well, that is what I was like until the simple act of walking was extremely painful. Every single step I took hurt. Today, my foot and ankle are almost completely healed largely in part to my Chiropractor. You see I have seen a Chiropractor for years and last week when I went for a regular adjustment I told him about my foot situation. He took a look ( a painful look for me) and discovered it was not a sprain but there were several bones in my foot that were jammed. The only way to fix it was to complete several adjustments. The adjustments were very painful... are painful... but worth it in the end.

So today I am grateful for my feet. I am grateful for a healthy, moving body. Today I will honour my body.

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014