Category Archives : Jounaling Tools + Topics

What’s Great About Today 6

Have you ever felt like nothing can go right, one “bad” thing happens after another, and you just can’t catch a break?

Lately I have fallen into that trap…

And I’m starting to take it personal.

I can’t help but wonder why nothing seems to “go our way.”

I’ve even gone as far as asking, “What did we do to deserve this?”

Welcome to my pity party. It’s not a fun place to be.

You know…the SUV needs all new ($1,000) tires, all the windows in said SUV refuse to roll up at the same time, a huge business deal falls through, you get sick and rack up an ungodly ER bill…

None of it is earth shattering, or life-ending, or tragic.

And my husband and I find ourselves constantly saying, “It could always be worse.”

And it could. We don’t need a reminder of that. We hear of horrible things happening around us every day.

We know our life is good. Great. Ideal.

I’m not here to compare troubles.

As always, I’m here to try and learn something.

And I’m just not happy with, “It could always be worse” as the lesson.

So, then what am I supposed to be learning from all this?

How to be more patient? How to live simply? How to be frugal? How to appreciate the small things?

I’m starting to think the lesson is how to focus on what is already good rather than what “could be worse.”

I know you’re thinking, How perfect and cheery and pleasant!

Well, it’s not as easy as it sounds. A few weeks ago I asked my mother-in-law to borrow the book, One Thousand Gifts. I was determined to “dare to live fully right were you are” as the cover promises.

I read the first ten pages and had to stop due to uncontrollable crying.

Okay, maybe I’m not ready for this lesson yet. 

After my poor hubby accidentally backed into someone’s car in the bank parking lot today, we started questioning things again. Not sure if I was ready to revisit the-book-that-made-me-cry, tonight I serendipitously came across this article which invites us to ask, “Do you know what’s great about that?” every time a challenge arises.

The car needs all new tires! You know what’s great about that? It will be super-safe and easy to drive once we have them!

My outlook  finally started to change and just when it seemed like one more “bad” thing had happened to us, I remembered to ask, “Do you know what was great about today?”

And I had the best possible answer.

We got to witness the miracle of life today.

We got to see our daughter’s beautiful face for the first time.

We got to hear her healthy heartbeat.

And we got to watch her stick her tongue out at us, as if to say, “How dare you need reminding of what is great about today!”


I hope to push the tears aside and read more of One Thousand Gifts, start keeping a gratitude journal, and continue to ask, “What’s great about that?” when more challenges arise.

A helpful journal topic to explore this idea is making a cluster of your current gifts and challenges.

I’m excited to share this journey with you!


Trust it or Adjust it 2

Today in class we read “Purge Your Portfolio” from Patti Digh’s Life is a Verb.
I really wish I could have read this particular story right before my birthday party when I was having an attack of the “excuses“…
You know the ones…
“Don’t look at my patio, I didn’t have time to get new cushions.”
“Don’t look at my shoes, I didn’t have time to find the perfectly matching pair.”
“Don’t look at my hair, I didn’t have time to get it professionally straightened.” (
which is too expensive anyway)
“Don’t look at my stomach, I didn’t have time to lose that extra pregnancy pooch in the past week.”
In the story Patti said she needed to “lose about 1,000 pounds,color my hair, and polish my dance steps” before her high schoolfriends arrived for a visit.
She didn’t.
And then she realized “I didn’t need to make any excuses anymore.The hips, the house, hair–they just are. They are me. They are my life.This is me!”
She tells a wonderful story of her daughter taking her art portfolioto a comics convention and showing it to fellow artists to get theiropinion. When looking at one piece she said, “That’s not really a goodone,” to which an artist replied:
“If you don’t like something, take it out of your portfolio. Youdon’t want to have anything in here that you need to make excuses for. You want to be proud of everything you put in front of people. ”
Finally she asks, “What in my portfolio (where portfolio means house, life, brain, relationship) should I keep?
Taking another look at “excuses,” she opened the story with:
“For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future but an excuse can last for life.” –Eric Hoffer
It just so happens that I recently discussed this very thing with a close friend. We talked about the pressure to be perfect(for me it’s with my writing and physical appearance)because somewhere along the way someone told us we were good, or pretty.
Now, I feel like if I’m not good or pretty EVERY SINGLE DAY, andEVERY SINGLE time I write, or present myself to the public, I willdisappoint. When I fear I will disappoint I MAKE EXCUSES…
“Don’t look at my hair/patio/shoes/stomach….”
How can we stop this cycle?
I have a notepad that says “Trust it or adjust it.
I think I’m going to go with that motto for now.
LOVE it (hair, body, home, life…) and embrace it for what it is…or change it.
Be proud of everything I put in front of people, or get rid of it.No more excuses.
I know in my heart that the more I read, write and connect in this space, it will happen.

I am human. I love a lot.

You know I love when things are cosmically connected…
I recently joined an interactive web group started by a fellow blogger friend at Writing My Way Sober and based on the book Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff.
The other morning I saw a group member posted  Patti Digh’s video on her “skinny jeans”…
Then, I went into my first block class, opened up Life is a Verb, and saw that the next story on our list to read was “Burn Those Jeans.”
Gotta love the Law of Attraction.
I also love this quote, which Patti uses as an epigraph to the piece:
“A lot of disappointed people have been left standing on the street corner waiting for the bus marked Perfection.”– Donald Kennedy
The focused free-write after the story was also a great exercise:
-For five minutes, write a description of yourself.
-Stop. Cross that one out.
-Set the timer for three more minutes and describe yourself again without using anything from the first description.
-Stop. Cross that one out.
-Set the timer for three more minutes and describe yourself again without using anything from the first two descriptions.She says, “Now you’re finally getting to the you beneath allthat other stuff. In this last description, you might find the realyou, the one beneath all those titles and awards and achievements.Getting to that “you” might help you set different, more real goals.”
I noticed the first five minutes I began describing myself withlabels–WHAT I am, rather than WHO I am (which reminds me of a favoritequote, I have inscribed on a rock, purchased at the Cincinnati airport:“When I let go of what I am, I become who I might be”).
The second three minutes I made a list which included descriptive adjectives and physical things.
The last three minutes I pared it down to the very basics of ME.
“I am human.
I love a lot.”
Don’t I wish it were always that simple?
I am human.
I love a lot.
I think I’m gonna make a bumper sticker to serve as a reminder.
Speaking of the Law of Attraction, I just saw this article on RosiePope’s (the lady from the “Pregnant in Heels” TV show) twitter: “Self-Compassion May Matter More Than Self-Esteem” which tells Neff’s story. I am currently on Chapter Two of the book and can’t wait to read more!