May Free Printable Calendar

And here is our calendar for May–a free, blank, printable calendar featuring my art and some inspirational words. Enjoy!!! (p.s. Just got back from the most amazing trip and have so much to share! Took many notes to share in my blog and newsletters over the upcoming weeks and months!) Click here to download the May calendar

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Jumping in the Moment

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” Henry David Thoreau

Happy April to all! I hope everyone is as excited as I am to finally see Spring! Right now we still have a little mud, snow and gray in Wisconsin but I know those spring blooms are right around the corner!

In March, we took a family trip to the East Coast. We visited 9 states in 8 days–the intent of the trip was to tour colleges over my daughter’s Spring Break. (Sammy is now a sophomore!) She brought her best friend along and so the four of us (Andy, me, Sam and her BFF) spent every night in a different hotel, soaking in as many sights as we could see and visiting a total of 7 campuses.

The trip was interesting on many fronts. Not only did we learn a lot about colleges and opportunity–but it also offered a lot of lessons on living in the moment. Usually, when I take a trip, I plan a lot more “off time.” This trip was go, go, go–with lots of time spent in the car, missing a turn, and not a ton of sleep. I had been nervous beforehand that the trip would be stressful with everyone in close quarters and a hurried agenda. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was able to go with the flow and truly enjoy each moment. It reminded me how important it is to stay in the moment–especially in stressful situations, for then surely we can uncover joy.

We did take a lot of pictures and you can find them on my Facebook page, but I wanted to share my favorite one with you here! It is a family photo that Sammy’s BFF took. She asked Andy, Sam, and I to “jump,” and of course we didn’t ask why, we just did. I love the feeling of joy and freedom that come the picture– two things I hadn’t expected to find in such great quantities on our 8-day, 9-state journey.

Me, Andy and my daughter Sammy

Your Challenge: This week practice being present even in the most hurried and stressful times. Watch how changing your focus to uncover joy in these times leads to unexpected gifts.

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April Blank Planning Calendar Printable

Good morning! Here is our April blank calendar featuring a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “A man becomes what he thinks about all day long.” Hope you enjoy! The art is from my original Mini painting “Waterfall” which you can see on Etsy by clicking here.

April 2011 calendar – click here to download

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March Blank Planning Calendar Printable

Good morning world! Sorry I am a little late in posting our printable calendar this month! As always, the calendar features my art, and some motivation! Enjoy! Click here to download the March 2011 calendar.

March 2011 Calendar

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I finally did it! (Moving past “what if?”)

Well I finally did it! I opened my Etsy shop, which is an online venue for selling original artwork. Okay–well technically, I opened it two years ago– I just never put anything in it! While I have mastered “putting myself out there” in many ways, I was nervous and hesitant to put my artistic creations out into the world. What if people didn’t like them? What if I never have a sale? What if.. what if.. what if…

But then I was making a Soul Food card to post to my Facebook Inspirations album the other day and it featured Anne Morrow-Lindbergh’s quote: “You must have the courage to do the thing you think you cannot do.” And before I knew it, I was taking pictures of the paintings, moving things around, uploading, writing descriptions, and voila–I put myself out there in a new way!

As for the “What ifs” — I balanced them out. What if people do enjoy it? What if it is rewarding? What if the “doing” is what really matters?

I hope you will stop by and check it out by clicking here. And I also hope you will think about your own “What ifs” and choose one to tackle! Would love to hear what you pick!

My Original Artwork Available at Etsy

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Good Morning: Take a Leap

Good morning!Have you ever had a “hunch” about something? You know, that gut feeling that has words or an action “on the tip of your tongue,” but you squelch it? Then days, weeks or months go by – and you realize the intuition you ignored was right? Maybe you had a reason to ignore it. Maybe everyone else disagreed with you and you couldn’t find one fan of your idea or action. Maybe self-doubt got in the way – or fear – or anxiety. Whatever the reason, you ignored the hunch only to learn later, that “hunch” was there for good reason.

Maybe the only thing more frustrating than not knowing an answer, is realizing we knew the answer, but didn’t act on it. For whatever reason, we didn’t listen to intuition’s whisper.

Kobi’s quote reminds me that intuition always has a purpose, though sometimes we can’t see it. But these “heart messages” should be heeded and well considered. Even without support, sometimes we have to “Take the leap and build our wings on the way down.”

Your Turn: Is there anything in your life right now where you have that “gut instinct” about what to do next? Take a moment today and honor that intuition. Listen to it; don’t squelch it. These moments of intuition are blessings about the directions we need to take in our lives.

Your Affirmation: I honor, heed and consider each of my intuitions

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Good Morning – Don’t compromise yourself

“Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all that you’ve got.”
~Janis Joplin

Good morning! As most of you know, I have a spirited and spunky 15-year-old daughter who has inherited my positive attitude and self-belief.

When she was 10, we had an interesting exchange.  I was exhausted and decided to take a quick nap. Sammy asked if she could come upstairs and read while I napped. Unable to fall asleep right away, I began doing a Soduko puzzle while she read. I have been working through the “Fiendish level” in a book a girlfriend gave me at Christmas. Ten or fifteen minutes later, Sammy asked how I was doing on my fiendish puzzle. “I don’t know kiddo,” I replied. “This is a tough one, I may not be able to solve it.”

Sammy replied with, “Who are you and what have you done with my mother!” She chuckled. “The Mom I know can solve any Soduko puzzle–even the fiendish.” I smiled to myself and solved the puzzle in the next 10 minutes. Then I tossed and turned as I often do when trying to fall asleep. Sammy must have noticed because she said, “What are you doing, Momma?”

“Trying to sleep; I often have a hard time falling asleep though, my mind just keeps spinning.”  

“Well just turn it off,” Sammy stated simply.

“How do I do that?”

“You just do,” she said matter-of-factly. “You think about nothing. If you believe that you can think about nothing and turn your mind off, then you can. That’s what I do.” I think she could tell that I wasn’t convinced. “Come on, try it,” she said. “Is your mind clear now?” I paused for a moment. “Yes, it’s clear Sammy.”

“Okay so don’t think about anything.” A moment later “Are you thinking about anything?”

“I am thinking that I am thinking nothing.”

Sammy laughed. “Okay, try this. Imagine a night sky with beautiful stars. Just look up at the stars in your mind and get lost in them.” I did as she instructed, keeping my focus on the stars and their patterns.

“Are you thinking anything now Momma?”

Well, actually, she had to tell me after I woke up that she had asked that question– as I had already fallen asleep.

Your Turn:
Sammy reminded me of how important the “little things” we say to ourselves are. She also reiterated the power of the mind. It will accomplish what we believe it can accomplish. I thought the lesson went nicely with today’s quote. “Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all that you’ve got.” Big doubts, fears, and insecurities are born from smaller ones. When we keep affirming the positive to ourselves, we diminish the emotional and physical energy that is drained from limiting beliefs. For more information on using Positive Affirmation Statements, check out my 10 Day Attitude Makeover class, starting Feb. 28.

Today, be cognizant of the messages you send yourself. Replace “I cannot” with “I can.” (And try Sammy’s resting exercise–works like a charm!)

Your Affirmation: Each day my self-belief grows.

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Good Morning – Living by Priorities

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to
schedule your priorities.” ~Stephen Covey

Good morning! Thanks for sending in this quote, Hope, which is a wonderful reminder to us all. Hope also shared, “I always include at least 2 short-term-to-dos from my Top 3 snapshot categories I’m concentrating on at the moment. And I have found that my life focus is changing fairly frequently at this time, so I revisit my snapshot every 3 months or so and tweak it… Doing this allows me to really ‘see’ from the outside what’s going on in and around me, then I can set my focus accordingly.” (For those of you not familiar with the Snapshot, it is tool we use in the Make Today Matter program to evaluate our priorities and track our progress.)

When we simply prioritize what is already on our schedule, our heart-felt priorities remain in limbo and at the mercy of time. When we learn to schedule our priorities, then we are on the path to the life we desire.

Your Turn: When you look at your schedule today, have you made time for the priorities in your life? If you want to see the most change in spiritual time, have you included spiritual reflection in your day? If your goal is to spend more time with your family, have you scheduled one-on-one time with a family member? If not, use today’s quote as a reminder to make an adjustment to your schedule.

Your Affirmation: Each day, I schedule my priorities first.

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14 Days & 14 Ways: Day 14

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today, I encourage you to celebrate the 14 Days & 14 Ways we have shared this month. And remember to take some time after dinner to open the “love notes” we started in Days 2 & 3.

Bonus Challenge: Make someone’s day by calling them or sending a text to show you are care or thank them for being in your life.

Want to keep up the kindness? Today kicks off the “Extreme Kindness Challenge” sponsored by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. Read on for details!

Extreme Kindness Challenge
Random Acts of Kindness Week – Feb 14th – 20th

Click here to go the challenge

For seven days we invite you to take Extreme Kindness Challenges. We will suggest an act of Kindness for the day and you go out when it works for you and do kindness. If you don’t want to do our idea but do a challenge of your own, that counts too! Our mission is to inspire you to act and share. We know that act of Kindness is our Ticket to a Kinder World!.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation (RAK) sponsors Random Acts of Kindness Week, taking place this year from Feb. 14-20. To celebrate, RAK is kicking off the Extreme Kindness Challenge. The mission, for those bold enough to accept it: Do one act of kindness every day during Random Acts of Kindness Week. Stumped for ideas? RAK will ignite the effort by suggesting a new kind action every day. Members can use the prompt or choose to do their own kind action. “The ‘extreme’ in our challenge is that we’re urging people to take their kind acts to extremes by committing to do a random act of kindness every day for a week,” explained Marilyn Decalo, director of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. “We’ll provide plenty of help with daily action prompts and daily updates on how many acts of kindness the group completes. We believe that encouraging extreme kindness in this way is Our Ticket to a Kinder World.” RAK will tally the efforts and update participants daily. “It’s a really exciting way to demonstrate how kindness can spread when we all take action. Our goal is to show how the light of kindness can be passed from one person to another, like a flame passing from candle to candle,” Decalo said. Online at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, participants in the Extreme Kindness Challenge can log their kind actions and record how many people their kind acts have touched.

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14 Days & 14 Ways: Day 13

Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold.  ~Zelda Fitzgerald

Here we are at “Valentine’s Day Eve” and this morning I was thinking about all of our servicemen and women who are separated from their loved ones on this holiday. As we celebrate all that is good, I am touched by how much I value my freedom and the ability to express myself and my feelings openly. Today, I plan to send some e-notes overseas to thank those who have helped maintain the freedom and country I hold so dear.

Why not take a moment to send a note of thanks or support today? Here are some resources for doing so:

The Department of Defense offers a quick and easy online form to send a note of thanks or encouragement to US Troops.

Here are some other great sites that offer ways to say thanks:
A Million Thanks
Let’s Say Thanks Here you can send a free printed postcard in 3 easy steps
Soldier’s Angels has Valentine’s Day ecards and more available. Here you can also “adopt” a deployed soldier to support. Currently 1082 soldiers are on their “adopt” list

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