Monday Gets Bee-U-Ti-Ful

Thought I would take a walk and get inspired to write my Blog post for this week.  Flowers and shrubs and trees are blooming everywhere here.  Hummingbirds are swarming and appear to have trouble deciding just which flower to dine at today.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of one; but they are much too quick for my amateur photography skills.

I find it very interesting how, when we are going through our daily routine,  we often don’t take the time to observe what is happening right in front of our face!  Our eyes “see” what is in front of us; but somehow it just doesn’t register with the rest of our being.  I wonder if we just get ‘hardened’ to the daily mundane or if we actually have to train ourselves to really “see” with more than our eyes.  I know when I was strolling around I started feeling very excited about what I might anticipate finding around the corner.  I have gone on the same walk and saw many of the things I saw today; but somehow the appreciation of them didn’t quite equal the excitement of the experience today.  What beauty there is in the most simple, ‘plain jane’ plants, trees, rocks and even the grass!!

The color palette alone of everything I saw today could fill the largest box of Crayola crayons.  As I strolled along, I felt like there should be a large orchestra with a rising crescendo following along with me.  I felt like singing….but restrained myself….my dog, Tramp looked at me strangely when I started humming to myself.

Maybe this is how our lives get so out of sync.  We forget to find the joy in our daily lives.  We sometimes consider our lives boring and mundane; but they’re really not!  We are exposed to so many beautiful and extraordinary things each day.  Hmmmm….I wonder if a person who makes their living as a landscape photographer ever gets tired of marveling in their subjects??!!

Another thing I realized is that because I was planning to share these photos with you, my enthusiasm seemed to increase with each photo I took.

        

Perhaps, that’s the key to having a happier and more satisfied life…..maybe we need to always remember to share our experiences with others in order to enhance our own individual experiences.  As Winnie the Pooh would say, “It’s so much more friendly with two.”  Isn’t that interesting?!!….Even though my dog, Tramp, annoys the heck out of me on our walks because he pulls too much and he often forgets the most basic leash commands (I know ‘Train the Trainer’ some of you are saying), I still enjoy my walks more when he is with me.  Guess Pooh was right.

I have to share with you just a few pictures of where my stroll ended today.  Our garden on the patio seems to be growing by leaps and bounds…..I think it happened overnight!  A little bit of SoCal rain and…..Poof!….Magic!!

Wow!  I can hardly wait for all these plants to start bearing fruit.  Yums!!  Thank you California Sunshine!

So…my Monday has been quite enlightened and filled with beauty and color.  Hope you find something today that allows your eyes to “see” everything you encounter and to marvel in its beauty.  Thought I would share a little wisdom from one of my favorite story tellers….

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It’s today!” squeaked Piglet.

“My Favorite Day!” said Pooh.

Today is Monday….My Favorite Day too!

Monday Gets Bee-U-Ti-Ful!

Hope yours is too.

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Honest

A co-worker was quite surprised this week when I told her it was really difficult for me to commit to writing this Blog each week.  I am so busy with work and just the every-day routine that I am having trouble squeezing it into my schedule.  Last week, there was some kind of technical issues going on with this site.  When I would hit ‘save draft’, it would completely delete my entire post!!  I would have to start from scratch (by the third time, I got smart and copied it somewhere else; so I wouldn’t have to COMPLETELY re-write it AGAIN) and repost it.  This all added to the already time-consuming task.  All of these difficulties made me question why was I adding to the stress in my life by making this weekly commitment; and very honestly, I have had to push myself each week not to give up on it.  I started a list of pros and cons (yes, I have lists everywhere) and for a while I sat and looked at a piece of paper that just had in the “pros” column that ‘I liked when the post was all completed and posted for the week’.  I liked the finish product; but couldn’t come up with any other reasons doing it prior to that final moment of publishing.

It’s supposed to be about the journey along the way…not the finish line, right?  I think I lost sight of what was the finish line and was feeling each week was a hurdle that was the end of the journey……

I'm finished!!

Regroup….Rewind….ReThink.

I started this Blog because I wanted to make a difference.  I wanted to use my weekly happenings to encourage others to make a difference too….in themselves and everyone and everything around them.  I wanted to let you know that You Matter; and what you do is important.   I thought if I could share some of my stories that it would inspire you to do things a little different each day.   I wanted you to realize that if you would “Just Start With Monday” to do something that would make a difference that the days following could be even better and good things would come from your efforts.

I’m not a writer.  I’m not even a very good story-teller.  I took a Creative Writing course in college; but I didn’t do very well in the class….so what was I thinking when I took on this huge weekly commitment with so little knowledge or expertise behind it??!!  Should I just stop with Week 6?  Hmmm. 6 out of 52 is not so good, huh?  I’m not usually a quitter; but 52 weeks from now seems like a long way away from today.  What should I do?

Well, here is what I’ve decided.  I still want to do things to make a difference; but if I make this seem like such a difficult task, why IN THE WORLD would you want to do the same.    I think goodness and kindness and wanting to show you care is a natural part of everyone.  I just need to focus on that important fact and everything else will fall into place.

You won’t find a Pulitzer Prize writer when you read my Blog each week.  You’ll just find an individual who struggles just like you do to sometimes get through Mondays too.  But, you will also find an individual who is committed to fulfilling a commitment and a purpose.  I want to make not only Mondays a good day of the week; but soon Tuesday thru Sunday will be just as important and fulfilling for each of us.

So, you and I are in this together.  We are going to help each other do good things.  I hope my weekly stories will inspire you to try new things and push yourself to accomplish many good things.  I’d love it if you would share your stories too.  That’s what it’s about, right?  Just start with one individual to make a difference and they will inspire others to do the same!  And the whole point is that you don’t need to be GOOD at anything….you just have to do GOOD things!  “Do Good for Dummies” will probably never be published because it just isn’t necessary.  We ALL are capable of easily accomplishing good things.

So here’s a big cheer for MONDAY!!

Go Monday!

I think it is the most important day of the week.

Hope I have your support to help make it special.

Go Monday!   Go Monday!   Go Monday!

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Eye-Opening

For The 2012 Tax Season: Nearly 99 million people have filed their individual tax returns.  Over 210 Million have visited the IRS website.  Over 224 Billion Dollars have been refunded to tax payers.  (I am ‘batting’ 2 out of 3 on these statistics….no refund in my pocket this year!! 😦

Maybe you’re reading this post while waiting in line at the post office for that prized, date stamp on your IRS envelope proving you made the deadline.  Or maybe, you’re surrounded by many little pieces of paper in a last-ditched effort to not have to file an extension.  Or maybe you’re sitting back and breathing a sigh of relief that you were among the 99 million that have already had their returns processed.

No matter what your situation, Today is a day to acknowledge……

MONDAY GETS EYEOPENING

I have noticed since I filed my Return, I have been scrutinizing every receipt I get….is this a tax deduction?  where should I file this?  Realization hit that I don’t even have a filing system set up to save receipts for the coming year.  But more importantly….I have been questioning, with each purchase, do I really need this?  Definitely, an ‘eye-opening’ experience to take the moment to take stock of your current circumstances……

Did you Know?….

  • Only 24% of consumers have the recommended six months’ savings cushion.
  • Less than 24% have ‘not a single penny’ tucked away. Only 1 in 4  could easily survive a huge demand in their budgets.
  • One survey indicated 56% of adults don’t have any kind of budget.
  • About 1/3 of Americans don’t pay their bills on time.

So how do we get in some of these situations?  It didn’t just happen overnight, my friend!!  Creating budgets means setting goals.  I’m not really one who asks myself where do I want to be in five years….not to say, that’s not a great idea.  We all have different capacities and for me, it is about what do I want to accomplish by the end of 2012.   It is a conceivable ‘finish line’ that I can easily visualize.

What works for you?  Maybe start small and just tuck $5 or $10 into your piggy bank each week.  Maybe make a point of emptying your change each day into a jar.  It’s really amazing how much can accumulate in just one month.  My Dad use to religiously do that each day he came home from work.  When I wanted or needed something special, it was amazing the amounts he could ‘pull’ from his glass jar!!  It took me a long time to learn (and appreciate) his spend-thrift ways….but better late than never!

So get some paper and write down every single penny you will need to spend in the next month.  I get paid twice a month; so I divide mine into two columns.  Be sure to include food, utilities, gas and any other amount that is constant.  Be honest with yourself and include everything, including those expensive lunches(sometimes breakfast and dinner too) and your Starbucks’ visits. Tally them and subtract the amount from what your total monthly net income might be.  If it’s a negative number, then it’s ‘back to the drawing board’ to find a place to conserve.  The ‘food’ item is a place to start.  Food category should include those expensive lunches and café lattes.  Bet you could pack a lunch that is much less than what you are spending to eat out every day and also much more nutritious and yummy too.  I like to save on gas spending for my car; so I park my car on Friday after work and don’t move it again until Monday morning.  I save gas money AND I walk more; so I’m improving my health (which also will save money in the long run) and improving my budget all at the same time.  Not to mention….my dog, Tramp, loves walking too.

Now, if you are in a better place financially, and your bottom line number was positive, you still have work to do.  What do you foresee in the near future that you need to save a few bucks?  Kids heading to college soon?  Might need a new car in a year or so?  A special trip?  Purchasing a new home?  No matter what it is, just be sure to tuck that extra money away

AND try to improve your budget in places that you can add even more to that nest egg.

Another thing to think of is something that can be expended for Free…..Your Time.  Maybe you and your neighbor could barter skills….you could walk their dog every day while they are at work and they could take care of your dog while you’re away for the weekend……Have you priced what it costs to board a dog over the weekend!!??  Maybe you could start a garden together?  or have a garage sale?  or perhaps, you could get together with a few people in your neighborhood and have a pot luck dinner?  Whatever it is, you will be saving money AND helping out someone else too.

So……Open your Eyes!

Deal with Reality and Move yourself to a better place.

Only YOU can make the changes.

I’m headed to file all my receipts away in an organized way.

Then,  headed out soon to check my garden on the patio.  Yummy things are popping up in every pot we planted…..saving money—eating healthy.

What are you going to be doing?

Whatever it is…..realize that you are making a difference for yourself AND for others around you.

Making choices is a good thing—it’s about being the best you can be and wanting to live a rewarding life!

Have a Great Monday—Make it the Best Day of the Week.

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Personal

It is April and the month is filled with celebrations….Earth Day, Arbor Day, Easter, Passover, Wesak and glorious Springtime, just to name a few!   Time to rejoice in the joys and miracles of life and new beginnings.  Often April is filled with lots of family time and moments reminiscing of past celebrations and loving acknowledgement of new things yet to come.  I thought it might be a good time to stop and reflect on each of our lives….where I am, where I’ve been and what possibilities might be on the horizon……

Monday Gets Personal

I’ve told you a little bit about where I’ve been in previous posts.  I don’t want to bore you with all the many trails my life journey has created.  I think I could probably start my own State Park with all the winding paths I’ve experienced.  However, I do want you to take the time to think about your life…..but I want you to just think of all the good and positive things that have come your way.  Do you have a nice family?  Good health maybe?  Children that you are proud of that you have raised to be kind and loving human beings? (I’ve been blessed with a wonderful son, who lights up my heart with a smile each time I see him.) Maybe you just paid off your house and labored hard for many years and can now celebrate the accomplishment?  Or maybe you are about to celebrate a special wedding anniversary?  Relationships are difficult and huge commitments.  If you have maintained the love and trust and respect that takes to continue, then give yourself a huge round of applause.

We all have something that we could celebrate and be proud of today.  Make sure you grab the moment to not only congratulate yourself, but also another person in your life who has been along for the journey with you.  Let them know that “they matter!”

I’d love to share with you what the future might hold for me; but since I don’t own a crystal ball (I meant to ask Santa for that last year), I don’t think I can do that today.  Guess I could just make up my own creations of what I’m going to be when I grow up.  However, I kind of like to just be surprised by all the twists and turns yet to happen.  I’ll just have to share with you in future weeks what exciting adventures I experience.  Let’s hope for everyone that good things are on the horizon.  Times have been difficult for a few years and it would be nice to feel we are through the roughest part and our daily routines become less stressful.

So, today, I’m just going to focus on where I am at the moment.  Today is Monday–A new opportunity to start the week to make a difference.  But most importantly, I want to acknowledge and share the wonderful, personal feeling I have today ….. “I Matter”.   I can make a difference!  I can change the world!  I can do something to make my life better and I can do something to make someone else’s life better!  What does it take?  Simple things…..a smile, a helping hand, a thoughtful acknowledgement to someone that you love, a hug, a kiss, a letter to an old friend, planting a tree, drinking more water, walking your dog an extra time around the block (Good for me and good for my dog,Tramp too)…..  Whatever it is….Just Do it!   Now!     Today!

One thing….Two or more…All of them!

Tell someone that they matter to you.

It makes me feel happy when I do that.  Hope you get the same feeling.

Come on….Join the Movement!

Be a part of the Every Monday Matter Team!

Pass this Post on and share with others so they can feel “They Matter” too.

Here’s something from me to you….Hope it makes a difference in your day.

Have a great Monday!

Smiles,

Nancy

A bouquet of smiles to brighten your day!

Monday Gets Creative

Image

We’ve given our Mondays Purpose and Also Got Inspired…..Now let’s ‘run the moths out’ of the right side of your brain and let

Monday Get Creative……..

I have so many creative projects I would like to do; but never seem to find (or make) the time for any of them.   Got to get that dormant side of our brains churning!  There are so many cobwebs in mine that it is a huge effort to think in that mode right now.  Maybe sit down and make a list of what you would like to do and then just close your eyes and randomly pick one of them.

Here’s the “pick” on my list.  These are some of the cards I put together.  You can buy the card stock at just about any of the craft stores.  I had a bunch of ribbon and just cut it into strips and glued them on the card stock.  Nothing fancy or super original; but hope when they are sent to friends that they know I took a little extra time to make something special for them.  Nothing fancy here…just fun stuff.  The more you do–the better you get.  Hope you’ll have fun with your project too.

Okay that’s one project down.now only about 99,000 more to go.  But….The creative juices are flowing. 

I find it very interesting how so many times we have creative thoughts and ideas flowing through our mind; but we just don’t even acknowledge that they exist sometimes.  I have several artist friends and I really admire them for allowing their creative thoughts and abilities to surface daily.  Art is all around us.  We need to just stop our mind and take in all the amazing colors and sounds and shapes and miraculous creations that we are exposed to every day.  When I am walking my dog, Tramp, I love seeing so many different and colorful flowers.  I want to just pick them all and bring them home.  I do, however, resist the urge (most of the time) feeling that they should be left in their place to share with others.  I have a little flower garden started near my front door and would be devastated if someone cut them and took them home.

Creativity comes in all different forms.  What’s your specialty?   Maybe you would like to paint or maybe do a little pottery.  Or maybe decorate a room in your house or build a new shelving unit that you need for storage.  Maybe you want to write a book or even create some music or since it is the good ole IRS season, maybe you can get creative on your taxes……not too much though.  The ‘Gov” wouldn’t appreciate too much artistry.

If you feel it is just too overwhelming to even begin, then check out an art museum or local gallery in your area and take some time to appreciate work by others.  I find that can be great stimulation to get my creative thoughts started.  The main thing is to use the moment to put a little balance in your life.  There is a great book called ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’  by Betty Edwards that can help you understand all the reasons why opening ourselves to creativity can help us in everything we do.  The author conducts workshops and forums in lots of different types of workplaces; and has unearthed great results in the most devout Left Brainer!    I’m reading a book that a friend gave me called ‘At Left Brain Turn Right’.   It’s a fun book to read by Anthony Meindl, a local director of a well known Actor Workshop here in L.A.  He talks about how actors have to continue to struggle to keep Right Brain focused.  We don’t think of artist having some of the same struggles as us “closet” artists.

So…..got your list made?  Hope this is a start of something fun and inspiring and artistic and stimulating and rewarding…..all wrapped up into one!!  If you’re still hesitating, just grab your keys and head to the local art supply store and wander down the aisles for something to ‘jump’ into your basket.  At very, very least….grab one of those ‘paint by number’ kits.  They always remind me of my childhood and long summer days sitting on the porch working on one of those ‘masterpieces’.  Remember—it’s not about the perfection of the creation…..but rather about just experiencing the creative process and letting your Brain wander to a different  and more artful place.

Feel free to post a comment to let me know what the Right Side of YOUR Brain is doing!  I know I have some really amazing artist friends out there who can provide some great links to check out to help with inspiration.  I’m sure you have a few artist friends yourself.  Maybe give them a buzz to get together and help you get started on your path to a more creative and balanced life.

Happy Creative Monday!

Smiles,

Nancy