Monday Gets Challenged to ‘Pay It Forward’

I have received many, many really sweet messages here on WordPress from bloggers who appreciated hearing even just a few little sincere words about their thought-provoking or interesting posts.  It makes me realize more and more how important it is to take the time out of each day to express what one often feels but doesn’t always take the time to express to others.  We rush through our day trying to check off things on our own lists; but don’t take the moment to think how important it is to realize we need to look beyond ourselves.  So today…….

Monday Gets Challenged to ‘Pay It Forward’

How many times have you been in an elevator with other people and find yourself looking at the ground?  Or maybe walking out of your house and don’t acknowledge your neighbor coming out at the same time?  Did you ever think that someone that is right there in front of you might need a sincere smile or a ‘how are you doing?’  Perhaps, a neighbor or friend has done something really nice for you and you keep thinking you will also do something nice for them.  But…what happens?  It keeps getting pushed further and further down on the priority list.  Soon, it is so low that you’re now embarrassed that you have not done something to return the favor.  Ever walked past someone on the street who is ‘down and out’ and you try to erase them from not only your view; but also from your mind?  The attitude of not acknowledging that they exist helps us to not feel guilty that we might have a much better life than some others.  We seem to “choose” who we want to share with and are not good at ‘on the spot’ giving.

The ironic truth is that when we do, in fact, take the time to help others, we feel so great about our deed.  It makes us feel, in a small but effective way, we have made a difference in someone else’s life.  We may even ‘swear’ that it’s going to become a habit and we’ll continue on our path of goodness for a long time.  But….something often gets in the way of continuing on this path; and we yet again, find ourselves back in our little cocoon.   We forget quickly how awesome it felt to not just think of ourselves and to give back.

So….this Monday’s request is going to be a very enjoyable moment for you.  I promise you will feel especially good at the end of the day….and so will others!  With all the social media outlets, voice mail, text messages and even here on WordPress, this task should be a fairly simple one for you.  I challenge you to “Pay It Forward”.  Make a list of five people that you know that deserves to hear some kind words from you.  Send them some kind of message or better yet give them a call or tell them in person.  Tell them how much you appreciate them and how they have made a difference during difficult moments in your life.  Your mind is already working, right?  I bet you already have number 1 and 2 ready to add to your list.

After you have accomplished this and if you feel you’ve just gotten warmed up, make another list of five people that you can do something special for them.  It doesn’t have to be a spectacular moment.  Just something simple will work just fine!  Maybe you have some extra fruit that you just bought and you could offer part of it to your neighbor.  Maybe someone at work has a huge project to complete and you could offer to help or pick up lunch for them while they are so bogged down.  How about walking someone’s dog for them that has not been feeling very good?  Maybe even give the ole pooch a nice brushing before you return them.  It’s not about the huge drama of the task, it’s about the simple spirit of giving.

Today is YOUR day to help Monday Get Challenged to ‘Pay It Forward’!!!!

You are going to go to bed tonight with a smile on your face knowing that you have made a difference in this, sometimes, crazy and hectic world.

And…..here’s high hopes that you wake up tomorrow wanting to continue with your recent good feeling and start Tuesday with the same plan.

A fellow blogger told me that it takes 21 days to change a habit…..Can you IMAGINE what this world would be like if everyone took the 21 day challenge to ‘Pay It Forward’ !!!!

Are you ready to be a part of that possibility?!!

I’d love to hear what was on your list….or maybe how you’re feeling at the end of today.

Oh yeah….don’t forget your four-legged friends too.  Pets give lots of love and don’t ask much in return.

I’ve made MY list…….I’ve got to get busy.

You Matter!

Smiles,  Nancy

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Monday Gets Reflective

Have you looked in the mirror lately?  I don’t mean to see if your outfit makes you look fat or not, whether you have anything green between your teeth or perhaps, how handsome you “think” you look.  I mean REALLY looked to see who you are.  Try it….look in the mirror and say out loud “Who am I?”  It’s a little bit eerie, as while you hope for a positive answer, you are also afraid that the reply might be just the opposite.  If you stand there for more than 20 seconds, you start feeling that you want to look away.  I’m not sure if it is just a normal reaction or if you start believing the person in the reflection is starting to become real.  That they might actually start talking and tell you the truth….sometimes, not what you want to hear.  Today, let’s talk about what we see……

Monday Gets Reflective

Do you sincerely like the person that you see in the mirror?  Are you the person you see in the mirror??  Some people seem to think of themselves in a very different way than others see and experience them.  “Ego, narcissism, selfish, self-centered” are all words that come to mind.  I’m sure there’s at least one of those on your list of friends.  Sometimes, the most intelligent and talented people have a “self” about them that makes us not want to deal with them on a personal level.  I always wonder if they realize the annoyance to others that they provide?!!

If you like the person you see, then you get a gold star  because you have learned your life lessons well and you are standing proud.  You may not have always felt that way; but it is so nice to reach a point in life that you can feel certain that you are on the right path.  I remember when my son was younger that people would ask me what I thought he would be when he grew up.  My answer was always “All I want is for him is to feel secure and happy.  I want him to feel confident about himself.”  I think some were expecting me to say something like a doctor, lawyer, rocket scientist, a successful business man or maybe even the president.  But, I never thought of those as dreams or gifts I wanted to project on my child.  Instead, I just wanted him to like the person he was and feel good about himself.  If he had that, then everything else would fall into place.

I think it must be so very difficult to see a different reflection.  I think everyone has experienced it at some time in their lives.  Some, however, never see any picture of ‘self’ that they ever enjoy experiencing.  Their gazing is that of a dark and frightened world.  Sadly, they are often not always the cause of the mirror image.  So many, many children and young adults in this world are never given a boost in their lives to help them grow into flourishing, self-assured adults.  When they become adults, they struggle to make changes to adjust their feelings.  Luckily, there are success stories.  Unfortunately, however, there are also dreadful failures too.  They may even succeed in life on the surface; but they are never without their “masks” and few, if any, people really know what they are experiencing in the deepest part of their soul.

I wish I could “fix” the whole world and every person in it.  I wish everyone could feel great happiness and abounding joy.  I wish everyone could look in the mirror today and like the person they see.  But, yet again, I have discovered that Santa still hasn’t delivered a magic wand!!  I’m not sure of the delay on his part….maybe next year.  Until my SanEx delivery arrives, I think there are some possibilities to make a difference in this regard.  Here’s what I would like you to do today…..

Everyone needs a boost from time to time…..no matter what kind of reflection is in the mirror.  As you go through the day, be very conscious of the people you are interacting with.  Listen…..really listen…..to what they are saying.  Don’t make judgments or give them pre-conceived labels.  Who knows what THEY may have seen in the mirror this morning!!  Instead, compliment them, encourage them, show them that you really care.  Make them feel you are standing up and applauding what they are saying.  You may be just be the inspiration they needed to change a bad path in their current direction of travels.

So, what did you see in the mirror today?

No matter the reflection, you can always change things to make a difference……in your life and in someone else’s life….if you want to, that is…It’s your choice!

What I wish for you is Monday becomes a reflection of Tuesday and Tuesday reflects Wednesday…..and so on and so on!!

By doing so, you have single-handedly changed the world.  It just takes ONE individual to make a difference….will you be counted as one of them today?!!  I’m counting on the answer from you to be “YES”

You Matter!….I’m applauding you LOUDLY today!

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets A Fresh Start

Today is Monday and if you let it…… it could just be the very best day of your week.

It can be the day you started a new diet (it seems to always be that day for me) or a new job or moved to a new apartment (excitement could be in the air).  Perhaps, it is the day you decided to clean out all the many years of clutter you have in your place (parting with all those boxes that have been taped up since you lived in two or three residences prior).  Perhaps, your office desk could use a little help….how many pens and highlighters do you REALLY need? And, shouldn’t you finally file all those loose papers in the bottom of your desk drawer?  Let’s make today a day of new beginnings……..

Monday Gets a Fresh Start

When we really, wholeheartedly commit to making a change in our lives, we shouldn’t think of it being just another chore or drudgery, but rather an opportunity to ultimately transform our lives for the better.  It can sometimes be an experience like getting ready to embark on a long trip to a place we’ve never been before or perhaps, one we haven’t visited in a long time.  We are a little anxious and may even consider not going; but we force ourselves to continue because we know ‘once we get there,’ it will be great.   That’s how you should think of making a difference in your life and making it a better place to be for yourself.

Perhaps, you thought of “visiting” this place several times; but something always got in the way and you didn’t quite make it to your final destination.  So this time, let’s start small and have a good “itinerary” so we don’t get lost.  If you want to start a new diet, start by just eliminating one of the bad things from your daily intake and replace it with one that is exceptionally good for you.  Then, next Monday do the same thing.  Before you know it, you will be feeling so much better that you look forward to each Monday and the positive changes you need to make.  Food should be something that nourishes our body…..not something that does a demolition job on our organs.

If the clutter in your life is dragging you down, start with just one box, one drawer, one anything!!    I know it doesn’t sound like much; but if you tackle one every Monday; and you start with today, that’s 30 containers you will have de-cluttered by the time 2013 rolls around!!  I think you will be surprised by how much stress it reduces too.  Perhaps, you might even consider donating some of that discarded stuff.   IMAGINE that!!  You de-cluttered, de-stressed AND you made a difference!

Maybe at your office, you decide to come up with one small idea every Monday that might make a difference at your workplace.  Maybe this week, you’ll start with cleaning up your own office workspace area and next week, you’ll organize the kitchen area.  Maybe you’ll think of a way to save some money for your office.  Perhaps, recycling all the cans and bottles from the kitchen or have a board to post coupons for everyone to share.  What changes can you make in the supplies that you use that might save some money?  How much paper do you waste in just one week?  All of these things will be appreciated by your employer, and it’s always fun to create a team of your fellow work mates to be a part of the process AND the success.

What makes us stumble in all the tasks that we swear we will start on Monday?  Is that just a human trait or has it just become a bad  and lazy habit for each of us?  Do we set ourselves up to begin something with great enthusiasm on the outside….but the inside is ready to sabotage the very first step?  I wish I could answer that question because I often suffer greatly in some of the “beginnings” that I plan to start for myself.

 But…..not today!!  Make some changes…make a difference….in yourself and the world around you.

So…..what are YOU going to change today??!!  Anyone have suggestions of how to help others succeed?  I am cheering for you.  Hope you will “cheer” for me too.

But….most importantly……Know from the start that YOU MATTER!  I’m sure you can make some new and exciting changes happen.

Hope you have a great Monday!

Make it the best one yet!…It could become a wonderful and enjoyable habit for you!

Smiles,

                                                                 Nancy

Monday Gets To be A Good Listener

A blank page in front of you is so daunting……….

You think of all the words you know and somehow you can’t fit them together to make a single sentence.  Is it that we have TOO much to say?!!  Or…nothing at all.   I started feeling like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz without a brain as I sat here trying to decide what topic Monday would bring.

As I was scratching my head with “nary a thought”, my sweet dog, Tramp, came and laid his head on my lap and I realized how, with only a vocabulary of 25 or so words, he was amazingly able to communicate very clearly.  He is a friend who tells me he loves me without speaking a word.  Perhaps, that is what us two-legged creatures  have lost.  The ability to be gentle in our communication and show others how we feel….without texts or emails or photoshop-ed pictures or a video on YouTube!!

I remember watching my parents, who were married for 55 years before one of them passed.  They would look at each other in a way that you knew without a shadow of a doubt that they loved each other, and their hearts would be together forever.  No words…..just loving looks and smiles.  No fancy gifts….but rather daily demonstrations that they cared about the other.  “Giving and Taking” was an ever revolving cycle that passed from one to the other.  They did it with such ease and loving energy.   You felt if you stood between them that you might be zapped by an invisible ray of love that would emit like an old sci-fi flick might demonstrate with lightning bolts.

I need to practice that kind of demonstration of caring more often.  We all get so anxious to “tell our own stories” that we forget to listen to what others have to say.  And thereby, really showing them that we care about the special person that they are and what they have to share.  It seems Good Listeners are hard to find.  OK….here’s your Monday challenge.

 Monday Gets to be a Good Listener.

When someone is talking to you today…..don’t think about your own stories or moments that you have experienced that match theirs.  Instead….just listen and comment about them.  Let them know, at that very moment, that you care only about them and what they have to say 100%.  Think this sounds easy??!!  Good Luck!  You’re human and you will find your tongue is hurting by the end of the day from biting it to keep from muttering your own exciting tale.  However…what you will find is that you don’t walk away feeling you only got part of their story.  Instead, you will leave knowing them a little better and they will feel that they are very important and that they matter to you.  And….that’s really what it’s all about, right?  If we could live today and every day like that, the world would be a much better place.

So….at day’s end, maybe stop to reflect how you feel.

I hope you feel you have made someone’s day a little brighter just by listening.

Didn’t cost you a dime either!

I hope that you realize that You Matter too.

Your unselfishness and humbleness are gifts that you can share any day…not just Monday.

Make Monday special……just like you!

 Smiles,

Nancy

Monday Gets Historical

Have you realized that as you are cruising around during each day that you are passing buildings or trees or houses or structures that are filled with history…some are 50+ years old, some 100+ years old….some even more advanced in age.  Don’t you wish they could talk?  I decided to share with a few that I came across today.  They are all part of history and should be given the respect they deserve to have survived so long.

This sign indicates this road area was part of the Route 66 trail (now known as Santa Monica Blvd in Los Angeles).  Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and it supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway.  Next to the sign is an old neon sign that has its own history for the early 60s, a well-known donut stop in L.A.

Here’s the gates of the studio area that is today known as The Lot.  The studios were built in 1920 and in 1928 they were known as the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios where classics like The Thief of Bagdad and Robin Hood were filmed.  In 1933, Lucille Ball played a slave girl in her first movie, Roman Scandals.  Since that time it has had actors like Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Laurence Olivier, Eddie Murphy, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and many others stroll thru these gates to create the Hollywood magic of movies, TV and sound recordings.  Sadly, a big section of this amazing walk in history is now just a pile of dirt as it makes room for space to build more technologically-updated space and creates a venue for the next generation of talent of Hollywood.

Can’t come to Hollywood without visiting the infamous Pink’s Hot Dogs.  A landmark on LaBrea since 1939 when it was just a large wheeled push cart and hot dogs sold for 10 cents.  It has changed a bit since the beginning days—hot dogs are now $3.45; but still in the same place and still draws crowds every day.  You can go by here at 10 in the morning or 10 at night and there is ALWAYS a line waiting to partake of their scrumptious hot dogs!

A favorite of mine is the old Charlie Chaplin Studios built around 1917 when the area was nothing but acres and acres of orange groves.  “The Little Tramp” kept his movie crew busy over the next two decades creating classics like Modern Times, City Lights and The Great Dictator.  Now, the lot is the home of another mark in history—Jim Henson Productions, which gave us the beloved Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets.

What an amazing conglomerate of many interesting and groundbreaking moments in history.  As we look back, we wonder what life must have been like in this area in the early 1900s.  Hundreds of orange trees growing everywhere.  Some of the eucalyptus trees in this area look like they are even hundreds of years old.  Amazing times for sure!  Difficult times too! There are a lot of bungalows around these historical landmarks that were built by the studios to house the actors.  Some of the places have nice patios in the back that were once areas where they kept a few horses for the actors to ride to the studios.  How different in a town that now boasts it has more cars registered in the county than people.

It’s important to stop and appreciate these relics that are around us.  I’m sure you have your own historical places in the town where you live. We need to take care of these special places and show them the respect they deserve for withstanding many “battles” in their lifetime.

 So Monday Gets Historical.

Take time to appreciate the old structures and their beauty.

Many amazing craftsman’s art is being preserved for future generations to appreciate and experience.

Look at nature’s creations too that continue to reach to the sky.

Within walking distance, I am sure you can find many treasures.

So take a walk.  See the beauty.   Experience days gone by.  And along the way take time to remember your own history and the “good ole days”

Hope it’s a history-appreciation Monday for you.

Smiles,

Nancy

Monday gets Thankful for the Memories

When I was walking my dog, Tramp, yesterday, I realized something interesting about myself.  By writing this Blog each week, it makes me stop to reflect about my life and makes me more appreciative of where I am in my journey today.  I know the many thoughts cross my mind daily; but writing them down adds value and nourishment to their existence and gives them a feeling of abundance.

I have always been one to appreciate small things; but somehow, every little thing I encounter now, seems so much more important.  I wonder what would happen if we allowed school-aged children to have a time in their daily lessons to reflect about their day.   No grade to be given or even any kind of judgment or revealing to others….just a moment to acknowledge their difficulties or happiness for the day.  I bet we would have a society of much more well-balanced individuals.

Do you take time to write your thoughts in a journal?  Probably everyone had a diary at some point in their lives.  I wish I had done more of it.  There are things when I was younger that I have just vague memories of that I would like to recall more details.  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone kept journals?  If my Grandmother had kept a journal, I would love to be able to read it now.  She lived to be 96 and told tales of her life of leaving Virginia in a covered wagon to move to Tennessee.  What an adventure!   What a great treasure it would have been to have something like that to pass onto other generations! Hmmmmm….well, I didn’t take a covered wagon; but I did cross the country to move to California.  Guess that counts for a bit of adventure too…And I have pictures to go along with the documenting of the journey.

Perhaps, you should consider starting the habit of taking notes of your daily life.  Maybe it will help you realize how many good things come your way.  Or perhaps, it will be something that you can read ten years from now and recall some really special moments.  Or maybe, your children or your grandchildren will read it some day and “get to know you” a little better.  I bet iPhones even have an App for the process!   Whatever you do, don’t let the precious moments get lost.

Let’s see what can we call this Monday??

I know…let’s call it

Monday Gets Thankful for the Memories

Hope you take the time to reflect on some of the special times that have happened in your life.  Maybe call someone that you haven’t talked to in ‘many moons’ to reminisce about some good memories.

It’s another wonderful Monday….Make it a good memory!!

Smiles, Nancy

Monday Gets Neighbor-ly

I love where I live.  Just a small little 1920s bungalow, with lots of charm.  Hmmmm…..funny word….”charm”.  It can mean anything from a cute little Spanish Hacienda to an old building that should have been demolished years before.  My “charming” place is somewhere in between.  It works for me and makes me feel it is home when I walk in the door.  I wonder what is the key to making a place ‘home sweet home’.  Is it the looks, the smell, the furnishings or maybe even the people that are your neighbors?  I love my neighbors too….we are quite an eclectic bunch.  The thing in old buildings is that their walls are quite thin and lack insulation for keeping the weather conditions out; but also allow a lot of your neighbor’s daily life to seep through the walls.  Instead of neighbors, we are more like roommates at times.   The daily sounds and smells drift in and out of the cardboard thin walls that hardly act like barriers.  Freshly brewed coffee for the early riser becomes the wake up call for another.  Whizzing sound of the vegan making a morning smoothie is the annoying sound for a late night-er who only arrived home a few hours before.  We all exist in our own worlds but with these intertwined sounds and smells floating in and out.  We have friends and family who get added to the mix.  We all consider this home.

MONDAY GETS NEIGHBOR-LY

 I wish I could introduce you to each of my neighbors and tell you some of their stories; but not sure that doesn’t violate some kind of privacy act.  There are so many rules and regulations now that it makes one afraid to even share our own stories for fear of being accused of some kind of intimate crime.  Too many secrets some times I think.  It makes us afraid to open up and share who we really are.  We become very protective and guarded….how can a community every grow and thrive if we are constantly monitoring what words we allow to be shared?  Maybe that’s why I like where my home is now.  Some of the barriers are brought down but still allowing a feeling of safety in our ‘charming’ little community.  We may not agree or even approve of what another is doing; but we co-exist quite nicely and are available for others when needed.

Hope you like your home too.  I really hope that you feel safe and happy in it too; and you enjoy your neighbors.  Home is really the most important place we will ever visit.  Without that feeling of “home”, there becomes a huge void in our lives.  Be thankful for your space as there are thousands of people who are not so lucky.

On this Monday,  look around your house and realize the comfort that it provides.  It may be designed exactly what you dreamed it would be or it may be ‘a work in progress’.  It may be pristine clean or piled high with clutter….no matter what is its condition…it is still Home!  Be sure to say ‘hello’ to your neighbor and ask how they are doing. We are sometimes absorbed in our own world and forget that someone else may be experiencing a time of need. We sometimes forget to even smile or even look at them when we are passing each other as we enter our abodes.

Today is Monday

You have another great opportunity to make someone’s day a little better.

Smile and say “Hello Neighbor!!”

It will make their day brighter….and yours 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!