Monthly Archives: April 2014

April Vocabulary Words

One of the goals on my 2014 manifesto was to learn a new vocabulary word each day. With the help of daily emails and the Facebook page from Dictionary.com, this goal is super easy to accomplish. These are the words for April:

*All of the images and information are copied directly from the dictionary.com  Facebook page.

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The Effort is the Same – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

The amount of effort is the same- to be miserable or happy. Which one would you choose to be? We all choose our emotions and our reactions to situations that happen to us every day.

Sometimes it takes something from deep inside to help us turn our day around, and sometimes it takes the help of an outside source or another person. If you are having a bad day, take a moment to access your feelings, and come up with a solution to fix your attitude- which will always lead to fixing the problem. You can either be miserable or find that strength it can take to learn and grow. Take responsibility today to make your day what you want it to be.

Keep On Beginning – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

This past week I read another’s post that hit homes so much I just had to share with you for my Motivational Monday. It is a blatant hijacking- but since his words are intended to help others- and that is what I’m hoping to accomplish as well- I’m stealing it anyway. If you would like to check out his blog, just visit www.dannygregorysblog.com. The theme is ‘beginning’- taking the chance to start- even when you fail, to keep at it anyway. It’s about shaking that doubtful monkey off your back, and experiencing the journey.

Enjoy!

On beginning by Danny Gregory
Beginning starts with a dream.

A dream to draw.

A dream to create.

A dream to play the ukelele. Speak Portuguese. Ride a bike. Lose five dress sizes.

A dream to be what you always wanted to be.

A dream to finally face that part of your life that you’ve avoided so long because it shames you or makes you feel weak.

You hold that dream in your mind, you caress it at night, you turn it over and over and wish it would come true. That you could do this thing you dreamed of, effortlessly, fluidly, joyously.

And with that dream of doing this one thing come dreams of doing other things, of being other things, of feeling strong, and competent, on top of your game, happy. Complete.

Achieving this one dream feels like it could mean achieving all those others as well.

This dream means so much to you that you hold it delicately, like an egg that could shatter and dash all your expectations of yourself. To pursue this dream could mean to fail and so you take a long time before you muster the courage to take the first step towards reaching it.

So, beginning, starts with a lot—too much—at stake.

And beginning starts in a realm you can only imagine, because you haven’t ever been there. You’ve seen other people achieve that dream. You’ve seen the drawings they’ve made, heard them singing that aria, tasted the soufflé they whipped up so easily. And you think you know what that must be like. You think you know what the journey there must entail. If only you had the courage to actually begin.

But so far, all you really have is that dream, turning slowly in your mind, lit by [a] thousand candles.

And then a day breaks, more sunny than the rest, a day that fills you with a new type of hope, and so you decide to begin. You breathe deep and pick up that pen. You sit down at that piano. You dive into the deep end of that pool.

You are filled with exhilaration and hope. Your dream glimmers on the horizon.

And then as soon as you leap, you flounder and flinch. You gasp. You sink beneath the waves.

The water is colder, deeper, and darker than you’d ever imagined.

That first line that you have imagined in your head is finally on paper. That first chord thunders across the strings…

And it is flat and leaden and ugly, the work of a fool. Nothing like what you had seen in your dream. You flail and struggle on, despair sinking like clouds over the moon, plunging you into darkness.

And then, through the shadows, you hear the first righteous wails of the monkey. Wails? Or hoots and cackles? That voice in your head that delights in holding you back has finally fought its way through the lavender bushes and daisy fields that surround your dream, bringing with it an icy dose of ‘reality’. It delights at your failure, your hubris at thinking you—ugly you, stupid you, hopeless you—could do this thing.

It wraps a protective arm around your shoulder and starts to lead you back to safety.

“You don’t have to keep doing this,” it tells you. “It’s too hard. Your talents too meager. The teacher’s too incompetent. This isn’t really your fault. Just don’t try it again.”

That monkey is in your head to keep from risk, from new experiences, from growing. That monkey voice was implanted in you when you really needed it, when you had to have a warning voice to say, “you’ll put your eye out with that, you’ll break your neck, you’ll catch your death of the cold.”

New things still make that monkey scamper out of the darkness with alarm. The unknown, the challenging, the scary, the hard. Things that could make you cry.

And to aid its effort to keep you in check and on the reservation, it has a hundred tools up its hairy sleeves. It can make you panic. It can make you beat yourself up. It can make you lash out at those around you. It can make you freeze and suck your thumb.

This what happens when your dream first meets reality. A rude awakening.

You feel shocked. You feel hopeless. You feel humiliated. You feel blind to the path ahead.

The monkey says, “See, this is why you haven’t done this before. Because. You. Can’t. Do. It.”

The monkey says, “Stop now, stop the pain, crawl back on shore. Go back to where you were.”

The sense of failure spreads beyond the task at the hand, this particular challenge.

The monkey uses this opportunity to tell you what a failure you have always been, at so many things throughout your life, at every new effort you ever undertake.

The monkey, of course, glides over all of the things you have accomplished, all the battles you’ve won since you took your very first step at 11 months. The monkey edits your life down to show you that you have done nothing but s**t since birth.

You cry yourself to sleep.

You wake up, the sun shining. You are still you. But now you have learned one lesson.

That lesson might be if you try and fail, it hurts.

That lesson might be if you try and fail, it hurts and you should neverever try again.

That lesson might be that the pain is temporary. That you can weather it. That you are now a day older, a day wiser and that challenge is still there to be conquered.

You regroup. You uncap your pen. You charge once more.

And this time (or the next time or the tenth time after that), you suddenly feel a shift. You look down at your sweaty paper and one part of one corner of one wretched drawing gleams with hope.

It’s good, that bit there.

Through all the mangled notes, one cord rings true. Amidst all the collapsed and burned cakes and pies, one crumb of one cookie tastes sweet.

You can do it.

You have seen the first shred of evidence that you don’t utterly suck to the core of your marrow.

Now, that glimmer of proof may actually have been there in your first or second drawing or concerto or cookie. But you missed it. That first shock the monkey dealt you, that first brutal wakeup call, made you temporarily blind and deaf. When you first stumble and crash to the ground, your head is ringing, your nose is bloodied, and you can’t see straight. You can’t assess your work, you can only cringe and cover your head.

But when the day comes that your vision clears, your objectivity returns, you will discover the value in what you have made, the beauty, the reward.

And now you can clutch on to that one sign of hope. You can continue even as you blunder through more mistakes, more beautiful, educational mistakes that teach you lessons galore with every ham-fisted stroke.

And that dream that started you off? It wasn’t wrong to have. Even though getting to that castle on the hill is harder going that you’d dreamt, you can look over your shoulder and see that you are getting higher and soon you are walking through clouds. That dream remains essential because it is the thing that keeps you going, especially when the going gets tough.

The monkey is still hanging on for dear life. He still claws at your shoulders and ears as you struggle forward. But his grip is weakening. His voice is dimming. He is wrong. You can do it if you will do it.

You just need to begin and keep on beginning and discover that it’s the journey that is the reward. The dream is just to keep you moving forward, a mirage, fantasy. It’s the journey makes you smarter and stronger and better and happier.

Now, what would you like to begin?

Make today Yours – Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

Today is a brand new opportunity to start fresh! Change what you want, and keep on working hard at what you want to accomplish.

Each day you have three choices: Give up, Give in, or Give it your all! Make today YOURS.

Distance yourself from negativity- Motivational Monday!

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Welcome to Motivational Monday! A safe space to lay it all out on the table- no one is perfect, and every one needs a boost now and again. What time is better than on Monday, that sunny little bright spot of the week? Pull up a chair, keep an open mind, and let’s start this week right!

Take this Monday morning to start fresh. Go for a walk, grab that coffee that you want, sing to yourself in the shower- do whatever makes you happy as you get yourself ready for the start of the week. With a positive attitude, those negative thoughts will fly out the window. With a positive attitude you can do anything, be anything and get through rough spots in your day with a smile- coming out the other end with a better result than if you had gone in with a negative mindset.

Happy Monday!

 

March Recipe Test with Anna!

The recipe test for March was another dessert- a very easy and sugary snack that is a snap to make, and perfect for a night out at the movies! We made Cinnamon Puppy Chow, and it was amazing. It was shared all around with my family- at the movies- and got two thumbs up!

The cast of characters:

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Following the directions:

The finished dessert!

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Cinnamon Puppy Chow

Ingredients

9 cups rice Chex cereal

1 cup cinnamon chips (like chocolate chips- found in the same section of your grocery store)

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 granulated sugar

1 1/2 teas cinnamon

Directions

In a small microwavable bowl, zap cinnamon chips and butter for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Microwave about 30 seconds longer if needed. Drizzle mixture over cereal, stirring until evenly coated. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Toss the coated Chex cereal into the sugar mixture. Spread on a piece of parchment until coated.

Enjoy!