Category Archives: family

Achieve your goals: find a goal buddy

Yesterday, I received this email from my son.  He was home on semester break, sitting in the basement, when he sent it to me with a copy to his dad and brother. We’ve done “family challenges” before (see a holiday challenge) and often use emails to get it started.

Family,

For a handful of reasons including the fact that I would like my parents to live past the age of 65, Jack to suck in that gut and so I can put on a little weight as well as run more than a mile without my lungs collapsing, I think we should have a family workout competition.  What I’m thinking is that on a week to week basis we would have a workout requirement of 3 days.  Your workout could be anything of your choosing, swimming, running, soccer, weights, yoga.  But there will have to be approval from the other family members (sorry mom walking around the block does not count).  The consequence for not meeting the weekly quota will be a $5 penalty that will go into a pot.  This is obviously on the honor system of the parties involved so mom and dad no cheating.  I think the best method would be to set goals for ourselves to reach in 4-5 months from now and the person(s) who reach those goals will split the pot.  Just a thought, let me know what you guys think about it.

Billy

The thing is each of us already started to set personal goals, but it’s so easy to make excuses to oneself.  It’s much harder to come up with an excuse when you have a “Goal Buddy”. We’ve all agreed to start the challenge next Monday.

Last weekend, I met Pat Schmatz, award winning author of Bluefish, who shared her interesting twist on having a goal buddy.  As a writer, she’s developed a number of strategies to keep herself on track. My favorite is her Sunday night phone calls from her writing goal buddy.  On the call, they set their goals for the week and review their goals from the previous. No excuses are allowed.  I suspect they are both pretty political because if they don’t meet their goal, they need to send $5 to the political party they do not support. It’s working for them.  They’ve never had to ante up the $5.  When setting their weekly goals, they also question each other if they seem unrealistic.

Making sure your goals are achievable is an essential part of the process.  Success will help keep you working and moving forward. Everyone in my family has until Monday to tweak their goals.

I think mine will have something to do with weight loss… muscle strength….maybe chocolate.     I try and work chocolate into everything I do.

This Week:  Find a goal buddy to help you keep those New Year’s resolutions.

A Holiday Challenge

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” — Jean Baptiste Massieu

When my children were little as a way to embrace the spirit of the season, each day, we would all share three things we were thankful for and tie three red bows.  Eventually these bows adorned our Christmas tree. Not having young children at home anymore I called my college students in the beginning of November and asked them to email three things each day.  When I asked my husband, he agreed but balked about doing it every day.  His protesting didn’t last long.  Everyone emailed three things each day to each other.  It gave us all a window into each other’s lives that we don’t always get to see.  I went to the computer each morning excited to see what would be revealed.  Here’s a small sample of some of our thanks.

  1. Dad putting me in dance
  2. The Rockies
  3. Being with Freckles during her last season.
  4. Putting on the winter scarf
  5. A mother who wants to keep a family scattered across the country together via email
  6. My new rollerblades that I got for five dollars at the thrift store
  7. Playing hockey tonight
  8. Blackhawks on TV
  9. The smell of fall in the air
  10. 70 degrees in November
  11. The kids on the block
  12. Billy’s stint selling Cutco – without it I would never have owned Cutco knives!
  13. I actually like my classes
  14. Potato leek soup in about an hour and the new potato peeler
  15. Hot cider
  16. Visits and scrabble with Granny

This month, I asked my family to email each other acts of kindness.  This also is similar to something we did when they were younger that produced more bows on our Christmas tree.  I’ve challenged my college students to email their acts of kindness and my husband and I will do the same.   My challenge to my readers is to record or acknowledge each day an act of kindness.  Small acts are welcome and sometimes have a greater impact than you will ever know.  I kind word, a smile, opening the door for a stranger…these things all can make a difference.   If you take the challenge, come back here and comment and let me know how it goes.

This week:  Join the Holiday Kindness Challenge

 

Peace and Blessings,

Mary Jo

Conscious Footsteps by Dianne Eppler Adams

When we open up to living with Spirit in our everyday lives, it seems that Spirit’s wisdom is all around us.  –Dianne Eppler Adam

 

This book is a great blend of spirituality meets practicality.  Diane has great suggestions for navigating the ever changing rhythm of our lives.  Easy to read straight through, I think this book is most useful as a bedside or coffee table book.  Read it in bite size pieces and then slowly digest it as you move through your day.  If you in need of some inspiration or comfort, Conscious Footsteps is the perfect book!   www.consciousfootsteps.com

–Mary Jo

 

Venus’s Rings

To live in hearts we leave behind…Is not to die.–Thomas Campbell

I lost my mother’s rings—her wedding bands and diamond.  After she died, it took me years before I could wear them.  I remember thinking one day, “Mom I have my own wedding ring, I can’t wear yours.”  A month later I lost my wedding band in the Wisconsin Dells.  I’ve worn her rings ever since. 

Last October, I was painting the front porch and working in the garden.  I remember taking the rings off outside, but I thought I brought them in.  I searched the front and back yard.  I searched the house.  I stopped looking and thought they would turn up.  I’ve misplaced them before and I always find them. 

It was a week before Christmas; I searched everywhere I could think of without any success.  In February, my husband left town to visit my son at school in Denver.  I decided to tear apart our bedroom and look for the rings.  I took out every drawer, poured them on the bed and even picked up the dresser to look underneath.  No rings.  I started to think that they were really gone.  I was really sad.

I asked myself would I be okay if I never found her rings.  The rings were not my mother, just her rings, and my connection with her was not in the rings but in the memories in my heart. 

 “Mom, if your rings are gone I’ll be sad, but it’s okay.  But if there is anyway you can help me get your rings back, I’d be thrilled.  I miss you mom.” 

 I crawled in bed and went to sleep.  The next morning, I opened my top dresser drawer to get a pin out of the small shelf in the corner.  I had completely forgotten about my nighttime petition.  My mother’s rings were on the top of the pin!  I thanked my mother and am wearing her rings as I write this.  It was a great reminder to ask for help, not only from those here with me now but also from those you have transitioned from this life.

 This week:  Remember to ask for help and be willing to be surprised!

 Mary Jo

Intensive Care for a Nuturer’s Soul

“Intensive Self-Care is not being selfish, and it’s not a luxury, but rather an essential practice for your survival and overall well-being”  ~ Hueina Su

Are you over-worked, overwhelmed, running on empty, with little time for yourselves?  I found a great book that will help anyone living in a state of stress.   It’s called “Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul: 7 Keys to Nurture Yourself While Caring for Others” and it’s written by Hueina Su who is an internationally recognized speaker and expert in helping people find the missing peace & balance in their stressful lives.

Our world is fast-paced and loaded with a tremendous volume of competing priorities and responsibilities. The need to center ourselves, catch our breath and release the stress is probably more crucial than ever. How are we to accomplish this when we are faced with the overwhelming need to make a difference in others? Hueina’s book comes at the perfect timing.  Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul is a definitely gentle loving breeze with a clear and strong message effortlessly delivered.

This is a must read for anyone who is taking care of others and needs some tender loving care for themselves. Get this amazing book for yourself and anyone you care TODAY. It’s terrific, timely and pertinent to most of our lives — preventing and eliminating stress & burnout!  This book makes a perfect Mother’s Day gift, and when you buy it by April 22, you will receive dozens of bonus gifts from many leading experts. 

http://bit.ly/NurturersSoul

The Dance of Help and Independence

“The oldest trees often bear the sweetest fruit.” – German Proverb

At 90, she can still beat me in Scrabble.  She’s taught three generations of first graders, volunteered at the local hospital, helped at the church and served on the library planning committee.  She quilts, gardens, completes the daily crossword, and has read more books then I’ll ever read.  She does her own laundry and cooking, and is happy in her home. A year ago, she decided it was time to stop driving—the first step in relinquishing independence.  Now, she is in a position of needing a little more help.  Actually, she could use more help than she would like to admit.  Her family finds themselves in the unenviable position of trying to convince her to accept some assistance.   She likes her independence and solitude and hasn’t been very open to their suggestions.  Being from the generation that worries what other people think, she doesn’t want anyone making any judgments about her capabilities. 

Many families are faced with the same situation.  Worried about their elderly parents’ ability to drive a car or care for themselves, they struggle with how to take on this new role of caretaker.  Some people charge ahead, others sit back and acquiesce to their parents’ entrenchment while worrying and hoping that they will be okay. 

I believe that the number one thing a caretaker needs to remember is that everyone needs to be recognized for the things they have done and validated for the things that they are still able to do.  Any discussion of assistance should be prefaced with recognition of ones accomplishments and competencies.  Young or old we all want to be witnessed for our strength and abilities.  

Watch the following video for a new perspective on validation.

This week:  Validate someone you love!

Peace and Blessings,

Mary Jo