Ch-ch-ch-changes

This is my response to Anyone Else Feel Like a Total Screw Up? | Doug’s Scribbles and Ramblings https://gleanermansblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/anyone-else-feel-like-a-total-screw-up/

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Be your Best Friend: Advice to Myself

Today’s words of wisdom stem from a conversation with a dear friend and co-worker.  She is working hard on trying to improve herself and her situation so she asked me for my honest opinion on something.  She asked, “Will you give me 3 areas in my life you think I could improve on?”

The answers to this came way too easily.  You see, this girl is 10 years younger than me and is also a single mother.  We’ve been there for each other through a lot of stuff over the last couple of years.  She reminds me a lot of myself.  So I realized as I was typing these things, I wasn’t only speaking to her – I was speaking from my own experiences, what other wise people have taught me, and I was speaking to myself on the things I constantly need reminders of.

So today – here are 3 areas in life I think we could all improve on . . .

  1. Love yourself.  I know that we hear this a lot, but many of us have been taught that loving ourselves is selfish.  The issue is, we spend so much time trying to do for others, that we have nothing left to give.  We were given these bodies and these lives to TAKE CARE OF.  We have to meet our own basic needs if we want to reach our full potential and have the capability and energy to love others.

    So . . . GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.  You have overcome so much in your life!  SO MUCH.  Maybe you had a horrible childhood.  Or maybe you survived the severe mental illness of a family member.  Maybe you survived a horrific accident and had to learn to live your life all over again.  Maybe you survived an unhealthy marriage or learned to move on after a betrayal.  Maybe you’re a single parent who struggles to make ends meet.  Everyone has a story and everyone has a struggle, whether they admit it to others or not.  The important thing to remember is – YOU ARE STILL HERE. You haven’t given up yet!

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    SO STOP BEING SO HARD ON YOURSELF.  You are making it.  You are making progress.  And your hard work and perseverance WILL PAY OFF in the long run.

  2. Learn how to “teach others how to treat you.”  Meaning, if you continue to allow people to treat you badly, they will continue to do it.  Set clear boundaries on how you are okay with being treated and what you will absolutely not allow.  And then let people know when they are doing a good job or when they are not.  This applies for families, friends, co-workers, and yes, even bosses, managers, superiors, etc.  We all need to be able to set personal boundaries in our lives.

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  3. Pay attention to your body and your emotions.  Notice when you start to feel stressed and prepare for it.  Preparation includes scheduling guilt-free alone time to pray, meditate, sleep – whatever you need to get through it.  (Don’t think you have time to meditate or just spend quiet time alone?  Check out this article on Pattern Interrupts.)

    Start a journal.  Even if it is as simple as writing down what you eat and what your emotions were that day – it is a step to learning more about yourself and what you need to survive.

    Another tip, especially if you’re an emotional eater like I am, always have a favorite healthy snack nearby to devour in times of need.

    The more you learn about yourself – the easier it will be to notice things and make the best choices for YOU.

I also wanted to share one final thing (okay, so actually it’s FOUR) that has been a huge help in my own personal growth.  I’m still working on each of these in my own life – but the second agreement was one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done.  I dealt with so much fear and shame in my own life, all because of what I was afraid others thought of me.  (And I was probably making wrong ASSUMPTIONS anyway.)

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Click on the picture to learn more about The Four Agreements book.

So, Congratulations to everyone who is doing their best every day and making steps (no matter how small) to better themselves.  YOU’VE GOT THIS!

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Do one thing

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Any of my followers who might wonder where I have been, I have been busy stepping out of my comfort zone.  I was kind of forced to do it – but am glad that I did.  I am not going to go into detail just yet – but let’s just say that this 40 year old body aches every night, but is getting more activity than it has in a very long time.

I used to be so fearless, and I lost my confidence along the way.  I’m slowly gaining it back and having a blast doing it.  So I thought I would stop in long enough to encourage each of you to step out of your comfort zone and do the thing that scares you.  I think it is worth it.

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The final page of 2015

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I am ready for 2016.

I have some goals for the year, but I’m not making resolutions.  Just an intention to do the best I can each and every one of the 366 (it’s a leap year!) days I am given in 2016.

2015 brought a lot of lessons.  I renewed old friendships and reawakened feelings I had forgotten how to feel.  I had my heart beautifully broken and am okay with it.  I both failed and won at being a single mom – every single day.  I started writing this blog, two novels, and several songs.  I was diagnosed with diabetes, and began a journey to a healthier me (30 lbs down, so far!).

I turned 40 and the world didn’t collapse.  In fact, it was one of the best days of my entire life.  Over 40 Random Acts of Kindness were performed on that day and since and the world became a bit brighter.  It was 70 degrees in Indiana in December and I got to hang out on the front porch with my very best friends, my tribe, the island of misfit toys, and just BE.

This past year, I cried a lot, laughed a lot, started singing again and feeling more like myself than I have in a long time.  There were a lot of struggles, and even more lessons, but I realized that I am one lucky lady to be alive and have the opportunity to wake up each day and try again.

Here’s to you on the last page of the final chapter of 2015.

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Love,

Izzy

When Random Acts Find You

Can you believe we are just ONE MONTH away from Christmas?  I have not started my Christmas shopping yet.  But I’m not stressing about it.  I have learned that the holidays are more about spending time together and making memories and not buying expensive gifts.

We are also 17 days away from my 40th birthday.  I spoke on several other blogs about my wish for this birthday and having at least 40 random acts of kindness performed and helping make the world a better place.  A few people have already started doing this and have given great creative ideas for paying it forward to others.

I wanted to write this post to reiterate that you do not have to PLAN random acts.  All you have to do is keep your eyes and your heart open to those around you, and opportunities will present themselves to you.  This happened to me the other evening at Meijer.

My youngest daughter takes forever in the bathroom.  I know she will kill me if she sees this someday but SORRY – YOU DO!  As we were checking out, she said “I have to go use the bathroom.”  I groaned internally, wishing she had decided 10 minutes earlier that she should go.  My son and I finished checking out and then went to stand by the door and the restroom to wait.

An elderly woman with snow-white hair and piercing blue eyes was also waiting in the mobile cart, her basket filled with groceries.  She looked at me and asked if I knew what time it was.  She was very soft-spoken and looked a bit timid, but something about her reminded me of my beloved Grandma whom I miss so much this time of year.  I pulled out my phone and told her the time.  Her expression changed as she said “Oh, I will be waiting here a long time.”

I know of times when my car was broken and I had to rely on others to get to where I needed to go – and it isn’t fun to lose your independence.  I felt for her.  So I asked her if she needed to call someone and I let her use my phone to call her son who said he would come get her right then.  When she handed me back my phone, the sparkle had returned to her eyes and she thanked me.  My daughter had already emerged from the bathroom by this time and she and her brother had taken our groceries to the car.

I wished her Merry Christmas and hurried out to my car, tears running down my cheeks.  I could have continued to be irritated at my daughter being slower than molasses, but I chose to just look up for a second and the opportunity to help someone was right in front of me.  It changed my attitude for the rest of the evening.  It wasn’t a big elaborate gesture – it was just doing what we should and looking out for our fellow human beings.  Loving people in whatever ways we can.  That is how we can turn this world around.

I hope you will join my 40th birthday celebration on December 13th.
Let’s change the world one Random Act of Kindness at a time.

 – Izzy

Better Days Ahead: What I want for my 40th Birthday

“And you asked me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
‘Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days . . .”

In a little over a month, I will turn 40.  Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to it.  If I am being completely honest . . . my thirties SUCKED. I am determined to start this new decade out with a bang and do what I can to make the world a better place.

For the past several years, I have asked that my friends and family do something different on my birthday. Instead of gifts or birthday wishes – I have asked people to perform a random act of kindness for someone else – a stranger, a friend, whoever. Because this is my BIG 4-0 Birthday – I’m hoping to have at least 40 random acts of kindness happen all over the place!!  I originally created a private event on Facebook so that I could invite my family and friends – but I know more of an impact can be made if I reach out to the awesome blogging community I am blessed to be a part of.  SO – I also created a PUBLIC EVENT and I hope you will join me in celebrating this new decade by taking a moment on or around my birthday to do something for someone else with no expectation of anything in return.

If you perform a random act of kindness, I would love it if you would post it on the page – you don’t have to say what you did unless you want to, just let me know you did something. If you DO want to share – feel free to share a picture!  The past few birthdays that I have done this have been the bright spots of some pretty dark years.

If you want to be a part of the fun click on the picture below and join the event!

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Join the 40 Random Acts of Kindness Public Event!

If you are looking for some ideas, check these out.

Let’s do our best to make better days for those around us.

Peace & Love,
Izzy

Choose this Week…

Love this. Needed to read it today.

Irresistibly Fish

yesterday

Well here we are, at the start of another week.

In one sense, it’s just another day in another week in another month in another year and if we think like that, chances are we are going to meander on in the same old way we have been and nothing too significant is likely to happen.

But if we stop for a second and approach this week as a whole new thing and today as a brand new day, then it creates opportunities. And highlights potential.

For me [as a somewhat disorganised, easily distracted, Improv-embracing kind of guy] i find that spending a few minutes planningthe week before it happens really helps to focus me on things i want to see done, deadlines i must remember to meet and opportunities for greatness or significance to plot. If i don’t plan even just for a little bit…

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