Think Positive Monday: Do What You Love Everyday

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(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

It’s a phrase we hear often, “Do What You Love”. We are told that if we love our work, then work won’t feel like work. But working in a profession that makes us feel happy and fulfilled every single day is not a reality for most of us. 

What I think we often forget though, is that work is not our whole life. In order to have that serene feeling we all search for we must find a way to squeeze in doing one thing that we love to do each and every day. 

What is the one activity that you do that makes you feel the most relaxed, happy, fulfilled, or simply like yourself? Perhaps you love cooking or crafting. Maybe you love volunteering or running. For me, it’s reading. I try to fit in at least 30 minutes of private distraction free reading time each day. 

By fitting in one activity you love everyday you are feeding and refreshing your spirit. That energy should spread over to other elements of your life. More importantly you’ll be reminding yourself that you and your needs are a priority. You will learn to respect yourself more and encourage you to not let others treat your poorly. 

Are you too busy or too stressed out to fit in doing something that you love? Then you need to cut out something out of your schedule to make time for that one activity. Business is generally a perspective problem. We are all “busy”. Wake up earlier. Put off cleaning for one more day. Shorten a dinner date to a coffee date. Put down your phone. Life is too short to not being filling it up your time doing things you love.

Carve out a few extra minutes each day to do something that nurtures your soul and makes you feel alive. Those few extra minutes of happiness will fill up your spirit for hours after they have passed. This is your life, live it the best way you can. 

 

5 Things My Dog Teaches Me

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Today we’re celebrating Maggie’s 8th Birthday! She is such a special part of our lives and I can’t imagine a life without her. She and her love is always inspiring me to be a better person. 

So yes, even though I saved her from the shelter all those years ago, she has found a way to turn my life around and save me as well. 

In honor of Maggie gracing our lives with her presence (she is such a poodle princess this one) I’ve decided to share a little sentimental post about:

5 Things My Dog Teaches Me

1. Always Show Your Love

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Every single time I walk through the door, doesn’t matter if I’ve been gone 4 hours or 4 minutes, Maggie attacks me with love. For a solid 5 minutes she will be jumping up at me, covering me with puppy kisses and bringing me her current favorite toy. She wants me to know just how excited she is to see me. 

My dog teaches me that we should always show/tell people how much they mean to us. Don’t store it inside for a rainy day. Shout it from the rooftops, let them know are loved. 

2. Give Your Undivided Attention

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If I happen to put on the TV in the middle of a passionate game of ball or if I pull out my phone while petting her on the couch, Maggie will promptly drop the ball or jump off the couch to retreat to the chair in the corner to pout and stare at me with sad eyes. She wants all or nothing. 

Maggie has taught me that when doing an activity or spending time with someone, give it or them all of your attention. Multi tasking has a time and place but you will get more out of life if you show up 100%. This applies to finishing goals, tackling your to do list, and spending quality time with friends and family. 

3. Walks Are The Best

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Maggie will never turn down a walk. She’ll go in the cold, in the heat, and even the rain. She loves exploring. The longer the better. Her legs may be short but they can go for miles. She prances with her head held high and stops to smell every smell. The highlight of her week is when she is let loose in the field near our house, that we aptly named “Maggie’s Field of Dreams”. She will run and run and run. 

She reminds me that there is nothing like connecting with nature while on a long peaceful walk. It’s probably one of the most healthiest things we can do for ourselves on a regular basis. 

4. We Can Do Hard Things

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 Maggie did not have an easy early life. I adopted her from a shelter when she was one-year old. I’ll never know what trauma she underwent as a puppy but she is terrified of most everything and all new people. But, in the seven years that I’ve been her mom, she has gone through an amazing transformation. Her curiosity and desire to have fun has, bit by bit, replaced her fear.

Maggie proves that against all odds we can overcome. We are built to do hard things. Just try. Also, accepting encouragment from loved ones always helps.

5. Love Unconditionally

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Maggie is a loyal friend. There have been many times when I’ve ignored her need to play or go for a long walk because I’m feeling sick or sad. Although she could be mad or resentful, she is often all that more loving and attentive at these times. When I’m feeling down she is always by my side, cuddled up close.

Somehow, instinctively, my dog knows that I need her love most when I’m at my worst. This is a trait that we should carry over with our human friends. Love others, through thick and thin.

What furry friend has made your life better? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Good Choices and Other Advice From My Mom

words of advice from my mother  My mom is my best friend. 

A decade ago that statement would have made me cringe. As a teenagar my mom was my mom. She was my biggest critic, making me second guess my choices constantly. She was a person to keep secrets from, to roll my eyes at, and to groan about with my friends. After any sort of disagreement or hormonal temper tantrum I’d stomp upstairs, slam my door, and cry, “You don’t understand me! You don’t care how I feel!”

Then, just as quickly as backyard bbq’s and sun burned shoulders revolve into cozy scarves and raking leaves, I stopped seeing my mom as my mom. My teenage female hormones dissipated, I went away for college, and almost overnight she transformed from being my mom into being a person.

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Her stories, lessons and words of advice were more relatable. I now listened with a more serious heart, knowing that these words were coming from experience, from love. I learned to lean on her more as a friend and to let her lean on me in times of need as well. 

I reflect on those times where I swore she didn’t understand me and see that, in reality, she understood me all too well. Who else could know me better than the woman who shaped me into who I am, who has stood by me since my first heartbeat in her womb? I’m grateful for her criticism, her rules, her boundaries, her stories, her advice, her desire to let me learn. 

I’m still learning.

But I know that I can’t imagine a day without her in my adult life.

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Yes, of course she taught me all the things mothers are to teach their children: how to bathe yourself, how to tie your shoes, how to have good manners, all those basic survival tips. But she has given me so much more. She’s given me a positive and lifelong mentor for all arenas of my life. How to be a good friend, a good wife, a good mother, a good employee, a good human being.

I see her or talk to her nearly every day and can’t imagine not. I call her up frantically for advice on anything from cooking to relationships, to helping me choose which dress to buy. We share the ins and outs of our friendships and our family issues. And I hope I’m as good of a friend to her as she is to me. 

Countless times a day I find myself listening to her voice in my head, guiding my decisions. From our days of reading Charlotte’s Web in bed to dealing with mean girls at school to my fist boyfriend and to planning my wedding my mom as been shaping and molding me into the best woman I can be. 

In honor of Mother’s Day I wanted to share some of my favorite words of advice from my Mom:

Make Good Choices

To this day my Mom says this line to me as I’m leaving for a weekend or big event. Every time I left the house has a teenager or even in my twenties my mom would kiss me and shout this over my head as I trotted out to my car. Back then I’d roll my eyes as I’m driving away thinking, “What does SHE know about my choices? I ALWAYS make good choices!”

No Katie, you don’t. I can think of MANY times where you didn’t make the right choice. And my mother’s guilt was always in my head. 

Isn’t this what all mothers hope for their children? That they raised them well enough that they know when to do the right thing out in the real world? That against the odds they will stand up and know when to make the RIGHT choice?

It Takes All Types

My mom would always say this whenever I was being critical or judgemental of anyone that was different or “weird”. And she’s right. We all work together to make this world work. The world would be incomplete without the anti social science guys and the stuck up mean girls. Yes even that weird old man that we see every weekend at the market without any teeth that is always humming and talking nonsense. Acceptance was always a priority in our home. 

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say, Don’t Say Anything At All

Oh how I wish more people would hear my mom saying this every time they say something mean about someone or something or just plain complain. Focus on the positive. Don’t say mean things just to be mean. 

Be A Good Friend

Even when your friends aren’t being good friends. Even when you feel like all you are doing is giving. Even when it’s not the “cool” thing to do. My mom always pushed me to be kind first. 

Get It Done Today

I’m a procrastinator, always have been. Yet, whenever I listened to when my mom said, “Just do it and get it over with” I never regretted not putting off a project, errand, or annoying task. Why waste time mulling over having to do something when you could do it, get it over with, and move on to something you actually want to do?

Always Be On Time

My mom is NEVER late. She makes her scheduled commitments a priority. This shows people that your are dependable, loyal, and committed to the date. Now most of the time I’m always on time (except for work, somehow I manage to be late for work). But, with always being on time comes the horrible fact that you’ll be completely annoyed whenever anyone is late to meet you. 

And on a less serious note: Nude Underwear is Always The Best Choice

Okay, Mom you are correct. Even though I still prefer pretty colors and patterns, nudes go with everything and are discreet and classic and remain hidden under most fabrics and colors. (They also remain hidden under pale pink bridesmaid dresses at my wedding, but that is a story for another time and place).

What can I say? Mom, you’re always right!

Mom, on this Mother’s Day and on every other day I hope you know how much I respect and love you as both my friend and mother. Thank you for being the best role model for all my relationships. I can’t wait to see what else I learn from you in the future. My heart will always belong to you, forever entwined, since our first moments together. 

words of advice from my mom

 What have you learned from your Mother?

xoxo Katie

 

31 Lessons I Learned In 31 Years

31 lessons learned in 31 years katie a beautiful little adventure

Today I turn 31 and like any good writer I’m sitting here reflecting on my last year. This is the year I got married, starting to feel a little physically older, and grew more comfortable with myself – body and mind. I thought I’d share a fun little list of 31 things I’ve learned in my 31 years.

31 Lessons in 31 Years

1. Don’t make assumptions. You rarely know the full story.

2.  Befriend your parents. It’s a once in a lifetime relationship and a friendship that will teach you the most.

3. Success is always in the eye of the beholder.

4. Take time for you. It’s not a selfish behavour. Take care of yourself and your happiness.

5. The cheaper the wine the worse the headache.

6. It’s okay to make mistakes. At least you’re doing something – like learning.

7. A dog can heal your soul.

8. Pause. You don’t have to make a decision immediately.

9. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else is.

10. A nap can fix a great number of things.

11. I’m not a career woman. My job doesn’t define me and never will.

12. Never say never.

13. Not everyone has to like you. Stop trying to please them and stop apologizing for what makes you happy.

14. Style has nothing to do with fashion.

15. Love is all around.

16. Be present. Listen with 100% of your body.

17. Family is everything.

18. Sometimes you just have to know when to say, “I give up” and pour yourself a drink. It’s okay.

19. Forgiveness is both the most hardest but most rewarding thing.

20. You have to create your own happiness.

21. 99% of people aren’t paying any attention to you.

22. Expensive shoes and accessories are worth it.

23. Never miss a chance to say “I Love You”.

24. Nourish and feed your body well. It’s a vessel not a trash can.

25. Truly focus on the select few things that you are good at.

26.  Respond to phone calls, letters,  texts, and emails. Even if there is no question, if someone reached out to you, respond.

27. You don’t have to look amazing at all times. Relax.

28. Use your voice. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

29. Don’t compare, there is always someone smarter, richer, prettier, and “happier” but there is no one else just like you.

30. No one ever has it figured all out, but each day is a fresh start at trying your best.

31. When you have the oppurtunity to dance, dance. Even if you look stupid, you’ll always have more fun than if you stayed in the corner.

Now eat an ice cream sundae and toast with some champagne with me. Cheers!

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xoxo Katie

 

 

 

 

Pop-Pop’s Life Lessons and Advice – a video

Pop Pop DubbleMy Pop-Pop, Clyde Dubble, has been an amazing role model through out my life. He has always been present. During my childhood he attended almost every concert, band competition, or theater event I was in. He has been apart of every holiday, birthday, graduation, family vacation or other special occasion.

Like a third parent he has offered me unconditional love, support, and wisdom. Some of my best memories include scream singing “I’m Proud to be an American” in his pick up truck, eating crackers on his boat in Avalon, long walks on the beach, sleepovers at his house, and that time I ran his riding lawn mower into his truck and he didn’t tell on me.

He is the most friendliest man you will ever meet. Wherever we go he seems to run into someone he knows. If not, he makes a point of asking people “and where are you from?”. He grew up on a farm in Lancaster and built a successful life for himself and his family.  He has so many friends and is full of so much positivity and love. He makes me so happy and I’m so lucky to be able to document some of his life memories.

I think we all can learn a little something from Pop-Pop.

Last week he turned 88. I decided to interview him about his experiences, life lessons and advice:

Do you have a grandparent who has played a special role in your life? xoxo katie

Can we just skip ahead to the good part?

don't count the days. make the days count. I have a confession. I am obsessed with countdowns and wanting the future to arrive now. It’s unhealthy and silly. I’ve brought up being married to a law student before and the struggles we endure as a couple. I try to stay positive. When Ryan is feeling down I often tell him to slow down and to enjoy the moment. I also tell him that one day we will look back fondly on these long days, weeks, and months as the best days of our lives. However, I regularly do not following my own advice. A lot of the time I desperately yearn for the time when Ryan will be done with law school. When he won’t have 18 hour days. When money and time won’t be as tight. When he won’t be overcome with anxiety and the grumpiness that comes with lack of sleep. When we can start having a family, a house, and the ability to move forward with our lives. I look at this ideal future as the pot of gold at the end the rainbow and sometimes it is all I can think about. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. I’m a live life on the bright side, always be positive, don’t waste your life away hoping for better days, hypocrite.

One of my favorite apps on my iphone is the Countdown+ app. You can plug in how many different dates you want and it keeps a handy countdown for you. Do you know how many more days until Ryan graduates? 610 long days. How often do I check this number? It used to be about twice a week, now it’s daily. As if looking at this number will make it go by faster.

countdown app

I know it’s ridiculous, I know that once these 610 days pass a stress free life isn’t going to land on my door step wrapped up in a bow. I know that there will always be stress that after graduation there is studying for the bar exam, taking the bar exam, finding a job and all the stress that goes along with those things. I also know that we have a great life. A life that is full of fun activities with friends and family. A life that is full of good health and love. But yet, I countdown the days like some crazy person.

This isn’t anything new. I remember starting countdowns back in college. During a required yet insufferable biology class I  would make elaborate calendars in my notes. I would cross off each day as they passed with a satisfying thick X. I wanted to be anywhere else – any of my other english or writing classes, not memorizing useless facts. I was only focusing on the day that this awful class would be over. I would add in special parties and events as milestones to get me through it, hoping to ease the pain of that far away future. Do I need to mention that this was one of the few classes that I did poorly in? (Hmmm wonder why)

Things haven’t changed much since my baby bio days. I have other events in my countdown app, to make the 610 seem more attainable, like concerts, parties, weekend trips, holidays and other fun things. Yes, it’s nice to have things to look forward to, but intently studying how many days you have left will not make that desired day come any faster. Why am I only focussed on that far away date when I do have fun things happening in the present? Why do I put so much pressure on the future? Why do I think I can plan the future? Why do I torment myself so?

I need to stop. I know obsessing over the future is pointless as the future is merely an illusion, it doesn’t exist. Tomorrow is only a concept. All the things I long for for our future are not even guaranteed. At all. Life happens while you’re making other plans and all that jazz.

I need to learn to follow my own advice and live more fully in the present moment rather than in illusion. I need my awareness to be completely centered on the here and now, to simply accept life as the way it is. I’m using this blog as my own therapy today.

Steps I’m going to take to learn to live more in the moment:

1. Be mindful of the present. Realize that with every breath I take, I’m living my life. Decide how to make the most of each of these moments instead of fast forwarding to the next stage. I need to learn to stay more focussed on the task at hand. Whether I’m completing a work project, writing a blog post, running, organizing the house my mind should stay focussed on whatever I’m doing rather than think of the 20 billion other things that need to get done. The only thing keeping me doing the best I can do with my current life is my obsession with skipping ahead to the future and learn to live in the moment.

2. Realize that the future is out of my hands. Of course I know this, I’ve been through enough hiccups in life to know that you can’t control your destiny. Unfortunately, I’m a planner. When I plan, I can prepare myself for what is to come. We all just want to reach the finish line expecting a gold medal. However, preparing and planning are two very different things. I need to learn to mentally prepare myself for a few obstacles that may arrive in the next few years rather than creating a such a detailed plan at how I’d prefer things to go. That is only setting myself up for failure.

3. Live one day at a time. As mentioned above, taking on one challenge at a time should be enough. There is no need to worry about future challenges. I should focus on getting through week by week even rather than look at the calendar and think, “my god, how will we ever make it through the next 610 days?”. I don’t want to feel like I’m always rushing to escape reality. I know how fast time can fly. I can confidently say that in 610 days from now I’ll say “wow, it felt like just yesterday that I was writing the depressed blog post about wanting time to fly by.”

4. Look at this “transition time” as beneficial. Today is where the action is! Today is when I’m living! I need to take these hard times and use them to my advantage as a way to gain clarity and awareness of my life and marriage. Like any other struggle, this will make me stronger and will give me insight into my own spirit.

Truth is, Ryan’s graduation will come and pass like any other day with its own unfolding events. I only hope that by the time that day comes I’m not obsessed with another life stage to fast forward too and another date to countdown to. I want to live my life and I want to live that life in the sunshine.

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xoxo katie