Loving Those Who’ve Lost

ABHpm123

(Some of my besties, loving on me at Andrew’s evening memorial service 2013)

Hi There!

I just got back from an incredible weekend in Cuero, TX. I can remember just a short year ago driving into Cuero and feeling overwhelmed by the loss of my husband, Andrew. Everything about Cuero reminded me of him. I remember having a breakdown walking through Andrew’s parent’s house, where we lived and where Andrew passed away. I could feel the heaviness of what life was like not that long ago. This time driving into town felt much different. This time, I felt like I was coming home to family. I credit this to the people who live there and in the surrounding areas, because they have gone above and beyond to take care of our family. To this day they are some of our biggest supporters. If you ask Ellie where her home is she will tell you it’s in Cuero. So it was no surprise that getting up to speak to over two hundred women at The Women of Faith conference felt as comfortable as sharing with family. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience was hearing childhood stories about Andrew, listening to other inspiring life experiences, and just connecting through a hug or word of encouragement.

The excitement of this weekend had my creative juices flowing and I had a topic I wanted to explore with you, but since receiving some news today about a dear friend who’s just experienced a loss, I feel compelled to share something else first. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, child, family member, friend, etc., loss affects us all at one time or another. Even if it’s not directly us, we feel the effects of the loss of others and in our spirits we want to help. I can relate with being on both ends of the spectrum, from the one who needed support to the one who wanted to support. Today, I want to share some of the ways I felt most supported during my season of loss. Everyone is different in how they want to be helped during this time, but I hope this post might give you some direction and insight into what the person experiencing loss might be needing.

  1. Just Do It” – I appreciated when people just took the lead. If you’re thinking of doing something, just do it. You don’t need to ask, just make it happen. A lot of times you’ll get a text or a call saying, “Let me know if I can help.” Most people aren’t going to let you know, because when you’ve just experienced loss, you’re disoriented and you don’t know what you need. Think of the basics: food, childcare (if they have children), cleaning, etc. These are just a few things that need to get done daily that are hard for the people who’ve experienced the loss to actually think about doing. I really appreciated people bringing us meals, mowing our lawn, cleaning our home, sending flowers and gifts, and helping to watch Ellie.
  2. Less is More - When it comes to talking to someone who’s grieving, less is more. Let me help take some possible weight off your shoulders— there is nothing you can say that will make them feel any better, so just sitting with them is enough. Let the one who’s just faced loss talk. You can ask them questions, but don’t try to fix it, just listen… really listen (as in don’t listen to share, listen to understand). I personally didn’t care to be quoted Scripture at the time of my loss, but I was not offended by anyone who did share this with me. I knew that everyone meant well. Honestly, you’re just so overwhelmed after the occurrence that just having someone by your side is enough.
  3. Family Time- A lot of people want to be with their loved ones during a loss, so letting someone know you care, but also that you respect their space was really important to me. I always appreciate that those who stopped by seemed to have no expectation of us entertaining them or expecting to stay long. They all wanted to show their love and let us be together with our family. I can remember feeling overwhelmingly loved after getting over 100 plus Facebook messages, plus flowers, gifts, etc, after Andrew passed away. Immediately, I put the expectation on myself that everyone expected me to write them a thank you letter or personally respond to every Facebook message. My heart wanted to do this, but I was emotionally wiped out. Thankfully I released that expectation of myself and knew that the ones who were there to give without expecting anything in return would understand and not hold a grudge. Being with my family and taking care of family matters were my top priorities both during and after Andrew passed away.

I want to make clear that these are just my personal experiences and do not hold true for every single person. In fact, I would love to hear from those of you who’ve experienced loss. What did you really need from others during this season of your life? How were you and your family blessed during your time of need? The more experiences we share the more ideas we will have to help those going through this difficult time. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you personally want to connect with me about the loss of someone you loved, please reach out via email at baileyheard@gmail.com to set up a complimentary coaching call. We are all in this together and can all learn from the stories of other’s who’ve experienced loss so that we might be even better supporters to those we love. Blessings!

Then There Were Three

Ellie hugging KellerEllie cuddling Keller

(If you can’t tell she’s pretty stinkin happy) (Ellie loves her new cuddle buddy)

Hello There! We’ve had some thrilling things going on in the Heard household over the last week. First off, you can end the petition for Ellie to get a dog, because surprise to both you and me, my parents bought her a 10-week-old Labradoodle named Keller. If I was feeling overwhelmed before, having a new puppy has taken that feeling to a whole new level. However, the excitement in Ellie’s eyes is worth every bit of cleaning up poo, pee, the bite marks, the chewing on everything… you get the picture. I haven’t seen Ellie this happy in a long time, and as a mommy, nothing feels better than that.

Last week, I got the opportunity to speak to a small group women’s Bible study in Denton and the experience left me feeling connected, loved, grateful, and on purpose! I enjoy speaking and especially love making connections with other women. We all have our own incredible life stories and getting to listen, share, and encourage each other is one of my favorite parts of being a speaker. The whole experience reminded me why I started my blog, why I started speaking, and why I started coaching. I value the connection to others, as well as being authentic and vulnerable, because in doing so we all begin to realize we are more alike than we are different. Something amazing happens when we make this connection: we stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to be like someone else or to be perfect and we just allow ourselves to be.

This Saturday I’m speaking at an event that is very near and dear to my heart, the Women of Faith conference in Cuero, TX. Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a special relationship with the people in Cuero and surrounding areas. Whether it was bringing us meals, painting our house, taking care of our yard, raising over $100,000 for our family’s medical bills, buying Andrew’s book, praying over us, etc., they have all been there for my family through the most difficult time in our lives. I feel a deep sense of loyalty toward these incredible individuals, because they have shown us the power of LOVE. I’m honestly praying that I can hold it together emotionally, because my gratitude overflows for them. I will never be able to repay them for everything they’ve done for my family, but this weekend will be one way that I can say thank you for all that’s been done.

I also wanted to make a shout out to each one of you for following our journey, supporting my family in so many different ways, and for encouraging us when we need it the most. I consider each of you a gift and I’m grateful for all of the love I feel from you, and as Ellen DeGeneres says, “I send it all right back ‘atcha.” (By the way, I’m pumped to go see The Ellen Show live on April 9th… more on that later!) I would love to come share our family’s documentary (beautifully created by Fotolanthropy) and inspirational story at your small group, event, meeting, etc. Feel free to email me at baileyheard@gmail.com for more details. Have a wonderful rest of the week! Blessings and Love from Bailey, Ellie and Keller!

kinda like this dog

(Me warming up to the idea of our new adorable puppy)

I Forgive Me

Bay

 (Me and my lil bro in San Diego 2014)

Hi Friends!

Have you ever gotten stuck replaying poor choices you’ve made over and over in your head? You can’t seem to shake the images or your own interpretations of what happened. The things you’re telling yourself about those choices borders on verbal self-abuse. You’re so disappointed in yourself, embarrassed by what you did, and just plain wondering if you were even in your right mind at the time? I go through phases where this comes up for me and my initial response is to beat the heck out of myself, which leaves me feeling defeated. This messes with my self-confidence and ability to trust that I can and often do make great choices most of the time!

I am naturally a perfectionist and often don’t try new things for fear of failure. In this new chapter of my life, I’ve given myself permission to try things and be ok if they don’t work out. The hard part has been when I make poor choices (and I’ve made my fair share), allowing myself to focus on what I learned about myself from the experience, instead of honing in and beating myself up about what I think I did wrong. If this scenario sounds familiar to something you’ve experienced, then here are some tips to move past this destructive thought pattern and back to a healthy mindset that serves us. This way, we can keep making the incredible difference in this world that we are meant to make!

  1. Forgive YOU first- So often we are told to forgive others so that we can be free. I totally agree, but I’ve also experienced that sometimes I’m more upset with myself then I am with anyone else. It can be really hard to forgive myself, because just saying, “I forgive myself,” doesn’t seem to make it go away. I have to start with giving myself compassion. I go back to thoughts of the poor choice and try to see why I made the choices I made through the lens of compassion. Almost like a friend is observing and saying, “I can see why you made that choice when you did with the best information that you had at the time.” It’s funny how easily we can show compassion and understanding to others, but when it comes to ourselves, we struggle. When I see my situation through the eyes of a friend, I see my choices from a different perspective, and that enables me to forgive myself for making the decisions I made.
  1. Lesson Learned- Another thing that helps me rise above my negative self-talk is asking myself what I learned about myself from this experience. What would I do differently next time? How can I make better choices in the future? This process helps me to be better prepared should I be faced with a similar situation again. When I trust that it’s all part of the learning and growing process, then I can accept myself and the experiences both good and bad as experiences to be learned along the way!
  1. Focus on the bigger plan- When I notice I am stuck cycling through the story of what happened, I will stop, bring my thoughts to the present moment, and then think about times in my life when I made mistakes, but God ended up working them all out for good. After Andrew passed away, I could see a bigger picture of what God had been doing in our lives, and how He was ultimately preparing us to go through one of life’s biggest challenges. Thinking about this reminds me there is a bigger picture at play than this choice I made that I’m beating myself up about. I can see how God could use my poor decisions for a bigger purpose to move me closer to who He has created me to be.

How do you move yourself through destructive thoughts about yourself when you think you’ve made bad decisions? What do you do to keep yourself from getting stuck? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below. I truly believe that God has a unique plan and purpose for each of our lives, and that it’s important to be willing to work through all the negative thoughts we create about ourselves. By doing this, we can step fully toward doing the things God has created us to do! If you want to talk through creating more positive self-talk in your life email me at baileyheard@gmail.com for a free coaching session. Thank you for spending time with me today! Blessings.

I Still Get Jealous

Heard Family-026

Hi There!

I have a confession: I still get jealous. Especially lately, the green monster of jealousy has been rearing its ugly head. First, let me back this train up before I dive in. Seven years ago I was the pioneer for my friends in regards to marriage. I lead the way, learned a lot of what not to do, and passed that along to my pals. Then, as if that wasn’t enough pioneering, I paved the way for motherhood. I shared the good, the bad, and the ugly to help prepare them for becoming mommies. Then all of a sudden, my world came crashing down through the loss of my husband, right when my life seemed to be getting started. Now, fast forward to the present and I’m watching my friends’ families continue to grow while knowing mine has dwindled. It’s a strange place to be in. Of course, I am happy for my friends and I am one of the first ones to celebrate, bring them meals, and volunteer to help, but if I’m honest, I have to check myself before I wreck myself. By that I mean I need to put the green monster in its place by controlling my thoughts about feeling jealousy toward what I perceive my friends have that I do not. I want to share a couple of tips I use to help me contain the beast when it’s dying to come out and play.

 

  1. Observe and forgive: It’s really important to stay in a mindset of curiosity when we find ourselves starting to feel jealous so as not to awaken Jealousy’s mean cousin, Judgment. Just start to notice when the feelings of jealousy are coming up and ask yourself what specifically triggered those feelings? Then forgive and be kind to yourself.
  2. Get really honest with yourself: Sometimes I get caught up in the idea of what life seems to be like for someone else. I will catch myself fantasizing about how wonderful their life must be, until I stop myself and realize that’s my perception and not reality. The truth is I do not really know what their life looks like. My mom always told me, “Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides.” (tweet it out) When I get really honest with myself, I realize what I’m imagining I want isn’t really what I want, it’s what I think society tells me I should have or be wanting.  The honest truth is I can barely handle one child right now, much less two. And truth be told, I’m not ready to be married again.  Doesn’t mean I won’t be one day, but for now it’s a “no.” So ask yourself: is this what I really want or I am just idealizing the thoughts about what society says I should want?
  3. It’s back to gratitude: I said it last week and I’ll say it again, gratitude is the key to a healthy, thoughtful life. Once I begin focusing my mind on all of my blessings, I’m able to take my attention off the feeling of jealousy and onto feeling thankful. I also remind myself of all the things I’m able to focus on because of being in this particular phase of my life, such as building a special bond with my daughter and creating and building a career I love. My career challenges me to use my gifts and passions to impact the lives of those I get to speak to and the clients I get to invest in. When I think of all the pleasure associated with where I am at in my life, then gratitude trumps jealousy.

 

Have you ever struggled with getting the green beast of jealousy under control? What did you do to work through it? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below. Feeling jealous is a real part of being human, but there are ways to acknowledge it and then work through it. I hope these tips will come in handy whenever you need to snap out of comparing yourself to others and get back to enjoying the unique life that has been given to you. Of course, I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for my life to turn out this way, but I realize it is my one life to live, and I am learning from all the ups and downs. I will be better because of my experiences, because of Andrew, and because of God’s gifts in my life. If you are dealing with any kind of loss (spouse, dream, job, etc.) and want someone to talk to e-mail me at baileyheard@gmail.com for a free coaching session. Hope to talk to you soon! Blessings Friends.

Bonus material:

Two great books I read last week:

Taking the Lead by Derek Hough – great advice for being a leader in life

The Everyday Supermodel by Molly Sims- I love a great lifestyle book with pics!

 

 

A Lesson Loss Gifted Me: Gratitude

Heard Family-063

Hi There! Today, I want to reflect on one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from losing my young husband, Andrew. My hope is that you will be inspired by my experiences and what I’ve taken away from them, so that you can live a life filled with even more gratitude and love. First off, I want to thank my new friend, Lulu, for the gift of her creativity in coming up with the title of this blog.

A couple of nights ago I was reading Tony Robbins’ book, Awaken the Giant Within, and I came across a quote that really got me thinking, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” Immediately I went into defense mode because the last thing I wanted someone to say to me was that Andrew’s death happened for me. I don’t believe that the reason Andrew died was so that I could learn some major life lessons. However, when I peeled back the layers of the quote, I realized that as a result of Andrew’s death I could choose to receive or to reject the lessons from his loss. Now looking back, I see that choosing to embrace the lessons is the reason why I’ve been able to move forward and create a life that I love. I want to share one of those lessons with you.

  1. Gratitude: I can remember a season in my early twenties where cultivating gratitude was like pulling teeth for me. I knew it was important to be grateful, but as hard as I tried I couldn’t bring myself to feel thankful. I chose a victim mentality where I blamed the people I loved the most for my unhappiness. I took life for granted, treating it as though I was entitled to the things I wanted and shouldn’t have to put in the work to get them. Fast forward seven years later, to when my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer. That’s when the process of gratitude began for me. Watching Andrew lay in his bed day after day, getting poked and having chemo pumped into his body, made me start to see a whole different side to life. I started realizing that just the fact I was healthy was reason enough to be grateful, or the fact I could get out of my bed and exercise was a reason to be grateful. Feeling thankful organically started becoming a part of my everyday life just through observing Andrew’s world and the lives of the many families at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital going through a similar experience.

One of my heroes is Mo Anderson, the former CEO of Keller Williams Realty. She’s a godly woman with the biggest, most generous heart. I remember hearing her say that when she steps out of her car each morning she talks to God about how grateful she is for the sunshine, for the breeze, etc. I remember hearing this story in my early twenties and wishing I could be that grateful. Now I can honestly say gratitude is the single most important thing I’ve cultivated to become the woman I am today. I have to thank Andrew for that lesson because watching him be grateful during his illness (when it seemed he had little to be grateful for) inspired me towards a new way of seeing life.

Each morning I wake up feeling grateful for every little thing. I find that when I am in the zone of gratitude I don’t focus so much on the negative aspects of life or on sweating the small things. I’ve experienced what’s truly important and the reality of how short this life can be, so I choose to focus on the things I can control: my attitude and my outlook on living. If you are struggling to feel gratitude like I did, I challenge you to see the world through the lens of someone else. Volunteer at places like hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. These experiences can help us shift our state of mind.

I would love to hear from you. What do you do to create more gratitude in your life? What life experience have you had that has gifted you with feeling more grateful? Looking forward to hearing your stories. If you want to do work around experiencing more gratitude, email me at baileyheard@gmail.com to set up a free coaching session. Thank you for spending time with me today! I’m blessed and grateful to have you in my life. Sending you love and blessings.

Bonus Ellie Story:

Yesterday I received an email from Ellie’s teacher with this sweet story (she gave me permission to share it with you). Below is the e-mail written by Ellie’s teacher:

I told the children this morning that today was Mozart’s birthday.  We listened/danced to his music during Music/Movement time.  We often listen to classical music, which the children enjoy.  During snack, we sang Happy Birthday to Mozart.  The kids asked several questions about him.  During our conversation, I mentioned that Mozart lived a long time ago.  Much to my surprise, one of the children asked me point blank if Mozart was dead. I answered yes.  At this time, Ellie told a friend, (sitting next to her) that her Daddy was dead.  She was not upset, or emotional in any way.  Then, I was asked by the same student where Mozart was.  I answered that he was in heaven.  Ellie turned to me with a lovely smile on her face, and said, “That is where my Daddy is”! I told her that yes, he was.  She then told me that he had died in Cuero. We went outdoors after our snack, and Ellie played and had fun.

Heard Family-117

One Step At A Time

my big why pic

(I look at this daily to keep me anchored and motivated towards my big WHY)

Hi Friends!

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with all the projects you wanted to complete that you didn’t know where or how to get started? I asked my friend this question the other day and she said, “Welcome to being an entrepreneur.” It’s so true. As an entrepreneur you are a one-man show (until you can afford otherwise), and there are a lot of different hats you get to wear to run your own biz. I’m constantly challenged with new activities that aren’t particularly in my zone of genius that are necessary to build a successful entrepreneurship. The same friend I spoke of earlier (who owns her own successful business) also gave me great advice about how to deal with overwhelm. She said, “Take it one step at a time and get out of your head and into your heart.” Exactly what I needed to hear. As a single mom and business owner, I’m constantly learning how to juggle my home life with my business life. I’m always trying to figure out how to keep moving forward and not get stuck in the overwhelm zone. I wanted to share some tips that are currently helping me to keep calm and carry on!

  1. Download your projects - Write or type out a master list of every project you want to get accomplished. Then, be specific and write every step you need to take to complete each project. When we are clear on the exact steps to take, then eating one bite of the elephant at a time isn’t so overwhelming.
  2. Discover your specific WHY - A “why” statement explains why you are doing what you’re doing. In other words, what is the big reason/picture for why you are doing all of these projects? I’ve heard this saying so many times and for so long I had no idea how or why it was important to discover and specifically articulate a big “why” statement. I now see that it is massively important to tap into your big “why” because it’s the anchor and driving force that keeps you going when you don’t want to go anymore. It’s meant to be something bigger than yourself. When you say or read your statement you should feel an emotional connection to it so you can get back into the mind frame you need to keep moving toward your big “why.” For example, I didn’t discover my big “why” until after I lost my husband, Andrew. I created my business out of a desire to make his legacy known because when his book, A Gray Faith, was published (a month before he passed away), I felt it was my mission to share his words with the world. Andrew became my big “why.” All it takes is for me to look at his picture in my office (I’m looking at it right now as I write to you) and I feel anchored and clear about why I’m writing, why I’m speaking, and why I’m coaching. My WHY keeps me focused and motivated to keep going when it’s hard.
  3. Delegate when necessary – There are some things on my list that would take me 10 years to learn on my own (i.e. techie skills), so I’m choosing to hire someone to teach me how to use the technology I need to learn for my business. If money is tight, see if you can barter services with someone who is strong where you are weak. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
  4. Create a mantra - So my new mantra is, “Take it one step at a time.” I’m getting a sign made with that saying and putting it in my office, so I can see it every day. When I start feeling overwhelmed and begin pacing around my house, I repeat, “Take it one step at a time.” and (a phrase my gymnastics coach used to tell me), “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Can you tell I have a bit of a patience problem?
  5. Stay connected to God – On the days I make time to connect with God through meditation and prayer first thing in the morning, everything I do after that seems to flow from inspiration. Connection with God keeps me out of my head and into my heart, thus when I go to create (i.e. content for my blog, books, etc.) it comes from a place of inspiration. Some days I have to just hit the grind and force myself to do things I don’t want or like to do. It is on these days especially I find when I start my day from a place of peace and connection to God the rest seems to fall into place. I’m then in the mindset of having faith and trusting that what needs to get done that day will get done, all the while being proactive to co-create with the Ultimate Creator.

I hope you find these tips useful and encouraging when you feel stuck. The best thing we can do is to keep moving with purpose. If you’re connecting to what I’m saying and want to take it to a deeper level, shoot me an email at baileyheard@gmail.com to set up a complimentary coaching session. In the comments below, I would love to hear your advice on what helps you to move onward and upward even when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stuck. Also, I’d love to read your big WHY statement. Thank you so much for being willing to contribute. I learn so much from each of your posts and I’m inspired by your stories. I want to support and encourage you to continue pressing on even when it’s not easy. Keep the faith! Love and Blessings.

 

Finding Your Best Mentor

me and my mentor

(me and Christine Hassler at her Dallas book tour where I introduced her!)

Hi There,

 

I’m back from paradise! Read lots of books, spent time with family, and enjoyed some rest and relaxation. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, too, and were able to spend some quality time with your loved ones. I thrive off of fresh beginnings, so it’s no wonder I’m feeling excited by this New Year. The opportunities to create the life we want are abundant. I’m especially looking forward to a new opportunity that starts tomorrow. In the morning, I will be flying to Los Angeles to start a mentorship with Christine Hassler. Reading her books and being coached by her has had a profound effect on my life. After finding her book, 20 Something 20 Everything, in my early twenties and reading her bio about what she did for a living (life coach, speaker, blogger), I knew that was the life and career I wanted to create for myself. Since that time, I’ve been personally coached by her, attended her seminars, went on one of her retreats to Costa Rica, and am now joining a small group of women who will be mentored by her. This opportunity is a dream come true. Many of the self-help books I’ve read encourage the concept of finding a mentor to help you grow your business, however that’s easier said then done. I wanted to share some tips based on my experience to consider when choosing a career mentor that is right for you!

 

  1. Are they a style match? After being coached by several different coaches I realized that each coach has their own style of coaching. For example, some may work with a personality test, some have a conversational style, some are completely goal oriented, etc.   What I realized was that some styles did not suit me as well as others. Once I realized Christine’s style of coaching was the style of coach I wanted to become, then I knew working with her, as opposed to others, was a right fit for me. Ask yourself the following when deciding if a mentor is right for you:
    • How does this person (mentor) interact with other employees or with their clients?
    • Do you connect with his/her style of working with others?

If so, he/she may be a good fit.

  1. Are they successful in their field? This one is a big one. It may seem obvious that you want to work with someone who is successful, but it’s also important to see yourself in their success. For example: Do they have the kind of success that you want to have in your business? When I envisioned my life, I saw myself doing what Christine has already successfully done- I, too, want to lead retreats all over the world, coach one-on-one, write books, do TV interviews, and speak all over the country. I knew that these were all areas of interest for myself, so the fact she has succeeded in creating a living for herself doing all the things I love to do was a good indication I would glean so much from her expertise.
  2. Do your values line up? I don’t exactly know what all of Christine’s values are, but from reading her blog and working with her our values are aligned enough where I don’t feel out of integrity when I am with her. It’s important to me to feel that I’m spending time with someone who is ethical and shares some of my top values, because no matter what their level of success, I’m not just looking at a successful career— I want a successful life and that comes down to who a person truly is inside.

 

I think one of the best parts about having a mentor is knowing that you have someone to help you when you get stuck. It’s also nice to know that the success you want to create in your life is possible, because you are partnering with someone who is already living the dream you both share. These are just a few of the criteria I used when deciding to invest in and be mentored by Christine. I’m sure that you have other tips on what to look for in a mentor and I would love to read your suggestions in the comments below. Hope you have a great rest of the week and I will catch ya when I get back! Love and Blessings.

El fast asleep with Winston

(Ellie and her best friend ,Winston, passed out after a long hard day of playing! Yes, she is still holding his leash :) )

A little bonus material here! I have to tell you a sweet Ellie story. We have been renting a dog (my furry nephew, Winston) since my brother and his wife have been home for the holidays. Ellie is attached to that dog like white on rice. She holds his hand, “reads” him the Bible, plays with him, grooms him, etc. A few nights ago out of the blue, she told me Winston reminded her of her daddy. In my head, I was kind of laughing because I thought it was a funny statement. Then I asked her why he reminded her of her daddy and she said because he kisses her a lot. (Ellie also told this to my brother and his wife a couple of weeks ago). My heart melted. She told me that playing with Winston was like getting to play with her daddy. It all made sense to me as to why she loves to do everything with him, and now when I look into Winston’s big brown eyes, I can’t help but think of Andrew!

 

Set For Success

The girls

Hi There!

Hope you are enjoying this holiday season with your loved ones! I’m getting pretty excited about the New Year (as in I can hardly sleep because I have so many ideas running through my head) and was thinking you might be too! I have a couple of tips and tools to help us start the New Year off with a bang!

  1. It’s Gotta Go- I’m constantly trying to live by the motto “less is more.” I like to blame it on my having A.D.D., but for me, too many choices overwhelm and paralyze me from taking action (and like you, I plan on taking some massive action this year). With that being said, I am taking some time to rid myself of clutter and keeping out just what I need, the rest has gotta go. I’m a fan of garage sales (I have one every 6 months). If I’m ready to get it outta here immediately I head straight to Goodwill. If you need to organize your things I love going to The Container Store.
  2. Thank Heavens for Dave Ramsey- If you don’t know about Dave Ramsey, here is his website: http://www.daveramsey.com/. If you’re like me and need to learn how to stick to a budget, but need it to be explained to you in layman’s terms, not alien, then Dave is your man. My dad is certified to teach Dave Ramsey’s methods, so yesterday he sat down with me and helped me go through my finances with some of Dave’s workbooks. I can’t begin to tell you how surprised I was by the simple process. It felt great to be in the know about my finances, and to be able to set a budget and to set financial goals for 2015.
  3. Put Your First Things First- Last week, I had a session with my therapist and I was venting about how I was having a hard time parenting Ellie. My incredible therapist told me that instead of avoiding the issues, I needed to put more focus and energy into my parenting. For me, this meant some other things in my life had to go. I had to take a good look at what was taking up my time and energy and reprioritize. Ellie is of course at the top of my priority list, but because I was frustrated and uncomfortable with my parenting I wasn’t making her my top priority. As hard as it was to let go of some of the other priorities that I enjoyed doing, it felt good to know that I was putting my first things first.
  4. Dream Dream Dream- One of my favorite things to do before the New Year is to take time to dream, write, and be creative—all in regards to what I want more of in the year to come! I’m a very visual person so sometimes I will create dream boards by cutting out images in magazines that inspire me, gluing them onto a board, and putting it somewhere I can see it. The images represent the life that I want to create in 2015 (some people love to do this on Pinterest). Other times I write out a list of all the projects I want to complete and then a list below each project of what steps I need to take each day to complete that project. Lastly, I love to get jazzed up for the year by reading or listening (I love audible) to a great biography about someone who overcame the odds to create the life of their dreams. Super inspiring!

I hope you found these tips and tools helpful for getting you set up for a successful 2015! I’m headed out on a family cruise tomorrow where I plan to apply these tips while on the sea! I would love to hear what you do to set your year up for success! Can’t wait to read your tips in the comments below. Thank you so much for reading my blog and I wish you a happy, happy New Year! Blessings.

I Want A Daddy

Ellie's school picture 2014 in color

Hi Friends! I hope you all are doing well and getting excited about the fast approaching holiday season. Although I do look forward to the holidays, there’s always a layer of sadness that comes with them. Mostly because a big part of the holiday season is being with the ones you love, and when you lose someone that was such a big part of your life, the holidays seem to highlight the gaping hole inside our hearts. With that being said, Christmas is such a fun time because Ellie is at the perfect age to be excited about Santa, although already at three she’s a skeptic. She asked me the other day, “How did Santa get that huge trampoline in our backyard last year?” along with a long list of other questions as to why Santa might not be real. Sometimes I envision Andrew in heaven, laughing at the thought that I didn’t escape his skepticism. Ellie is so her daddy’s daughter.

 

Last night, I had a conversation with Ellie that literally broke my heart, but also gave me a glimpse into her reality. We were watching the 1998 movie, Jack Frost, starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston. In the movie, the dad (Michael Keaton) dies in a car accident and leaves behind his wife (Kelly Preston) and son, Charlie (age 12). In one scene, Charlie and this bully are talking about how much it stinks to not have a dad. Ellie was lying on my chest and said, “I want a daddy.” Her words crushed me. I saw this as an opportunity to connect with her and also to apply what I’m learning as a coach, as well as what I’ve learned from child therapists that I’ve worked with. I want to share some of these tips with you in the hope that when you find yourself having intentional conversations with your kids (or anyone, really) these tips might help you to better connect and bond!

 

  1. Listen for the feeling. After Ellie said she wanted a daddy, I asked her, “What kind of daddy do you want?” She responded by saying, “I want a daddy that fights off dragons.” Inside, I kind of laughed, but when I asked myself what the feeling was behind what she was saying, I realized exactly what she was wanting. My intention from this conversation was to connect with Ellie, so I thought back to a time when I wanted to feel safe and protected. I completely understood where she was coming from because I slept in the middle of my parents until my little brother was born (we are 7 years apart) and kicked me out of the bed (still a little bitter). When I slept in between my parents I felt invincible, like no one could hurt me, and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Remembering this experience, I said to Ellie, “So you want to feel safe and protected?” She beamed when I said this and I could tell she felt understood. Remembering this time in my own life put me in the right frame of mind to be able to decipher what it was she was wanting.

 

  1. Put the ball back in their court. At first, I found myself starting to make her promises about what kind of dad that she would have one day: one that loves her like his own, plays with her, teaches her about God, etc. Then I realized that was the opposite of what the child therapist told me to do. She told me to not make promises I couldn’t deliver. The truth was, I wasn’t sure that Ellie would have another man in her life that would be like a dad to her. Seeing how excited she got about the dream of a dad just made me want to fill her with the hope that one day that would happen, but honestly, I shouldn’t have promised what I have no ability to truly know at this time. After feeling guilty for making these promises, I remembered what I’ve learned in coaching, and that is to allow the person to take responsibility for their dream. I said, “Ellie, why don’t you talk to your daddy in heaven and ask him to help find you the best daddy he can think of.” She smiled and said, “Yes, Mommy.”

 

  1. Stay out of judgment and into curiosity. I learned this one from my mom. She always told me this when she thought I was being judgmental. I find it hard to not get emotionally wrapped up and project my judgments when I’m talking to my daughter and I can tell that she is really hurt and there is nothing I can do to fix it. I’m not perfect at this one and fail a lot at it, but I know it takes work. What I’m learning, however, is that just being present, listening, and asking curious questions usually leads me to my ultimate intentions, which are for her to feel loved and understood by me. This leads to one of my most important values, which is genuine connection to people.

 

I hope you don’t find yourself having to have this particular conversation with your children, but I do know that all of these tips can help to enrich any conversation you have with anyone. I would love to hear your tips and advice for having intentional conversations with your children and others. Please leave your suggestions in the comments. Thank you so much for following my blog and I wish you the happiest of holidays! Blessings and Love.

Check it off

intotheblue

Hi Friends,

I hope you are all having a great start to your week! This week is a little strange for me because my little buggy bear (aka my daughter Ellie Grace) is visiting my in-laws (Andrew’s parents) for the entire week. It’s been eerily silent in my house this weekend, but I’m adjusting to it. I wanted El to get some time with her grandparents since they live so far away, and I also had several major projects to finish. I’m completing deadlines for The Ellie Project and working with my web designer to complete my new website! I’m also doing a lot of other things that revolve around starting your own business and, of course, buying and wrapping Christmas gifts. In the past, I would plan to do all these projects and then let my schedule fill up with lunches with friends, extra rest, reading a good book, etc. All fun things, but they were not helping me reach my goals.

This weekend as I was creating momentum in my projects I wondered if any of you struggle with the same distractions and frustration towards completing projects? I am always growing and learning in this area, but here are some tips I’ve come up with to help us really complete the many projects going on in our lives:

 

  1. Make sure you time block each task. For example: if I’m working on building my database, I will give myself one hour to work on that. After one hour, no matter how much I’ve accomplished, I will stop that task and move to the next one.
  2. Throw in some exercise. I like to start my day off with some movin’ and groovin’, because a.) if I don’t do it then, I probably won’t do it at all and b.) it gives me a sense of accomplishment, not to mention an energy boost. Sometimes in between projects I will take a lap around the block or hit a yoga class. It’s really important if all of your projects are inside to make sure to get outside throughout your day. Just make sure your exercise is time blocked, too, so you can get back on task toward achieving your goals.
  3. Vary your tasks from mindful to mindless. So for me, one of the projects on my list was wrapping gifts, which is pretty mindless, so I made sure to schedule creating content for my website right after. I do best when I switch back and forth between the two because I can’t personally do mindful tasks all day long, it burns me out. Another fun tip: listen to some upbeat music when you do the mindless activities. I’m currently listening to “Justin Bieber Holiday” on Pandora (don’t judge :) ). I will occasionally have a little dance party for myself and bust a move if I’m really feeling it. This keeps my energy high and my mood positive.
  4. Eat for fuel. Make sure and eat foods that are going to give you energy and not make you crash. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  5. Make time for YOU. If you have a project that will take several days to complete, make sure to time block for personal things you like to do (like read in the bath, watch E! news, catch up on people magazine— those are some of my favorite things). I find that if I don’t make time for me, I get burned out early on and lose momentum.
  6. Cut if off early. Pick a time that you want to stop working on your projects and do some wind-down activities like taking a bath or reading a fun book. I don’t recommend doing anything on your phone or computer. At least for me, it’s too much stimulation. Also, if I read one of my fave kinds of books, like a business book, I get all pumped and my mind will go crazy all night long. So keep in mind that you want to do things that will calm you down because getting a good night’s rest is really important toward helping you accomplish your goals.

 

These are all tips that I’ve found to help me stay in the game when it comes to completing various projects in my life. I would love for you to leave a comment on what tips help you to accomplish the many projects in your life. I hope this post helps you stay focused, have high energy, and build momentum as you knock out your projects over the holidays. Blessings and Holiday love.

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