Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Always in My Thoughts: Learning the Power of Now

I'm one of those people who is always in their own thoughts. I don't mean to but I'm really comfortable there. I enjoy ruminating over life and the many situations that come my way. All of my actions and decisions are derived from my thoughts so it's the place I spend most of my time. Sounds weird, right? Basically, I'm a thinker or an over thinker. I've been known to over analyze something to the point where I am paralyzed. Unable to act due to fear mainly. It's the fear of not knowing and so I continue to breakdown something until I know it but the truth is that I never really know it. As confident as I would like to be I never really know when it's time to step out. When it's time to take a gamble and do something new. It's always a faith walk. I guess you could say my pondering is my defense mechanism. When in doubt I just think. Think about what I should do, what I won't do, what I may do and why may I do it. It's actually quite arduous. The simpler thing would be to just do it. (Thanks Nike) That's sort of how this blog came to be. I honestly knew I wasn't ready to launch it, I hadn't prepped the material. I ideally wanted to have weeks of material prepped and ready to go at a moment's notice. I wanted a marketing plan and blah blah blah yada yada yah. My mission statement is anything but spectacular. However I knew that if I didn't just launch this blog then it may just become that one thing I was always talking about but never really doing. I couldn't let that happen. Trust me I have a whole pile of those ideas, inventions, creations, scripts, businesses lying around and I didn't want this blog to be one of them.

So I started it. I had an idea for one post and I wrote it. (insert smile) That makes me happy. I accomplished something. I even feel a little warm and tingly on the inside thinking about it. And I guess that's what the power of now feels like. It feels refreshing and contagious all at the same time. I'm glad that I did it but now I want to do something else to keep up the momentum. Sort of like when I work up the courage to work out after a really long time (and I do mean a really long time) and once I realize I'm not going to die and I kind of like the feeling once I am finished that's what the power of now feels like to me. It's a movement. I've never read Eckhart Tolle so this isn't a shout out to him or his book. Actually I had finished jotting down a few items that I want to focus on in the year 2015 and thought "Hey Amber!, let's go ahead and write another post" and then I asked "Now?" and then I did it.

Ultimately I want to live in the now. Free from the mistakes of yesterday that sometimes haunt me as well as detached from uncertainty of the future. I want to settle into the comfort of the present moment. All I know is what I know right now. No longer waiting for the right moment but trying something now. I feel like that is what 2014 was about for me. I made some big leaps. I quit my job which was a process (I'll write about that at some point) and started a new job. I spent more time doing the things that I loved like writing, modeling, cooking and crafting. I spent time with good people and ate delicious food and even tried some new things. For me I had to jump out of my comfort zone. I couldn't allow myself to think too much because if I did you wouldn't be reading this right now. (See what I did there) Okay yes I'm corny. Anywho I want to encourage you to do something now. Right now. If you want to start a business, do it right now. If you want to start a blog do it right now. Take action. Don't wait for 2015, use the power of now.

With Love,

Mrs. Kaye

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 ways to BUILD Community

The idea for this post really just sort of hit me upside the head while I was driving. I kept thinking about what makes a place feel like home. Specifically what makes an individual feel as though they belong. From home to work, it really doesn't matter about the edifice or the decor but it's the atmosphere, the energy, the people, the relationships and the bond. That's what makes a community. This list below is in no way, shape or form attempting to be comprehensive. It's not even a scratch on the surface but it's 5 ways that came to my mind. 5 ways that you could be more intentional about the way you approach your communities as well as manage and grow them.

Let's get started.

1. Share a Meal

There's something about sitting down and having a good meal with someone. I don't know about you but it's hard to be angry or frustrated with someone when you're eating. That may sound weird but I  personally cannot remain closed off or not enjoy my meal. Actually I cannot eat at all when I'm mad, I lose my appetite. Ultimately I'm usually happy when I'm eating. I will most likely be jovial, make jokes, smile, laugh and laugh some more. It's a perfect opportunity to get to know someone better, catch up, or reconnect. I like this way a lot because you can use it at home with your family, at work with your colleagues or with your friends. Oh and when you share the meal try sitting at a table without any devices.

2. Make Memories

Ok this may sound random but hear me out. This is honestly more about engaging in activities and experiencing life together. This could be as simple as hosting a potluck at work, learning to surf with friends or having a games night as a family. I think the key to making a memory is that everyone contributes. It may sound odd but there must be some level of effort put forward by everyone. Yes by definition a memory is something remembered from the past however the point isn't just to create a moment in time but it's to create a lasting moment. And the way you do that is by creating opportunity. You don't want to manufacture the moment but you do want to have activities and experiences that allow for the creation of lasting memories. Yes I go to work every weekday and I have memories of those days but I'm more inclined to feel connected to my community when we have opportunities to experience life together and make memories. Same goes for my family and friends.

3. Invest Time

If you want your community to thrive and grow then you have to put in the time. It sounds easy and it really is. WARNING I'm about to use a four letter word. PLAN. Yup I said it. Plan your time for your communities. I'd even go as far to say set goals for what you want to gain from each community and what you must contribute in order to meet your goals. Depending on your goals and the type of community the time commitment could be as little as a couple hours per week to a couple days a month.

4. Be Inclusive

There's always room for one more. If we use that mentality then no one will be left out. That's not to say that everyone belongs in your community but that the goal should never be to exclude anyone. In my opinion this is what separates a Clique from a Community.

5. Take Responsibility

As I get older I realize how much work it was for my parents to keep me entertained and engaged. From movies, trips to the mall, school plays and parties to name a few that was almost a full-time job in and of itself and at some point that burden has to shift. It can no longer be anyone else's responsibility to establish, maintain and grow our community. We must take the reigns on our personal and professional communities. The growth and health of our communities is dependent upon the level of effort that we put towards it.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post, please be sure to share ways you build community in your personal and professional circles below in the comments.

With Love,

Mrs. Kaye

Monday, December 1, 2014

Putting CHRIST back in Christmas

Kaye 2014 Christmas Tree.
This weekend as I was just coming out of my Thanksgiving food coma I saw an email in my inbox from one of my favorite radio shows, Family Life Today encouraging their listeners to "Put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas this weekend". They were having a special sale on ornaments aimed at helping you share the story of CHRISTmas. It was a very simple email centered around promoting their sales however the title of the email caught my eye.

This truly has been my heart for some time now and it really goes beyond holidays to our daily lifestyle. How are you living and are the ways of this world overshadowing what you truly believe?
I feel challenged to go out of my way to make sure my husband and I do not reduce this wonderful Christmas season to just gifts, food and paid time off work. Our goal as a family is to honor and thank God for the gift of his son Jesus Christ, celebrate the gift of Christ as a family and share that same gift with others. Yes we will also eat some good food and give one another presents but that's not the point. I really want to challenge you as well to take a moment and consider your Christmas traditions, is Christ at the center? And if not will you realign?

For my family, it's just the two of us for now but I want to make sure we set the right foundation with Christ as our center. This time of year can be overwhelming because of the pressure from outside forces to spend a lot of money on gifts for those you love to show you care. I know I have had to shift my thinking to that of the following, if I didn't give or receive any gifts it doesn't mean that I love or am loved any less. Aside from changing my perspective I am also setting a budget for gifts. As well as asking people what could I give or do that would be a blessing to them this year. Maybe they don't need a new sweater or prepackaged lotion set, maybe a gas gift card would help them more or maybe just maybe they just want to spend some quality time with you.

Lastly don't get caught up in setting a tradition or keeping it. The most important thing is to honor God, remember the reason for the season and have fun!

Below are a few ways that my family plans to celebrate Christmas with Christ at the center.

  • Spend time reading the Christmas Story aka The Nativity Story as a family and discuss what you read. Did anything new stand out?
    • Luke Chapters 1 & 2
  • Or maybe act out the Christmas Story as a family on Christmas morning (this could be fun!)
  • Sing Christmas Carols with your family 
    • If you're really bold go around your neighbor
  • Incorporate Crosses, Angels, Nativity Scenes and verses into your Christmas Decorations
  • Serve at a local shelter, soup kitchen or food pantry as a family 
  • Fast from a meal as a family
    • During this season we tend to focus on all the food but give up a meal and spend that time praying for those who are less fortunate. 
  • Make a Cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday on Christmas.
    • And for younger kids this is probably a pretty cool idea

Please feel free to share ways your family will be putting CHRIST back in Christmas in the comments.

With Love,

Mrs. Kaye