5 Ways to Find Joy During the Holidays
They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. – Tom Bodett
The holiday season is here again! It seems the older I get, the holidays come around faster and faster. It's hard not to be overwhelmed during the course of a normal month or week but adding the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to the mix makes us all a little more “anxious” to say the least. So much to do, so little time. It’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important during the holidays, we’re usually shouting, “Joy to the World” but not feeling very joyous.
Here are some ways to find joy this holiday season and all year long:
1. Do something for someone else. Volunteer, bring in the neighbor’s trash can from the curb, donate items to a local shelter, help an elderly relative, etc. Bringing a smile to someone’s face is a sure-fire way to experience joy.
2. Spend time with a child. Even if you aren’t a parent, take your niece/nephew or godchild to a park or museum. Children are the least cynical people you’ll meet and they will open your eyes to seeing the world in a different way.
3. Laugh. Watch a funny television show or read a funny book or hang out with friends who tickle your funny bone. Laughter is the best medicine to lift your spirits.
4. Reflect. Did you wake up this morning with the ability to see, hear or think? Do you have the freedom to go where ever you want and be whoever you want to be? Because there are millions of blind and deaf people in the world and people from other countries flee their homes everyday for a taste of the very freedom you might be taking for granted. Smile and rejoice simply because you can!
5. Let it go. Let go of anger, fear, jealousy and any other negative feeling that keeps you from experiencing joy each day. You’re a unique manifestation of God and what God has for you. . .is for YOU. Be happy with things just the way they are before you think about changing them.
5 Steps to a Successful Vision Board Party
I hosted a Vision Board Party on Saturday, November 21st. And by all accounts it was a success! In the event you've been living under a rock and aren't familiar with a vision board- it is basically a visual representation of your goals or aspirations. First, you start off with a blank poster board or sheet of paper (you can also create virtual vision boards) and then you look through magazines for words and images that best represent your goals.
For example, if you want to travel more in the upcoming year, then you would look for photo's of airplanes, or certain destinations like a beach, Las Vegas, London, Rome, etc. Or keywords like "adventure" or "journey". You cut out these images from the magazine and arrange them on your poster board in a way that is aesthetically pleasing to you and then glue them on to the board. Once you are done you hang it in your office, bedroom, closet, kitchen, etc. wherever you will be more inclined to see it and be reminded of your goals.
The owner of the venue where I had my event said something really profound in regards to vision boards: Visualization leads to manifestation! I think that pretty much sums it up!
Here are some tips for pulling off a successful vision board party:
1. Venue- You need to find a venue for your vision board party. Determine if you want to have it at your home, clubhouse, library or other location. TIP: Of course your home would be ideal depending on the number of people you're hosting but most public libraries will let you use their rooms for free. I hosted my event at The Woman's Earth, a wellness studio in my city where I am a member. You get discounted rates on space rental. Wherever you decide to have the event, make sure the space is open and can accommodate your guests and everyone has enough room to spread out and make their boards.
2. Guests- If you are doing a small group, I would suggest only inviting people who you know will be inspired or can serve as an inspiration. You can have as few as 3 to 5 people or upwards of 20. Just make sure all in attendance feel like they are getting something out of it and they have enough time to create! Be mindful: vision board parties are suppose to be positive and uplifting, make sure you invite the right energy into the space! Don't invite people who will bring in negative vibes.
3. Invitation- Once your guest list is written down, create a fun invite and send it to your guests. I actually did my entire guest list through Facebook after creating my invite. If you have enough time and plan the event far in advance you can also get cute invitations printed and mail them out to people who may not be on social media. Also, for me I chose to charge a small fee ($15) it helped cover supplies and refreshments but it was also to solidify a commitment from attendees. When you have a "free" event (unless it's all family) sometimes people will RSVP and not show up. But usually when people pay a fee, they are more committed to attending and participating.
4. Supplies- I subscribe to three magazines, so I usually have old magazines laying around. Most of the time I stack them up and take them to the recycling center but since I knew I was going to be having a vision board party I started saving the magazines. I also picked up free community magazines from the grocery store and got a few from the dentist office. You can also check the recycling centers or doctors offices, nail salons, beauty salons for extra magazines. And depending on how many people you're inviting-- if it's a really small group-- you might just pay for a handful of magazines or ask your guests to bring some if you aren't charging a fee. I also purchased little notebooks with inspirational covers and put them in a gift bag along with chocolates so that the ladies had a parting gift. AND I purchased a copy of Cheryl Strayed's Brave Enough along with The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and did two giveaways at the party.
5. Agenda- Even though most of the time will be spent scouring through magazines, you don't want there to be a lull in activity. I opened the party with an ice breaker to introduce everyone and to get them thinking about their goals for 2016. I had soft music playing during the event, walked around encouraging everyone and gave everyone a sheet entitled "2016 Intentions" to further help them streamline their goals for the upcoming year.
One thing I didn't mention above was that I planned this event a month out. So, I sent the first save the date for the event around October 21st. You want to be sure you allow yourself enough time to get everything together. It will probably work even better if you enlist someone to co-host, pick someone who is going to take it seriously and hold up their end of the responsibilities.
And that's all there is to it! Just be sure as the host/hostess you enjoy your self and make a vision board as well!
My Reading List
In addition to being a writer, I am an avid reader. Here is a look at the books on my reading list (so far). The books I've already read are in bold:
Have you read any of these titles? What are some books on your reading list?
Book Review: The Girl On The Train
If you are a writer, especially a writer who wants to become a published author, I don't think it will be possible unless you are first a reader.
You have to be a lover of the written word and books in general in order to tell a good story. I am a reader, a voracious reader and had the opportunity to finish, The Girl On The Train last week.
In a word it was captivating. It has been a while since a book has held my attention in such a way. I felt drawn into the story with the imagery and every time the train was mentioned I felt the rumble of the car traveling down the tracks.
I've always been a fan of multiple POV's (point of view) in stories because I like knowing what all the characters are thinking and the motivation behind their actions. I've said a time or two that I'm not a big fan of mysteries but this "suspense" genre is quickly becoming my favorite. This is the second or third book I've read where I was certain I knew who the culprit was and I ended up WRONG! Lol! But that's a good thing, I like the twists and turns and having to continue reading on until I get some answers.
The only thing I didn't like about this story was how the main character Rachel, let her ex-husband manipulate her. But that is so indicative of real life, there are some women who allow men to totally wreck havoc on their self esteem/well being and then when the relationship ends they are irreparably damaged.
A quick synopsis: Rachel Watson is a commuter on a London train. Everyday she passes a neighborhood where a row of houses face the track. When the train stops at this spot, she spies on the inhabitants of one house in particular, as they sit on their patio. She starts to feel like she knows the couple and imagines what their life must be like but she has NO IDEA what's really going on and that the fantasy she created in her head is not even close to reality. She is eventually drawn into their lives after a tragedy occurs and finds herself at the center of a murder investigation!
Don't delay, go and pick this book up today!! The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. If you've read the book, what did you think?
Best Advice I Ever Received
I thought about the best advice I’d ever received and I always come back to the same words:
“Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t give you the right to take it out on everyone else. It’s not their fault.”
These words were handed to me from the branch manager at the bank where I was a teller. At the time, I was very young and had a chip on my shoulder and the words went in one ear and out the other. But over the years I recalled those words whenever I dealt with people. I never wanted to be known as the “girl with the attitude”, so I regardless to what was going on in my life I always made a conscious effort to temper my responses, remarks and attitude when dealing with other people. Even now, I try to focus on being positive, helpful and friendly. I think maintaining this type of outlook has helped me immensely throughout my life. I think we’re all on a very unique journey and we make it difficult for our fellow travelers when we project our issues on to them. Lest we forget, the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Writer. Reader. Designer. Creative Spirit.
“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”