What do you love about the holiday season?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve received a ton of emails in the past week with all kinds of sales:  Black Friday.  Cyber Monday.  Small business Saturday.  (Who comes up with this stuff???)  You may have also heard people talk about the “Holiday madness” or “Christmas crazy”.  (Words are power, people.  Use them wisely.)  Or  you may have been witness to a meltdown.  In a parking lot, someone losing it over a parking space.  Or a rant online (or in person) about any number of things.

I’ve witnessed all of these things already, and it’s only the beginning of December.
So I’m asking you today, what do you love about the holiday season?
Doesn’t matter what you do, or don’t, celebrate.
What do you love about this time of year?
The fact is – you have a choice.  
You can get caught up in the so-called madness, or you can choose to appreciate what you love.

Me?  I love Christmas lights. And extra-hot, hot chocolate.  Cheesy Christmas music and the hope for snow.  Yes, I have a ton of stuff to do, and I can get lost in that overwhelm, or I can choose to breathe and appreciate the magic that this time of year holds for my children (and for me).
It’s all too easy to fall in line with that person ranting about crazy drivers or the “commercialization” of Christmas, but it’s much for fun to celebrate.  Celebrate the love that surrounds you. 
Redirect your thinking and focus on what you love.

It’s a choice.  Your choice.  Choose wisely.

may you be surrounded by love, laughter and the magic of the season.

Grateful. 400 words on gratitude.

Today, is American Thanksgiving.
This past month, I’ve been exploring gratitude with my email list (I don’t always post what I write to the blog), and I’m feeling pretty grateful today. A while back, I wrote this post on love. Today I’m going to replicate it – with the focus on gratitude.  Although come to think of it ~ the two are very, very similar.

I am grateful for…..
Seeing the world through the eyes of a two and four year-old (adults tend to miss A LOT of funny things). People that push me to be better. Blue sky. Open water. Moving my body. Work. Travel – down the road or around the globe. Meeting new people, learning new things. Patience. Warm, fuzzy socks. My running shoes. Road trips. Paying it forward. The truth. Sunsets. The Grand Canyon. A challenge. Family. You. Those that have gone before. A good book. A quick nap. Dreams. A brand new book…the “crack” as you open it for the first time. Health and wellness. Something to hope for. Do-overs. Life’s simple pleasures.  Eight full hours of sleep. Apple anything.  My kick-ass immune system.  A lazy day with absolutely nothing to do. Connecting with others. Tears.  Color – the reds and pinks of a sunset; the blue of my baby girl’s eyes; the green of freshly mowed grass; bright purple polish. Laughing with strangers. Instigating “trouble”. Working in sweats and a t-shirt.  Being alone. A day full of work ~ creating, moving, radiating love. A genuine smile. The airport.  My babies laughter. The internet and modern technology.  Plan B.  Hugs.  Bella, wonder dog, always ready to run.  Celebrating. Unexpected kindness. Coaching. Pizza ovens and experimenting with ingredients. A nice, long, tender kiss. Being taken care of. A sense of purpose. Home.  Words of encouragement – especially ones that I don’t expect, when I’m questioning what I do.   The farmer’s market.  Joy.   Mischief of any kind. Hot tea on a cold day. Neighbors, both near and far. Desire. The change in seasons.  Receiving help, even if I have trouble asking. Opposition.  Excellent service – from myself and others. Questions? Those that have my back (you know who you are). Old Levi’s. A blank sheet of paper. Taking care of others. Pushing someone beyond their comfort zone. High fives up top. The finish line. Each new day.  A good clean meal. The warmth of sunshine. Not getting what I want (some times), but then also getting what I want. Life and all it’s chaos.  The library. Dancing. The smell of peppermint and lavender. New friends and old. Live music of any kind. Dark chocolate. My sense of humor. Lying in the grass. Creating new things. Making mistakes – and moving forward. Candles and bonfires. Christmas ships and Christmas music. Excellent teachers….being surrounded by them. Time. Forgiveness. Love.

400 words about things I love…

I was inspired by Elan Morgan, to write this post about the things that I love.  It seemed like an excellent way to end 2012.  And so it is with gratitude for a wonderful year that has been, and anticipation for 2013, that I attempt to spread a bit of happiness and love….

I love the feel of sunshine on my skin.  A cold beer on a hot day.  Open water.  It soothes and feeds my soul.  Freedom.  The first snow.  My birthday.  The smell of new babies.  A long run in cold weather.  New running shoes.  Just about anything Nike.  The dictionary.  Deepening knowledge.  Travel – anywhere, any time.  Laughing out loud.  Meeting new people.  Taking classes, asking questions.  Sarcasm.  My mother’s non-apologetic way of approaching anything.  The smell of lavender, vanilla and rain.  Giggling with my babies.  Adrenaline.  Creating.  Innovating.  Writing.  Tossing around big ideas.  Time with old friends.  A challenge.  Going home.  Pencils – the old school wooden kind, not the new complicated mechanical ones.   Moving my body – running, biking, swimming, yoga – anything.  Road trips.  Baseball.   Trash talking.  Rowing on Lake Union in December with the Christmas lights in fully glory.  Sailing on open water with dolphins in sight.  Teaching.  Fireworks.  A nice crisp glass of wine.  Cheese.  Anticipation.  Inspiration.  Goofing off with my husband.  Instigating trouble of any kind.  Fleece pants on a cold day.  Hot chocolate in the winter.  A warm beach and a good book.  The amazing world beneath the water’s surface.  Inspiring others to be their best.  Montana State University, Bozeman – a world some times covered in snow, surrounded by mountains and full of beauty, love, laughter, lasting friendship and truth.  The sound of rain on the roof at night (but only at night – never during the day when I could be outside).  The big a-ha! Rolling down the windows and cranking up the tunes.    Water skiing on flat water.  Inside jokes.  The way that my Dad used to say things solely to get you riled up, ready to argue – and then you’d see the twinkle in his eye and laugh instead.  I miss that.  A lot.  Airplanes and airports, even if I’m not the one going.  Possibility.  The library.  Time alone.  Cozy, warm wool socks.  Being outside, on the deck in the summer. Next to a fire in the winter.  Gazing up at the stars.  A crisp new notebook, preferably red.  Whole foods, if nothing else to wander around and gaze at the beautiful food.  Finding that perfect gift for someone and watching their face as they open it.  My kids, riding in the back seat, naming everything they see.  People that make you want to be better.

and you, my friend?  What is it that you love?

Choose Love.

Whether you celebrate valentine’s day or not,

February has become the month of love.
Now, I’m not big on the holiday, but it got me thinking about love.
What is it? and what does it feel like in your body?
Take a moment right now, and feel it. Close your eyes, and conjure up some feelings of love.
I’ll wait….
Feels good, right? It could be the feeling you get when you think of an important person in your life.
Or doing something kind for someone else.
Or perhaps simply feeling sunshine on your skin.
Pure love.
Every day we have countless opportunities to spread love – to ourselves and others.
How many times do we consciously do that?
How many times do we actually choose love – especially when dealing with ourselves?
This month of love is the perfect opportunity to choose love. To spread love.
To be love.
Every time you do something, consciously choose to do it with love.
Infuse it with love before you do it.
Exercise to show your body & mind a little love.
Do something nice for someone else, because you love them.
Wear comfortable shoes to show your feet some love.
The list could go on, but you get the idea, right?
Easy peasy.
Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky….
Whenever you do something that feels like failure,
something that you’re not happy with –
you have the opportunity to love yourself more or less.
Choose more love, every time.