Sunday, December 20, 2015

Word of the Year

The following post is one of the first posts on my new site: Graceful Rising (it will be up soon!).  

The year 2016 will be my third year doing a "word of the year" instead of a typical resolution.  I did not come up with this awesome idea, I was first introduced to the concept by Christine Kane (she's a badass and worth following on your journey).  The cool thing about having a word is that it's more of a guide than a general resolution.

In 2014 my word was "confidence" and in 2015 it was "stability."  These words just came to me as I was doing the exercise, which I will provide a link to at the bottom of this post.  Just to give you an idea, some of the specifics of working toward stability included physical stability, mental stability, and financial stability.  I journaled frequently (2-3 times per week) about ways I was meeting this goal.  Things like meditating, exercising, tracking spending, and saving money were all ways I was embodying my word of the year.

If you were thinking about doing a New Year's Resolution, or two, consider instead doing a Word of the Year.  I guarantee you won't regret it.  Just let the word come to you (you might be amazed at how easily this happens- a perfect example of tapping into your awareness) and then work toward, and with, your word for all of 2016.

Let's make 2016 our best year yet.

Christine has a 'Word of the Year Tool' that you can download to figure out your word for 2016.  Download the tool here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

#WCW Ellen and Happy Thanksgiving!

It's hump day!  And that means #WCW.  My crush today is Ms. Ellen Degeneres.  I am a big fan of her show and she always seems to put those around her in a good mood.

Three things I have learned from Ellen:

1) Don't worry too much about what other people think of you.  Ellen obviously dances to her own beat- and literally dances.  She does what makes her happy.  This is a lesson that takes some of us years to learn.

2) Care about others and have compassion.  Ellen often has guests on her show that do amazing things for others. She celebrates them and, in turn, reminds us to give it our all in our work and personal lives. 

3) Be kind to one another.  As you probably know, this is Ellen's sign-off phrase.  I have always loved it.  In a world that seems less interconnected these days, it's important to be kind to those around us.  I try to remember to give a simple smile or hello to anyone I see.  You never know how much that may mean to someone.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What I Have Learned From a Two Year Old

Well hello there.  I am feeling quite happy today because my dad sent me a bunch of photos of my adorable nephew.  He is two and a half and it amazes me how much I can love a child that isn't mine.  Sometimes I think about him randomly throughout my days.  I  realized the other day how much he is teaching me about my life.  The way he moves through life is a good reminder of how I should behave in my own (not always literally).  
He reminds me to do the following:

1) Give myself credit for small wins.  It's a big deal when he goes "poopy in the potty."  We cheer, we clap, and we even have a song about it.  He gets a big smile on his face because he knows he did something great.  This reminds me to congratulate myself for things that might seem small to others.  There's no harm in being kind to yourself.

2) See everything as a learning opportunity.  He's at that age where he questions everything.  And when you say something- he repeats it.  His mind is like a sponge.  This reminds me to be aware of what's going on around me and never stop learning.  There's always more to learn.

3) Make time for fun.  He can occupy himself for hours.  Sure he moves from the sandbox outside to the train-set inside and back again, but there is never a lack of things to play with.  This reminds me to always give myself fun time.  It helps to reduce stress and can improve mood.  Yes, I have adult responsibilities, but I should always make time for play.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Malala #WCW

It's that time of the week again. My #WCW tribute this week is for a young woman by the name of Malala Yousafzai.  You may or may not know of her, but she is a truly inspiring young lady.

Three things I learned from Malala:

1) When you find your passion follow it- that is your purpose. By the age of fifteen, Malala knew her passion.  Since then she has been fighting for the right to education for girls around the world.  She went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

2) Bravery and courage are important when following your passion.  Malala was brave enough to blog anonymously for the BBC about life under Taliban rule, in Pakistan, at the age of eleven.  She expressed her concern that her school would be attacked.  She eventually began appearing on radio and TV shows and her identity was no longer anonymous. 

3) Your willpower and strength are insurmountable.  Malala was shot in the face by Taliban upset that she continued to speak out about the importance of education for girls.  She fully recovered and continued to speak out for girls around the world.  She now has The Malala Fund which works to secure access to twelve years of free, quality education for girls.

Malala did most of these things by the time she was fifteen years old.  When I see her on a talk show my heart just swells.  Malala reminds me that people can be amazing and do amazing things.  If we could only have the courage to follow and, if necessary, fight for our passions.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Good Credit Is Important in Life

Hello again.  I have been thinking a lot about debt lately.  I, like many of us, have some debt.  I have student loan debt, and I just bought a house.  Sometimes I feel like I will NEVER pay off my student loans.  However, I still have a pretty good credit score.  There are a few rules I followed to build a good credit score.

When I was 18, my parents allowed me to get a credit card- one card.  It was to be used only for emergencies, and I always paid off the balance right away.  A few years later I opened a credit card for more regular use.  The following tips allowed me to build enough credit to buy a house on my own when I was 30. 

1) Only use a credit card for things you would already buy.  For instance, I use my card for groceries, gas, co-pays at doctor's offices, etc.  But these are all things I could also buy with a debit card.  In other words, I have the money to pay for these things.  I just use a credit card in order to earn SouthWest points for flights.

2) Pay off your balance in full every month.  I never even look at the interest rates on my credit cards (I have two), because I pay off the balance every month.

3) Don't have more than one or two cards.  I open up a new credit card account from time to time to buy things like a computer or, most recently, a washer and dryer.  I do this because often there are deals like "no interest for 6 months," and I know I can pay the bill off in that time.  Now, I've heard mixed things about closing a credit card.  It supposedly affects your credit score, but I choose to do it anyway so that I don't have a bunch of cards open that I am not using (mostly I worry about identity theft).  Talk to a financial advisor or do more research before closing a card.

4) Pay on all your other debt every month.  Don't let loans go into default.  Student loans are easier to negotiate the payment amount.  You can even work out plans for many that are income-based.  Make an arrangement to pay an amount you can afford each month for all of your loans.

If you are looking for more information, there are plenty of online resources, advisors, and books on this topic.  We all know how important credit is when buying those large items.  If you are just starting out with credit cards these are good tips to follow.  If you already have credit card debt, there may be other important tips and hints to get out of debt.  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#WCW J.K. Rowling

It's Wednesday- we're half way through another week!  I would like to honor Woman Crush Wednesday by sharing three things I have learned from Ms. J.K. Rowling. 

I don't think it is any secret that I am a Harry Potter SUPER fan.  I started reading the books in junior high; they weren't all published yet and I painfully waited a year for the next book in the series to come out.  I love the books and all the wonderful quotes and lessons throughout them.  The author of this popular series is just as awesome as the books.

Three things I learned from J.K Rowling:

1) You can always turn your life around.  J.K. was unemployed and living on state benefits when she published the first HP book.  She went from having very little to being a multi-millionaire in five years.  If that's not inspiring I don't know what is.

2) You should never give up on your dreams.  The first HP book was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up.  I bet those publishers were really kicking themselves when the books took off.

3) You should never be ashamed of your "issues," in fact, you can use them to your benefit.  J.K. has been open about her battle with depression.  The Dementors in the HP books were created from her experiences; they suck the happiness and hope out of their victims. With mental illness still having some stigma, it's nice to hear someone talk openly about it.  We can all embrace our struggles and use them to enhance our work.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Since we keep meeting like this...

Well hello, I hope you're having a good week.  Tonight I am going to tell you a few things about myself you probably don't know.  If we're going to keep meeting like this, it only makes sense for you to know me better...

1) I am currently working as a Housing and Program Manager/Case Manager at a nonprofit organization.

2) I love to learn new things about health and wellness and hope to pass this information on to others.

3) I just started a Master's program for social work and clinical counseling.

4) I volunteer for two nonprofits in Albuquerque, one helps persons experiencing homelessness access healthcare and the other is an international education program.

5) My favorite season is Fall.  Fall in New Mexico is no where near Fall in New England, but I love it just the same.