Archive for December 27, 2013

New Year/New Possibilities


imageDefinition:  A time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar’s year count is incremented.  In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner.


Can you believe we are wrapping up 2013 and getting ready to embrace 2014?  It just seemed like yesterday we were worried about the new millennium and here we are way past that.  Time really is passing by quickly…even more of a reason for “Takin Time Out” and makin sure we have our priorities straight.  How many of you set “New Year’s” resolutions?  How many of them really work throughout the year or are they really the same list year after year.  Like lose weight, workout more, eat healthier, budget, get out of debt, cut down on watching TV, learn something new or get organized.  Did you know out of 3,000 people who set “New Year’s” resolutions at the beginning of the year 88 % of those failed?  So last year through my coaching experience with Michele, I discovered to not make “New Year’s” resolutions but make a list of of “New Year’s” Possibilities.  Something about the word possibilities makes it sound more like an adventure than a chore or goal.


A “New Year” brings fresh new beginnings and I love picking out a new family calendar to hang on our refrigerator where we post events, special people’s birthdays and a gentle reminder of time management for everyone involved.   I buy a new set of colored ink pens to write with as I love color and certain events are in certain colors LOL… I pick out a new Franklin Covey Time Management system which will house my daily to do’s, yes I have a digital system but still like my paper, I am a creature of ole or old habits.  I love finding the perfect journal to make my daily entries of my precious thoughts, verses, prayers, hopes, dreams and desires, it has to be wide ruled lined and the perfect paper weight.  The most difficult is choosing my new word for the year and finding the perfect photo to reflect its meaning! It’s a time of fresh new beginnings and a brand new start of endless possibilities.  What about you what are some simple things you do in preparation for a “New Year” ?


This past June I was playing around on the internet and at my very favorite place to escape while sipping on a fresh cup of Peach tea, I typed in the words “Make Things Happen”…wow it was amazing to see how God works in my life.  It was right there in my sanctuary and place I love “Takin Time Out” this website popped up and my life took a new spin with golden nuggets of wisdom to be found.  2013 the word of the year was “Passionately Wise” and it truly was a year I found a deeper understanding of how God has wired me and where my strengths are and focusing more on those gifts than my weaknesses.  I have always tried to improve where I was weak but this past year through my coaching sessions, I learned it is more important to accept those weaknesses and move on with great joy and focusing on my strengths and gifts God has given me.  Lara Casey is one amazing woman, she is so young to have identified her gifts so early on and using those talents to help others.  She has six month Goal Setting workbook that I highly encourage you to check out at www.laracaseyshop.comso YOU too can “Make Things Happen”.  I have ordered her new sheets to start my “New Year” for 2014 and it is a great place to share where I have been, what has worked, what has not, where I want to go and how I am going to do it.  The best part is a page you get to download literally by writing out all the interruptions that cause you to not necessarily get things done.  This is a great way to write it all out, purge and give you permission to move on.  So many times we beat ourselves up due to past failures, non-finished projects or guilt sets in as we have let someone down or more importantly let ourselves down.  It’s ok we all make mistakes, we are not perfect and life definitely has its twists and turns.  The lesson is to learn from those mistakes and move on!  I think that is why a “New Year” is a perfect time to wipe the slate clean and make a list of possibilities you want to change or enhance in your life. 


Personally I pray about my possibilities and ask God for guidance and help in making any permanent changes in my life.  I try to align my desires with what he places on my heart.  A few verses I love to live by are found in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” or Proverbs 3:6 “In all ways acknowledge him, and he will direct my path” and Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”


This next year I want to continue to lighten my load.  Lighten my load of unnecessary burdens that don’t belong to me, of stuff that I don’t use and donate to someone or someplace that can, to use the fine china more and not just let it sit on the shelf collecting dust.  I want to do more rather than buy more.  My fondest memories of the past are places and people I was with rather than material objects and things I have.  I want to continue to strive and be in the moment, in the presence not rushing through the day and hoping for a better tomorrow but embracing and accepting things the way they are…I don’t know what tomorrow holds but knowing who holds my tomorrow makes it all worth while.  I also strive to take care of what I have whether it is material thing such as a home, a car but most importantly those things that can’t be replaced like our health and relationships and time with friends and family.  I want to focus on the journey not the destination.  Personally I feel the possibilities for everyone is endless…one merely needs to take a step forward.  Be creative, think outside the box, make mistakes as that way you learn.  The creative mind can add shades of color, lines of interest and texture to engage the eye and inspires possibilities for everyone to enjoy.  The key is to write it down and reflect on those dreams, desires, changes you want to make!  What are your thoughts, I would love to hear from you…


I feel it is important to plan for certain things or events but I also like to be flexible enough to do some things spur of the moment.  Spur of the moment times actually have been the best in many cases because there was no time for anticipation, worry or dread it just happened.  “Takin Time Out” can also be important to reflect on where you are, where you are going and how things are going.  The week between Christmas and “New Year” is a great time for some folks but I prefer to do it earlier like the end of September or beginning  of October and then review during this last week of the year to put any polishing touches and changes I want to make.  It gives me more time to be clear for the next year!


If you make “New Year’s” Resolutions I encourage you to consider changing it to possibilities as it will put a new spin in life if not I hope they all come true as you do have the power within to accomplish anything you put your mind to.  I encourage you to journal and pick a word for the year as life is one big adventure and I am wishing you the best life has to offer.  May you be blessed with good health, happiness, contentment, gratitude and most of all good friends, loving family and God’s grace.  Until next time my dear friend… Thank you 2013 for the lessons learned and memories made and wahoo here we come … Happy New Year 2014!

“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.”  George Bernard Shaw

“We all have possibilities we don’t know about.  We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.”  Dale Carnegie




imageDefinition:  The annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth held on December 25.


What comes to mind when you think of the word Christmas?  A festive time of year, family time, gifts, celebration?  Or is it more dread, weariness, exhaustion, blowing the budget and worrying about the forced family fun you will have?

As a child it was truly a magical time of year, preparing for the children’s Christmas portion of the program and watching Mom spend countless hours rehearsing for the Cantata at church.  I was fortunate growing up that both sets of grandparent were able to spend Christmas Eve at our house.  I remember waiting with anticipation; we would eat dinner and then open our Christmas packages from under the Christmas tree.  Then on Christmas morning Santa would leave something special in our Christmas stocking.  As I began to have my family I had moved away so the whole month of December seemed like a celebration.  We spent time with my husband’s side and would travel to Colorado when my grandparents were still living to spend time with them and my Mom, Dad, Sister and her family.  Sometimes we would try and fit in a ski trip in between Christmas and New Years’.  I look back and really wonder how we did it with three small children.  I have encouraged my adult children to set their own traditions and have given up our Christmas Eve so they can celebrate with their in-laws and we do something on Christmas day.  I am fortunate they live so close that we have all year long to celebrate immediate family time.

I hate leaving loved ones out but have realized we can’t do it all and be all to all folks all the time.  So it is more about the time we do have together and engaging the moment.

This year I vowed to be more in the presence rather than worrying about buying too many presents.  Taking each moment and savoring it, embracing and capturing the memories we were making.  This is the first year I took the opportunity to take my girls to the “Nutcracker” ballet, everyone had such a good time and I quickly realized it is all about going, doing and seeing rather than buying and giving material things.  I vowed this next year we are going to do more of that, things they might not do on their own.  In fact I had each of my children and their spouses make a list of things they would like to do as a family or with their siblings.  We really had some creative ideas and it is all right near home, in fact many might make a great blog post stay tuned…

What about you?  Are you “Takin Time Out” to enjoy the reason for the season or are you rushing through the hustle and bustle of life trying to keep up with the Jones’s you might say?  Not me not anymore, I have been there done that and I say no more.  Remember in Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”  This is why we celebrate the birth of our savior.  I pray you will find time to relax, enjoy and give thanks for this beautiful season.

This week it is short and sweet but I am “Takin Time Out” to enjoy family and friends, candlelight vigil at church and hope you do to.  May ya’ll have a very Merry Christmas until next time my dear friends…


imageDefinition:  the coldest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from December to February and in the southern hemisphere from June to August.


Wow…ole man “Winter” made a visit early this year and the Dallas/Fort Worth area got struck by a severe ice storm this past week.  The first of the week we were in the high 70’s short sleeves and sun was shining and then it hit sleet, ice and below 20 degrees with freezing temperatures.  There was absolutely no snow just a solid sheet of ice and it was best for everyone to stay home for three to four full days.  We had many folks without electricity, stranded motorists and grocery store shelves were out of many staples and our favorite cold weather food such as ingredients to make chili or chicken and dumplings.  Many festivities canceled, school, parties, marathons and even church!  It was truly a crazy time.  I was so thankful for the warmth my home brings, fire in the fire place with food in my pantry and freezer to tied us over.  Something I learned living on the ranch always be prepared and have extra in the freezer as you never know when you might need it.  Also, it was an unexpected opportunity for “Takin Time Out”.


December my “To Do List” is always a mile long and I wonder how I am able to get it all done.  Especially this year because Thanksgiving was so late in the month it shortened the weeks before Christmas.  I was not about to put any Christmas up until we had enjoyed the holiday of Thanksgiving.  It is also 4th quarter at work and the first of the year right around the corner such a busy busy time.  Weekdays, weeknights and weekends are all full, some events I have to pass on.  That is when prioritizing and maximizing my time hits high gear and making a decision on what truly is important and what can wait.


Being at home with the rest of the metroplex being in lock down mode made it much more relaxing than if I had scheduled a day off, the whole community was all in the same boat, emails were light on Friday and it truly was a great time to catch up on a few things.  I deep cleaned the entire house, laundry caught up, home cooked meals, Christmas decorations in place, Christmas cards addressed and time together much time together.  I even fit in reading a book, watched a couple of old movies, football and things in order for the next couple of weeks.  I also relaxed, living in my favorite yoga pants, sweatshirt and fuzzy socks…it was a great unexpected “Takin Time Out!”


What do you do on a lazy Winter” day or days?  I remember as a child there were many times we would be stranded indoors for days on end.  My family always had a jig saw puzzle we would lay out on the card table.  If the electricity was out we moved it close to the fireplace, even had the kerosene lanterns lit up so we could work on it before going to bed. If you think about it some people might say it is a complete waste of time.  You spend hours upon hours putting it together and then you tear it up and put it back into the box.  However, I love working a jig saw puzzle and I recently read an article of 42 benefits in doing a jigsaw puzzle it enhances your thinking skills and problem solving.  It also is good for your visual, cognitive, character, social, tactile and collaborative skills.   Lord knows I need all the help I can get as I am in the second halftime of life.   I also think it teaches more patience…so there!  Now, how many of you are going to drag out a puzzle and beginning working on one this weekend?  You smarty pants I knew it!


“Winter” also brings back memories of my childhood; living in Southeast Colorado we had many times snow was knee deep and a perfect time for sledding.  We didn’t have that many hills to go down so we would tie an old hood of a car behind a 4 wheel drive truck and go out into the pastures riding in the hood packed with blankets. It was a lot of fun until the driving got crazy and they started doing donuts or weaving back and forth and you were slinging around the back until the rope broke and you went flying into some unwanted soapweed yucca’s or prickly pear cactus and you would be pulling needles out of your hiny for days, LOL!  How we lived through it I will never know, the grace of God I guess but what fun, good times and laughter we had!


I loved watching our neighborhood kids they are so creative this weekend by making their own sleds out of large Rubbermaid container lids, or laundry baskets or dragging out the ice skates they use for indoor hockey and playing on the streets as no cars were in sight.  Those three days were magical to me life was just a little simpler.  Why is that?  What have we done to make our lives so busy, complicated or rushed…we were able to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation!  If you think about Mother Nature caused us to be a bit paralyzed. 


Now for the lineman repairing the electrical lines, the emergency crew working the streets and those working in the hospitals or businesses that are open 24 hours, those poor truckers trying to get through to their destination I commend you it was just another working day for you. I know driving in those hazardous conditions added additional stress but I thank you for your service.  To those without electricity I know it was a bit uncomfortable and many were forced to go to a hotel or hunker down and add a few more layers of clothes or blankets on them. So it may not be all it was cracked up to be for many…but we still can find something to be thankful for.


What do you think about when you hear the word Winter?  Cold, dreary, snowflakes, ice or maybe sweatshirts, wool scarfs, hats, coats, boots?  Hot cocoa, Hot Cider, Hot Tea (my favorite cinnamon this time of year) or southern soul food…something that sticks to your innards?  I love baking especially in the Winter” months.  Homemade cinnamon rolls, cookies, or homemade banana bread?  Also, bread pudding taco soup or Grandma Pansy’s famous beef or chicken & noodles…yum getting hungry again just typing out the words! 


Don’t let Cabin Fever set in here are other activities you might consider next time you are stuck in a “Winter” time out and depending on the weather conditions here they are go ahead a be a kid again:  Nostalgic:  Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, go sledding, catch snowflakes on your tongue, make snow angels, lay bird seed out to feed those hungry birds or squirrels, make paper snowflake cut-outs (how fun is that no two ever the same), reread a favorite book from childhood, drag out your undone craft projects, sort and organize your recipe files, sort through your pictures and organize, have grilled cheese and dip in homemade tomato soup (ok Stephen & Heather maybe Campbell’s will do).  Kick back in the Hot Tub borrow your neighbors if you don’t have one.  Cozy up in front of a roaring fire and watch the flames…take a long hot bubble bath by candle light with Epson salt, lavender mmm soo relaxing!  If you are really industrious clean out your closets, drawers and cabinets lighten your load and give to those who are less fortunate than you.  OK most important RELAX, ENJOY and EMBRACE this precious time!


Some folks head south for the “Winter” to their second home, like the ducks and geese while others stay put.  However, I think we should take a lesson from the bears and find time to hibernate, relax and rejuvenate as it is good for our soul.  God’s intent when he created seasons.  Winter is a special time if we choose to embrace it!


Reflecting on some scripture in Genesis 8:22, God reminds us “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and “Winter”, and day and night shall not cease.  Psalm 74:17 “It was You who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and “Winter.”  It is all a part of his perfect plan, a special season!  ”Winter” is a time to be enjoyed just as any other in life, even though the world may seem bleak and gray outside we always have the love of Jesus to warm our hearts and homes.  It is a perfect for “Takin Time Out!”


As we are in the middle of Advent and preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday a holiday we call Christmas or perhaps you are Jewish and celebrate Hanukah…and the days get shorter and the weather colder…I hope you reflect on this season of Winter as a splendid time!  Pour you a cup of your favorite Hot Beverage and curl up with a good book, old movie or a journal and write down your hopes, dreams, aspirations or things you are truly grateful for this ”Winter” Season!  Until next time my dear friends stay warm, stay safe and stay grateful…




imageDefinition – give one’s attention to a sound.  The act of Listening.  One of the five senses.



Just for a minute STOP and “Listen” what do you hear?  Maybe it is the ticking of a clock…the motor of an appliance or heater running… an airplane flying overhead…maybe a bird chirping…the sound of sleet or rain hitting your windows… sounds of laughter or children playing…maybe there is background noise such as the TV/Radio blaring…or it is the Alarm Clock going off waking you from a sound sleep to a start a brand new day?  Perhaps it is silence (Hmmm true bliss for me)!  While your “takin time out” do you really “LISTEN” and take in all the sounds that surround us?  If not I encourage you to start paying more attention as there are enjoyment and lessons to be learned through this process.


As I am sipping on my cup of herbal hot tea on this cold December evening, reflecting on the word Listen or Listening, these few things come to mind.


I believe so many things we do day in and day out we take for granted.  Are you just going through the motions and movements throughout life not really paying attention?  If we really Listen so many things can be revealed and opportunities are waiting for us to engage.  Be in the presence of NOW and truly Listening.  For example my mind races with so many thoughts and things I want to do or accomplish daily but if I stop and really center myself, take in a deep deep breathe slowly let it out…pause for a moment and Listen, WOW!  I feel the sense of Listening reveals to me what is truly important and what needs to be accomplished for that day and what can wait…if I am  truly Listening to my heart, soul, conscience then I am in store for a perfect day!


Many times we may be hearing what people are saying but not really taking it to that next level and Listening.  Listening is a true art.  So often we are too busy making sure people hear what we have to say that we forget to Listen. If we don’t truly Listen then we can find ourselves in some serious trouble.   Also, think about it we sometimes only hear the parts we want to hear and not truly engaging by putting ourselves in other people’s shoes to understand what they are trying to say.  I am so guilty of interrupting folks, thinking I know what they are going to say rushing them along instead of “takin time out” to connect, be patient and truly Listen.   This is really common courtesy so stop look that person in the eye…connect…be patient (another great blog story) and Listen.  I know you may be saying but this person drives me crazy, they just go on and on rabbling about nothing or repeating themselves continually, when I really just want them to spit it out and get to the point.  HaHa I totally get it but the art of a good Listener is being patient and understanding to the situation and that person’s needs.  Especially in sales, service or working with the public we need to be great Listeners.  I have learned through the years to ask probing questions, Listen to a customer’s needs, desires and issues.  Once I do that I can then take appropriate action to try and fix the problem, provide a positive solution to their issue or address how my company can benefit them.  It’s all about building a relationship, and a good relationship means being a great Listener.


How many of us have had babies or been around small children when they are just learning to talk we have to strain to Listen and make out the sounds as they are forming their first words?  Their words may have a different meaning. I remember my Mom telling me I used to say pingy but I was really trying to say spinach or my cousin referred to a cup of water as odle odle odle.  We think it’s cute and we truly take the time with them, then why do we not do this with everyone we communicate with?  Let’ commit to becoming more aware and Listen this holiday season when surrounded by friends and family.


Think about it…how many marriages or relationships could be saved if both parties would just truly Listen to one another?  I didn’t say we had to agree with one another but we need to Listen and get a better understanding of where the other person is coming from, there are always two sides to the story.


Personally I feel Listening is not always done with just our ears!  We Listen with our heart, our soul, our eyes, our touch, our smell, our conscience and if you are a believer we Listen to the Holy Spirit inside us!  These characteristics can deepen our level of engagement, understanding and bring us a sense of peace no matter the circumstance. 


Listening with our heart reminds me of a song written by a talented artist Geoff Moore sung by Stephen Curtis Chapman:

Verse 1:
How do you explain,
How do you describe,
A love that goes from east to west,
And runs and deep as it is wide?

You know all our hopes
Lord, you know all our fears
And words cannot express the love we feel
But we long for You to hear

So Listen to our hearts (oh, Lord, please Listen)
Hear our spirits sing (and hear us sing)
A song of praise that flows (a simple song of praise)
From those You have redeemed (from those You have redeemed)
We will use the words we know
To tell You what an awesome God You are
But words are not enough
To tell You of our love
So Listen to our hearts

Verse 2:
If words could fall like rain
From these lips of mine
And if I had a thousand years
I would still run out of time

So if You Listen to my heart
Every beat would say,
“Thank You for the Life, thank You for the Truth, thank You for the Way.”


I also love what the Bible says about Listening.

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;”

Proverbs 18:13 “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly  (lack of good sense) and shame.”

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.”

Scripture provides truth and wisdom for our everyday living and practical advice we should take advantage of.  I strongly recommend being in the word daily to provide a compass and opportunity for God to really speak to us so we can Listen!


One other way of Listening is watching through body language.  Be careful you have to decode the message and sometimes we may not like what we see but again so many lessons to be learned by being aware!


In closing we have to develop a desire to be a good Listener.  Especially if you are truly hard of hearing or perhaps deaf, then you have to learn to use your other senses to Listen.  As you are “takin time out” this week, truly get in tune with your heart, soul, mind and the things that surround us.  You may have awaken a giant discovery and learned a new art of Listening!  Until next time my dear friend remember…we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak!  Blessings to you…