Today I Think…Each Day is a Gift

What we think is what we become…
…each day is a gift.

As I awoke this morning I was reminded of the beauty and blessing of today.

 Each day is a gift from God.  
Each day is a present that I unwrap as I move through my day. Today I chose to accept this gift with gratitude and grace. Grateful for the day, the interactions, and the activities. Extending grace to those who may be unwrapping their gift with a heavy heart or another perspective that may diminish their blessings today. And a graceful assumption that today we will each live to our best abilities at each given moment.

I not only unwrap my gift for me as I chose how I will move through my day, but I help others unwrap theirs as I interact with them. May I be a source of kindness and universal love to those I cross paths with today. God use me as a source of honesty wrapped in grace in this world today.  

And to those I deeply cherish and love, to those whom God’s richly blessed my life with let me demonstrate pure love. The love that moves mountains. The love that radiates even during the darkest hours. The love that outlasts time and breath. To those I love unconditionally let me help them to feel unconditionally loved.
Today is my gift.  
Today is my present.  

Today I unwrap my gift with gratitude and grace. 

A-Z Blog Challenge: F is for Flowers

Flowers   …or some other form of beauty.

“Sometimes it seems like God is difficult to find and impossibly far away. We get so caught up in our small daily duties and irritations that they become the only things that we can focus on. What we forget is that God’s love and beauty are all around us, every day, if only we would take the time to look up and see them.”

Matthias, Correction Weblog, 11-01-03

Today let’s take some time to look up, down and all around for God’s beauty.  God’s beauty resides in the flowers, the smiles of others, a painting, a photograph, and the things we create that bring beauty and love into our lives.

Today’s let’s allow our lives to be penetrated by beauty by using all of our senses.


Add color to your space.  There are colors that calm (blues and muted dusty shades of other colors) and colors that energize (yellows and reds).  Which do you need right now more energy or an increased sense of peace?

Organize a apace in your home or office that clears out distraction and brings in a sense of peace and calm while displaying the beautiful things in your environment.

View a motivating image, phrase, word or quote.  Each of these blog posts has a motivating image, if one of the posts particularly inspires you please print the image and carry it with you.  If mountains and nature inspire, please find an image or photo to hang on your wall.  If there is a word, quote or phrase that ushers you into a contemplate state, write it or print it on a card and carry it with you.


Play music.  A beautiful piece of music can transport you into a new state.  Reggae music can mentally back to the white sand beaches and snorkeling of your last vacation.  A song from your past can take you back to a time when life seemed easier.

Listen to children at play.  The creativity, ingenuity, fantasy, and just simple fun heard from children at play can be a beautiful thing.  The laugher of a child is so often contagious even when you do not know what they are laughing about.

Link sounds to your pleasure activities.  My meditation is always when I am gardening, so the chorus of lawnmowers in the spring ignites passion within me.  The sounds of water bring beauty and relaxation to many.  Even the sound of a summer rain on the leaves of trees evokes an image of beauty and peace for many.


Flowers.  The peppery floral scent of Stargazer Lilies is a smell that makes me stop and breathe in.  Flowers add color, nature and scent to our environments.  Bring cut flowers into your home or office or plant some outside for more sustainable beauty.

Candles.  Aromatherapy is a growing industry, if you do not want to spent much time in a candle shop choosing just the right fragrance for you start with vanilla.  The scent of vanilla is linked to the increase of endorphin production (the feel good chemical in the brain), bring a candle into your space and allow the scent and light enhance the beauty around you.

Cook or bake.  I think we all have kitchen smells what transport us to another place and time.  I love the smell of banana bread baking.  For you perhaps you more enjoy the savory smell of a lasagna in the over or even a bbq.  What smell makes you smile?


Beverage.  Coffee, tea, fine wine, or a complex porter can trigger pleasure sensors in our brain.  Serve it up in aesthetically appealing beverage-ware, create an image in the espresso foam, or enjoy it with a friend to bring in the beauty aspect.

Food.  The beauty of fresh produce, a well baked dish of pasta, or anything loving prepared as an expression of care and compassion truly bring beauty into our lives.  Instead of just eating your next meal, prepare it or have it prepared in a beautiful manner.

Chocolate.  Dark chocolate is known to contain chemicals that enhance the production of endorphins in the brain. Just a small piece is all it takes.  Stop by your locate chocolate shop for one beautiful piece of endorphin enhancing chocolate.


Snuggle up in Something Soft.  A sweater, blanket, new sheets; today bless yourself by surrounding yourself in a fresh fabric that is both beautiful and brings pleasure to your sense of touch.  While you are at it, throw out, recycle or pass along those things that do not bring about pleasurable touch to you (i.e, those sheets that are pilling, that sweater that feels scratchy, or those shoes that pinch your toes).

Snuggle up with Someone Affectionate.  If physical touch and affection is your thing and you have someone in your life that you snuggle with set aside time tonight to be together.  Stop the clock, let the chores go, press pause on all the “stuff” and spend time connecting.

Bodywork.  Allowing others to care for our bodies (i.e. hairdresser, massage therapist, manicurist, etc.) bring beauty and comfort into our lives.  Make an appointment to take special care of your body today.

Today allow the beauty of the world into your life.  Be blessed by one or all of your senses today.  Or pick a sense today and a different one tomorrow.  Perhaps isolating the sensory impact each day will provide you insight into which has a greater impact on your ability to bounce back during difficult times.

How will you invite God’s beauty into your life today?

A-Z Blog Challenge: E is for Endorphins

Endorphins are the natural feel good chemical in the brain.  Your brain naturally produces these neurotransmitters in response to pain or extreme exertion to take the edge off and generally make you feel amazing. Experts actually compare endorphins to opiates because they deliver such intense pleasure, says psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D., M.S., author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness.

EndorphinsWithout sufficient endorphins, we are more likely to experience emotional and physical distress, such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and pain, with a limited ability to experience satisfaction, pleasure, and joy.  Boosting endorphin levels relieves emotional and physical distress and enhances our ability to handle stress and enjoy life.

There are a number of ways to release endorphins and get that natural high. Here is a list of 15 things you can do to boost your endorphin level and bring that smile back quicker:

  1. Vanilla Aromatherapy. Vanilla has been proven to help reduce anxiety which is often associated with depression. In a study Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, patients undergoing MRIs who breathed vanilla-scented air reported 63 percent less anxiety than those who breathed unscented air. A few ideas for adding vanilla to your day are add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the pot before the coffee brews, light some vanilla-scented candles, or add vanilla essential oil to your bathwater.
  2. Lavender Aromatherapy. In a study, conducted on college students, inhaling the aroma of lavender essential oil improved symptoms of depression and insomnia. Dab lavender oil on your wrists and temples or diffuse it in the air.
  3. Take Ginseng. Ginseng may benefit people who are feeling fatigued and over-stressed and those recovering from a long illness. The herb has been shown to balance the release of stress hormones in the body and support the organs that produce these hormones. It may also enhance the production of endorphins.
  4. Take a Group Exercise Class. Shared exercise gives you an extra endorphin boost. According to a recent study on rowers, those who rowed as part of a synchronized team had a higher boost of endorphins than those who solo rowed.
  5. Exercise. The continuous movement of exercises like running, rowing, dance, and aerobics puts one in a trans-like state which releases endorphins and encourages reflective thought. To find your happy place, do a mood check the next time you do strength training or cardio: Every five minutes, think about how you feel on a scale from one (not happy at all) to 10 (completely high on life). Increase intensity until that number goes up.
  6. Laugh. Besides triggering the release of endorphins laughter changes our perspective on our problems. Our problems tend to shrink as we release the stress and move our minds into a new state with a hearty laugh. Even the anticipation of laugher increases endorphin levels, plan your next date night at a comedy club, forward on that funny e-mail, or call your friend with that great sense of humor.
  7. Have Sex. Research shows that physical touch reduces stress, as well as alleviating pain and helping heal injuries, according to a study at Stanford University. Sex also sooths us, uplifts us (due to the endorphin release) and gives us a sense of belonging and security.
  8. Enjoy Some Chocolate. Chocolate provides protection against heart attacks and strokes. The polyphenols and other antioxidants in dark chocolate reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, reduce bad LDL cholesterol, boost good HDL cholesterol, and protect the health of your arteries. Dark chocolate also contains chemicals that boost the release of endorphins.
  9. Listen to Music. You brain produces more endorphins when you actively create music, however if you are musically inclined in that manner dance, tap, hum or bop around to your favorite tunes to release your endorphins.
  10. Eat Spicy Foods. Capsaicin, the chemical compound in foods that makes chili peppers hot, binds to proteins, or pain receptors, of nerve cells in the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. The nerve impulse produced this way pass through the trigeminal nerve into the brain producing a painful burning sensation. The same receptors that react to heat, so when heavily spiced food is eaten hot, the effect are even more intense. However, the pain is off set by the bodies’ reaction, which is to release endorphins.
  11. Happy Hour. According to a 2012 study published in Science Translational Medicine a small amount of alcohol releases endorphins, however too much alcohol or actual opiates will actually turn off the production of endorphins which will kill your buzz.
  12. Comfort Food. Helping yourself to a bowl of pasta with cheese, ice cream or another carbohydrate-rich comfort food releases endorphins. People turn to these items during stressful moments because they really do make you feel better.
  13. Drink a glass of wine each night. Besides the fact that wine offers antioxidants, ending your day with a small amount of alcohol can boost endorphins, notes the “The Journal of Neuroscience.” Mice having low endorphin production were given alcohol and drugs, and a boost in endorphins was noted. While the drugs that the mice were given are illegal, a small glass of wine at the end of each day can help you feel better.
  14. Meditate daily. Meditation offers a myriad of benefits to those who practice it. Increased focus, a feeling of well-being and less stress are all side effects reported by those who meditate. It’s likely because mediation in a quiet space for a small amount of time each day can help boost your endorphins so that you end your session feeling relaxed and happy. Try sitting quietly for 5 to 10 minutes to start.
  15. Breathe. Most people breathe unconsciously without fully appreciating the benefits of deep, abdominal breathing. Yet taking deep breaths that stem from your abdominal region not only helps you feel more relaxed, it may also increase your body’s production of serotonin, endorphins and dopamine, another neurotransmitter that helps with mood regulation, according to Jeffrey Rossman, Ph.D., in an article for Rossman suggests a specific breathing technique known as resonant breathing, which synchronizes your heartbeat with your breath rate and encourages the production of these neurotransmitters.

Boosting my endorphins through exercise is the one thing that really helped me to get my mind off my heartbreak and move me forward.  I did not do anything strenuous, I walked…I walked a lot.  My dog loved it, I toned up, and I lost weight in the process.  It was good for me on a number of levels, but if exercise is not your thing or for medical reasons you cannot exercise choose something from this list that will boost your endorphins and bring your smile back faster.

What will you choose?

A-Z Blog Challenge: D is for Dream

DreamSo things did not turn out the way we wanted.  The response we had from others is not what we hoped for or expected.  The outcome that has stolen the smile from our faces was in contrast to our desires.

In all of life’s challenges there is an opportunity.

Our opportunity now is to dream a new dream.

We now have more information than we had when we dreamt the previous dream.  We know more about ourselves and what we need.  We know more about others and what they need from us.  We know where our limitations, boundaries, challenges and opportunities reside.  We are better for the experience and more likely to experience a favorable outcome this next time around.

Our opportunity now is to dream a new dream.

Let’s start with the end in mind.

What is the outcome you seek?

These 7 Aspects of a Well Crafted Outcome will help you, and I, dream a new dream:

  1. Positively State Your Desired Outcome: Engage your unconscious mind by stating your desired outcome as positively as possible. The unconscious mind cannot process negatives so keep your outcomes positively stated and your subconscious will go about gathering the information you need to find your smile again.
  2. Know How You and Others Can Contribute to Your Vision: Who are the primary participants in your new dream? And how will they contribute to the outcome you desire? What do you need to do to bring your dream to reality?
  3. Appropriately Contextualize: Where will you be when you achieve this desired outcome? When do you expect to achieve this goal? Visualize yourself already experiencing this outcome, what do you see?
  4. Describe the Evidence Procedure: How will you know you are getting the desired outcome? What will you be doing when you get it? What will you see, hear, and feel when you have achieved this outcome? What results will you experience or anticipate when this dream becomes your reality?
  5. Identify the Resources Needed: What resources do you have now? Do you need additional resources? Do you have experience in achieving this before? If you were to act “as if” you had achieved this goal, how would you be acting and what would be happening in your life?
  6. Ecological Check: What is the real purpose of wanting this outcome? Is there a secondary gain lurking in not achieving this result? Is there a situation where achieving this goal might be harmful to anyone? What will you lose or gain if you have this outcome?

This process is designed to help us look at the outcome we desire and get really clear about what it will be, what it will take to achieve it, and help us evaluate if we truly want to put in the effort to achieve something we think we want.  Too often people really want something, but they are not willing to make the changes to achieve their dream.  This process forces us to take an honest look at our dream and put real plans into place for achieving it.

What is your dream?

A-Z Blog Challenge: B is for Breathe


Three deep breathes.
Let’s take them now.

Breathe in through your nose.
Blow out through your mouth.

Again, in through your nose.
Again, out through your mouth.

One more time, in … and out.

When times are tough and we are stressed we tense up and we breathe shallower.

Taking three deep calming breaths allows us to back away from the stress, center ourselves, clear our minds, and reproach whatever we are doing with renewed calm.

When I find myself thinking about “My Dan” and all the things I’d like to say to him if always leaving a person whole was not a vow I had made myself, or wondering how he came up with such destructive communication patterns, and why would he apply such poor dating habits to such a great relationship …

I stop myself.

I take three deep breathes.

I breathe in thru my nose.
I blow out through my mouth.

Again, in through my nose.
Again, out thru my mouth.

One more time, in … and out.

And I wish him well or thank God for allowing “my Dan” to be my teacher or ask God to simply bless him or some other positive salutation.

It is not my job to change another person, to rob them of their free choice and will, to steal them from their life lessons, or to take on their issues as my problems. However, I strongly believe I am to leave people whole and to enable the restoration of others to wholeness.

When relationships end I need to find my peace without harming the other. Sometimes that means I just need to breathe and find my calm. Then from afar I can send a blessing to the other.

Some may ask “Really? You think your blessing will reach them?” I believe, “If its Gods will it will be done.”

I have found in doing this I find my peace with the situation. Sometimes boundaries still need to be set, but at this point it is more about me and what I need to restore myself.

It’s ok to focus on ourselves especially when we are hurt and broken, we need to heal ourselves and build our resilience.

Now before we part…three deep breathes.

Breathe in through your nose.

Blow out through your mouth.


Again, in through your nose.

Again, out through your mouth.


One more time, in … and out.



A-Z Blog Challenge: C is for Confidence

ConfidenceToo often when life throws us for a loop it is our confidence that suffers.  It is common to consider the scenarios that will protect us from harm the next time even if they limited our lives.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

US diplomat & reformer (1884 – 1962)

In my situation I know I feel things very deeply, I tend to let my feelings dive right in while trying to hold back my actions so I don’t overwhelm others.  With “my Dan” I was all in, I knew the best relationships I had in the past only happened because I loved like I’d never be hurt so that’s what I did.  At first “my Dan” loved me back so intensely it overwhelmed me and I knew this was a relationship where I could really get hurt if he pulled back or had a change of heart.

I really got hurt.  I let myself get hurt but I don’t want to live, or love, in any other way.

I could have protected my confidence by only loving in a safe manner, but that would have cheated us out of the amazing parts of the relationship.  I probably would have discovered our problems sooner and cried less, but I learned some great things about me in this process that I needed to know.

I really got hurt but it was worth it.  I loved him fully and if he knows that or not that is who I want to show up as the next time I fall in love.

My heart feels like it will never mend but there are steps I can take to restore my confidence.

  1. Let go of strict expectations, judgmental thinking, and self-doubt.

Whatever the change is that has you down and discouraged take a look at the expectations you had.  Were they realistic?  Are you judging yourself for any role you played?  Do you doubt your ability to create a more favorable outcome next time?

Acknowledge that at any given time you bring the best you have to the situation.  Unfortunately sometimes we do not bring our highest self, but if you know you brought the best you could deliver at that time then accept you brought your best.

If there are things you want to do better next time make the commitment to yourself to make those improvements.  Do not just hope to be better, commit to making yourself better.  Take a communication class.  Work with a therapist.  Practice the skill that needs improvement.  Create a better habit.  Or blog it out, like I am now.

As you improve your selected area you will improve your confidence and may not need to protect yourself going forward.


  1. Prepare for the next time.

This may seem like an odd way to build confidence if the situation that stole your smile was a complete surprise or fluke.

For my situation I know one of our issues was time with each other and my stress over all the things I needed to do, but now needed to do in much less “me” time.  I discovered I am much more productive and effective if I keep lists, focus on my priorities, plan ahead, and openly communicate.

I discovered I need to have better practices in these areas so when my next relationship arrives I have space for the new “us”.

Whatever the area of life you are experiencing your change, you can prepare for next time by building resilience.  This whole series is about building resilience.

  1. Take Bite Sized Actions towards a Better Future.

What is the event that wiped that smile from your face?  There are probably small and simple actions you can take today that will move you towards a brighter future.  What are they?

In the situation I am facing some of my simple actions are simply getting out of the house and taking a walk, smile and say “Hi” to people, go out with friends, meet someone for coffee or happy hour, put myself back up on the on-line dating site and meet a single guy once or twice a month.  I am taking things slow, but I am taking inspired actions that are moving me towards a better future.

To get started with this start a list today.  Each time an idea of what you could do comes to mind, do not evaluate or judge the idea, just add it to your list.  Every couple of days select an item from the list and take the action, turn it into a new daily activity or habit, use these bite sized actions to create your brighter future.

Most of this blog series was pre-written.  I needed to get started on this series for my own benefit right after the second break up of “My Dan” and me or get a therapist to help me move forward.  Each post of this series was an inspired action to take or thought I needed to explore.  This series has accelerated the replacement of my smile.  My desire is that you too will find the nuggets in this series that help you get back up on your feet and smile again.  Not just the pasted on your lips smile, but the heartfelt smile that shines through your eyes.

What is one bite sized action you can do today or this week that will move you towards your desired outcome and restore your confidence?

A – Z Blog Challenge: A is for Accept and Allow

Although some of the changes of life are not as we prefer we must unconditionally accept and allow change. When we fight change we choose to struggle instead of allow and confusion instead of acceptance.

Featured image

Things may feel kind of sucky right now. You may want to fight this change. If you want to fight it you probably want to just get rid of the thoughts, mental images, and feelings that seem to haunt you and keep bringing you back to either what was or what you wish things to be.

Trust me I spent a lot of time there. I am actually going through my second break up with “My Dan”.

OK his name is not Dan, my cousins husband is Dan. I’ve always admired their relationship, like his qualities and values, his ability to repair and do all sorts of handyman tasks, and find their resilience and commitment to each other. One day she and I were talking and I said “I need to find MY DAN.” We both thought I had found “My Dan.” So for this series let’s just call my most recent ex “My Dan”.

After the first break up with “My Dan” I was so confused about what had happened, I knew he deeply loved me, I knew I loved him more fully and honestly than I had ever loved a man, we got along great most of the time, we had many common interests and values, I thought we could work thru our problems, yet he wouldn’t speak to me. I did not think our problems warranted such a drastic change in our relationship. I cried every day of the 5 weeks we were apart. I just could not accept that our relationship was over.

Every time I asked God and the Universe to give me a sign as to if I should pursue the relationship or move forward without him I received the message to move forward – wrong answer I decided. Instead I chose to struggle instead of allow. I chose confusion instead of acceptance.

My Dan” and I finally talked and I found out that why he rejected me had nothing to do with me. It was over a very normal and socially accepted event that he attached other meaning to. He determined my intention and allowed his new story to take on a life of its own. Then he proclaimed it as truth.

I was dumbfounded when he told me, of all the scenarios and over analysis I tried not to do I never came to that event as being the deal breaker for him. But I was still overwhelmingly in love with him so we promised to communicate better and we got back together.

“My Dan” and I were back together for three days until an equally dumbfounding scenario played out again. Again he determined my intention on something we barely talked about, grew it into a moral issue that determined my integrity, and proclaimed it as truth.

There was no talking him off his cliffs; in some strange way he really seemed to enjoy the view from there.

These were not about me. I have found when people proclaim self-created scenarios as truth; it’s more of a reflection into themselves than anyone else. Again our relationship broke apart because of “truths” he proclaimed about my unconfirmed intentions and me not being allowed to communicate with him.

He was returning the gift. He was and still is not ready for me. It is not with ego or arrogance that I say that I was the gift. I know when we were good we were amazing, we were gifts for each other. Unfortunately the amazement was drowning in his “truths”. I could have continued to go thru these unending scenarios and waited for my light to be snuffed out or I could accept that the Higher Powers of the Universe have more importantly given me as a gift to my section of the world (not just to him) and for me to allow someone to snuff out my light is to fail my mission and ignore my purpose.

If God granted us wholeness and health it is because he wants us to be whole and healthy. If God blessed us with talents and skills it is because he wants us to grow and use those talents and skills to bless others. God does not want our lights to be snuffed out by anyone. He wants us to shine brightly.

We have a choice. We can choose to return the gift we are to the world because we think we have a better plan, but then we snuff ourselves out.

Accept that the universe conspires to protect you. The universe wants you to shine brightly and will use all your situations and experiences to bless you and those around you. Let’s allow ourselves to grow through these pains so we can build resilience and be the gifts and blessings for which we were made.