Music can heal

I was doing my indoor workout on a -7 degree day.  The sun was shining and I was listening to some of my favorite songs to keep the momentum going when all of the sudden I found myself tearing up.  It took me awhile to figure it all out but that particular song was stirring up long forgotten moments in my youth that of course, were attached to that song and era.  They were happy tears and I found myself tearing up and smiling at the same time.  Music is powerful.  It triggers memories that we’ve forgotten in the here and now and can help us through much of what life has to offer if we let it.

Music, no matter if it’s pop-rock, opera, symphony, new age, meditation, etc…can be a powerful healer and can also facilitate strong emotional responses that can help us become healthier and ease specific symptoms and motivate us to change.

How can music help you?

Music can improve your cognitive performance – especially as we age, we need to keep our brains sharp.  Listening to music can help.

Music can reduce stress.  It sure can!  How many of you feel better when you listen to some of your favorite songs or artists?

Music can help you eat less – by listening to mellow music while dimming the lights you just might eat less and be more aware of what you are eating and recognize when you are full.

Music can improve your memory……no matter what your age.  Some people swear by music when they are studying and others don’t.  Find what works best for you,  It may be that listening to music while doing a puzzle is better than when you are studying.

Music can help manage pain.  Studies have shown that people who suffer from muscular aches and pains and/or fibromyalgia, seem to have a decrease in symptoms when they listen to music.

Music might help you sleep better.  And who doesn’t want that?  Put on some relaxing meditation music an hour before bed and feel your stress melt away.  Putting away all devices will help as well.  #noTVcellphonestabletscomputersbeforebed

Music can improve your motivation. Just ask anyone.  Would you rather walk on a treadmill in the middle of winter with no sun shining in and no music or would you rather blast your favorites and get at it?

Music can improve your endurance and performance – think 10K or more!  Absolutely – can anyway say ROCKY?

Music can improve your mood.  Whether you’ve had a bad day at work, you’re stressed out, you don’t feel well, you had a fight with someone, whatever the backstory – turn on some music and start feeling better!

Music can ease depression.  Some studies have shown that music does just as much for easing depression symptoms as the medications prescribed.

As you continue living your life, consider adding in music everyday – it will only enhance your journey to health and wellness in a variety of powerful ways.  Enjoy long forgotten songs and newly discovered songs.  Let music in and experience the music that is personal to your journey. Peace.

Heart Music Note

Winter to Spring to Summer to Fall

It’s been a tough winter for some.  Lots of snow, ice, and freezing rain makes for dreams of spring and summer days.  But can we be thankful for a moment and view winter days through a different lens?  The sun glinting off of the snow is beautiful.  The snow moon that is huge and so bright that you feel like it’s daytime instead of night. The ice enclosed trees that look like fragile glass statues. The howling winds that make for a great snuggle under the covers and read day.  Children playing in the snow.  Making forts and footprints.  These are the minutes, hours, and days that you don’t want to wish away.  I know that many look forward to warmer weather but in order to live life to the fullest, we need to be thankful for each and every day, no matter the season or weather conditions.

My favorite season?  I really don’t know anymore.  When I was younger it was summer.  I wanted to be out of school and enjoying long, hot summer days.  When I was older and raising children, I saw the seasons through their eyes and started enjoying all aspects of every season from snowy winter to muddy spring and everything in between.  Now I look at each season as a blessing that I’ve been given.  Another winter to enjoy.  Beautiful snow to look at and play in.  Rain that turns the grass green and signals springtime.  Hot summer sun that lends itself to lazy days by the pool and growing gardens.  Crisp air that brings apple orchard visits and the holidays that bring families together.  All of the seasons have something pretty wonderful to offer so I enjoy them all and make sure that I don’t wish away my days pining for a particular season.

If we aren’t aware our life can start to be on autopilot, where we start to count the days until our next vacation from work.  We count the days until spring.  We count the days until our favorite holidays or the days until something special that is planned. And although it’s not a bad thing to look forward to exciting activities or a favorite time of year, we do run the risk of wishing our days away when we do this.  We are so focused on the future and a specific point in time that we don’t really sit back and enjoy each and every day leading up to that future.  Doing this robs us of our days, of which we only have so many.  Each day, no matter what happens has something positive in it and one has to celebrate the little things, even if you are tired of the snow, rain, cold, heat, etc…..

Looking forward is fine but you need to make sure you are fully anchored in the here and now, enjoying your minutes, hours, and days NOW instead of looking into the future.  If you don’t guard against this, your future will be here sooner than you want and you might just regret not enjoying the days leading up to it.  So make those plans but enjoy each day because it’s a day that you never get back.  How will you make today count?  Peace.

Image result for wishing your days away

 

Time keeps on slipping away

Each year, really about this time, I tend to re-evaluate my life because I see more time behind me than in front of me.  It’s a sobering thought and one that pushes me to reflect on my bucket list of things that I’d like to do before I’m too tired, too old, too broke or too in pain to do any of them.

It doesn’t matter if you are old, young or somewhere in between. It’s always a good thing to periodically remember that life speeds by pretty quickly and taking a step back to make sure you are on the path you want to be makes sense.

So what path do you want to be on?  Where do you want to go figuratively and physically?  What changes would you make right now to achieve those bucket list items?  For me it’s pretty simple.  Spend more time with family.  Take a vacation or two.  Spend a winter month someplace warm.  Move in with my children…..not really.  Just seeing if they are reading this…..

You never know what time you have to enjoy the things you want to enjoy.  So my suggestion is to stop worrying about what you can’t change and start enjoying with what you can change.

Maybe you want to retire but you’ve not saved up enough money yet?  Then what can you change?  Can you continue working and take a really nice vacation once a year?  Can you take mini vacations and give yourself a break?

Maybe you want to spend more time with family.  Can you invite them to your home more often?  Are they close enough to visit more frequently on the weekend?  Can you do weekly phone calls and stay in touch through texts and Facetime?

Maybe you want to try a new career but don’t want to risk leaving a good job that you currently have.  Is there a way that you can moonlight in your dream career?  Are there part-time opportunities?

Maybe you want to try and  become a healthier version of yourself.  Is there a way you can take nutrition classes?  Self help books?  A personal trainer?

What is important here is that there are ways that you can re-evaluate your life and make small changes that will help you feel that you are achieving what you set out to achieve in this life.  What I do know is that you need to make these changes sooner rather than later in order to reap the benefits of a life well lived.  Don’t wait for tomorrow.  We don’t know how many tomorrows we may have.  Enjoy life now.  Re-evaluate and fulfill your bucket list sooner rather than later.  Peace.

Changing Direction

Image result for direction

Change is hard.  Complacency is so much easier.  I’ll keep my job.  I’ll keep in this relationship. I won’t say anything.  I won’t rock the boat.  I’ll suck it up.  I’m only 10 years from retirement and then I can do……x, y or z.  I’ll stay put in my community because I know it and it’s safe.  I’ll keep my routine.  I’ll, I’ll, I’ll……fill in the blank.  But what if you aren’t happy?  What if you’ve dreamed of another life?

Have you ever felt like a hamster on its wheel day in and day out?  Doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results?  Trying to effect change but realizing that the amount of work that you are putting in to effect change is not moving the needle towards enlightenment for anyone that you work with or for?  This is the first step in understanding that you just may need to change the direction of your life.  You’re working hard for change and change is not happening.  There is nothing worse than going to a job day after day and hoping that today is the day that everyone gets it.  In fact, I believe that there is a saying we should all embrace………

Don’t go crazy trying to change the status quo if the status quo clearly doesn’t want to change.  Walk towards the light and a new direction.

Do you wake up and just not feel good about your day, week, month anymore?  Your job feels stale, your life feels like it’s on autopilot?  This is the second step in understanding that you may need to change the direction of your life.  You just don’t feel good about things anymore.

Image result for not feeling good in job

What IF there is something else out there for you?  What if you are missing opportunities by staying in the same place day in and day out?  What if you could feel GREAT every day, week, month, year after year in a job/relationship/family that is fulfilling and makes a difference?  

Is it getting harder to maintain your health?  Do you feel out of shape?  Have you gained weight or lost weight?  Has your nutrition suffered?  Do you self medicate with alcohol or drugs?  Do you have more colds, flus, and sinus infections?  Do you just generally feel run down? This is the third step in understanding that you may need to change the direction of your life.  Your body is reacting.

If your workplace is not health oriented, if the pace of work is infringing on your health, if you are waking up in the night thinking of all the things you need to do the next day, if you dread going to work and sitting in front of a computer all day, if you generally feel sluggish and down everyday as you prepare for your day……it’s time to walk towards the light and a new direction.

Are you hearing voices?  I mean the voice in your head urging you to re-evaluate your life and the choices that you are making.  Do you listen?  This is the fourth step in understanding that you may need to change the direction of your life.  You ignore your inner voice.

Image result for hearing voices

Have you been thinking of a change for awhile?  Going over options in your head?  Daydreaming of another opportunity/relationship/career?  Listening to your gut, following your passion, opening up your thoughts to the positives instead of the negatives can vastly improve your chances of changing direction for the better.

Don’t wait your entire life to do the things you’ve dreamed about.  Don’t wait until you’re old to say I wish I would have, I wish I could have.  Be the change that you want to see in your life, community, state, world.  It’s time.  Turn on your bright new future.  Walk towards it. Change direction.  Embrace YOUR new world.  Peace.

 

 

 

Resolutions

The countdown is starting.  Soon it will be another year.  Before jumping into a new year it bodes well for emotional, spiritual and physical health to take time to reflect on what the past year has brought.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What did you accomplish?  What didn’t you accomplish?  Where were you at the beginning of the year emotionally, spiritually and physically? Where are you now in all three of those areas? Where do you want to be? In order to move forward, one has to look back, reflect, and make changes that propel you forward into the life you want to lead in 2019.  What will that be?  Here are some questions to guide you in reflecting on 2018 and contemplating changes that will impact your life holistically.

Emotionally:

  1. Did you manage your stress levels?
  2. Did you seek and achieve balance in your life?
  3. Were you positive?
  4. Did you accept mistakes made by you and others?
  5. Did you take a laid back approach and embrace the wisdom of the words….”this too shall pass….”
  6. Did you accept support from others when you needed it and did you give support when others needed it?

Spiritually:

  1. Were you compassionate to yourself and others?
  2. Did you seek love and give love?
  3. Did you forgive yourself and others?
  4. Did you participate in activities that brought joy to yourself and others?
  5. Did you feel fulfilled and did you help others feel fulfilled?
  6. Did you embrace and live your faith?
  7. Did you follow your beliefs and principles?

Physically:

  1. Did you incorporate exercise into your life?
  2. Did you embrace good nutrition?
  3. Did you give up unhealthy activities such as smoking or drinking alcohol or other drugs?

It’s so important to reflect back before moving forward.  Find what works for you.  Embrace changes that impact your mind, body and spirit and pass those positive changes on to others around you.  May 2019 be your best year ever.  Peace.

The best gifts this season

What do you want for Christmas? There are so many options! Amazon is selling EVERYTHING and little shops all over the country are trying to compete with unique gifts and fun activities for their customers. But what are the BEST gifts to receive?

pexels-photo-1681147
Photo by Thais Araujo on Pexels.com

I love shopping for Christmas and watching loved ones open their presents – that’s my gift! But I also would be just as happy with hosting my family and friends and enjoying time together. That is just about the best gift one could ask for.

But of course there HAVE been gifts over the years that I’ve loved and still reach for……

1) A polar fleece robe for those cold nights in the winter.
2) Dark chocolate of any kind – although it doesn’t last long!
3) Time to sit, relax and sip some favorite tea anytime during the year.
4) Walks.
5) A special outing to a special place with a special person.

Now that I’m older the most important gift is time…..time to be with each of my children, my husband and grandchildren and time for me to enjoy life and what it has to offer.

Looking at the calendar I can’t believe that it’s a week before Christmas already! I thought as time went on and children grew up, time would slow down – but it doesn’t. It seems to continually speed up no matter what we do. So I’m going to try and enjoy each day by giving myself and others some of my favorite gifts. I hope they like them just as much as I do.

What is your favorite gift? What are you hoping for this Christmas? Enjoy this time of year whatever you give or get. Make sure you gift to yourself as well – gift yourself time to do something special, whether that is sipping tea, reading a book, spending time with a loved one or something totally different. Enjoy. Peace.

Sweets and Treats

I love the Holidays……because I enjoy trying new recipes and making old ones. So for this post today, I apologize. It’s not about fitness. It’s not about yoga. It’s not about healthy eating.

It’s about comfort. It’s about memories. It’s about remembering holidays past and looking forward to holidays present and future.

I hope you are able to try some of my favorite recipes and enjoy the days leading up to your holidays – however you choose to celebrate. Peace.

Starting the Day out right with Cinnamon Rolls!
Sweet Roll Dough
2 pkg yeast
1/2 C water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 C lukewarm milk
1/2 C sugar
1 t salt
2 eggs
1/2 C butter softened
4 1/2-5 C flour
Directions:
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
2. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 1/2 C flour – beat until smooth
3. Mix in more flour until smooth and elastic
4. Place in greased bowl and turn over
5. Cover, let rise until double (1 1/2 hour)
6. Punch down – roll into rectangle – Sprinkle Cinnamon Roll Mix over dough
7. Cinnamon Roll Mix
2 T butter (softened)
1/2 C sugar
2 t cinnamon
8. Roll up dough and pinch roll of dough to seal
9. Stretch dough to make even and cut into 15 slices
10. Place on greased pan and let rise until double
11. Bake 375 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown
SWEET ICING:
1 C confectioner’s sugar
1 T milk
1/2 t vanilla
Mix and drizzle over the top of freshly baked rolls!

bake bakery baking bowl
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hello Dolly Bars – My mom always made these during the Holidays and I do too!
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside
3.Melt butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined
4.Press into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan to form the crust
5.Evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients one by one over the crust to form layers, beginning with the chocolate chips, followed by the butterscotch chips, coconut, and walnuts.
6.Pour the condensed milk evenly over the top, and spread with a rubber spatula
7.Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown and the middle is set
Allow to cool completely before slicing – HAHA!. Enjoy!

Cake Cookie Bars – Another of my Mom’s recipes! I looked forward to these sooo much!
2 C Brown Sugar
2 C Flour
1/2 C Butter
1. Mix these three ingredients together. Reserve 1 C of mix and set aside
Add to the above mix:
1 egg
1 t salt
1 t soda
1 C milk
1 t vanilla
1 C chocolate chips (I add more)
2. Pour into greased 9×13 pan
3. Sprinkle reserved 1 C of brown sugar, flour and butter mixture over top
4. Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes
5. Cool and serve with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

FUDGE!!! I love experimenting with fudge and throwing in fun ingredients like crushed candy canes, Lindor truffles, marshmallows!
2 Packages Bakers Semi Sweet Chocolate
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans or cashews
1. Microwave chocolate and milk on high 2-3 minutes
2. Stir in vanilla and nuts
3. Spread into greased 8×8 pan
4. Refrigerate until firm
For Rocky Road Fudge – add in 1 C mini marshmallows! Enjoy!

Let me know if you try the recipes and how you liked them. I just might add more as I relax in my kitchen remembering my childhood holidays….

Hello it’s me…….

I’ve thought about us for a long, long time……..and I’ve not had time to sit down, breathe, relax, and jot down my thoughts. Does anyone else have this problem as soon as the holidays start? I spent THREE hours shopping this morning and that was just to get groceries for Thanksgiving! I so look forward to the holidays when family comes to visit but the time leading up to it can be exhausting! I know everyone would pitch in to help if I asked but I’m not quite ready to give that up. I like sitting down and looking at new recipes to try, making up a menu and putting up the decorations. I don’t like grocery shopping, but then again, I’ve never liked grocery shopping….!

I need to slow down and take a page from my own book of advice and let other people bring things to the table. I need to sit back and enjoy the hodge podge of family and friends that gather with foods that maybe don’t go together but so what? I need to embrace that my Christmas tree has a mish mash of lights on it and is not the magazine quality Christmas tree but hey! ….it’s mine and my family will gather around it and we will laugh, talk, and enjoy our time together.

Isn’t that what holidays are all about? It’s not the picture perfect foods, the picture perfect tree, the picture perfect family. It’s about being with the ones you hold dear. You need to make the memories that you can hold on to for all time. You need to enjoy time with the ones you love and are connected to through blood and friendship. You need to not waste time on the little things and focus on the big things. You need to breathe, relax, enjoy and laugh with your family and friends. You need to be. Enjoy Thanksgiving in whatever way brings you peace, happiness, joy, relaxation and time with the ones you love. Peace.

Scary thoughts

Halloween is just around the corner. Costumes, treats, parties and more! It’s so fun BUT then we wake up days later and realize that we ate all the mini candy bars that were left over, gobbled down treats at work and started trying out new recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s a slow downhill roll to weight gain by January and THAT’S the scary part of Halloween. It usually starts the two months of overeating for holidays unless one takes special note and consciously makes the effort to not go down that hill.

It is SO easy to overeat starting at Halloween and just continuing until New Year’s but there are steps you can take to help you focus on healthy habits that will put a stop to out of control holiday eating.

1) Mindful eating – what is this? Taking the time to prepare your food, taste your food, chew your food – think about the texture, taste and joy you get as you eat a particular food. Doing this will help you with portion control even when you choose to try a new treat that has been offered.

2) Meditation – how does this help? Close your eyes and visualize a healthy you. What this looks like for you will be different for everyone. Concentrate on your breathe and know that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to.

3) Exercise – really? Yes, we all know that exercise can counter excess calories but you have to pick something that you like to do or you won’t do it and all of the sudden the New Year is here and you’ve gained 10 pounds. So think about what you enjoy. Do you like to get outside? Do you like to exercise with people? Do you like cardio or strength or both? Do you enjoy a gentle flow? Or do you like variety? There is always something for everyone! Walking, Zumba, Weightlifting, Yoga! Try it all and find what suits you.

4) The power of No Thank You – why? Because when you say no to yourself or to others, you are in control. You are allowing yourself to make decisions on what is healthy for you and no one else. Practice saying “no thank you” in the mirror and be ready to use those three powerful words to take control of your health.

It’s easy to get sidetracked off our healthy eating plans but if you put in place the plans that work for you BEFORE you get sidetracked – your holidays and New Year will be really SWEET!

Peace.

A speck in the Universe

Political ads in my mailbox, political texts on my phone, political commercials on TV, political talk all day long. Yes, it’s an election year. Yes, we all have our beliefs and values that guide us as we decide who to vote for. Yes, we can agree to disagree without it impacting our health….or can we?

Too much focus on one subject can weigh a person down. It can cause angst and unrest in the soul as you grapple with the overwhelming conclusion that you can vote but it may not turn out how you want it to……which can spiral people into a deep darkness of depression if they feel that the politics/ideas/politicians are not representative of the nation. But here is some news for all of you who are up or down depending on the days news. All you can do is vote your conscience and if it goes your way – great. But if it doesn’t – continue working with grace and kindness in everything you do and in everything you say because we are specks in the Universe that can cause great change by being kind, thoughtful, empathetic and gracious with everyone NO MATTER their political beliefs. Because in the end, at the very end, when you know you don’t have much time left in this wonderful place we call home, you won’t be sitting or laying there thinking I wish I’d made this person’s life miserable because I don’t believe in their political beliefs. You won’t be thinking that vote in 2018 was the worst. You won’t be thinking about politics, candidates, votes, or big themes. You’ll be thinking of the ones you’ve loved, of the children you’ve nurtured, of the parents you’ve helped, of the stranger you’ve shown kindness to and of the life you have lived. And I hope that in the end, those children, the ones you’ve loved, the strangers you’ve helped will be there to say, “thank you – a life well lived.”

We are but a speck in the Universe. We are here for a limited amount of time. Looking at the bright side of things – and there ALWAYS is a bright side – will impact your life immeasurably moving forward. Things that you can do or remember to enhance your wellness year round:

1) Take a break from social media.
2) Do not post or share anything political – even with irony. People don’t get innuendos, double meaning, sarcasm on social media or anywhere. They tend to take things at face value which can impact YOUR health and wellness.
3) Be gracious to all – we all want to be loved and respected.
4) As you get older life becomes more precious – so appreciate it like you’ve never done before.
5) Remember you CAN change.
6) Don’t waste time on things you can’t change – you don’t HAVE the time.
7) Enjoy life because it’s short no matter what age you are.

Enjoy your time here because it will end before you want it to. You are a speck among other specks, trying to live and be the best you can be. Discard the problems of the world that impact your health and wellness, problems that will be here hundreds of years after you are gone. Seek wisdom, seek love, embrace and enjoy a life well lived from the moment you entered this world to the day you leave. A testament to a life well lived is what you spread every day. Don’t get caught up in the here and now. Focus on the big picture and seek health and wellness through grace, kindness and love each day.

Peace.

speck.jpg