Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Digging deep.....

So, the past couple of months have been some rough ones. No need to elaborate, though it is possible that it may all turn into it's very own blog so stay tuned!

I won't lie and pretend that I am doing this blog post all for you, the readers. Sorry, but I am definitely gonna get as much good out of this one as any of you possibly could. There's things I need to tell myself.....out writing. Things I need to convince myself of.

For those of you that know me, you know the inner struggle and the daily fight with myself that has taken place over the decisions I have made in my handling of recent events. I had several options and I chose the high road. That high road has led to some of the lowest of lows that I have encountered in quite some time. To see someone you love go through pain and not know what to do to be able to alleviate it is quite possibly the very worst feeling in this entire world! You begin to second guess yourself. You begin to question every single thought and feeling that you have had for years leading up to this day. You wonder where you could have done something different and where you could have changed the course of events and prevented what has happened. You go through your days, one after another, going through the motions. You get up out of bed, go to work, eat, go to bed and then wake up the next day to do the very same routine again. All the while, you feel as though you are kind of floating above it all. You feel like an outsider watching all of these normal activities take place but knowing that, in reality, that "get up out of bed" part is the last thing you feel like doing each morning. And then....... check yourself!!!

Of course I took the high road! Of course I face my daily routine! It's what I have taught myself over the past fifteen years. It's what I have tried so hard to encourage all of you to do. I sit here shaking my head wondering how on Earth I have found the strength to stumble through. I have said it a million times and I will say it again. When tragedy strikes, we have two paths to choose from. We can use what has happened to strengthen ourselves and become better or we can use it as an excuse to become a failure. I refuse to become a failure or stand by and watch anyone I love become one!

Each one of us has the same power inside of us to go down the right path. It definitely leaves you with a feeling of pride in yourself when you get to look back on it!

That being said, I am now in a new home with new responsibilities and schedule at my same job. I am embracing recent changes and realizing that they really are in my best interest. I am attending a new church and have met many wonderful and supportive people there. I have made some new friends and re~connected with some old ones. All in all, I am looking forward to all of the wonderful opportunities that 2013 is sure to bring! POSITIVE people, POSITIVE changes, and POSITIVE blog posts :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

C'mon get Happy ~ 100 different ways

100 different ways to be HAPPY

Ahhhh, so good to be back. It has been a rough few months in a number of areas in my life and I know others who are going to be reading this have been struggling as well. As I am reading a book called The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People by David Niven, I realize that I need to share not only yhe secrets themselves, but my take on them, with my readers. I have decided that rather than limit myself by discussing the 100 secrets by the order in which they are listed in the book, I will instead choose daily which to discuss based on what I feel my readers (yes, YOU!!) need to think about. Through daily conversations with people, I have learned to be in tune with what others need to hear. So let's take a journey together and see just how happy we can get together by disecting and being mindful of these 100 secrets!

#1 ~ Limit yourself to thinking about only one subject as you lie down to sleep.
#2 ~ Your life has purpose and meaning.

C'mon get Happy ~ #2

Your Life Has Purpose and Meaning

Pick a person that you have met during your lifetime. Now think about who you met this person
through. Think about who you have met through them. Think about things that you may have done or
experienced that you may not have, had you never met them. Think of things this person said to you. Think of thoughts this person caused you to think and opinions that may have either been formed or changed by this person's influence. Most people have their own little map in our lives no matter how simple or detailed that map may be. Thinking about all of these things, it becomes clear just how much effect people have on our lives in their very own way.

Now consider this. Have you ever paid an extra dollar during checkout at the grocery store? A child you will never see or meet had a meal instead of going to bed hungry because you paid an extra dollar for groceries. Have you ever left your parking spot while there was still time left on the meter? Someone was able to run into the store to quickly grab what they needed without the worry of scrounging for change or having to juggle their purse and chiled while feeding the meter. Have you ever left change in the penny jar after payment somewhere? Someone who made a purchase after you had enough money to pay for their items because you were kind enough to share.

Do you see how one person can affect the lives of not only those that they meet, but also many who they may never lay eyes on? Each and every one of you is so much more important to so many more people than you can ever imagine. Let me give you another example.

I started writing this blog because I wanted to be able to use my experiences and insight to help my friends through tough times. I could have never imagined the impact that it would have in just a few short months. I have not only made new friends, but at the point where I took a break from writing for a bit, it was those new friends who were often asking for more of my blog. My words had touched people that I had never even met. Then I met someone while I was out and when I introduced myself, they immediately began telling me all the reasons why they love my blog. I asked how they had started reading my posts and their answer blew my mind. It brought about a realization to how influential we can be without being aware of it. This person and I had a mutual friend. When the mutual friend began reading my blog last October, this person said that they had noticed a major change in their friend's mood and attitude. When they made a comment about the difference, my friend had shared the link to the blog with them. That story showed me how the number of views on my blog is not even close to the number of lives that it has affected.

This is the case with each and every one of us. Once you realize how much effect your attitude has on others, you begin to see how really powerful you are as a person. You realize how a smile between you and a stranger could be the making of a day for someone you will never meet. How can that not make you happy??

"Some people strengthen the society just by being the kind of people they are."     John W. Gardner


Friday, April 27, 2012

C'mon get happy ~ #1

So here it is...the big announcement!! The first secret we will concentrate on is:

Limit yourself to thinking about only one subject as you lie down to sleep.

The other night I commented on a status that someone had posted and it became very clear that I was not the only one having a hard time falling asleep that night. The book gives an example of what happens as we try to fall asleep and our thoughts wander but I have one of my own to share.

Picture this: I get ready for bed and I go to set my alarm. I work at 1:00 tomorrow, or is it 11:00?? I decide to set the alarm for 9 just in case. Do I have bus fare?? Where is it?? Do I have correct change?? Are my work clothes ready?? What bus should I take in case there is traffic to still be at work by eleven even though I think I really do work at one?? What if I oversleep?? What if I miss the bus?

How can anyone expect to fall asleep when the thoughts continue on and on and on and..... I allow one though to lead into another and another and another and before I know it, I have been awake in bed for hours and I have gone through the day ahead about 16 times in my mind. Not the actual day ahead, but the imagined one in which I have to manuever through every catastrophe known to man before I arrive safely home the following night. The problem is that I have had days like the imagined one. We all have. Days when anything and everything can and does go wrong.

**This is the part where I remind you all how I feel about worry**

Stray with me for a moment, will you? Worry has never paid a single one of my bills. Worry has never written a final for me or taken a test in my place. Worry has never gotten up for me when the alarm went off or made the traffic go away when I was running late to somewhere. In fact, what I have found, is that worry most often does nothing but complicate matters. More often than not, I have found that I have worried needlessly over something that never wound up happening. Worry will waste time, can make you physically ill, and worst of all, it will eat away at your happiness!! Remember this!!!

Back to that imagined horrible day that was preventing me from falling to sleep. Since worrying about it will not change the course of the day but to make it less pleasant, I suggest we make a conscious decision to avoid worry at all costs. The best method for avoiding worry and roaming thoughts at bed time is to pick one topic to focus on. It would be in our best interest to pick something that invokes happy thoughts and feelings. Each and every one of you need to come up with your own personal thoughts. They can change from day to day (as long as tonight's thought doesn't lead to yesterday's or tomorrow's thought.). Make sure you pick something easy at first since this is going to be something new and I want you all to succeed and get better at it.

After hours of consideration, I have chosen bubbles as my thought for tonight. Don't laugh!! Blowing bubbles and chasing them around to pop them is something that I see as nothing but fun and happy and positive. I feel that if my thoughts begin to stray to a bubble floating toward my eyeball and popping as it hits my eyelashes, it will be easy to steer my thoughts back to the joyous activity of blowing bubbles! :) Please remember that the bubbles are just my example to share with you. Please feel free to use my suggestion or come up with one of your own. I would love to see some comments sharing what you have decided to focus on before bed tonight and also comments tomorrow about whether limiting your focus helped you to fall asleep any faster.

In studies of college students, shifting between pre~sleep thoughts was found to be related to difficulty in sleeping and lower sleep quality. Better sleepers are 6% more satisfied with their lives than average sleepers, and 25% more satisfied than poor sleepers.
(Abdel Khalek, Al-Meshaan, and Al Shatti, 1995. "Themes of Pre Sleep Thoughts". Journal of the Social Sciences)


Friday, February 24, 2012

Day 14 ~ Someone I don't get to talk to as often as I would like

Dear Dan,

I wish you lived closer. I wish we talked more. I wish we were better at timing. I wish she treated you better and let you be you. I wish you didn't have to tip toe and hide our friendship. I wish you knew from the beginning, what you know about me now. I wish you would walk away and run straight to my door. I wish I could say everything I want to say at the exact moment that I want to say it. I wish I could address this to you instead of to your secret identity.

One day..... **sigh**


Friday, November 18, 2011

30 letters in 30 days

A few years back I sat with a bottle of Jack and wrote ten things I wanted to say to ten random people without using names. Someone had posted that as a facebook note and I thought it would be something to occupy me for a bit. I could have never imagined how fulfilling that note was going to be for me. Not only did I enjoy it, but I knew I wanted to share it. I was able to say so many things to all these people without them even knowing that I had ever done so. I was surprised to find after I was done, that the person I thought I had so much to say to, wasn't even in my top ten. I learned that night that I had a love for writing and although it has taken me until now, I am grateful that I had that evening of realization. Here is my list of ten random thoughts for ten random people, without telling you who they are.

1. I am so glad we talked tonight!! We don't agree on some things.....okay, alot of things, but I understand where you are coming from. I think the whole bottom line we got to tonight is that we are completely different in our way of thinking. Thats why you are puzzled by me, right? While I don't agree with how you feel about certain things, I 100% can see why you feel that way and it's not wrong.....just wrong for me.

2. You are the best and worst thing ever!! You give me the guts to say whatever to whoever and thats great!! Given the right situation, thats great!! But, hello?? Do you ever just say, "Shut up, stop talkin!!?" Oh, and uh....what in the world does "charcoal mellowed" mean??

3. You were absolutely the MOST wonderful person, on a whole, that I could've been in complete contact with. You had your views but understood everyone. Hell, you understood me at my worst. You knew that if you got involved I would hate you for it. How does a ****** do that?? Please help me with that in the coming years....knowing how to be supportive but still make my feelings known but back off when necessary! Our relationship could have been so different with what I was going thru if u didn't read me....know what to say and do....and because of that, my memories are nothing but positive! I know I disappointed you, but you supported me, regardless, and I hope I can be exactly that to her.....

4. You never say a mean thing.....WTH?? I love you for that, but I see thru it!! U have to have a malicious thought now and again, right??? I mean, c'mon, she hurt you....ULTIMATELY!!!!, however, never have I ever heard a negative word out of ur mouth about her!! I know you loved her and up until three years ago, had she asked you back, you would have gone, right? Given up everything and ran back? an adult I see that! And I know I would never hear a single thing negative about it from you....that's who you are! That's why I love you!!

5. LMAO....U make me dance....who would've ever guessed it could be done????

6. Thanks for posting this. I loved you back then and even tho I haven't seen you in like 15 years (OMG we r getting old), I love you now too!! Can't wait to see you this weekend!! I can remember when this whole crazy, turn my world upside down, shit started about a year and a half ago..... and we talked on the phone for probably the first time ever.....and you made it so easy to talk about whatever I was feeling!!! And I hung up feeling better about talking to you than anything!! U rock!! U say whatever....U curse, like me! LMAO!! And waiting.....haha, yeah, that sucks!! I feel ya!!

7.'s you!! Who else could make number seven??? U were "that"!!! I wish things could have stayed like they were!! Doesn't work like that!!! Someone that different than you could never be completely content, right?? U don't understand me and you never will!! The things that matter to you and the things that matter to me r completely different. Sad!!! I hope that you will be happy one day. Don't waste too much time dwelling on me, please!! Get it together!! Figure out what you want and go for it. Find it!!! Took me awhile to accept that I wasn't it, but I am good now!! I understand.

8. You are THE best friend a girl could have. We r crazy different, but somehow you understand me and I understand you!! He kept me from u for so long but in the random conversations, there was never any catching up. I could just tell you the most recent and u knew what to say. When I left that first time and came to ur place, I shoulda handled it then. That's why he hated you, I am sure!! Thnx for the week when I first left for good!! I needed that vaca! That helped me get back to the me that was right b4 him!! I thought that that was me, but was only just a start....I know you see the difference. I feel like I picked up from where I left off but also moved foward....that week at ur place started that and I don't think you realize just how much it meant!

9. Wow....of all the things I have to say to you, not very many are suitable for facebook! I LOVE you. U r the most wonderful lil thing I have ever laid my eyes on!! Alot to handle, I grant you that, but great just the same!! U r so like me and so not at the same time!! I am sorry that you have been thru so much already. That sucks!! It is all a part of you tho! And it is all making you the exact person u r meant to be....that I am sure of. We never understand why until later! I just hope that my honesty with you sets an example of how honest you can be with me. Thats my goal!!

10. Oh, this is awesome!! My favorite, by far!! You, are so not what I expected!! Yikes!! Wasn't gonna include you in this list but, hey, u bumped some people!! LMAO!! Its a tough job you have right now....making me happy!! And I have to say, ur doing a damn good job. And rock on to you for knowing when was right! I was so in the dark....never even suspected. Was even a lil, shall I say offended, when you said "never" that night!! Like....OMG Really??? Happy freakin bday to me, right?? Am I that bad? LOL But to find out it was a front to protect me and be sure I was ready...thats cute!! Real cute! Almost as cute as karaoke!! ;)

It's pretty funny reading over some of these now. Some of them still apply and some show me just where I was at that time in my life. They definitely show me how much things have changed in my life since that day in March of 2009. Today, I stumbled upon a blog where the writer was partially through writing 30 letters in 30 days. This challenge is a bit different since it requires naming people. Starting Saturday, I will post a letter each day according to the list below. I encourage all of my readers to take the same challenge and see just how revealing and healing such a challenge can be. I am posting this blog knowing that I am committing myself to a time consuming task. Since writing this blog has been me opening up about everything in my life to any number of readers, I am willing to do just that in the next 30 days.

I have used the list I found online and modified it to include all of the people that I wanted to write to. Here is the list I will follow:

Day 01 - God
Day 02 - My dreams
Day 03 - A stranger
Day 05 - My hero
Day 06 - My mother
Day 07 - My father
Day 08 - My ex
Day 09 - My brother
Day 10 - the OTHER brother
Day 11 - My best friend
Day 12 - Someone who is deceased
Day 13 - My child
Day 17 - Someone who inspires me
Day 18 - Someone from my childhood
Day 19 - The last person I pinky promised 
Day 20 - Someone who changed my life
Day 21 - Someone I wish I could meet
Day 22 - My younger self
Day 23 - A bully
Day 24 - The person I want to be
Day 25 - Someone I treated unkindly
Day 26 - Person I miss daily
Day 27 - Someone I have drifted away from
Day 28 - Someone I have learned a great deal about myself from
Day 29 - The last person I kissed
Day 30 - Who I see in the mirror

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Let's get to know each other.....

My name is Alison and I am 32 years old. I, despite rough times, am a genuinely happy person. I have been asked many times, by people who see me daily, how I can walk around with a cheerful attitude when I am going through hard times. That is what I want to share with those of you who will take the time to read what I have to say. I have been through being bullied as a child, a ten year relationship that was more abusive than I even realized until much later on, shoplifting and theft issues and the legal issues that resulted from them, losing my mother/best friend to a head~on crash, fleeing abuse and starting over with nothing in an unfamiliar place, learning to forgive those who had hurt me the most, countless moves, breakups that broke my heart, jobs that were unfulfilling, and being let down by countless "friends" that I thought I could count on. I will go into further detail about these things as my blog progresses but I think that gives you a pretty good idea of the lows I have faced along the way. Instead of allowing these "things" to break me, I have found a way to learn from each and every one of them. I have learned how to make sure that I take the steps I need to take to avoid going through some of them again. I have learned to identify how each one has made me better and stronger as a person. I have learned how to look at each of them truly accept them for what they are. Circumstances. Each one devastating in their own way but carrying one common denominator. Each and every single thing we face has a POSITIVE. I can promise you that. Don't give up on me yet. I will explain, I promise! I am sure you want to know how the loss of my mother could possibly carry a POSITIVE. As we go on, I want to make sure that this becomes as obvious to you as it is to me. And it will. You will see how it works and then one day you will notice that you are pointing out POSITIVES to a friend. It will become like second nature to you, as it has become for me. There will be times when people tell you things because they want sympathy and pity. They will either embrace your POSITIVE attitude and want to know how you do it or they will seek out sympathy elsewhere. I hope that you share what I teach you with everyone you know. Keeping it a secret does no good, that is why I am taking the time to share it with you.

"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it" -Mary Engelbreit



They said it before I had a chance to....

"For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else" -Winston Churchill

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" -Winston Churchill

"If you think about your disaster you will get it. Brood about death and you hasten your demise. Think positively and masterfully with confidence and faith, and life becomes more secure, more fraught with action, richer in achievement and experience" -Swami Vivekananda

"There are always flowers for those who want to see them" -Henri Matisse

"I have found that if you love life, life will love you back" -Arthur Rubinstein

"Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results" -Willie Nelson

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them" -Epictetus

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes" -Mahatma Gandhi

"Every person is the creation of himself, the image of his own thinking and believing. As individuals think and believe, so they are" -Claude Bristol

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world" -Buddha

"Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different" -Katherine Mansfield

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" -Oscar Wilde

"Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost" -Helen Keller

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world" -Anne Frank

"I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one's head pointed toward the sun, one's feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death" -Nelson Mandela

"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself" -Lucille Ball

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence" -Helen Keller



21 Habits of Happy People

I recently posted a link to my facebook with this title. As I read it, I realized that most of the 21 habits were things that I practice on a daily basis. Lets go through them together and discuss why each one is so important.

1. Appreciate Life ~ Wake up each day and be thankful that you are alive. Each day that we wake up is a new opportunity to make friends, share ideas, learn new things, and change the world. We can wake up each day and let others determine how our day will go or we can take charge of our own lives and make them what we want them to be. Although I have my opinion on which is the better route to take, whatever you decide, at least appreciate that you have the choice. Be truly happy to be alive. If you struggle with this, think for a minute about how many others would have given anything to take your place.......That kind of puts it into perspective, now doesn't it?

2. Choose your Friends Wisely ~ Take notice of how you feel mood wise when you hang around different people. Make an effort to surround yourself with happy people. This will aid in your own happiness. Aligning yourself with people who have a joy of life and the things that it brings rub off on those around them. The more you hang around these people, the better your days will seem. They will show you by example where true happiness lies. When you get good enough at it yourself, you can swing back around for Debbie Downer and maybe rub off on her a little bit at a time.  After awhile, you will begin to see exactly where you do and don't belong and where your happiness is stifled and where it is cultivated. Being aware of how others make you feel is always crucial to maintaining your happiness.

3. Be Considerate ~ You have the unique ability to touch lives every single day. You do not need to be responsible for changing any one's life but your own. Let your willingness to accept others for who they are serve as an example to them. Let your desire to help when possible without expecting anything in return resonate with those you come in contact with. I have found greater joy in doing for those who can offer me nothing than I have ever found in receiving favors from anyone. My reward of seeing someone else happy is all the reward I could ever need.

4. Learn Continuously ~ Learn everything you can about everything you do. Having knowledge about things is not only valuable to you, but to those around you. Share what you know and help others gain knowledge along the way. When sharing what you know, be sure to avoid being frustrated if someone does not catch on. When you share with others, you can either rejoice in the fact that you have helped them figure something out or rejoice in the time you spent with them while trying. Either way you win!

5. Creative Problem Solving ~ All of us face problems. It is our way of dealing with them that differs. Those who waste their time feeling sorry for themselves will never be happy. Make a decision to search for answers and make changes. Look at each problem as a puzzle and figure out the best way to approach it and overcome it. Do not allow it to overtake your mood in the process. Remain POSITIVE and find a POSITIVE solution.

6. Do What You Love ~ People who wake up every morning and go to a job that they hate are not happy. I have to tell you that I have been there. Let me share with you my solution to this problem. List for yourself anything you can think of that you like about your job. For me, number one is that I enjoy the interaction I get to have with my customers. I have the opportunity to see many of the same people often and some new people as well. Each person who crosses my path is viewed as someone who may be a piece of my puzzle. With nothing but a kind word and a smile, I may be able to influence someones day. I try to keep that in mind when someone is in front of me who is really testing my patience. When you find your list of the things you enjoy, keep them handy and remind yourself of them as often as you need to. Focus on then during the rough moments. In the rare case that there is not a single POSITIVE thing about your job, hit the classifieds and get a new one. It does not matter how much money you make if your job leaves you miserable and unfulfilled.

7. Enjoy Life ~ Often times we get so caught up in running around and getting things done that we fail to notice things. Life contains so many beauties that are right in front of our eyes and we do not stop for a second to enjoy them. There are sunsets, flower gardens, playgrounds full of children, and leaves that change colors every fall that hold more joy than some can ever begin to imagine because they do not take the time to stop and notice. Think of the world as free admission to an art museum on a daily basis.

8. Laugh ~ Happy people most certainly laugh! When you find the humor in situations they become considerably easier to deal with. Laugh with and at your friends. Laugh with and at yourself. Taking life too seriously leads to stress and stress leads to unhappiness. :)

9. Forgive ~ Here is one that has been argued by the best of them and my position has never changed. The biggest favor you can do yourself on your road to happiness is to forgive. It can be done, of that I am sure. I have forgiven unthinkable wrongs that were done against me and it was probably the single best favor I have ever done for myself. By forgiving those who have hurt you, you strip them of any power they have over you. You take all control from them and it is an instant release. (we will get back to this later)

10. Gratitude ~ Be grateful for every single thing. This goes hand in hand with finding your POSITIVES. As you learn to pinpoint the POSITIVES, you will find it easier to be thankful for even what appears to be the worst of situations. When you see the lessons you are learning through every one, you will be thankful for the knowledge gained by each of them. It takes time and can sometimes be a struggle but the reward in it is so great!

11. Invest in Relationships ~ Take the time to make sure that the people in your lives know exactly how much they mean to you. When you are clear about your feelings and the part people play in your lives, they tend to take that into account and have more respect for how they treat you in return. It also just plain feels good sometimes to tell people just how much they mean to you!

12. Keep Your Word ~ Lets face it.....liars downright suck!! I do not like lying and do not tolerate it. Therefore, to do so would be hypocritical. When you say something, mean it. Be someone that others can count on. Be trustworthy!

13. Meditate ~ This is the one that I have never done. The reasons why are exactly what it is supposed to help so perhaps I will start. From what I hear, meditation is a way to rest your brain which may be thinking a million and one things at any given moment. For me, I never seem to be able to stop thinking about all the things I have to do and accomplish long enough to focus on complete nothingness or even just one solitary thought. In admitting this, I think perhaps one blog post will be completely on meditation and maybe we can learn together. There may be some tips that you all can offer me that would help in my quest to begin meditation. (This takes me back to number 4 where I told you to learn continuously.)

14. Mind Your Own Business ~ Now I have to admit that this one can be a real challenge. Taking a step back and seeing what stress other people's drama can cause you is a big eye opener though. When we are making an effort to find our own POSITIVES and change our own lives for the better, this added outside stuff just begins to get in the way. When we get good enough at finding our own POSITIVES, there are times when not minding our own business may be beneficial to others. You will begin to find that you look for positives everywhere and it feels so good that you feel compelled to show others how to do the same. At that point, I urge you to pass along what you know. If other peoples business is not causing you stress and you do not find yourself in the midst of business when you are unwanted there, by all means, point out the POSITIVE!

15. Optimism ~ Ahhhhh, my favorite!! Learning to see the POSITIVE makes optimism inevitable. How can you possibly be pessimistic when you always find the good in every thing your confronted with? I was where many people are. I would wake up and wonder what was going to go wrong that day before I even got out of bed. When things were going good, I would wonder why and when was it all going to go bad. This way of thinking is typical after going through trial after trial. Training your thoughts takes conscious effort but the rewards are well worth the work you put in.

16. Love Unconditionally ~ When we love someone, we cannot just love the parts of them that we approve of. People you love will disappoint you almost daily but it is sometimes your love through the hard times that will get them back on track. It is your love of them regardless of their shortcomings that will bring them to you for advice and guidance when they need it most. It is your love that could quite possibly be their example of how to love themselves! I want to make this part very clear ----> Without first loving yourself unconditionally, you will not be able to love someone else unconditionally!

17. Persistence ~ When you decide that you want something, do not ever give up. There is nothing that you cannot achieve when you set your mind to it. You may have to change your approach in order to attain your goal but when you finally get there, you can look back with a sense of pride at the hard work you put in and what you were able to achieve by not giving up.

18. Be Proactive ~ Wasting time and energy on things that are out of you control will be counterproductive to your quest for happiness. Accept that some things can just not be changed. There are indeed things that are not possible for us to change as humans. The time we do not waste on these is valuable time that we can focus on improving things that are within our control.

19. Self Care ~ Take care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and whatever else-ally :) Being healthy will save you plenty of time on doctors appointments and feeling crappy tends to make thinking POSITIVE a bigger challenge than it has to be.

20. Self Confidence ~ Look at you!!! You are absolutely fabulous! You are wonderful just because you are you. There is no law written that says you must look or act or like any thing. You do not have to be anything other than exactly what you are. When you discover that and truly love yourself, you will be better suited to be an inspiration to those around you. When you exude a love for yourself (this can be easily be confused with cockiness which is never good) others have no choice but to want to be around you and want to know you. (I will share how I learned this later on as well!)

21. Take Responsibility ~ Do not allow responsibility for any piece of your life to fall on someone else. Not a single person but you is responsible for your actions, your moods, your attitudes, your thoughts, the words that come out of your mouth, or most importantly, your happiness! Depending on anyone else to make you feel better is setting yourself up for disappointment. You have the power!! Don't ever give that away!



Speaking of things that bring happiness....

There are few things that cost nothing but truly make you feel good. Doing things to help others is definitely one of them. You can never understand the positive effects on your own life that stem from giving your time to help others and and expecting nothing in return. This is what we call volunteering. Sometimes those that we choose to help are our friends and sometimes they are people we have never met. Sometimes our efforts reach people and become a blessing in their lives without us even knowing. 

"In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it." ~ Marianne Williamson

The selfless people who take the time out to do volunteer work are special angels to those that they help. These people are never doing the work that they do in hopes of receiving compensation. It's the simple pleasure that comes from knowing that you have helped another that needed it that fuels these special people. In the process, you gain much in the way of knowledge and friends. 

An all time favorite quote...

I was lucky enough to have met, through an elaborate string of events, a gentleman who has become a very dear friend to me. I could have never known that travelling to a show in West Chester with friends would lead to the type of friendship that I have developed with Mr. Dan Mangini. The show I met him at was one of his many volunteer projects. Even knowing that he had organized the event that I attended, did not give me a clear knowledge of the extent of his work. A great deal of the work I have seen Dan do is for Siloam. Not only has he organized fundraisers to benefit this organization, but he is also there several times a week helping out in whatever capacity they need him to. For more information on Siloam or to make a donation please visit:

As the months have gone by, I have seen Dan face numerous devastating events. The type of things that he has endured recently are events that have the ability to weaken spirits. The ability to break people. I have seen it happen. Remaining in close contact with Dan at these times and having many heart to heart conversations with him, has shown me just how alike we are in our beliefs and the strength we posses to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard the next step seems. Our desire to share what we know with others about how to view things and the effect it has on your mental well being, is another common bond. I got a message from Dan one day asking me to help him find something to share and discuss during a group meeting. I was honored that this man would look to me for suggestions on something that obviously was very important to him. The kind words of gratitude that I receive from Dan, no matter what I share with him, lets me know that he enjoys our friendship as much as I do! 

Recently, there were nominations announced for the 2011 5th Annual Philadelphia Rainbow Awards. Dan was nominated in two categories; Humanitarian and Volunteer. As I said earlier, recognition is never the motivation for volunteering. That being said, it sure feels good to hear that your selfless efforts to benefit others have been noticed and appreciated. Dan was shocked by his nomination and will, without a doubt, be even more shocked to wake up this morning to the news that he has won the Rainbow Award for Volunteer. I am so proud to call Dan my friend and could think of no better way to express that pride than to give him his very own post in a blog that he, through our conversations, had inspired without even knowing. Before I invited others to read this blog, I sent the link to this man who's opinion I have learned to value so much. I am happy to say that this post has been the easiest to write :)  

Dan and I at Outfest 2011

I <3 you, Dan! Congratulations!!