Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

From Me and Mine

To You and Yours!

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Have a wonderful Holiday Season. I’ll return in January with more blogs of encouragement!

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Last Minute Gift Idea for Creatives

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You’ve hit the malls more than once and the long list of “To Buy” gifts is almost complete. Hmm. One name left. It’s for the Creative in your life. This special soul doesn’t seem interested in the latest gadget or fashion trend. Rather they are obsessed with books, music or art (all kinds). Sure, you could give them the standard gift card and let them indulge their introverted desires. Or you could try something else.

A Special Kind of Coupon Book

Make a “Just for You”coupon book – Fill it with items your Creative will truly appreciate. As a Creative, I’ve listed examples I would love:

  • Inspiration Coupon – Good for 1 trip to the museum, symphony, author workshop, etc.
  • Listen Coupon – Good for 1 very long dinner at a quiet restaurant where we exclusively discuss your latest book idea, painting, etc.
  • Opinion Coupon – Good for 1 honest, but kind opinion about your talent and path
  • Support Coupon – Unlimited and does not expire. I promise to support you and your art unconditionally. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Creatives bring special insight to the world. Sometimes their truth can be beautiful. Other times it isn’t easy to share or hear. Your gift of love and support will give them the strength to continue making their art.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Summoning the Spirit

I love this time of year. Stroll along the sidewalks and you’ll notice folks have an extra spring about their step. Hearts are more generous. Smiles are wider. Eyes sparkle with the promise of joy and happiness during this season of friendly fun.

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Not feeling it? I understand. Lots of worries and strife in the world lately. Let me share with you what I told the nice young man behind the counter of my favorite noodle shop when he told me he was overwhelmed by the negativity.

“Holidays – much like life – are what you make of them,” I told him.

“Yeah!” His eyes gleamed during the sudden light bulb moment. “I just need to be more positive.”

I hope you’ll have the same light bulb moment too. Take a break from the negative and allow your heart to welcome the positive spirit of the season. How? I’ve made a list of things I use to jump start my Holiday Happy:

  • Catch a Holiday themed play– Every year, I hop the light rail and head to The Denver Center for Performing Arts. My Holiday choices are “A Christmas Carol” and “White Christmas.” Seeing talented artists perform my favorite stories is an incredible boost.
  • Look for the Light– If your city is anything like mine, there will be several venues displaying beautiful decorations and lights.
  • Share the Spirit – Wrangle your friends and family out for an evening of dinner and holiday events. Spending time with those you care about will fuel the spirit.
  • Speaking of Spirits – Eggnog. Yep. It’s the miracle cure for the Holiday Blues especially when you share it with someone special.
  • New in Town – Maybe you’re experiencing a time in your life when you’re alone over the holidays. Don’t despair! Get off the couch and join some fun groups like Meetup.com. You may find new friends to help you feel right at home.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well. AND BE MERRY!

Can You Spot the Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol?

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The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, I hop on the light rail and travel to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens. For two glorious hours, me and a hundred or so other avid theatre goers put our gadgets away, sit in the dark and allow ourselves to be transported to the streets of Victorian London. We marvel at the tale written over two centuries ago by a master storyteller. We are transfixed by our fellow human beings who act out the classic story just as our ancestors have done for generations.

Two little girls – I would guess nine or ten years old – sat in back of me. They were appropriately shocked and appalled during the scene in which two business men come to ask Scrooge to donate to the poor. He refuses to give any money stating that those badly off must go to London’s horrible workhouses and prisons.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“if they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

 My Three Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol

The First– It gives me great encouragement we can still be appalled by dreadful behavior in this age of internet trolls and ugly politics. Or, at least, our youth can be.

The Second– Scrooge’s transformation from a selfish old curmudgeon into a loving and giving person is proof positive anyone can have a change of heart. It is never too late to be a better person

The Third– Dickens reminds us no matter how hard change is or how much they are ridiculed, people of courage will still work toward a greater good. These positive changes benefit each and every one of us.

“Some people laughed to see the alterations in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset…”

If you are working toward change, I hope this post has been a gift of encouragement to you. Stay the course. Never give up. You are worth the effort.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Investing in The Right Things?

A few weeks ago, I treated my tootsies to a pedicure at my local salon. Sharing the pampering experience were two sisters and a toddler. Suddenly Grandma came in with a stack of lottery scratch cards. She divided them up between their family. The toddler – wisest among us all – was asleep. Fun right? Her daughters didn’t think so. They begrudgingly took the cards and started to scratch. I was left with the impression they’d done this game way too much in the past.

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Grandma assured everyone in the salon buying the lottery scratch cards was worth it. After all, she’d won $61 once. Nodding with what I hoped would be taken as polite congratulations, I began to do the math in my head. Now I’m not a lottery player, but I believe those scratch cards are five dollars a pop. The stack was about an inch thick. Her money. Her decision. The practical cynic in me, however, can’t help thinking a better use of her money would be a family trip to Disney World. Everyone would have a better time. And memories don’t end up in the trash can at an indifferent salon.

The experience made me think. What resources have I been throwing away by investing in the wrong things? We all have precious resources. Time. Energy. Hope. Love. And yes – Money. Most of these are finite. Invest your time, energy and money wisely. Spend your hope and love extravagantly.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Five Ideas for Learning on the Cheap

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Are you a curious person who likes to learn? Maybe you’re looking for a career change. Or maybe you’ve recently retired and just want to do something different. Taking classes or workshops can be the answer. Here are five ideas for learning on the cheap.

Five Learning Resource Ideas for Adult Learners

  • SCORE.org(United States Small Business Administration) – Did you know the Small Business Administration wants your business to be successful too? They started the SCORE program in order to foster growth in the small business community. SCORE provides classes and coaching professionals to help. Highly recommended
  • LinkedIn.com– For a minimal monthly fee, you can take online workshops presented by industry professionals
  • Udemy.com– Online resource for just about any course subject you can imagine
  • Local Colleges – You’ll find adult learning programs at many community colleges. They offer a wide variety of classes at reasonably priced fees
  • Local Museums, Botanic Gardens and other venues – Stuck for ideas on your new learning adventure? Try your local museum or botanic garden. They frequently offer specialty classes/ workshops for interesting subjects. Don’t forget local organizations! These groups focus on writing, art or hobby interests

Honorable mention – YouTube.com:I’m a big fan of this online resource. I’ve lost count of how many times I access YouTube in order to figure out how to do a DIY project or a quick home repair.

Being a lifelong learner doesn’t have to break the bank. Technology has provided us with opportunities to learn at a lower cost. So, enjoy those classes and keep your brain active!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.