The Evolution Continues: New Website Coming Soon!

Hello Beautiful People,

By now you may have noticed that the Playground of Connoisseurs of Life (a.k.a. Big Picture Fine Focus) looks a little different. The truth is, we have something cooking on our end….

We are getting ready to unveil a new look (that’s coming real soon). In the meantime, feel free to stay a while and/or say hello via the contact page. Be sure to visit back often as you just never know when new goodies will arrive:).

Announcement

Clarence Smithison Quote

50 Shades of…Awkward. #love #liveoutloudeveryday #hopeandlife

Have you ever wanted something so badly that you were willing to make sacrifices in order to make it happen? Or perhaps you were like me who thought that what you wanted was too much for God and that you would be happy with anything/anyone really.

This describes my journey of finding love. It was filled with excitement, doubt, frustration, growth, and…awkwardness. There’s a movie called “He’s Just Not That Into You” that I wish came out while I was in high school. It could have saved me some awkwardness though then I wouldn’t have good stories to share.

I thought I knew what I wanted. Atleast I pretended that I knew what I wanted. That is until my attempts at getting a boyfriend came up empty. I wanted a boyfriend (perhaps because it seemed like everyone else around me had a significant other) and was willing to be flexible on who that boy was (Deep down I wanted to meet the one and I was hoping that every guy I dated was the one). Am I the only one who has ever done something like this? I dated guys but apparently I “liked” them more than they liked me. My best friend Ester reassured me that “when you meet the one, you’ll know.”

The problem was not the selection of boys out there, the issue was my view of the world was blurry. I was blurry on what was important to me, what I wanted in a partner, and what I call the “non-negotiables.” And so, I took the advice of my good friend Kristina who suggested that I write down who exactly this “dream” guy is…

I opened up my journal and wrote line-by-line about “Mr Right. I had written something on every line of the page including the back! And then a couple of days later, I went back and added a couple more elements (apparently the previous description was not enough/complete). I remember reading it and thinking “boy, am I specific.” This was in 2008.

*For those of you curious folks, here is a photo of what I wrote….

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I remember spending time with Mr. Right (at this point it was Mr. Right on paper) and wondering if this was going to work. Would life, would God really bring me someone that was every single feature I described? The first guy I dated post “Mr. Right” exercise, turned out not to be “Mr. Right.” The second guy I dated was not the one either. And then something happened.

In 2009, I attended one of my old roommate’s wedding. I was coming out of a relationship at that time (the guy I had been dating for a while became defensive when a friend referred to him as my boyfriend. “I am NOT her boyfriend”-his words exactly). I had heard about this guy named Drew for years but didn’t really know much about him other than my friend (who was in the wedding party with him) say that he was her date. We talked briefly at the wedding. His first words to me “can you watch my drink?” I thought nothing of it…that is until he contacted me a few days later. The next day to be exact. We exchanged messages and I remember thinking “this guy is really interesting.” Fast forward a couple of months and this guy turned out to be THE guy. And just like Ester said, “when you meet him, you’ll know.” I knew. In 2013, this guy became my husband.

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Love is a commitment that gets renewed everyday…

 

I remember early in our relationship, I went back and read my “Mr Right.” And as I thought about Drew and read the list, I was in awe because Drew was everything on that list.

"was lost but now am found."

“was lost but now am found.”

The crazy thing is, Drew and I had crossed paths three years earlier in 2006 at my friend Alison’s party (the girl whose wedding we re-met at). I was on my way out and he was on his way in. He wondered about me, I wondered about him but that was the end of it. Who would have known that “Mr Right” had been in my life for a while, I just didn’t know it. I often what other things God has shown me about my future.

To all you single folks out there, DO NOT GIVE UP and DO NOT SETTLE. Your soulmate is out there and when the timing is right, you will meet him/her. My invitation to you is the same invitation Kristina gave to me in 2008, get clear on who it is you are looking for. You may not know his/her name or exact height, etc. but give yourself the opportunity to figure out what is important to you (in terms of values, personality, lifestyle, etc.). After  you write it out, spend time with your soulmate (on paper) regularly (whether you read it every morning or every night).

Dreams do come true. I’m living proof.

50 shades of awkward has now become 50 shades of awesome.

Clarence Smithison Quote

 

 

 

 

 

love is heart work

Beauty &Blessings: This Week’s Goody Bag #happyacts #liveoutloudeveryday #kindawesome

It was cold this week….we’re talking -33 degrees celsius cold.

The only saving grace was that it was wonderfully sunny.

It’s amazing how the sun can make everything so much prettier.

If you’re like me and find yourself in the chilly temperature, perhaps this week’s round up of Beauty & Blessings will warm your soul!

Sometimes our company, our schools, and our lives need a little wake-up. Check out Ricardo Semler as he shares his radical philosophy that is transforming the landscape of this thing life…

He is also the best-selling author of Maverick and The Seven-Day Weekend (which I am currently reading and enjoying!).

 

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Some people love the winter, some hate the winter. This climber saw these rigid temperatures as an opportunity to check something off his bucket list…

 

Through a series of serendipitous moments, I stumbled upon “Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life In An Ordinary World” by Bob Goff, which is all about the simple notion that Love is a verb. Our love must not be a thing of words and fine talk. It must be a thing of action and sincerity.”-1 John 3:18. Bob has inspired a movement (via his book and the Love Does Conference) to “live a lifestyle that fiercely seeks out ways of showing love.” What’s even cooler is that “All the profits from Love Does go to Restore International and The Mentoring Project, organizations seeking to put love into action for those who need it most.” Click here to learn more about the Love Does Challenge including a free download of the first chapter of Love Does.

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Have you heard? March 20th is The United Nations International Day of Happiness! Who knew there was such a thing. Actually, I shouldn’t be that surprised. There seems to be an International Day for just about anything these days (here’s the official list)Hope on over to the playground of Happy Acts to learn more and see how you can get involved.

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March 20th is The United Nations International Day of Happiness

 

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Want to celebrate happiness? Check out what the folks at Live Happy are doing…

 

 

After MONTHS of searching, I finally found something that had seemed to have gone missing. To learn the significance of the items in the photo below, check back this Tuesday (that’s 3 days from now for the full scoop!) where I will share the story of how Drew & I came to be.

"was lost but now am found."

“was lost but now am found.”

 

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but there is something about old typewriters that is so inspiring. There is beauty in “old.”

Came across this beauty while visiting Creek Estate Winery with Drew and our parents.

Came across this beauty while visiting Creek Estate Winery with Drew and our parents.

 

Lastly, for any of your parents out there or soon-to-be parents, here’s something for you!

 

Wishing you and yours a very happy weekend. May we embrace that life happens one moment at a time and blessings surround us constantly. As Jesus reminds me each day, “I can see you. Can you see me (in the everyday)?”

Be Love(d).

“Let Love be your highest goal!”-1 Corinthians 14:1

 

Fulfillment

Do You Hear What I Hear? #liveoutloudeveryday #leadership #choose2matter #misheardlyrics

Have you ever over heard a conversation and thought you knew what they were talking about only to find out later that you heard incorrectly?

How long did you go before realizing that what you initially heard was wrong? How did your perception of things, people, life change? (or did it?)

So take a trip with me to February 2014. I was invited to speak at a High School Leadership Retreat and their theme was SuperHeroes.

The night before the talk, I had the privilege of sitting in on their last minute meeting/team preparations. Seated in the corner of the room, I was merely an observer who was looking for any last minute things I could add to the talk to make it even more impactful. I didn’t have to wait too long. As the students got into their assigned SuperHero groups, I overheard a couple of students yelling “Hot Guy!” This made me laugh and I thought to myself “for students who just met each other, they are pretty bold/upfront. That girl just referred to her partner as ‘Hot Guy.’”

I continued to observe them in their groups when my eyes began scanning the various signs that had each SuperHero’s name on it. As it turns out, my ears heard “Hot Guy” when in reality it was “Hawkeye!”

 

Hawkeye

TRY THIS: Say hawkeye three times fast and you may just get a sense of how I heard something completely different….

 

Apparently I’m not the only kid on the block who mishears things.
Check out this hilarious video on misheard song lyrics!

 

 

Jimmy Fallon tweeted about #misheardlyrics and this is what came of it….

There is even a website that is dedicated to misheard song lyrics.

The thing is, what we hear can change our whole perspective, demeanour, and attitude towards someone or something. Insert mishearing something. Suddenly something that was insignificant is significant; something easy is hard; someone is guilty when they are innocent, etc. I wonder how many fights, backlash, and frustration are a result of mishearing something….miscommunication.

 

heart@work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This brings up the notion of hard work.
There are certainly things that require effort, intention, and time-certain things that require energy that we don’t think we have and resilience beyond what we think we can muster. However, consider the fact that the things that most believe is hard work (like living a fulfilled life, finding a romantic partner, making your dreams come true, overcoming challenging circumstances, etc.) quite possibly is a case of mishearing something.

See, I believe that living a fulfilled life, finding a romantic partner, making your dreams come true, overcoming challenging circumstances is not hard work, it’s heartwork.

Fulfillment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just like broken telephone, heartwork became handwork and it just never got corrected…until now.The things that truly matter in life may be hard at times, but they always have to do with the condition of our hearts. Are we open/close to new opportunities, perspectives, and ways of being? Are we receptive/unreceptive to feedback whether positive or negative? Are we willing/unwilling to do the right thing, take the next step, and apologize first?

 

Leadership

 

love is heart work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is about HEART WORK and at the centre of our heart is our EAR…

So folks, my challenge to you and I is to LISTEN UP and more importantly LISTEN WELL…our sanity, happiness, peace is depending on it.

Real Food or Killer Filler

Everyday Gourmet: Real Food or Killer Filler… @foodmatters #foodielove #socent #liveoutloudeveryday

Dear fake food,

You look real. You smell real, you taste real-ish, but deep down I know that you are not.

See for a long time, I was taught to eat my fruits and veggies, drink my milk, and eat my protein…so I did.

But then I learned something that shocked me. The food I was eating was not real! Gasp!

I learned that you share the same name as the good stuff. But you don’t have the same goodness within you.

It’s like finding a treasure chest with no treasures inside…an empty treasure chest? Gasp!

What happened? How did you come to be? Will the real food please stand up?

Sincerely,

Me

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A couple of years ago, Drew and I embarked on an adventure of cleaning up our act in terms of the food we bought/ate, the products we used, and the companies we supported. For the most part we ate pretty clean (what is clean eating? you can learn more about eating clean here) but we kicked it up a notch after watching a couple of might I say life-changing documentaries:

Food Matters

Food, Inc.

Crazy Sexy Cancer

Forks Over Knives

Hungry For Change

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

What I didn’t realize was how much I didn’t know and what made me sad was the fact that if it weren’t for this lifestyle movement, I still would be left in the dark. I found myself googling companies while in the grocery store and referring to my dirty dozen/clean fifteen guide. Shopping/grocery trips were no longer about same old but were seen through a set of wide open eyes. And then entered frustration and sadness over why I even had to do all this research. Why couldn’t I trust all my local grocery stores to help nourish me and my family. Who could I trust? Who could I trust to have my well-being in mind and not merely interested in taking my money.

Friends, I am still learning each day, which has proven to be fascinating and frustrating at times. So many people spend money on health insurance and life insurance when the greatest “insurance” we can give ourselves is the foods (physically and metaphorically) we INgest and the products we use.

Real Food or Killer Filler

 

Everyday Gourmet is not just about delicious meals every week but a place where we can come to nourish ourselves from the inside out, equipping us with the tips, tricks, and consider this’ to lead healthier and more meaningful lives.

Just as many invest to increase their wealth, may you consider investing to increase your health. After all, No Health, No Wealth.

no health, no wealth

 

How to Eat Organic Foods on a Budget

Healthy Shopper: Healthy Living with Healthy Savings (I personally use this website for AMAZING printable coupons for natural and organic products)

Common Kindness offers great printable coupons for my U.S. friends PLUS they donate to your charity of choice:)

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Here is EWG’s 2014 Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen list that you can save on to your phone to keep handy as reference.

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An amazing website dedicated to helping you recharge your health and your life!

a dangerous love

A Dangerous Love (Letter) #liveoutloudeveryday #lifeisbeautiful @christinecaine @hillsong

Hello beautiful soul,

Happy Wednesday! I hope this note finds you enjoying a great day so far and if not, perhaps this mid-week love letter will help turn it around and kick it up a couple of notches.

I have this friend who is unlike anybody I’ve ever met.
He is incredibly generous and will do anything for those He loves.
He is ridiculously caring and compassionate especially to those who would normally irritate the rest of us.
He doesn’t operate on a schedule. He doesn’t have a phone or any sort of technology.
He doesn’t need it.
He makes time for His friends no matter what.
He is so full of life and light that even the darkest room has nothing on Him.
When He walks into a room, you know.
He has that type of presence.
People love Him and follow Him wherever He goes.
Others can’t stand Him because He doesn’t put up with B.S….and He’s not afraid to call you out on it.
I’ve never met someone so gifted at making something out of nothing.
He can multiply things like no one’s business…He is that talented and that gifted.
He is a game changer, a change maker, a risk taker, a trail blazer, and a transformer.
He is on point every single time.
I am in awe of Him.

He inspires me and makes me want to be a better person.
He makes me a better person.
He is so forgiving.
He doesn’t hold your past mistakes against you, which is so rare to find in someone.
He gives me hope when I am tempted to give up.
He is always there when I need Him and He has never turned His back on me and I’m confident He never will.
He is a friend in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and even death cannot separate us.
He loves me unconditionally. I sure as hell know that I’m not the easiest person to love.
He is such a Rockstar. He knows how to draw in crowds but surprisingly that is not what motivates Him. He is motivated by connecting with that one person who feels so lost, confused, left out, ridiculed, abandoned, unloved, unwanted, and so forth. You know that person who eats by herself in the cafeteria or the new kid that no one wants to talk to or perhaps that person who doesn’t do life quite like you do and seems a little or a lot weird? He loves hanging out with those people. You could say He even goes out of His way to look for them just so that they can hang and He can remind them of just how amazing they are.

I wish there was an award for awesome friends because He would win it every time.
He has this incredible ability to make everything better.
He has that “je ne sais quoi” about Him.
He is so intriguing.
He is the most generous person I know.
He is the most loving person I know. We’ve been friends for almost my entire life though I have to admit that I haven’t always been the best of friends to Him. It’s kind of embarrassing on my part and something I am certainly not proud of. He though, has been a friend through and through. I mess up, He’s there. I lie, He forgives. I ignore Him, and He still shows up when I need Him.

And then He did something that is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.
He saved my life.
He died so that I could live.
He wanted me to know that I mattered and was so loved that He was willing to take the bullet so that I wouldn’t have to.
Now it is my chance to honour Him each and everyday.
He is the person that I want to be most like.
He is my role-model and hero.
And though He is no longer physically here on earth, I feel His presence and see Him in the smile of every child, the embrace of a loved one, the kindness of strangers, and the beauty of nature.
His presence transforms my present.

Maybe you know this friend of mind, perhaps He is a friend of yours too. I for one know that I am not the only one who has been transformed by His friendship.
Perhaps if you don’t know my friend, maybe I can introduce you to Him.
His name is Jesus.
His life purpose was to give us life and life more abundantly.
He came to save us from the things that would separate us from God and a life overflowing with Love.
His mission is to remind you and I of just how much we are loved. Not an “only if you are good or do life my way” kind of love but an unconditional love that we all desire (whether we admit to it or not).

 

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Jesus.
His name evokes a wide range of emotions depending on who you ask.
He is loved and treasured by many while others find just the sound of His name offensive.
He isn’t interested in how many likes He or you got on Facebook or how many followers He has or you have on Twitter. What He is interested in is our treatment of others.
What He is passionate about is sharing the love of His Father with anyone and everyone regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, what others say about you and even what you think about yourself.
The love He offers is unconditional.
It cannot be bought; it can only be received.change the way we love

 

His type of love has taken people out from the pits of despair into a future of incredible possibility (read this famous athlete’s story).
His love has brought joy and comfort to those in mourning (There’s a story about one Greek family whose son passed away and instead of being devastated, they were grateful for his life and chose to sow his life as a seed and vowed that something beautiful would grow from it. Through a series of serendipitous events, they are now part of the A21 Campaign in Greece and have help rescue and save countless lives from human trafficking).
His love has provided for people in their time of need (A Little Girl’s Prayer, Connor’s Story)
His love has answered prayers and worked miracles (In 1981, Ms. Dodie Osteen was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given 2 weeks to live. 34 years later, she still shares her story here).
His love is dangerous because it can transform lives (Christine Caine was left in a hospital unnamed and unwanted. As a little girl who was abused for 12 years. Most recently she was diagnosed with cancer. BUT that was not the end of her story. Today she travels the world building the church and rescuing victims of human trafficking through The A21 Campaign. You can read her story here.).
His love is relentless.

 

a dangerous love

 

He wasn’t interested in dining with those who believed that they were holier than thou nor did He seek out the most popular, the ones with the biggest bank accounts, nicest camels, or fanciest cars. No, this SuperHero sought out those who were left in the dark, those who were discarded, told they would amount to nothing, those with addictions, and the outcasts. His inner circle was made of people who doubted Him (Thomas), betrayed Him (Judas), and denied Him more than once (Peter). Yet, He chose them anyways and He loved them deeply. I’m not sure how many of us would choose to surround ourselves with people if we knew they’d doubt, betray, and deny us. And if we’re being honest here, I and maybe you have found ourselves in one of or all of these categories.

See my good friend Jesus is a different breed. He doesn’t do things to get likes, He does things because He loves us. That’s you. That’s me. That’s anyone who is willing to open the door to their lives and let Him in. What I can tell you is your life will never be the same for the better. People often want to know the must-haves, top tips, 10 ways, etc. to life. The greatest game changer has a name and his name is Jesus. His signature trademark: dangerous love.

I don’t know where you are today or what you are going through. What I do know is that my friend Jesus-the coolest person I’ve ever met, loves you unconditionally.

 

He’s knocking at y(our) door. Will you answer?

 

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The Dark Room-Christine Caine

A Dangerous Declaration

 

The 2-Year Old Game Changer. #liveoutloudeveryday #choose2matter #hopeandlife

I can remember it like it was yesterday. The moment. The feeling. The experience.

The day had finally come for my nephew Jackson to arrive.

He was flying in with his nana to visit us for the weekend and the moment couldn’t arrive sooner.

As we waited at the arrival terminal, staring at the arrival board that stated their plane had landed early, I found myself wondering, “Would he be in a good mood? Would he recognize us?”

The doors that separated the passengers and those waiting for them kept opening and closing. I looked far and wide but saw no one I recognized.

Then it happened. And it was one of those moments in life that I find myself replaying, a moment I wish I could freeze in time.

The door opened and in the distance I spotted Pauline pushing a stroller with Jackson. A big smile was on my face as I waved to them. Jackson had a big smile on his face and I saw him get out of his stroller. I walked closer to the door and watched as he started running towards me. I knelt down to be on his level with my arms outstretched awaiting to embrace his little frame. Oh how I love that little man.

As I gave him a big hug, I felt his head rest on my shoulders. My heart was overflowing with this incredible love. It had been 6 months since I saw him in person…there’s nothing like seeing someone in person. Technology is wonderful but no replacement for an in-person experience.

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Making memories with a very special little boy.

 

There are so many incredible memories that I will always hold dear from our weekend visit-a visit that had blessings written all over it.

As I reflect upon this priceless moment in time, I am reminded of how God feels when one of His own comes home. Just as I was awaiting for little Jackson to arrive, God awaits for His children to come to him whether after being far away or throughout the day. With His arms wide open, His mind is not on what we’ve done or what we haven’t done. He’s not thinking about yesterday or tomorrow, He’s focused on the moment at hand-the moment when we come face-to-face. Just as my heart was set on smothering Jackson with all the love I could muster and giving him the most amazing experience, so too does our Heavenly Father. His love for you and I is far greater than we could even fathom. He desires to love on us, to shower us with His best, and to savour and enjoy being in eachothers company.

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The love for music runs in the family…little Mozart at work:)

 

During the weekend, Jackson was sitting with Drew and I saw them creating a video using his phone. What I didn’t realize was they were recording a special message for me. The video was of Jackson who said 5 words: “I love you Auntie Joann.” My heart melted the first time I saw it and continues to melt every time I watch it. I think about how much this little one has impacted my heart and what I would do for him…I would do anything for him. And so too would God for you and I. Just as my heart melts for Jackson, I am brought into awareness of how it melts God’s heart when He thinks of us. It can often be hard to think that God thinks of us the same way we think of those we love most.

I believe God sent Jackson to remind us of how much He loves us. He wants to lavish His love on us and bless us with the most amazing experience each day. He reminds us of how much it means to Him when we come to Him, when we express our love for Him, and when we are simply in His presence. God loves you and I….a lot.

Our weekend with Jackson was so special and one that I will always hold dear but my heart has melted even more as I have come heart-to-heart with My Father’s relentless love. God will use anyone and anything to draw us closer to His heart…especially the unsuspecting ones.

God’s Love. It’s Timeless, Relentless, Unconditional, and Life Transforming. It’s the Ultimate Game Changer.

Menu (Feb 9th-13th)

Everyday Gourmet: This Week’s Menu! #cleaneating #foodielove #liveoutloudeveryday

Hello beautiful people,

Happy New Week! Let’s get straight to this week’s menu. It contains some of our favourites-ones that remind us of the people and places we love most.

Wishing you the most amazing week ahead, full of tasty treats!

Love

Joann

Menu (Feb 9th-13th)

As always, for even more tasty treats, hop on over to my EVERYDAY GOURMET  board by clicking the photo below!
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Here is this week’s RECIPE OF THE WEEK!

Came across this recipe while wandering through Homesense...

Came across this recipe while wandering through Homesense…

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Beauty & Blessings: This Week’s Goody Bag! feat. @annvoskamp @hannahbrencher #liveoutloudeveryday #hopeandlife #1000gifts

A couple of years ago, I started a new project called EVERYDAY NEW as a way to slow down, savour, and enjoy the beauty & blessings that occur each and everyday. The invite was really simple: take ONE photo each day of something that inspires or wows me. Equipped with my handy dandy iPhone, I embarked on this adventure and over 450 photos later, EVERYDAY NEW continues but it has evolved from merely taking photos to challenging myself in new ways to embrace the beauty & blessings each day. HOW exactly? Here are some nifty suggestions…

 

1. I Love You Board (an idea I came across on pinterest)
I love you because...

 

2.Create a Gratitude Account
Many people have a checking account and a savings account…why not create a gratitude account?
Here’s what you’ll need:
-a beautiful jar/container (mine is a glass vase that sits on my desk)
-small pieces of paper
-a marker/pen/crayon
Each day, take a moment to write down something you are grateful for and deposit it into your account (the jar). As you do so, watch as your account grows. On those days when you’re in need of a little extra boost, withdraw from your gratitude account by reading as many deposit slips as you need (or that are available). The great thing about it is, once you are done, you can deposit those notes of gratitude back into the account!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
― Melody Beattie

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3. Take a Daily Photo!
Though I no longer religiously post my photos everyday, I still make it a point to take out my camera and capture moments that wow me. What I’ve learned is that when we truly open our hearts, our eyes are present to the beautiful treasures that surround us each and everyday! To check out my collection, please visit Everyday New!
Everyday New

 

4. Leave a Love Letter
Inspired by Hannah Brencher and her amazing team at MORE LOVE LETTERS, this simple act is about leaving a little treasure for someone else to find. AND you don’t have to be a millionaire to do this. All you need is a piece of paper (a post it note, the back of a card, pretty paper, whatever you fancy), a pen/marker, and a willing heart. Take a moment to write a note of encouragement, a funny joke, Happy Everyday!, etc. and place it somewhere for someone else to find (i.e., in a shopping cart, inside of a library book, drop it in the mailbox, the possibilities are endless!). Often times, a kind note can do more for someone than we realize. As they say at More Love Letters, Let’s “MAKE LOVE FAMOUS”!
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5. Share a Laugh…or two
There is nothing like laughing so hard that your belly hurts. And if you’re lucky like me, you know a person or two whose laugh is CONTAGIOUS! You don’t even have to know what they are laughing at to start laughing yourself. Then there are those special ones whose God-given ability is to make people laugh. Thank you Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Fallon!

 

6. Be a little…BRAVE

“Brave” by Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
See you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you

7. Take a MULTI-VITAMIN for your SOUL. Thank you Ann Voskamp!
One of my favourite is by the amazingly wonderful ANN VOSKAMP. You can subscribe to her beautiful weekly posts and get a dose of multivitamins for your soul every weekend. Your soul will be in awe and your heart will be inspired. As Martha Stewart famously says, “It’s a good thing.”

Multivitamin for your soul!

Multivitamin for your soul!

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith, Infographic by Ball Media Group

Super Lessons from the #SuperBowl @newenglandpatriots @seattleseahawks #leadership #liveoutloudeveryday #choose2matter

Superbowl 49 was one for the books.
The game came down to the final minute and what look like a sure touchdown resulted in a huge let down for the defending champs The Seattle Seahawks.

As Patriots Rookie Malcom Butler leaped in the air to intercept what would have been the game winning touchdown for Seattle, you could feel the energy as Patriots Nation went wild and Seahawks Nation dropped their heads. So close but no cigar. What happened?

Pete Carroll, coach of the Seahawks blamed himself for the call while QB Russell Wilson took the blame for not executing. The truth is, while both may have been responsible, people failed to factor in the “x” factor…things BEYOND our control. I wonder how many people would be criticizing his call if Seattle scored the TD and won the Superbowl. My guess, not many. The “experts” wondered why Seattle didn’t just go with Marshawn Lynch as if to say this would have been the “guaranteed TD.” Sorry to tell you folks, but even that’s not guaranteed. NOTHING IS beyond the fact that if you are breathing right now, there will come a point where you will take your last breath.

After listening to commentator after commentator question Coach Carroll’s call, it made me think of how similar things like this often occur in life off the football field.

1. Life is risky. Some risks work out in our favour while others serve as learning lessons. Take the risk anyway.

2. People will always have something to say about you whether you do something or you don’t, say something or say nothing. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for who you believe in.

3. Red light. Green light. Though we’d like to believe that our lives are made up of all green lights, it is a mix of red lights and green lights that build our character and create our legacy (you can read the expanded version here). This season, Seattle got the red light and New England got the green.

4. Life occurs one decision at a time. You can either face it in fear or face it in faith. The choice is yours.

5. While we may face moments of disappointment, may it not blind us from celebrating the accomplishments of others. And when we are the ones celebrating, may we not use it as means to gloat over others. Celebration and compassion go hand in hand.

6. The slingshot effect. God likes close games. God likes using underdogs. God always has the final say. As the game clock came ticking down and Seattle look like they were going to come from behind to win the game, something remarkable happened and it featured an unknown rookie. Malcolm Butler entered the NFL as an undrafted (meaning no team picked him) free agent. In 40 seconds, he went from zero to hero, from rookie to rockstar, sealing the victory for his team. Before his game-winning interception, Butler found himself on the receiving end of what looked like a set up for Seahawks victory. Seattle QB Russell Wilson launched the ball in the air towards Jermaine Kearse and as he went to catch it, he collided with Malcolm Butler. As the ball look like it was going to drop, Kearse managed to keep it in the air long enough to catch it. The next play put Seattle mere feet away from the end zone and Butler knew that Seattle was thisclose to sealing their fate as repeating NFL Super Bowl champs. He found himself “devastated” as he describes it (here) and went to the sidelines thinking that this was going to be his fault. In that moment of fear, he found himself replaying what his Coach Bill Belichick told the team earlier “When you’re out there today and you find yourself thinking about the future, go back to the present. Play the next play.”

The Slingshot Effect

A snapshot of The Slingshot Effect

 

For Butler, it look like he was being pulled back. He went undrafted. He had to try out to even be on the Patriots team. And now his play with a minute to go looks like it is going to result in his teams defeat. The thing is, though circumstances may present themselves as one way, the game is not over until it is over. Every. Second. Counts. And we just never know when our slingshot is going to be released. Forty seconds after the “devastating” moment, Malcolm Butler made a heroic interception. He remembered what his coach said and instead of playing in fear he played in faith.

%22Play the next Play%22

On this day, February 3rd, no matter what you and I are facing in life whether it be a football game, our finances, relationships, health, careers, spirituality, etc., may we remember the words of Coach Belichick and just “Play the next play.”

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith, Infographic by Ball Media Group

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith, Infographic by Ball Media Group