imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

What are you thankful for?

dollar signNow that Thanksgiving is over in Canada and in the States, are you still giving thanks for all the wonderful things that you have?  From pictures I’ve seen of Black Friday sales, it appears that many people have quickly traded their thankfulness into greed.  It is so sad that people can put so much emphasis on gaining material possessions, that they would stand in line for hours or push and shove people to get what they want.

Society has created a monster in people, one that has a deep desire to spend lots of money trying to find happiness in all the piles of stuff they buy, often resulting in huge debt.   According to a Bank of Montreal report, the number of Canadians in debt grew from 74% in 2012 to 83% in 2013.   In the States the total consumer debt is over $11 million.  All of this debt is not creating more happiness, in fact it is creating more stress, anxiety and depression.   Marriages are in trouble because of financial problems and relationships are struggling.  People just can’t handle the pressure of being in debt, yet they keep spending because ‘THEY’ say it is okay.  ‘THEY’ tell us that we need stuff to be happier, make more friends, have power and get better jobs.  And who is ‘THEY’?  It is all the companies who are making money causing people to overspend, get into deep debt and often end up filing for bankruptcy.  So how does this make us happy.  It doesn’t!

Happiness is found in being content with what we have.  Instead of wishing we had a lot of things that we don’t really need and can’t afford to buy, spend time instead of money, giving thanks for the things you already have.  Spend time with your family, especially your children.  They would much rather have you spend time with them than go out and spend time looking for those toys and trinkets.  If they would rather have ‘stuff’ than they have already learned to be greedy and this isn’t good because they will end up making poor choices with their money.

Learn to be thankful and teach your children to be thankful.  Not just on Thanksgiving but every day of the year.  Whether your family gathers around the table for a meal, have everyone think about something they are thankful for and share your thoughts.  If you normally eat by yourself, ask yourself what you can be thankful for.  Being thankful is a good way to become happy about everything in life and everyone around you.  Here are some of the things that I’m thankful for:

  • my wonderful family
  • my two awesome girls
  • my adorable grandson
  • having a house to live in
  • having enough food to eat
  • having a comfortable bed to sleep in
  • being warm
  • my job
  • enough money to pay bills
  • good health
  • being able to eat out sometimes
  • taking vacations
  • my writing skills
  • my creativity
  • being able to see, hear and smell

It is sometimes hard to be thankful in this materialistic world, but if you think with your heart, you can always find something to be thankful for.

What are you thankful for?  Grab a pen and a piece of paper and start making your own list.

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Don’t give up

girl studying

For the past 4 weeks, I’ve been trying to write a novel for the  NaNoWriMo challenge.  Unfortunately, there have been too many interruptions and I’ve only been able to write about 12,000 words.  At the rate I’m going, it will take me to February to complete the novel.  Too bad it wasn’t a NaFebWriMo challenge!  Anyway, I’m going to continue writing the novel and hopefully I’ll have it done by next year.  Another 12 months will give me lots of time to finish it and make any necessary changes to ensure it is worthy of being entered along with all the other great novels that are written.

If you have completed your challenge, BRAVO and GOOD LUCK!  If you are in the same boat as I am, don’t give up on what you have already accomplished.  Just keep writing and enter next year.  Sometimes it takes a while to write a great book.

“Between you and every goal that you wish to achieve, there is a series of obstacles, and the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacles. Your decision to be, have and do something out of the ordinary entails facing difficulties and challenges that are out of the ordinary as well. Sometimes your greatest asset is simply your ability to stay with it longer than anyone else.”

~ Brian Tracy

 

 

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Thanksgiving in Canada and the US

thanksgiving medleyIn North America, Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated to give thanks for a bountiful harvest.  Canadians have already celebrated this wonderful occasion in October and this week the Americans will begin their celebration.

So what are the differences between a Canadian and an American Thanksgiving?   Actually, except for the dates, not very much.  I have joined forces with Kendra Thornton, a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mother of 3 to compare the differences between my Canadian Thanksgiving and her American Thanksgiving.  You can follow Kendra at  https://twitter.com/KendraThornton.

Both Canadians and Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with family gatherings, sharing a  huge meal, watching parades and football games and attending Black Friday shopping sprees.

When it comes to food, the popular choice is turkey, accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, corn, fresh rolls and pumpkin pie.  It makes me hungry just thinking about all those yummy foods!  Of course, everyone  likes something different and there are many variations in choosing foods and how to prepare them.  I’ve been to homes where the choice was Thanksgiving ham, chicken or meatloaf.  It seems weird to me, but it depends on what people like and what their family traditions have been.             

When my youngest daughter prepares the meal, she goes to a lot of trouble to make something special every time, just as I did when my girls were growing up.  Sometimes she will have pumpkin soup, mixed veggies or tossed salad and cheesecake or pudding for desert.  I usually stick to the traditional dishes now as it doesn’t take a lot of thought and I like preparing easy meals so I have more time to visit.

My favourite part of Thanksgiving is getting together around the table to pray,  give thanks and share a family meal that has been prepared with loving hands and hearts.   After the meal, we usually sit and chat, then watch a good family movie together.  Nothing beats family time and sharing.  I’ve also had the pleasure of taking part in both a Canadian and an American Thanksgiving as both my husband and myself have sisters who are Americans.   My son-in-law also has an Aunt with whom we shared a second Thanksgiving two years ago when we were visiting her in Florida.
cornucopia
Now let’s hear from Kendra with her thoughts on Thanksgiving.  She has titled her post,  It’s a Thornton Thanksgiving from the U.S.!
Autumn is here once again with crisp days, chill nights and warm, cozy family evenings. Besides thinking about football, campfires and pumpkins, here at the Thornton house, the cooler fall weather gets me started making plans for the upcoming holidays. Because of its emphasis on gratitude and joy, Thanksgiving has to be one of my very favorite holidays. This year, the Thornton family will be having all our family come to our house in Chicago for Thanksgiving. I am so looking forward to this time of togetherness, memories and family fun!Kendra Thornton Picture

Pinterest has completely changed the way that I plan for Thanksgiving. I love having visuals to go along with recipes, and I love getting feedback from my friends on how well the recipes worked for them. Now that the kids are getting older, I like finding recipes for desserts and appetizers https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=thanksgiving%20appetizers&rs=ac&len=16  that they can help prepare. While they enjoy creating yummy new recipes, it seems that everyone disappears when it’s time to clean up the kitchen. That is why I am choosing recipes with few ingredients and easy instructions.

Although I love a traditional Thanksgiving with a turkey and all the trimmings, this year I have been hunting unusual new recipes to go with our stuffing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. After all, while Thanksgiving is not really Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie and turkey, so there is no reason that you should not try some new flavors to keep things interesting. I found a fabulous article on Gogobot http://www.gogobot.com/blog/2013/11/01/five-decadent-thanksgiving-dinners/ that gave me some inspiration!

Pumpkin SoupI will be using these ideas as a launching point for some Thornton culinary creativity. I hope that everyone loves them, but even if these new recipes are not everyone’s absolute favorite foods, I think that having some new dishes on the table will spark some great conversations and liven up our holiday. The Orlando Waldorf Astoria will be serving up an elegant pumpkin soup to guests who are visiting on Thanksgiving Day. At the Thornton family Thanksgiving table, this velvety dish will include a little bit of lobster for an indulgent, pre-dinner treat. I can just imagine the faces of my family as they savor every drop of this amazing dish. I think that soup is the perfect way to warm everyone up on a snowy Chicago afternoon.

After figuring out the menu for Thanksgiving Day, I need to give some thought to which specific thing for which I am most thankful. Each year, one of the Thornton family traditions is to go around the table, allowing each member to share one thing that they are grateful for. The difficulty that I always have is narrowing down my choice because there are so many things that I am so very thankful for! If you are looking for a new family tradition, we won’t mind if you borrow this one. Remember, Thanksgiving is about more than turkey, football and food. It is about gratitude, family, love and sharing what we have with others who are less fortunate. I would love to hear what some of your traditions are – hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving already in Canada!Thanksgiving Table

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Patience is a virtue

This has been a stressful week for me and I haven’t done much blogging or reading the blogs I follow.  We’ve been dealing with a strange odour coming from under our house and I haven’t been at home.  Then we had a minor fender bender a couple of days ago.  Am working hard on my patience and I’m winning!  Patience is a virtue and it is so nice to not be upset about the little things.  Life is too short.  Hopefully I’ll be back blogging soon.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Bullying awareness week

clip bullyNovember 17-23 is Bullying Awareness Week across Canada.  This national campaign was created by the president of  www.bullying.org, Bill Belsey, who has won many awards for making the world a better and safer place for young people.  He also created the world’s first website on cyberbullying –  www.cyberbullying.ca and is the facilitator of online courses and webinars through his site www.bullyingcourse.com.  Mr. Belsey has appeared on various programs including Dr Phil, ABC News 20/20 and CNN.  He teaches school in Alberta and travels around the world speaking about various topics including bullying.

Bullying has always been around and always will be, but now with internet availability, cyberbullying has just magnified the problem.  When I was a child, my lack of ability to stand up for myself put me directly in the path of bullies.  Anyone who has low esteem is a direct target because bullies avoid anyone with strong esteem, they will only go after an easy victim.  This is because bullies have usually been abused or bullied themselves and they are looking for someone who is weak, so they can feel powerful and in control of their out-of-control lives.

I read an article this morning from CBC news that says the federal government is ready to put in new legislation to make is a crime for distribute intimate photos without the consent of the person in the pictures.   I’ve often wondered why people are allowed to freely send inappropriate photos of other people anywhere they want.  In the past, I worked for companies and organizations that require signed consent to take and distribute any personal photos.  Now with sites like Facebook and other social media, it seems that anyone can do what they want.  NOBODY should be allowed to pass on pictures without permission.  To me, this is theft – it is stealing the rights of a person to be seen and there should be laws against it.  I hope this legislation goes through and that more action is taken to protect the innocent who are being bullied in any way.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cyberbullying-legislation-to-be-announced-today-1.2432717

However, something also needs to be done about the bullies.  There are so many children that are raised in homes where there is violence, bullying and abuse.  These children learn inappropriate behaviours and through their hurt they inflict pain on others.  Punishing them is necessary but they should also be learning how to make positive changes in their attitude and behaviour.  Schools should be implementing courses where all children are being taught how to communicate properly and how to act appropriately so they can become responsible, caring adults.   Education is the key to decreasing the bully problem both for the bullies and those being bullied.

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Stretch yourself

family stretchingIf you want to achieve something worthwhile in life, it is necessary to learn and take action.  This might be difficult and you might  have to do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.  It might require that you stretch your abilities and ‘reach for the stars’.

Try doing something every day that makes you stretch and move forward.  Think about some things that you may find a little difficult or that you have been pushing aside, then give it a try.  Be positive about the results and you might surprise yourself.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Express love to someone
  • Take a new risk
  • Try for a new achievement
  • Face a fear that holds you back
  • Share a secret with someone you trust
  • Make an apology
  • Set a new goal
  • Write a story, poem or song
  • Start a conversation with someone you don’t know
  • Start a project

Write your own list and start stretching yourself!  Most of us can do a lot more than we think we can.  Don’t let failure stop you.  If you aren’t successful, just learn from your mistakes and keep trying!

 

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Do you enjoy being yourself?

Cricket Team Holding HandsThis may not be an easy question to answer.  Many people don’t really accept themselves and therefore don’t enjoy being who they are.  Accepting yourself is tough in a world that continues to point out your flaws and imperfections.  All you have to do is turn on the TV or look at a magazine to be told that there is something wrong with you.

Ask yourself the following questions to see if you are accepting of yourself:

  1. Are you happy being with yourself?  People who accept themselves enjoy their own company and can be happy even if they are around others who are critical or unloving.  Negative people don’t make them angry, instead they will feel sorry for them.
  2. Do you live in the present?  People who accept themselves don’t think about all the mistakes they have made in the past or worry about what will happen in the future.  Instead they live in the present and try to be the best person they can be.
  3. Are you confident in your abilities?  People who accept themselves feel good about what they can achieve and don’t feel bad if they can’t do everything as good as other people.
  4. Do you have a positive attitude?  People who accept themselves are a positive influence to other people.
  5. Are you honest and open?  People who accept themselves are very real with other people.  They speak the truth and don’t have to hide anything.
  6. Can you accept a compliment?  People who accept themselves are able to receive love from others in a gracious manner.  They aren’t suspicious of the motives behind the compliment.
  7. Can you laugh at yourself?  People who accept themselves realize they have limitations and weaknesses, but it doesn’t bother them.
  8. Do you take care of your health?  People who accept themselves take care of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.  They understand the importance of refraining from excessive living and will also show compassion towards the needs of others.
  9. Do you set goals and work hard to achieve them?  People who accept themselves know the importance of having goals in life and achieving their dreams.  They value their life and have realistic expectations.
  10. Do you learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward?  People who accept themselves admit that they make mistakes, but don’t give up.  Instead they learn and make appropriate changes so they can keep growing and moving ahead in life.

If you have trouble accepting who you are, try focusing on your strengths and work on becoming more positive.  Surround yourself with positive people, places and things.  Say positive affirmations.  Write your self-talk in a journal and make sure you are saying positive things to yourself.  Read motivational  books, listen to CD’s and watch DVD’s.  Practice positivity every single day and soon it will become a good, new habit.

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Treat others as you want them to treat you

friendsWe all want people to like us and treat us with kindness and respect.   No matter what age we are, being liked and having friends is important and it makes us feel good about ourselves.

Society makes us believe that we have to make drastic changes in the way we look or have flashy, expensive stuff to be popular but what we really need to do is change our attitude and behaviour.

If we want to have friends, we need to treat other people the way that we want them to treat us.  Of course, there will always be people who don’t like us no matter what we do because of personality conflicts, but most people are attracted to a genuinely ‘nice’ person.

Here are some things you can do to increase your chances of being liked:

  • be genuine and sincere
  • have a positive attitude
  • be confident
  • show respect
  • be kind and caring
  • listen more than you talk
  • be a fun and interesting person
  • be reliable
  • don’t gossip or spread rumours

If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend!

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The pressure for perfection

smiling3We have become our own worst enemies through pressures put on us by the media.  Every day we see images of perfect and beautiful people in magazines and on TV, pressuring us to reach for perfection.  We are told that we are too big, too small, too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall…….there is always something wrong with us and we search endlessly for ways to become that perfect and beautiful person.

Yet how can we become perfect in a world that is far from perfect?

Our culture creates an artificial image of beauty that can never be reached and it is having a negative impact on young people, especially girls and women.  More and more young people are starting on diets as young as age 5!!  Adults need to promote a more positive image by being good role models, encouraging healthy living and helping our younger generation build confidence and increase their self-esteem.   Young people need to know that it is okay to be different and that they are amazing just the way they are.

Here is an interesting article on how relentless body shaming puts girls at risk.  http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1579841

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Compliment yourself

Woman Holding DocumentsHow often do you give yourself a compliment?   Most people would not even consider doing such a silly thing.   A compliment is usually given to another person as an expression of esteem, respect, affection or admiration.  Right?  But there is no reason we can’t give ourselves a compliment and we should if we have done a good job.

Many people don’t believe they are worthy of compliments, but everyone is unique and special in their own way.   We have great abilities and strengths that we often overlook or ignore.  We need to bring these to our attention so we can tell ourselves what a great person we are.

There is so much negativity in the world today and we don’t hear enough positive comments from other people, so we need to make sure that we are hearing something encouraging from ourselves.  When we do something that deserves a compliment, we should immediately say something nice about ourselves.  If possible, say it out loud and with passion!  You deserve it!

Compliment yourself on your kindness, your sense of humour and your great smile.  Compliment yourself on a job well done.   Don’t wait for someone else to say something.   Do it yourself.  And don’t forget to pay compliments to other people.  This will help you become a  more confident, positive person and it will have a positive impact on other people.

I can live for two months on a good compliment.  ~Mark Twain

Pay with compliments and you will always be wealthy.  ~Mike Dolan

There is no effect more disproportionate to its cause than the happiness bestowed by a small compliment.  ~Robert Brault

 

 

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