Miracle Morning: Can I become a morning person?

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Miracle Morning

I am SO NOT A MORNING PERSON!  But I have come to realize that is a big problem leading to my lack of motivation, lack of exercise, lack of drive, and even lack of happiness.  Are you stagnant?

I have just started (like today) reading The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).  I am also lucky enough to be able to see the author Hal Elrod speak at the end of the month.

After seeing an interview with Hal today something he said struck a cord -

“If you want to take your success to the next level, you have to start taking yourself to the next level!”

So that is what I am going to do.  I will read his book, I will see him speak and I will LEARN, LEARN, LEARN.  And hopefully I will become a MORNING PERSON so that I can REACH! Dream | Stretch | Achieve | Influence.

Stay tuned for my journey which I will share with you all… anyone want to join me?

Facebook is a SOCIAL NETWORK – So BE SOCIAL and NETWORK

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UPDATE to my previous post: Facebook: How to see what YOU want in your Facebook News feed

A few readers have emailed me again saying they have not seen any of my posts (or other pages posts) in their Facebook News Feed in over a month.  Blogger & business friends alike are also frustrated with the changes in facebook and how they can continue to communicate to their readers, friends and customers.

Of course it is true that facebook wants businesses to PAY for you to see their posts, but we also need to go back to basics as to WHAT facebook was intended for in the beginning…

Facebook is a SOCIAL Network – so be SOCIAL and NETWORK!

We can complain all we want but we have to remember that Facebook is a SOCIAL NETWORK.   By definition to function properly you need to be SOCIAL and you need to NETWORK.

Even though you thought you told them you want to see my posts by liking my page or FRIENDing someone, to them that was just a “Ya, I met her once..”  I kinda, sorta LIKE it.

Liking a page or friending someone is just what it says… eh… I know them or knew them once.  You do not mind seeing it, but more often than not you scroll right past without a second look.  If you saw them on caller ID you may not pick up.

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If you do not INTERACT by LIKE-ing, COMMENTing or SHARE-ing actual posts or updates you are indirectly saying you do not care whether you see what that person or page posts.

You are NOT being SOCIAL and you are not NETWORKING.

That is fine, however you need to understand that FB takes that input (or LACK OF INPUT) and then shows you what you most want to see – the stuff from people who you comment, LIKE and share.

Like any SOCIAL relationship, it needs ACTIVE PARTICIPATION.

The POWER OF NETWORKING is amazing so do not miss out!

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By the way, more importantly that also helps ME to know what kind of stuff you like to see.  You can also do that directly from the post on the blog either next to the title OR below the post.  Like you obviously LOVE Dunkin Donuts coffee – LOL!  Why not SHARE all the great deals with your friends?

CREATE A FRIEND or INTEREST LIST on FACEBOOK

In addition to being ACTIVE in your social networking, there is another way to make it easier for you to see what you want in your News Feed.

You could also create a LIST which will show you all posts in chronological order from the friends/pages you add to the list.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your home page on facebook and look down the left side bar for the FRIENDS section – hover over it and click MORE.  (NOTE – you could also follow the same instructions under the INTERESTS section as well – whichever one works better for you)

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  • Click on CREATE LIST in the upper right corner (or Add Interests if using that function)

  • In the pop-up box you can name the list and add members.  You do not need to add members at this time.  I prefer doing it in the next step.  Click CREATE.

  • Now you can click on ADD FRIENDS to search through and select people or pages for your list.

  • Use the drop down in the upper left of the pop-up box to select PAGES if you want blogs or select FRIENDS if you want to add people.  You will then see all of the people or pages you are following and can add them to your list by scrolling through or using the search box.

VOILA – you should now have that LIST under your FRIENDS or INTEREST section in the left sidebar.

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BUT it is way down the bottom so you will want to move it UP where it is more convenient.  Click on the pencil and choose “Add to Favorites”.  This will move it up to the bottom of the section below your name.  BUT you can do better than that:

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Once it is in the upper section click on the pencil again and you can REARRANGE your favorites.  I moved mine to right underneath my Newsfeed – that is the newsfeed facebook chooses for me – LOL!

When you check on facebook each day you can click on that and only see the newsfeed from those included in the LIST.

Possibilities are endless for the lists/groups you want to form.

notificationsGET NOTIFICATIONS

There is still a GET NOTIFICATIONS function which will ping  you if a new post goes up.  Hover over LIKED and make sure you have checked off “Get Notifications” .  As you can see you can also click “Add to Interest List” to get them on your Feed list ABOVE.  Mine have not always worked, but if this system works for you then be sure to click on GET NOTIFICATIONS.

OTHER OPTIONS for Maven of Savin

You can also join the Maven Of Savin Deals Group - I used it primarily during the holidays for HOT deals, but may start using it more since I believe you get better notifications of posts.

There are many other non-facebook ways to stay on top of all the deals on a daily, hourly, minute basis as well.  Visit and bookmark Maven of Savin, Follow me on twitter @MavenOfSavin for up to the minute updates, follow me on Google+ or Subscribe to my daily emails.

So Facebook, CAN YOU SEE ME NOW?

Best Buddies Challenge 2014 & Wicked Fun Fundraiser

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Best Buddies Challenge 2014

Hyannis Port, MA – May 31st, 2014

Guess WHAT???  I will be riding AGAIN this year in the Best Buddies Challenge 2014.  Last year was so incredible there are not enough words to describe the experience.

We like to save money on the things we NEED so we can buy the things we WANT and DONATE to others in NEED.  So this is one of the ways I will help DONATE to others in NEED this year.

There are 7.5 million Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) – and more than 200 million people with IDD worldwide. Children with IDD often grow up experiencing a life of rejection and isolation. Through Best Buddies, hundreds of thousands of people with IDD have successfully moved from segregation and desolation to a new acceptance in their family and community.

On May 31st, I will participate AGAIN in the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port with the Merrill Lynch & Friends team – a ride, run or walk in support of Best Buddies International and my friend’s daughter Sophia!

I am using this RIDE to not only raise money for this great cause, but to also give myself another much needed fitness goal.

Last year the event was more than I could have ever dreamed.  Having never ridden in any kind of race I was nervous but the organization of the event was SUPERB and I highly recommend it even for beginner riders.  They take care of everything and seeing the joy on the faces of the Best Buddies and riding along with them on the race was inspiring.  OH and did I tell you about the ALL YOU CAN EAT LOBSTER FEST with OPEN BAR at the finish line?!?!?

I got to meet Anthony Kennedy Shriver (above) who is the founder of the organization as well as Carl Lewis, Verne Troyer (mini ME), Guy Fieri and local NBC News Anchor Adam Williams.  Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick were there for a short time as well.

SUPPORT ME to RIDE 20, DROP 20 and raise $2000!

If you would like to donate – AWESOME, but if you are local, there will be a WICKED FUN FUNDRAISER and I would LOVE to see you there!

Best Buddies WICKED FUN FUNDRAISER
April 12, 2014 from 7 pm – midnight
Moseley’s on the Charles, Dedham, MA

We have some awesome entertainment lined up:

  • Paul Nardizzi, Local Boston Comedian & Author
  • DJ Pat Lally
  • more to come…

Stephen Gostkowski, 2 time Pro Bowler and Patriots kicker will be in the house from 7-8pm for VIP upgrade pics and autographs!!!

There may also be some local celebs showing up as well as a LIVE Auction and loads of great raffles.  Tickets are only $40 each or buy a table of 10 for $350!

What a great deal for a comedian and DANCING all night to the DJ!  All proceeds support the Best Buddies Challenge and are tax deductible.  TIME FOR A NIGHT OUT!

  • LIMIT TIME OFFER: First 2 Maven of Savin’ readers who reserve a table of 10 will get a $50 discount!  So only $300!  Just leave me a comment with your details and I will let you know how to get the discount.

If you are a local business, we are still looking for sponsors for the event (name on t-shirts, in brochure and more) as well as auction and raffle items.  DONATE now and get great exposure for your business and support a great cause (tax deductible!)

PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE

  • Go to My Best Buddies Donation Page and make a donation of the ticket(s) amount and click SUBMIT
  • Then in the box “Recognition to” or “In Support Of” type in the letters “BBWFF”. “BBWFF” designates a ticket purchase – otherwise we will not know to send you tickets and think it is just a donation – which are also welcome as well ;)
  • You will automatically receive an email receipt with the tax deductible Tax ID # on it from Best Buddies!
  • Be sure to check the list of companies that match donations – yours just may be on there.

OR you can MAIL A CHECK made payable to “Best Buddies” and email me and I will send you the address to send it to.

JOIN US for a GREAT NIGHT for a GREAT CAUSE

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100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

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100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

Do you have a Reading Bucket List?

The Amazon Book Editors have created a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime that might help you create one.

It is quite a list with books to cover all stages in life.  There are children’s books like Charlotte’s Web, The Very Hungry Caterpillar… older kids with Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter and more.  The classics like The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, On the Road, 1984, Diary of Anne Frank… I could go on and on, but you can check them all out below!

Are you favorites on the list?

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawkings
  3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  4. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  5. A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning: The Short-Lived Edition by Lemony Snicket
  6. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  7. Alice Munro: Selected Stories by Alice Munro
  8. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  9. All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
  10. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
  11. Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  12. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  13. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  14. Born To Run – A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
  15. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
  16. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  17. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  18. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  19. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
  20. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown
  21. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 by Jeff Kinney
  22. Dune by Frank Herbert
  23. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  24. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson
  25. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  26. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  27. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  28. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond
  29. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  30. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  31. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  32. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  33. Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
  34. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
  35. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
  36. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  37. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  38. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  39. Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich
  40. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  41. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  42. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  43. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  44. Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  45. Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  46. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  47. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  48. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  49. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  50. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  51. Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  52. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  53. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  54. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  55. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  56. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
  57. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  58. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  59. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  60. The Color of Water by James McBride
  61. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
  62. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  63. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  64. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  65. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  66. The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
  67. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  68. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  69. The House At Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne
  70. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  71. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  72. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir by Mary Karr
  73. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan
  74. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  75. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
  76. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright
  77. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  78. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks
  79. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
  80. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  81. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
  82. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Caro
  83. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
  84. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  85. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  86. The Shining by Stephen King
  87. The Stranger by Albert Camus
  88. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  89. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  90. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  91. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  92. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki Murakami
  93. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  94. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  95. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  96. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  97. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  98. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  99. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  100. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

 So how many have you read?

Be sure to check out the Top Books of 2013 and the Best new Children’s Books of 2013 for more recent titles.

Sometimes…

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Sometimes you just need to STEP BACK…

take a BREAK…

consider what is IMPORTANT…

and FINGER PAINT!

Thanks to my 5 year old for reminding me of this important lesson today.

Story of MY Life is NOT One Direction

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Story of MY Life is NOT One Direction

When I saw One Direction perform their new song Story of My Life on X Factor I GOT THE CHILLS.  Literally got goosebumps and I think my eyes were even teary.  Not the “OMG it’s One Direction!” kind of chills that my young daughters, nieces and Paul Rudd 1D’s Biggest fan get, but the “WOW that was awesome” kind of chills.

I have always thought that even though One Direction is an over-marketed “boy band” (and what is up with Harry’s hair?), those boys can SING – and this song was a lovely, moving testament to that and so much more.  The simplicity in how they staged the performance, each of them rotating in a circle with candlelight in the background was stunningly beautiful and showcased each of their talents.

So why was I almost moved to tears?

At first I thought it was hormones of course.  I am a chick and we are always in some part of our “cycle” – pre, post, almost blah blah blah.  Then I thought it was the holidays.  I had been online almost non stop since 2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  I was exhausted, feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my family – let alone on personal hygiene and even had my laptop open while I was watching.

Then I realized it was actually 2 things – an AHA and a personal disappointment all rolled into one.

My AHA Moment

To me, the performance was a reflection of ourselves… there are 5 (or more) sides to us and we need all of them to be whole.  Quietly moving in a circle round and round, gliding from one talent or situation or style to the next.  Just as One Direction or that song would not be the same without Harry or Louis… or Liam or Zane or Nile (insert your favorite HERE), neither would you be the same if you did not flex and shift into different roles.

Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow.

Sometimes we stand out in front, sometimes we support from the background.

Sometimes we are the guardians and sometimes we are guarded.

Sometimes we dance, sometimes we sway quietly off to the side.

Sometimes we play the game, sometimes we cheer from the sidelines

Sometimes we REACH and sometimes we pull.

The elegant dance we do sashaying from role to role, feeling to feeling is the harmony of life that creates the beautiful music that is YOU.

Then I thought more and more about the lyrics and went through the phase of – THAT’s a cop out!  We all have disappointments and say – eh, story of my life… and that is what the lyrics appear to say… until I saw the official video and then knew WHY I was teary eyed.  This time I balled!  (click HERE to see it – I could not embed it but it is a MUST WATCH!)

Story-Of-My-Life-Walls

Though the song at first listen seems like a cliche weepy love song, resolved that you never get the girl, it is so much more.  You see they are taking a look at the stories of their lives that made them who they are today and it is so very touching.

What is the STORY OF MY LIFE??  Do I even know?

A few years ago when New Years rolled around we talked about figuring out how did I get herewhat makes you happy and taking the leap..stripping back the layers to figure out who you are when no one is looking - the REAL YOU.

Well as usual life got in the way and I did not make ME a high enough priority so I slipped back into old habits.  So here we are again…personally disappointed in myself for not being present, not being in the pictures that are my life, not being ME.

Take away all the woe is me love story crap and the lyrics tell a different story…

Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain… You can explain the stories – these stories, pictures, memories, make you who you are today and that is wonderful.

Written on these walls are the colours that I can’t change… They say a tiger cannot change its spots, but I say you CAN change your colours… add a little RED and be BOLD, add a little cream and COMFORTING, add a little NEON GREEN and be FUN!

And I been waiting for this time to come around… What the hell have we been waiting for? SEIZE the DAY… THIS IS YOUR MOMENT… REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS!

when I die these words will be written on my stone… This is where I stumble… this is where I get choked up… this is where I draw a blank and am sad, insecure and lost.

Everyone is choosing WORD of the year instead of resolutions.  I not only have no idea what would be written on my stone, what is my WORD?

What I do know is that the STORY OF MY LIFE is NOT ONE DIRECTION!

Back in the day there was only one road or railway to our destinations.  Now we can fly, drive a million different routes – turn left, right, go round and round rotaries and back again.  Drive slow, go fast, meander around on a Sunday afternoon.

The point is WE CHOOSE the direction we take.

We can change our minds and go another way… as the GPS says “RE-CALCULATING”

Now is the time to RE-CALCULATE, change your path, shake things up if need be.

You are the AUTHOR of the Story of YOUR Life… SO WRITE IT

because the rest is still UNWRITTEN!

The-Story-Of-My-Life-One-Direction

Easy Way to WARM UP your Kitchen on a COLD DAY!

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Warm-up-Cold-Day So it is FREEZING here in New England and even colder in other parts of the US.

We are all looking for ways to save on heat this winter but even beyond saving money, it is hard for the heat to even keep up in these subzero temperatures.

So another way to add some heat to at least your kitchen is of course to COOK!  All those reasons we try to use a crockpot and grill in the summer so we do NOT heat up the house are NULL and VOID in these cold temps.  This would be a great day for a HUGE turkey to be roasting all day.  What is your favorite LONG COOKING recipe?

Some of us however are not prepared with ingredients, recipes or the time to be cooking all day so what are WE to do?

SELF-CLEAN your OVEN!

Lord know’s mine needed it – we have been here over 2 years and I am ashamed to say I have NOT cleaned the oven.

Self-Clean-Oven

So I used that MAGIC BUTTON and could choose to have my oven on SUPER HIGH to cook off all the CRAP on LOW for 3 hours or the standard cleaning for 4 hours.  It is so much cleaner now and the kitchen was WARM.

So I see that as a WIN-WIN… finally my oven is clean and we have some warmth.

If you MUST go out in this weather be sure to be prepared with a FULL GAS TANK, Winter Weather Safety Kit and know the Winter Weather Survival Tips if you end up stranded on the road.

How are you keeping warm?

Be a GO-GIVER as well as a GO-GETTER

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Be a GO-GIVER As Well As a GO-GETTER

This week will be full of New Years Resolutions… I have many opinions as to why New Years Resolutions FAIL.  However I will also be SETTING GOALS this week and will share more later this week.

One HUGE goal of mine is to be a GO-GIVER as well as a GO-GETTER this year.  This goal was not only inspired by my participation in the Best Buddies Challenge this past summer, but also by friends of mine getting married tonight.

Jay McHugh and Stacey Alcorn will marry on New Years Eve and have requested all gifts be in the form of donations to the BeLikeBrit foundation.  Both Jay and Stacey have many successful business ventures and I have told you about Stacey before with her awesome bookREACH: Dream, Stretch, Achieve, Influence which has already inspired me.

When they met Len and Cherylann Gengel and read the story of Britney Gengel the young MA volunteer killed in the Haiti earthquake – they just had to get involved and help.  Britney texted her parent’s this message 3 hours before the earthquake hit…

They love us so much and everyone is so happy. They love what they have and they work so hard to get nowhere, yet they are all so appreciative. I want to move here and start an orphanage myself.

After they lost her, the Gengel’s made it their mission to make their daughters dream a reality.  They opened the Be Like Brit Orphanage in January this past year and it is home to 35 children – some day to be 66.  It is truly a fantastic story about making a difference, doing the right thing and making the world a better place.

I am honored to be attending the wedding this evening celebrating the love of these wonderful people who MAKE A DIFFERENCE everyday and helping the Be Like Brit Orphanage make a difference in so many children’s lives.

This year MY GOAL is to MAKE A DIFFERENCE – in some way… in some peoples lives… to make this world a better place.

Every small act makes a difference.  It is not just about giving buckets of money.  Just because you may think you cannot do anything grand, does not mean you are not making a difference.  Help someone, listen to someone, make someone’s day easier – that could be just the key to them making a difference as well.  AND if everyone is making a difference, imagine the snowball effect.

Happy New Year and GO-GIVE!

What the Holderness Viral #XMASJammies Christmas video taught me

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Without a doubt you have seen the above Video in posts and articles with titles like – Family’s Video in Xmas Jammies Will Upstage Your Christmas Card and This Family’s Viral Christmas Card Makes Your Family Look Lame.

STOP THE MADNESS

I will be honest that when I first saw it I was overcome with the dreaded green-eyed monster and feeling like a LOSER since I could not even get my “far from Norman Rockwell” family to smile all together in one stupid picture for a holiday card.  I seriously spent late Saturday night trying to “photoshop” my kids together in a picture before finally deciding on a collage for the holiday card.

Then I felt like a loser because I am clearly not as cool as they are – though I think I could rock those #XMASJammies.

Then I took a step back…

A BIG STEP BACK and TOOK A DEEP BREATH

Putting ourselves down and feeling less-than after seeing someone else’s success or creativity is WRONG on so many levels.

First of all he is a TV anchor and she was a TV journalist and is an actress and they have a production company.  THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE GOOD AT and WHAT THEY DO – it should be great.  It is also a fabulous marketing campaign for their business.

But even if they were not – we cannot all be GOOD AT EVERYTHING.  We cannot all BE CREATIVE the same ways.  We cannot all BE A ROCKSTAR.  We cannot all be the first one to come up with an idea.  If everyone was the same then moments like those would not bring enjoyment or entertainment because they would be expected from everyone.  How boring would that be?

What I Learned From the Video

  • HAVE FUN – I mean who does not need more of this?
  • Take stock in your and your families accomplishments

Instead of spending time wishing we were like someone else or our families or lives were like someone else’s, TAKE STOCK IN THE GOOD THINGS YOU DO HAVE.  The video did show me that I have not taken stock in my families happiness and accomplishments this year as well as being thankful for being healthy with a roof over our heads – not everyone has that.  It would be a great exercise to sit with the family and talk about all the great things from the last year.

  • Take RISKS and do what you love!

You also see that Penn Holderness is leaving what would be a DREAM job for many to follow his passions.  Are your REACHing for your dreams… do you even know what they are?

Strive to be the BEST YOU and STOP TRYING TO BE SOMEONE ELSE

Comparison when done NOT to improve yourself, but to diminish your accomplishments or even worse make you want to be something you are not – is counter productive.

DECIDE what you want to BE and DO

Take STOCK of what you have already accomplished

FIGURE out what you need to do or learn to achieve your GOALS

STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND DO IT

So I will never have a super cool Christmas video.  Those will be so 2013 by next year.  I AM and HAVE so much more and so do you!

So thank you Holderness Family and the Slade Family who has also been doing this for years for entertaining me, making me smile and realize I have a great family and life too.

Simplify Christmas and enjoy your families.

Christmas Traditions: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

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photo credit: Dandee

photo credit: Dandee

REPOSTED as requested by MANY OF YOU!

Year after year, I debate how many gifts to get each child, while at the same time trying to stay equitable in the money spent on each. It never fails that just when I think I am finished, I find one child something great which then requires – in my mind – that I get the others another one too. Then comes the fun of figuring out what is from us and what is from Santa – blah, blah, blah. Let’s just say all of this makes for a not so fun Christmas Eve wrapping session.

This past week I had a super big AHA moment while reading a simplemom post about 10 Clutter Free Gift Ideas for Kids.  She happened to mention the “want, need, wear, read” method. The process is explained by dandee who also made those beautiful gift tags shown in the photo. In order to simplify Christmas for her children who were getting older and “becoming capable to ask for more, and heaven forbid, expect more. She felt the desire to teach them that more is not better. More is just… more.”

Their and OUR tradition is now to have each child receive 4 gifts…

something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read

They also get one gift from Santa and homemade gifts from the kids. That rang a HUGE bell for me, as we recently cleaned out our playroom and actually found Christmas gifts that had never been opened or used.

I am definitely adopting this process.  IT IS THE GREATEST IDEA!! Not sure I can limit Santa to 1 gift, but we will see. Dandee also said she does not even use tags, but has a different color wrapping for each child.  WOW, that is easy, though now I do have to keep track and make sure Santa wraps in different paper.

That is after the yearly argument with hubby on whether Santa wraps or not. I was raised with Santa wrapping gifts, he was raised with Santa not wrapping and a Christmas morning free for all. I enjoy the not knowing and unwrapping and I think if Santa did not wrap, it would take something away – what do you think?

Anyway, what traditions do you have? How many gifts does Santa bring? Do you wrap or no wrap?

We, as Americans, have been living a life of excess. Christmas just fosters that by having us think that whoever has the most under the tree wins. I believe it is quality and not quantity. These ecominic times demand that we do things differently. The want, need, wear, read tradition is one that teaches frugality, buy also teaches that we do not NEED all the excesses that Christmas traditionally brings. Christmas after all is about giving, not receiving. It is about spending time with family, not with STUFF. Simplify your holidays and join me in this new tradition.