Posts tagged ‘hope’

May 13, 2013

Magic Around the Edges

Life is a fairytale

Morning, Friends. It’s Brooke, here. How many of you live an inspired life? Or maybe a life with magic around the edges? And do you choose to make your world something special, or do you simply honor the glimmers that you see? Of course, you don’t have to be all “writery” about it, although that’s my personal lens. Moving through your day with brightness means you are living with joy, anticipating the best of things and trailing a hopeful spirit in your wake. And people notice this! They can see the sparkle you leave as you brush alongside them.

sunset glitter

I’ve lived my whole life nestled on the edge of reality and unreality, devouring books and ideas, feeding the furnace that is my imagination. That’s the beauty of experiencing life through the written word—you can slip into someone else’s skin, carry on in another world, fall in love many times, have your heart broken hopefully fewer times, and find yourself again at the end of everything forever changed. One of my favorite analogies comes from Stephen King, when he says that he always carries a book with him because he never knows when he’ll need an escape hatch. And I totally get it! This kind of escape makes the tedium of life bearable.

Fantasy street signs

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this existed?

However, literary highways are not the only ways to travel. I often go about my business, appearing normal and on task while my mind wanders and skips along nearby. It’s always scanning the periphery, searching for interesting tidbits or trails of glitter that might lead to an epiphany of some sort. I like to think that there’s another world tucked behind the façade of the one we navigate every day, and every now and then, I catch a glimpse of “something else.” This kind of daydreaming, usually frowned upon by highly logical people and most bosses, helps me get through the dailyness of life reasonably well. I mean, I show up to my life–I pay my bills, go to meetings, teach classes, see clients, and try my best to be responsible and plan ahead. But if you catch me between these activities, you’ll often see me gazing into the middle distance, wondering “What if . . . ?” If you examine the course of human history, you’ll see that this very question has set fire to controversy, challenged deeply held perceptions, and repeatedly altered life as we know it. And thank goodness!

I passionately believe that life is meant to be lived, that we are not just marking time. That everyone deserves to have dignity, love, respect, and meaning in their lives, regardless of circumstance. Our reality and our joy is what we make it. And we are only bound by what we imagine is true. So, why not believe anything is possible? Why can’t you blow past any goal you set for yourself? Why let others decide for you what is true and valuable? My contrarian spirit has always balked at someone telling me why I should like this or do that—I want to figure this out on my own! But to stay on the right side of polite society, I listen graciously and smile, all the while running these suggestions through my internal works and listening for the resulting “ping” of yes or no. Over the years, however, I’ve tried to learn from others’ experiences, those wiser than myself. I pray often for guidance. And I gather clues incessantly, clues left like breadcrumbs by an invisible hand. Is this little piece important? Well, it tickles my soul and makes my heart skip a beat. Yes, I’ll keep it. Then the edges of my life shimmer once again, and I know I’ve chosen wisely.

May you have a magical and blessed week!

~Brooke

When in doubt

Advertisements
January 18, 2013

Chasing Those Winter Blues Away, Part I

Pretty blue nature scene

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Well, we’ve gone back to work, the kids are back in school, Christmas decorations are taken down and packed away, and all we see in front of us are normal, plain old days with nary a festive party in sight. Sigh. Careful now . . . don’t let those winter blues sneak up on you. Did you know that this coming Monday, January 21, is “Blue Monday”? Though sources vary, Blue Monday is generally (and only theoretically, one would hope) observed on the Monday of the third full week of January. Dr. Cliff Arnall, a researcher at Cardiff University, calculated this day to be the epicenter of dim hope, according to six factors:

1. Weather conditions

2. Time elapsed since Christmas

3. Debt left over from Christmas shopping mayhem

4. Seasonal dip in motivation

5. Time elapsed since failing to implement New Year’s resolutions (told you they were tricky!)

6. Our need to take action and not having much to look forward to during the late winter months

Well, that sounds about right. But I refuse to feel sorry for myself just because the conditions are right. When I’m feeling low, I like to take a brisk walk outside in the cold air—something about the bracing nature of arctic chill combined with exercise helps me get out of my own head. Or on a self-medicating note, I may turn to caffeine, Barnes and Noble, or Bridget Jones’ Diary. But a good, old-fashioned cry never hurt anybody either.

winter-blues

We’ve all heard of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder. This is a type of depression that affects people during the fall and winter months, when days are short, skies are overcast, the weather is icy and uncomfortable, and darkness seems to reign over our few precious hours before and after work. SAD can also affect people during the spring and summer months, for reverse reasons. This mood disorder usually causes depressive symptoms, such as low energy, the desire to sleep more than normal, feelings of sadness or moodiness, and sometimes an increased desire for carbohydrates (leading to weight gain, if unchecked). Conversely, summertime SAD may actually cause hyperactivity and agitation (possibly weight loss—but not a good diet strategy).

Seasonal affective disorder is thought to be caused by several things:

Circadian rhythm, or biological clock: Changes to our biological clock due to shortened daylight and longer periods of darkness can contribute to trouble sleeping deeply and waking easily. Our circadian rhythm can also be thrown out of whack by our becoming jet lagged during travel or by performing various kinds of shift work, especially night shifts that change every few months.

Melatonin: Seasonal changes can disrupt our body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our sleep patterns and mood.

Serotonin: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate our mood, sleep, muscle contraction, appetite, memory and learning, and even blood clotting! Some studies have found that a drop in serotonin levels can cause depression.

Of course, not all sad feelings in the cold months signal clinical SAD. But we can use what we know about seasonal affective disorder to keep our spirits up, regardless of the cause. Get prepared for Blue Monday by checking back this weekend for some great tips on chasing those winter blues away! See you soon for Part II!

Have a great day!

~ Brooke

Any thoughts and ideas expressed here are not meant to diagnose, treat, or prescribe. Please seek help from a qualified medical professional if you (or anyone you know) are experiencing feelings of sadness lasting for more than a day or two, your appetite has decreased significantly, your quality and amount of sleep are poor, you’ve lost interest in activities or spending time with people you once enjoyed, or you’ve had thoughts of hopelessness or suicide. Please take your symptoms seriously, and take care of yourself!

crocus in winter snow

January 5, 2013

A Fresh Start With a Little Help From My Friends

pretty cham

Hello! It’s Brooke. So, the holidays are winding down and life is returning to its normal, non-sparkly self (sigh). Now what? New Year’s resolutions, perhaps? Hmmm—I’ll pass, thanks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for aspiring to be a better, more loving, dependable, and successful person. And not just at the start of the year, but every day! My problem with resolutions is following through with them. I love to dream up ideas and plan clever things, but implementing them is another thing entirely. I have many theories about my personal shortcomings, which include my difficulty with follow through, but I will spare you the bulk of this list. I tend to make my goals too general, without breaking them down into manageable steps. Also, I have a very hard time completing a goal that is not personally meaningful for me. So, my trick for dealing with myself is creating small, easily achievable action steps that either make me happy or bring me closer to something that is really important to me. As you can see, this annual plan of vaguely listing “things I’d like to do this next year” is not a helpful exercise for me. But in planning our NYE party, which turned out to fulfill a past resolution of ours to host more parties, I discovered a fun little game that did not go as planned but proved helpful all the same.

New Year’s Resolutions Lite

This party game, which I found on Real Simple.com (http://www.realsimple.com/holidays-entertaining/holidays/more-holidays/throw-easiest-new-years-eve-party-ever-10000001693331/index.html), is a variation on making New Year’s resolutions and look—small, easily identified and personal goals. Eureka! We printed the four “cards” out for everyone, and as people arrived, they finished each sentence on their cards anonymously. Then we shuffled the cards, and, had this game gone according to plan, we would have had one person read out each card and its answer, and we would have tried to guess whose answer it was, gaining thoughtful insight into everyone’s character. But lots of gaiety and alcohol ensued, and as midnight swiftly approached, we got distracted and forgot to read the cards. So, I’m going to share the NY resolutions of my dear friends with you now. Maybe they’ll provide you with some inspiration (or giggles). Enjoy!

Lisa, me, Sondra

My good friends Lisa and Sondra with me (center)

Card #1: The skill I want to learn this year is:

  • play banjo
  • sew
  • learn HTML coding and website design
  • how to make a tamale
  • play piano
  • how to make $1 million and not tell my girlfriends
  • statistics and accounting
  • rap
  • surviving in the wild
  • DJ-ing
  • distilling
  • French, Spanish, and yoga

Card #2: The good deed I want to do this year is:

  • serve others, do good, and do no harm (even to Sooner fans)
  • give homemade blankets to homeless people
  • none—I don’t do good deeds (!)
  • pick up someone who needs a ride
  • fill more needs as they present themselves
  • volunteer with a charitable organization
  • be more neighborly
  • talk with my mother more
  • eat veggies
  • share more of God’s blessings with others
  • charity work at an animal shelter
Ok, so the photographer had some champagne too! (me and Marzia)

Ok, so the photographer had some champagne too! (me and Marzia)

Card #3: The person I want to be more like this year is:

  • Jesus (x2)
  • King David
  • Lisa M.
  • Martha Beck
  • my grandpa
  • my friend Jessica, who knows how to not worry and to take one day at a time
  • the guy from the Dos Equis commercials
  • Brooke (thank you, sweet friend, whoever you are)
  • Thomas Paine
  • James Bond meets Walter White, but in a good way
  • Warren Buffett
  • John Wesley

Card #4: The bad habit I want to kick this year is:

  • picking eyebrows
  • tequila
  • slouching
  • drinking too much
  • road rage
  • staying up soooo late that I’m dead and tired the next day
  • waiting until next year to kick my bad habits
  • using the “F” word
  • messiness and lateness
  • procrastination
  • my messy room

Card #4 (write-in revision): The good habit I want to form this year is positivity and belief that I CAN!

What a great way to end! Isn’t that what resolutions are all about anyway, whether we make them officially at the beginning of the year or constantly, incessantly every day? Good luck to you in your dreams and aspirations in this new year, and may you find blessings and joy around every corner.

My sweet husband, John, and me

My sweet husband, John, and me

XO,

Brooke

November 30, 2012

FINDING INSPIRATION

The Healthy Housewives with Lauren Scruggs

The Healthy Housewives with Lauren Scruggs

Inspiration comes in different forms for me everyday. Sometimes it is a quote that I read, sometimes it is an act of kindness from someone else, this week it was from watching the E True Hollywood story on Lauren Scruggs.

I had heard about Lauren Scruggs last year on the Dallas news when she had gotten in a horrbile airplane accident. After going on a flight to see the Christmas tree lights, she exited the wrong end of the airplane and walked into the propeller. She was lucky to be alive. She lost her left hand and eye. It was one of those unexpected accidents that you think that will never happen to you.

That winter I was talking to our beauty expert Shelly Mac and she said she knew the Scruggs family. She had known them for some time now and does Lauren and her mom’s beauty services. Shelly had told the Healthy Housewives that Lauren will be on a book tour and that she will be in our neck of the woods. I was excited to meet her in person since I had heard nothing but great things about her from Shelly.

Shelly Mac and Lauren Scruggs

Shelly Mac and Lauren Scruggs

This week on the E Channel they had played the Lauren Scruggs story. Interested in learning a little more about her I watched it. It was very tragic how her life changed in a blink of an eye. In just one year, she has decided to make a negative into a positive and write a book about her experience. Just watching her amazing story I was so inspired that she was so strong to keep going. It touched my heart. She is definitely a great role model for us.

Lauren Scruggs Heart Felt Story

Lauren Scruggs Heart Felt Story

The Healthy Housewives and I went to her book signing. She was absolutely beautiful and radiated positive energy. She chatted with us like she had known us forever. She had the most amazing prosthetic hand. It looked life-like and she even had ner nails painted. She was very open about her hand and when she talked to us and moved her arms, it looked very real. If you didn’t know what happened, you couldn’t tell.

Lauren Scruggs talking to Healthy Housewives Brooke about her nail polish color.

Lauren Scruggs talking to Healthy Housewives Brooke about her nail polish color.

She made everyone feel welcome in her presence. I found out that she is having another  book signing and talk about her path to healing. If you live in the DFW area and would like to meet Lauren in person, she will be at the Barnes and Noble across from North Park Mall this Saturday, Dec 1st at 2 pm. I encourage you too meet this beautiful person!

Check out her beautiful penmanship!

Check out her beautiful penmanship!

I hope you guys get to meet her and if you don’t, please read her book. Thanks for reading my blog.

Yours in Health,

Marzia