Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

Make a vision board for the new year January 18, 2017

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Cheers to a great year!

Week 3 of my best year ever started! So far, it’s been a good year. I kicked off my fitness routine (more to come on that later), biked a few times, met up with friends many times, and got working on some professional projects.

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One of my favorite activities that I like to do to kick off a new year is make a vision board. It’s a fun, simple way to  keep my goals, and dreams, in a visible spot (I usually keep it in my home office but since I’ve been in a temporary apartment while house hunting, I keep my board on top of the microwave and it’s proven to be a great spot. Every time I heat up some tea, food, whatever, I look at my board. It often reminds me of where I want to head and to lose the distractions!).

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Making a vision board is also a perfect excuse to get some friends together (not that we need excuses!). While you can of course make one on your own, I find it fun to get together to share your goals and see the creativity others use when making a board. My friend hosts an annual vision board making party with a bunch of women, food, drinks and craft supplies. It’s a lot of fun! I couldn’t make it a few times in the past so gathered my sisters and other ladies together because I really wanted to make a vision board. Last year, I helped plan a vision board party for my sorority alumnae chapter. And if you want to make it on your own, go for it!

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Remember that nothing on that board has to be perfect, nor is it set in stone. It’s your vision board! Some women get detailed both with their goals and creativity with paper, stickers and images, while others think broader, find what they need and glue it on wherever the whim takes them. And that’s beautiful because…say it with me….it’s your vision board! (Getting the picture that this project is all about you?)

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You need simple supplies to get started:

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Your goals. Some people get detailed (lose 10 pounds, get a puppy, go to Italy, find a new job, etc.). You can do whatever you want. It is after all your vision board! I often set some specific goals but this year I am focusing more on broader goals, with a few details included.

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Poster board. This can be any type of poster board. I usually choose a  standard white board with a little thickness (for easier display) and cut it to 15″ x 20″ size. It keeps it manageable to make and to display.

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Magazines. Use any magazines to find images of your goals, words, letters, whatever you want. If you make your board with a group of people, ask everyone to bring what they can. It’s fun (and easier) to have a variety of choices.

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Craft supplies. Stickers, sparkles, decorative paper and any other fun crafty item you want to include on your board.

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Scissors. For cutting your images and paper.

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Glue sticks. Place your items and stick ’em on!

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You can add any other item to your list. Whatever helps you get started and focused. No one is going to knock on your door to check the status of your projects/goals. The idea is to keep you focused on what you want. As I said, sometimes those goals change and sometimes you simply decide you want to do something else with your year and life. Have fun with this project! It’s your vision board! (okay, I couldn’t resist.)

 

Kicking off my best year ever January 2, 2017

hh_2017Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful start to this new year. I celebrated with some great friends and also reconnected with old friends.

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I’m excited and ready for 2017! As I wrote in my previous blog post, I’m keeping my goals simple yet personal. I already feel like I’m on the right path, especially in finding happiness and health. It was a beautiful sunny, not quite balmy but not quite bitter cold day yesterday, on January 1, the first day of the new year (my best year ever keep in mind!). So what did I do? Went on a bike ride of course! It seemed like the perfect start to this year that will be filled with fun and sunshine.

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It was a pretty easy decision to go on a ride. My road bike has been sitting sadly in the corner while it snowed, rained or was just blah winter weather outside. The snow melted enough that the roads were clear. The sun shone. The air was a crispy 37 degrees. But the outdoors and my bike beckoned. So I simply bundled up, pumped up my tires, charged the Garmin and headed out. Glorious decision. I caught myself smiling ear to ear by the end of the drive. Me, biking outside in Michigan on Jan. 1. So grateful. My plan had been a quick ride, maybe five miles, just to enjoy the fresh air and the feel of my muscles riding. Five miles turned to seven, then 10, then a little more.

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And the first day of my best year ever ended with my Detroit Lions making the playoffs. Okay, I know we didn’t win last night’s game, but let’s be thankful for what we have. And the Super Bowl hasn’t been decided yet!

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I welcomed 2017 with open arms and an open heart. I have big plans for this year. So far, it’s been a great start. How did you start the new year?

 

FOCUSED on the new year – setting realistic goals for success January 13, 2016

new year's resolutions, new year's goals, goals, healthy living

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I admit that I was not sad to see 2015 come to an end. Last year was not my favorite year. I faced a lot of personal and health challenges, cried too many tears, slacked too much on my health and fitness, and lost focus of many goals. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the worst year either as I made fun, happy memories throughout the year (Kentucky Derby!). However, I was ready for a clean slate with a new year.

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So 2016 will be better. Because I’m going to make it better. I’m not sitting back quietly watching the days slip by. No more living in limbo.

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focusimageFOCUS is my word for 2016. I chose it because I want to focus on some personal and professional goals – but not too many to feel frazzled. I want to focus on writing, focus on friendships, focus on family, focus on love, focus on me.

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I recently went to two vision board parties so I should be really focused. Haha. I only made one board because I want to stay focused on my main goals and not spread myself too thin this year (side note: these parties  brought together some amazing women. It was awesome to sit around discussing goals, sharing encouragement, laughs and support. I definitely have more girl time as a goal this year!). I love making a vision board – it’s a great opportunity to think about your goals and put these onto a board so you can be visually reminded of them throughout the year. I usually place my board in my home office so I can easily see it, helping me stay ‘focused’ on my plans.

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If you haven’t goals this year, there’s still time. If you don’t like the word ‘goal,’ think them as personal highlights that you want to accomplish. I’m the type of personality that likes a plan and a checklist (how awesome does it feel to cross tasks off your to-do list??). I also like to set goals so I have things to look forward to throughout the year. Your goals don’t have to be huge and should be realistic and achievable. When you set a goal, think if you will realistic make an effort to accomplish it – maybe you want to win the Lotto or build your own home. Great goals, but are these dreams or goals?

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Here are some of my goals to help get you started planning:

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Get outdoors: I plan to enjoy more hiking and biking, whether with myself or anyone interested in joining me! I hope to camp more often, even plan a weekend kid-friendly camping getaway with family and friends. One goal is visit all 13 parks in the Huron-Clinton Metroparks system. I’ve been to a few of these but want to start fresh and explore all of these cool parks so close to me.

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Slow down and focus on me: I always feel so selfish saying I want to focus on me and take more me time, and after talking to several girlfriends, it seems like many women feel this way. However, I’ve learned that if I don’t take care of myself – physically and mentally – I’m not much help to others. So this year, I’d like to expand my meditation and yoga practices, take a few mental health days to do something fun with myself (reading, biking, massage, etc), work toward achieving some of my goals and learn to laugh much more at myself and life.

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McLeans_KM_me_blogFocus on friends: I’m hoping to meet some new girlfriends with shared interests this year and spend more time with current girlfriends who value our friendship as much as I do and reciprocate effort in keeping the friendship. I’ve experienced drifting from some girlfriends the past few years and I’ve accepted that some people are meant to enter, and exit, your life, leaving you with good memories. I cherish many of the women still in my life and plan to be a better friend to them as I open myself up to new friendships and adventures.

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Travel: I used to take numerous weekend getaways throughout the year, camp with friends, escape on spontaneous road trips. Nothing too far from home, but just simply getting away! I stopped taking these getaways a few years ago for reasons that escape me so I intend to plan a few of these this year, whether on my own, with my family and/or friends.I sometimes need to get away to recharge my soul and energy.

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Become more spiritual: In addition to attending church more often, I’d like to simply quiet my mind more often to get in better touch with my spiritual side. I find such internal peace after attending church and praying that I know this is something I need to do more of this year.

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In addition to these goals, I plan to continue to work being a better daughter, sister and friend. Spending more time with my nieces and nephew is another goal (if they’ll have me!) – whether or not we are someday blessed with our own child, these five amazing people will always be ‘my kids’ too. I’d also like to try to cook new recipes more often as I enjoy being in the kitchen more and more (this sentence makes my mom proud!) – I’ll share some of my favorite recipes here!

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What is your word of the year and some goals for 2016? Feel free to share! Whatever your goals and dreams, I hope this year is filled with good health and happiness for you!

 

40 reasons to love life (and birthdays) September 11, 2015

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I can hardly believe that my 30s are rapidly coming to an end and a new decade is upon me. In a few days I will turn 40 years old. Wow. That age once seemed so far away.

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Explore the land around you.

Explore the land around you.

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. Always have been, but especially so after my cancer diagnosis and my dad’s death from cancer. I spent my 22nd birthday in the hospital with an IV dripping chemo into my veins (although my entire family filled my hospital room to sing me happy birthday, even if I felt too terrible to eat much cake). I vowed to never complain about my age because it is blessing to be alive to celebrate another day, let alone another year. Of course, I still contemplate life and what I’ve accomplished in my almost 40 years on the planet. Sure, surviving cancer is a major accomplishment (although what choice did I have except to fight like hell?) but, honestly, I want to be known for more than cancer, for being a cancer survivor is just a piece of who I am. Some days I know exactly what I want in life, and other days those goals seem to allude me. Some days I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in almost 40 years. Other days I get frustrated that I haven’t achieved more. And I don’t mean collecting material things. More focus on happiness, contentment, friendship, love and laughter. I want to explore the world, make a difference in the lives of others, and be a good person. I want fulfillment in relationships, family, a career and even with myself.

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On the eve of my 40th birthday, I am stepping back to review my life. I’m satisfied with many pieces of it, and restless with others. I’m happy with pieces of who I have become, and will strive harder to change or improve other pieces. Life is a constantly evolving state. I’m thankful to be part of it. In my reflection, these are some of the lessons I’ve learned through (almost) 40 years:

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Climbing to the top of a sand dune - very rewarding!

Climbing to the top of a sand dune – very rewarding!

1. Feel grateful for every minute you are alive.

2. Stop judging people. Don’t judge people because they aren’t like you, don’t like the same things or choose a different path in life. You don’t know their lives.

3. Don’t cyber-bully. Think twice before posting that Facebook or Twitter criticism. Hiding behind a computer screen is weak.

4. Accept your past. It happened, it’s over, learn from it, move on.

5. Live in the present, plan for the future.

6. Save money. Achieve a good credit score.

7. Dance like no one is watching, even if someone is. It will make you happy.

8. Have date nights with your significant other. Make sure you take turns planning the date.

9. Show appreciation for someone’s nice gestures to you, even if it’s not quite what you’d do or want. At least they’re trying.

10. Say please and thank you.

11. Pay attention to your finances, even if you’re married. You should always know how much money you have and how much you can save.

12. Don’t ditch your friends because you found a spouse or had a baby. Honor and value the friends who have been there through good and bad, and probably would continue to be there if you made an effort too. I can guarantee you probably still have much in common if you look hard at your friendship.

13. Don’t exert energy on people who don’t care.

14. Laugh. A. LOT.

Enjoy life.

Enjoy life.

15. Know your way around a library. Knowledge is power.

16. Ask a child what he/she wants to do for fun, then do it.

17. Have a play date with a child without using technology or buying them a toy. Use your imagination!

18. Explore outside of your city.

19. Explore outside of your state. We have an AMAZING country.

20. Watch a sunset and sunrise.

21. Have friends of the same sex and spend time together. There is nothing like girlfriends to keep you grounded, happy and supported (I imagine men feel the same about their guy friends).

22. Ride a horse at least once in your life. These beautiful creatures are gentle and majestic.

23. Find a job you enjoy and commit to it. Be proud of your work and build relationships by being kind, professional and fair.

24. Treat people how you want to be treated. Learn to apologize when you’re wrong.

25. Send cards for special occasions or just because. Real cards that require an envelope and postage. Yes, these still exist.

26. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.

27. Don’t take love for granted and don’t assume someone knows how you feel. Say it, show it.

28. Call someone – not text, email or Facebook message – and have a conversation about life. Actually use your phone to make a call and hear the voice. It’s so much better than a text conversation.

29. Take care of your health. Don’t skip the doctor. You only get one body.

30. Help someone out each day. A simple gesture, such as holding the door open, is a kind gesture. Kindness builds great societies.

31. Take time to talk to older people. They carry pieces of our history, and often share great stories.

32. Smile more.

33. Count at least five blessings each day.

34. Call your parents at least once per week (my mom would say more!).

35. Have patience with older people – you will hopefully be one someday. They are our foundation.

36. Have patience with young people – you were once that age. They are our future.

37. Sit outside and feel the gentle breeze and appreciate nature.

38. Wear sunscreen. Seriously, don’t be an idiot. Skin cancer kills. Being alive is better than being tan.

39. Read. Fiction, nonfiction, national news, whatever.

40. Learn to love and accept yourself. This is the most important relationship of your life. You need to be happy and accepting of yourself before you can be of others.

 

17 things that cancer made me appreciate that much more June 26, 2015

Filed under: Cancer Tips,Life Lessons — Heather @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

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I am a whirlwind of emotions as my 17-year cancer anniversary approaches this weekend. Gratitude and anxiety rank near the top. Gratitude for the obvious relief I feel for still being alive and healthy. Anxiety because the worry – of relapse, injury, side effects and more – never disappears completely. Never, ever. And then there are a web of other emotions jockeying for top positions. So, today, I take a deep breath and make myself step back from all of that before it consumes me. Today, and I try to make it always, I will focus on the simple, joyous, beautiful people, things and moments that make my life so precious. And, of course, I’ll stick with 17 things in honor of this momentous journey.

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1. Laughter. Who doesn’t like to laugh? But I don’t think I really appreciated the healing ability of laughter until cancer. My family and I learned to laugh at the weirdest and toughest situations, which made life seem not so ominous and much more bearable. Since then, I seek out people who can laugh with me and find joy in life. And, most importantly, I have learned to laugh, a lot, at myself.

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2. Exercise. I have always been active and focused on keeping my body healthy, even long before cancer. I remained focus after treatment – I only get this one body during this life and it’s already been pretty beaten up from chemo and side effects. So I work out to stay strong. The reality is I enjoy working out – I love feeling the strength of my body and I’m proud of all I can do post-cancer. I’m addicted to Zumba, love hiking and biking, feel powerful when strength training, and get geeked when I can coax my body into certain yoga poses.

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You never know the beauty you'll find.

You never know the beauty you’ll find.

3. Walks, hikes and bike rides with friends and family – I’ve shared some awesome conversations with family and friends while on walks, hiking in the woods and biking along trails. I don’t know if it’s since we’re not locked into staring at the other, we feel more relaxed in fresh air, or maybe even the scenery distracts us, but we talk about everything from jobs to dream trips to feelings to dinner options and more! Plus we get a great workout without feeling like we’re exercising (which I, frankly, believe is the best form of exercise!).

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4. Time with friends – Not texts, Facebook posts or even emails. I’m talking about good ‘ol fashion phone calls or, even better, in-person visits. I feel like these are sadly rare as we all get busy with family, careers and other priorities. But I admit that time with good friends brings such joy and contentment for me. Especially knowing that someone thought enough of our friendship to make the time. Sharing thoughts, feelings and experiences with good people is one of my favorite past times and something I cherish.

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5. Music. A powerful tool, music fills every mood and emotion you may experience. From pop to country to jazz to oldies, there is a song for every occasion! I have always loved music (spoken like a true high school honors choir member, right?) and thank my parents daily for their various tastes in music so that I could have the freedom to listen and appreciate so much.

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6. My hair. Okay, this may sound funny and a bit self-indulgent but it’s true. Hey, I didn’t have ANY hair for almost a year during chemo. As much as you don’t want to feel vain about losing your hair when you’re going through cancer treatment to save your life, I admit it was much more heart-wrenching to watch it fall out than I thought it would be. I think it was the final step to really facing that the cancer was real and the chemo was pretty deadly. So now that I have lovely long hair again, I really love when my sweet husband, nieces, sisters or…okay, I admit, when anyone plays with my hair! It’s one of the most relaxing gestures I can indulge in.

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7. Family time. It’s not always easy describing my relationship with my family – we are incredibly close, yet so different from each other, and sometimes very similar. We love fiercely and laugh hard. I cherish the time with my family. My mom has always been my biggest supporter and protector. I miss my dad daily and often still pause to wonder what advice he might give. During my treatment, my sisters were at the hospital every treatment, often long past visiting hours ended to ensure I wasn’t alone during the tough times. My family celebrates my joys and stands beside me during the challenges. We have always protected each other. Some things will never change.

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8. Quiet time with just me. While I love to be around family and friends, to laugh and share conversations, I also delight in my quiet time. Give me a book, journal, camera, or even a just a blue sky to stare at, and I can relax. I’ve learned that being alone at times allows you to take a step back from life, decisions and relationships to evaluate what’s working, and not. Self-reflection helps me “be real” with myself, acknowledging mistakes and behavior that need to change, and also reflect on accomplishments and happy moments.

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9. Bright flowers. I’ve always loved flowers – bright, happy flowers that fill up the room with a pretty, soft scent. During chemo, when my immune system was low, I couldn’t have flowers around me for fear of germs. Since then, I love having flowers near me. Whether I buy them or someone else offers a lovely gift, flowers seem to brighten any situation.

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10. Accepting nothing, and no one, is perfect. Because this is so true, and so real. We all make mistakes and have faults. No one is better than another person. People are not perfect, therefore life is not perfect. That perfect path we think about in high school won’t happen exactly the way we plan because there are always bumps and detours in the road of life. But those things build strength and courage in us, and I’ve learned that the sooner you accept that others, and especially you, aren’t perfect, the easier the road is to travel.

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Enjoying nature!

11. Fresh air. There was one stretch during chemo that I was in the hospital for 17 days. I was pretty sick most of that time so it felt like forever. I recall staring out the window at the sunshine and green leaves on the trees. Besides growing incredibly stir crazy, I missed summer’s warm, fresh air and the wind’s breeze. When I was finally discharged, I refused to turn the air conditioning on during the drive home. I needed the air. While I appreciate air conditioning, I love the fresh air. To this day, I get stir crazy when in air conditioning for too long.

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12. Pictures. Memories – of people, adventures, moments – remind me of how special life is so I love capturing as much as I can to preserve, for me and generations of our family.

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13. Summer mornings. Bright, sunny mornings with the birds chirping and chipmunks playing. Flowers in bloom and green grass. Yes, I love these moments. Give me a weekend morning when it’s quiet before too many others wake, and I can feel the waves of relaxation wash over me.

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14. My own two legs. When you’re diagnosed with bone cancer in your femur, you face a very high risk of losing your leg. If you’re lucky, like I was, to be eligible for a limb salvage surgery, you face still the challenges and risk to your leg – the titanium rod and pin can wear out, get infected or damaged, which risks losing your leg. So everyday I wake up and walk on my own two legs is a blessing and I am forever grateful that I have been so lucky. It is a deep fear always in the back of my mind that something could happen to my rod, and I know a replacement is in my future in a few years, but I try to keep that fear locked away and hold onto the gratitude.

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15. Horses. I’ve loved these beautiful creatures since early childhood. My dream came true when my parents allowed me to start riding lessons at age 9. The devastation I felt learning I’d never ride again, at age 22, still lingers deep down. I can’t really describe why horses bring me such joy, peace and contentment. They just do. Nothing calms my soul faster than running my fingers through a mane and resting my cheek on the warm neck of a horse. I miss riding and the regular contact with horses, but I still feel great comfort and joy anytime I’m near these animals.

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16. Contentment. This has been very difficult to find since my diagnosis and post-treatment. After talking to many other cancer survivors, I know many of my restless emotions are normal. As are the questions – why am I still here when others died? How can I give back to show my appreciation for the second chance? Then there is the feeling that you should accomplish all you can in a short amount of time because…..who knows how long you have left here on Earth. I know every person faces death but I think it’s more at the constant forefront of your mind when you have faced your own mortality, especially at a young age. I have found pockets of contentment over the years. My mom has been my rock since I was child, but since treatment, she is always my special protector and shoulder to lean on.

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17. The ability to bounce back and overcome life’s obstacles. We all face many challenges in life, from jobs to losing parents to deciding to have children to financial decisions and more. After facing cancer, a major surgery, losing my dad to cancer and managing the ongoing anxiety of relapses and injury, I tend to try to face other challenges with a different attitude than some – for I have survived cancer, a disease that ravages lives and constantly tries to knock you down. So I often tell myself, “I have survived cancer. This situation is nothing. This is life.” And I am so blessed to have this life to live.

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What do you value and appreciate in life?

 

Tips for bringing your yoga practice home February 1, 2015

yogamatblocksOne of my (many) health goals this year is to practice yoga more regularly. I love how relaxed it makes me feel, not to mention the fabulous stretches so many poses provide to my body. Yoga exercises focus on working both sides of the body to achieve equal balance, strength and flexibility. My excuse is usually that it’s tough to get to a studio on a regular basis due to work and other commitments. Plus, I already pay for the gym and weekly Zumba classes so sometimes my budget feels a little stretched.  But those are really just excuses because there is another place I’m at daily with plenty of space for yoga – home!

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I’ve participated in enough yoga classes to be familiar with many poses so when I need to stretch or focus on relaxing breaths, I will spend a few moments in various poses. However, to really get a good, relaxing workout in, I feel more comfortable following a video. There are many great videos to purchase for your video player and also to download to your laptop, tablet or mobile device. Some are even free (look on YouTube too). Many of these have specific focus, such as for beginners, arthritis, weight loss and pregnancy. I like videos with varying lengths so I don’t feel anxious if 30 minutes isn’t in my time bank that particular day. Currently, I really like the Core Fusion video that offers five 10-minute segments. This option allows me to fit in a yoga practice with whatever time I have available. And I often find myself feeling so good after a 10-minute segment that I flow into another segment.

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To get started, define a space that allows you freedom to move and focus. This doesn’t have to be the same space every time. For instance, some days I practice in my living room; if my husband is hanging out there, I’ll move to the bedroom. Just make certain you have room to move easily forward, backward, left and right.

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Wherever you plant yourself in your house, remove distractions! Turn off the phone, shut down your laptop or tablet (unless you’re using it for the video!), close the blinds if necessary. Allow yourself the time to focus on you and your body and mind.

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A yoga mat helps provide stability, traction and cushion during your practice. You can find a good yoga mat at many local stores, including Target, REI, and Dunham’s. Most yoga studios also sell mats. Of course you can also use a large bath towel. While most people practice yoga barefoot, you can also purchase socks with rubber grips on the soles to help prevent slipping (just don’t wear shoes). There are also gloves available to help with traction. There are various accessories you can use to help you during poses. I use a yoga block with poses that require more bend than my left knee can do. A strap also can help you get a deeper stretch (you can use a bathrobe tie or belt).

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Wear comfortable clothes. Nothing too loose so it doesn’t get in the way but you don’t need fancy, expensive yoga pants or shirts. As long as the clothing allows you to move easily, it will work. I sometimes even wear my flannel pajama bottoms with a t-shirt!

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I’ve been trying to stay focused on my breaths as yoga teaches you do. Just remember not to hold your breath during poses! Try to take one to two breaths between postures to remind you to relax and quiet your mind.

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Practice at your physical (and mental) level. Hopefully your video shows modifications if needed. The Core Fusion video, for example, has an instructor doing modifications to various poses throughout every segment. Since I have a rod in my femur, I can’t always do the full positions or transition as fluidly. Watching someone demonstrate the modifications makes me more comfortable following along and also helps me stay focused, rather than me pondering how to make the position work for me.

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My greatest challenge is staying focused on what I’m doing in that moment (yoga), not what I should or need to be doing (laundry, write another blog, make a grocery list, etc.). I admit it’s tough to clear my brain, which is why it helps to take those breaths between poses to remind myself to focus on the present moment.

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The most important tip I can give you is to just get started! Even if you only devote 10 minutes one day and 20 minutes the next time, yoga is a process and personal accomplishment, not a competition. Be patient and proud of yourself.

 

New year, new outlook January 4, 2015

2015 goals in wood type

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This new year is kind of a big deal for me. I’m glad to see 2014 fade away as it had more challenges in my personal life than I preferred. So I have expectations and hopes that 2015 will be filled with more happiness, less stress, less tears and more fun.

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I will also celebrate the start of a new decade as I turn 40 in the later part of the year. It’s a big age for me for several reasons. When I was younger, I thought it was old and now I’m on the cusp of it! When I was diagnosed with cancer at 21, that age seemed so far away that it feels truly good to still be here, alive and (thank God) healthy. I feel like 40 is an age that one really reflects on what they’ve accomplished in life. I honestly feel like I’m falling a little short of my goals for life so this year will be a time to determine what needs to be achieved, what needs to be scrapped and what should be refocused.

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happyquoteFocus on happiness. It’s easy to all too often get stuck on what you don’t have, or, worse, what others have that you really want. Having a positive outlook on life and appreciating what/who I have has typically been my attitude. I admit I’ve let outside forces creep into that attitude, and I don’t like it. So I’m putting positive vibes back into the universe as I commit to more smiling, laughing and saying thank you to God this year.

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Buy new house. My husband and I are committed to selling our two homes this year (we each brought one to the marriage and it’s been challenging to coordinate selling both) and buying a new home that is “just ours” – a place to create new memories of our relationship and combined family/friends. This is one goal that excites me quite a bit. Mostly because we’re doing it together.

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Focus on my writing. In that category falls this blog, where I plan to post more frequently and update the look and other items (stay tuned for my new ideas!). I also want to finally finish my book that’s been in progress for a while now. I’ve been researching publishing options but admit that’s probably been a distraction to making myself sit and get the story out of my head.

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Less technology, more connecting with friends. I hope to continue to build strong relationships with some close friends this year; seems like we all rely more on Facebook and texting to communicate and stay up-to-date with others’ lives. I’ve been scaling back my time on social media (although sometimes challenging since my job requires some use) and trying to use the good ol’ fashion telephone to chat with friends….hoping to take it even further with more in person visits this year. Friendship is one of those areas where quality definitely is better than quantity. I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to stay connected with friends who didn’t reciprocate much so acknowledge it’s time to appreciate the memories and focus on those who want to keep our friendship strong.  I also hope that as I get more involved in hiking, yoga and other interests that I’ll meet new girlfriends who share these common interests.

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Live healthier. I want to ring in my 40th birthday at my healthiest, including a few pounds lighter and more toned. I’m still addicted to Zumba (great cardio workout!) and have been focused on lifting weights to tone my muscles and strengthen my bones. I also plan to try new recipes to eat less processed foods. Living healthier also means limiting my Dr. Pepper and Starbucks intake (a challenge indeed!). While I value modern medicine, I am checking into more natural ways to feel healthier/better and lighten my mood.

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Paintcreek_HHGGet outdoors much more often. Lots of studies show that fresh air and connecting with nature bring many positive outcomes, including lower blood pressure, more happiness and less stress. I love being in the outdoors, especially when the sun is shining and temps are mild. My head always feels clearer after a bike ride, hike or walk around the block. Camping trips are also on our docket for the summer (seriously, very little beats camping in Michigan’s state parks in the summer).

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Be more spiritual. As an adult, I’ve admittedly never been a regular church-goer but always find such peace and comfort sitting in our beautiful sanctuary. My soul truly feels better after attending a church service so why would I not want to do that more often?! Spirituality doesn’t always have to focus on religion and I hope to focus more on finding inner peace and better understanding of myself.

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Have you set goals for the new year? What would you like to accomplish?

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Photo credit: © Marekuliasz | Dreamstime.com

 

 
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