The Sun And The Rain And the Apple Seed

With the sporadic weather that has plagued the earth, and in honour of the US Thanksgiving, I thought I’d re-post this popular blog.  It was originally posted in March, 2012.  Although it doesn’t have to do with a big meal, it has everything to do with an attitude of gratitude.  May you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving Day!

grat-i-tude noun:  the quality or feeling of being thankful

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of ...

English: Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditional US Thanksgiving day dinner. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I live in Canada. Our country is immensely wide and somewhat deep as well. However, from coast to coast, we have one thing in common: We find some way to communicate our displeasure with the weather! It’s almost like an ongoing joke.

If it’s a winter’s day, and it’s -15°C, we will complain that it is a harsh winter. (That is about 5°Farenheit, by the way!) “It’s probably warmer in Nunavut, when will this dreaded winter be done?” If it’s summertime and 30°C+ a humidex factor (91°F), we’ll say that the summer is sooo hot this year.

I’ve decided to take a different approach. I try not to have bad days, so I decided to be thankful for whatever weather that we are having at the time. This winter was incredibly mild, I was thankful that it wasn’t -15°C. We did have some really cold days, I was grateful that the sun was shining. There was one bitterly cold day that it also snowed. I got chilled because I had to run errands that day. When I got home, I made a big pot of soup and went under the covers. That day, I was grateful for a comfortable bed to snuggle up under.

Last week in Southern Ontario, we had a warm spell. The temperatures got up to 25° (77°F). We had to look at the calendar to be reminded that it was the middle of March, and not June. Our normal temperatures are about 9°C (47°F) for this time of year. The magnolias, crocuses and daffodils started blooming. I bared my legs and wore skirts. There were days that it was raining because, after all, it is spring. True to form, I heard people complaining that it was going to rain. IT WAS 25° DEGREES, AFTER ALL! Sigh…

Well, we are now in a “cold snap”, according to the weather forecast. Today I woke up, and the temperature here is not getting any higher than 3°C (37°F). It will be unseasonably COLD today. I took a walk, and the magnolias, which were ready to open last week, have turned an ugly brown colour because of the extreme cold. The flowers that were blooming so beautifully just days ago, are now being covered up for protection. However, it is SUNNY!

Erratic weather is a definite possibility, I do acknowledge that. The weather may bring droughts or tornadoes. Hurricanes and floods may be something that has touched your life. I am in no way minimizing the effects of disasters on you or anyone else’s life. However, I know from experience that, the faster I get out of the victim stage, the faster my recovery.

I spent so many years not being happy because of my difficult marital situation. Now I am embracing all that life has to offer, even rainy days. If it didn’t rain, the daffodils would not look as beautiful. Each day, I find something to be grateful for, and oftentimes, the weather is part of my gratitude journalling. If it’s winter and raining, I’m thankful that it is warm enough not to be snowing. If it’s winter and cold, it is usually sunny, and for that, I am also grateful. If it’s 30°C, it’s definitely not snowing, and for that, I am exceptionally grateful!

What’s the weather like in your neck of the woods? Can you find something for which you are grateful?

May Your Cup Always be full,

Stephanie~Emerging Princess

www.stephanietitusandrews.com

Wacky Wednesday~03/20/13

My friend in England posted this, and I thought it quite funny.  Enjoy!

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May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

Tying It All Together (Part V)

It has been a few days since my last post…

I have literally worked backwards with these last few blogs! To be quite honest, I am a very spontaneous kind of person. I love a good challenge. Working these posts in this order has been a bit confusing, but here is the summary:

Live Your Life Lightly. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Live Your Life Liberally. Step out of your box and live a little!

Leave a Legacy. Leave a positive imprint on our world!

We are all given a small time on this earth. There is not enough time to hold grudges. It is actually a waste of precious time and energy to do so. Life is to short for you not to enjoy it. That doesn’t mean that you should indulge in things that are detrimental to your health. However, occasionally taking part in something different will really put some sizzle in your life. And while you are doing that, Leave a Legacy. Volunteer in you community or give back to mankind in some way.  It will change your life.

Hopefully, these three suggestions will nudge you to make some small, positive changes in your life!

To wrap things up, here is the actual blog, in presentation form, which I presented at a recent MoMonday Event:

Living Liberally (Part IV)

So far, I’ve talked about Leaving a Legacy and Living Lightly.  The middle part of my speech, as I said before, is Live Liberally.  In addition to being the opposite of “fundamental”, I try to also think of the word Liberal as a synonym of free.

What have you always wanted to try, but your thinking has limited you?  Have you always wanted to jet ski?  What is stopping you?  Is it a secret desire of yours to go to Australia for a vacation?  What is stopping you from setting the plans in motion?  Have you begun to check things off your Bucket List?  Do you have a Bucket List?

For over 20 years, I have not been in a pool, nor have I owned or worn a bathing suit. I was terrified of the water.  This problem began when I was a kid, in the West Indies.  I found myself on a “homemade” glass-bottom boat in the middle of the Atlantic.  Visions of the boat coming apart, and the passengers drowning were very real to me at the time.  And this has lasted through much of my adult life.  As a result of my Bucket List, I was determined to buy a bathing suit, and get into water. I set my plans into motion. On a whim, I volunteered to go on someone’s sailboat to “help” man the sails. It is a good thing that I forgot about my promise until the last minute, or I would have probably backed down. When I told my youngest daughter what I was doing, she reminded me that I was afraid of the water. “Not any more”, I replied and ran off for my adventure. I decided that I could do it. I let go of my inhibitions and I sat~or stood~on the edge of a sailboat at a 45⁰ angle to the water at times. I had a blast! My conclusion: You need to be buff to man a sailboat!  Since then, I have also been able to get into pools, and have even gotten into the ocean several times over the summer (despite my major surgery). I am not a great swimmer, but I got into water, AND I own a bathing suit!

There are so many wonderful things that you can try.  The world is full of interesting places to go and remarkable people to see.  Even the mundane can take on a new spin by changing one or two things.  Going to and from work the same way every day causes creativity to go dormant.  Maybe you could try a different route, if not there, then on the way home.  If that is not possible, try something else that you can change without creating too many problems.  Even getting onto a different car on the public transit system can drastically change the events of your day~and the people that you meet..

Life is so very short.  The mundane can make a person stir crazy (but it is so easy to slip into it)!  When I think of all the things I have yet to try, I wonder how I’m gonna fit it all into my schedule sometimes.  If your life has gotten dull and boring, try pepping it up by injecting a dose of Living Liberally!

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Emerging Princess☺

Living Lightly (Part III)

In my last blog, I talked about Leaving and Living a Legacy. Today, I will tackle the first part of my speech, “Live Lightly”. But, what exactly does this mean?

By Living Lightly, I refer to letting go of the non-important incidents that happen in your life. Do you sweat the small stuff? Does everything have to be done a certain way, or you will be out of sorts?  Are you a person who must have your Starbuck’s coffee each morning, or you’re doomed?  Can you move on after a disagreement, or do you hold on to it for months on end?

I love to have certain things done in a particular manner, and items in my house put in particular places. However, after starting my Coaching practice, I realized that it takes a lot of time. I have adult children who now assist with many aspects of running my household. As a result of this, I have had to learn which battles are worth picking, and which ones that just have to go! And, occasionally, the motherly stubbornness wants to set in and take over, but I much prefer to have a relationship with my kids than quibble over something that won’t change our value system.

For me, taking public transit definitely teaches me to Live Lightly. Toronto is a very eclectic city. Unfortunately, some people were not taught manners at an early age~or they have forgotten them. When you are sitting on a train and someone is blasting loud music while you are trying to study Psychology, well, you either get angry, or learn to Live Lightly. The relative that really annoys you at family functions~they are you, Living Lightly personified!

Living Lightly, like Leaving a Legacy, is a choice. Take some time to analyze the situation that is before you. Ask yourself, “Will this matter tomorrow, next week, next month or next year”? Most times, this elevates the situation to the “absurd” level and makes it not worth the fight.

Letting go, forgiving and Living Lightly all go hand-in-hand.  Next time, I will address how I Live Liberally.

Living Your Legacy (Part II)

To continue with my last blog, not only can one Leave a Legacy, but you can Live your Legacy as well.  That can be done in three ways:

1.  What Do You Want To Create?

Is there something that you want to be known for in your professional life?  Are you a great negotiator?  A fair leader?  Maybe you are known as a peacemaker?  Or perhaps you are the one who brings the doughnuts and treats to the office.  You are known for something, and if you don’t like what you are known for, change it!  We have the power to do that.  Create something more memorable!

2.  Who Do Want To Emulate?

There is a world of people out there.  Somewhere, someone has done what you are doing now, or attempting to do.  Who is this person?  Google can help here.  The person doesn’t have to be famous.  However, they can be a means of insight and information for the path that you wish to take.  Remember:  Success leaves tracks.  When you choose a mentor/hero, I suggest finding someone who is/was not addicted to a substance, and didn’t die an untimely death.  There is not sense emulating someone who is a known alcoholic, or who died early in life.  Lastly,

3.  Where Do You Want To Spend Your Time, Talent and Treasure?

By this, I mean your time outside of work.  What organizations or agencies do you want to give back to?  Can you sing?  Maybe you can volunteer at a senior’s home and cheer up the residents with your music.  Do you own something unique?  I bet you would have your local kindergarteners, or other pertinent group, awestruck.  Maybe you are blessed financially, and can support a project or initiative of a local charity.  Volunteering is so under-rated.  Giving to an organization that will probably not be able to give you financial returns can be extremely rewarding.  I know that when I do, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.  I feel like I’ve taken my mind off my problems, if even for a few hours.

When we take the three steps described above, I believe that we can take steps to not only leave, but Live Your Legacy.

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

Leaving Your Legacy (Part I)

In Toronto, we have a great motivational evening of speeches called Motivational Mondays, affectionately known as MoMondays.  It’s a great practising venue for speakers, and aspiring speakers.  I spoke last night, and the speech I gave reminded me of a few blogs that I did based on that speech almost a year ago.  I am re-blogging them.  The first one is the last part of my speech, but the most important:

I was at my favourite bakery last fall, purchasing a pastry when the phone rang. Apparently, someone who was close to the employees of the store, had passed away. My server became very flustered, and in her shoes, I would have been also.

As I left, I ruminated about one of my keynote speeches, The Power of 36. In that speech, I encourage people to do three things.  “Leave a Legacy” is one of the things I encourage people to do.  The lady who had passed away did so suddenly. What was her legacy I wondered?

I take the public transit to most places in our city. In my area, we have several bus drivers. Most people that take my bus route do not want to get one specific driver because, no matter what you do, she has to find something to complain about when you get on the bus. She has a Legacy of meanness that goes before and after her. Yet, there are drivers who are known for their Legacy of pleasantness and good manners. All the drivers started out with the same options available to them.

Since I started a new life a few years ago, I have been striving to leave a Legacy. We all have the capabilities of writing our life stories. We have the choice to smile or frown, be pleasant or sour. As a Coach, I encourage people to live life to the fullest and learn how to shake off bad situations. If people know me for anything, it’s that: 1. I am a thriving survivor, and: 2. I do not have bad days; I have bad moments. Teaching people that they can turn a “bad day” into “simply a bad moment” in their day is eye-opening to so many! We humans love to say things like “I’m having a bad hair day” or “This is just not a good day for me”. By doing so, we limit the happy moments that may come our way each day.

My Legacy, then, is teaching people to have good days. If I teach 100 people this concept, and they GET IT, and pass it on, so many lives would be touched. That , I believe, would be an amazing Legacy to leave behind!

Next time, I will share with you how to Live Your Legacy.

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

Of Mice And Men

In my last blog, I made mention of changing my perspective on failure.  To be quite frank, I didn’t have a choice!

In May, things looked different for me.  I had just finished a project with one of my favourite charities.  If things went as planned, my book would be released in the fall.  I had some challenges, but things were looking bright.  Then, somebody moved my ball!  With my unplanned illness, I was faced with several facts:  1.  programs that I was hoping to implement would have to be postponed, and  2.  my book would have to be pushed back~again.  Of Mice and Men…

The programs were not a big deal.  I didn’t start major advertising for it anyways.  But my book…THAT was my baby!  I started my book 2-1/2 years ago.  It was a spontaneous creation, taking about 6 weeks to create.  I have since tweaked and rewritten parts of it to be more in line with who I am today.  From March until my illness, I had contacted agencies that I wanted to be involved with.  I had created a sponsorship drive, so there were businesses that I had been in negotiations with.  I had picked out the location for the book launch, chosen my photographer…And I had to let all these people know that the project was on hold.

My associates were very understanding.  My heart, unfortunately, wasn’t so forgiving.  Will anything ever go my way?  Will I ever catch a break?  were the cries of my heart.  I was grateful to be alive, yet very disappointed by this apparent “failure”.  I believe that this reason was why I couldn’t wrap my head around my business.

When I was able to, I got into my “quote pile”.  I collect quotes that I see on billboards and the like, and I delve into it when I need a lift.  One of my own quotes is “Don’t let your current circumstances interfere with your vision for the future”.  Did the fact that I got sick mean that my book would never be released?  Not at all.  I kept digging in my pile.  Robert Schuller wrote, “Failure is never final”.  H’mm, “there is hope”, I think.  My hands invariable find Mr. Hill’s words.  Napoleon Hill has helped me through many a tight spot, and today was no exception.  Here are the ones that spurned me on:

~  Eddison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light.  Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.

~  No man is ever whipped until he quits in his own mind.

~  Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.

~  Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting.

~  Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

Ironically, it was the following quotes that helped me change how I looked at failure:

~  When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound.  Rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal; and

~  The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.

I believe that may be why, as humans, we think that we have failed (or are failures).  We are stuck on the method or plans that we created, not the destination.  With my history of a “failed” marriage, “failing” in other areas of my life really bums me out.  When I believe I have failed at something, I would sit on my behind looking at the broken pieces around me, and cry or mope.  That time could have been better spent regrouping with new plans that incorporate the broken pieces~or not.  It is not failure~it’s life re-organized.  With that knowledge, one can, like Eddison, keep working at a new method until one day~the lightbulb finally turns on!

I guess I can come up with a new book release date!  🙂

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.

~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Who Moved My Ball?

Many of us are fans of the comic strip by the late Charles M. Schulz.  His “Peanuts” comic strip, was one I looked forward to reading on a Saturday evening~after all my chores were done, of course!  Charlie Brown was a character that most of us could identify with at some point in our lives.  The recurring scene where Charlie Brown attempts to kick a football–which Lucy is holding, is a familiar one.  “He’s been through this before”, we all think.  “Lucy always moves the ball!”  However, each time Charlie Brown trusts her again.  For the umpteenth time, he takes a run for it, and when he’s ready to take a goal-scoring kick…he goes flying, and lands flat on his back!

Who moved my ball indeed!

That Charlie Brown scene was what was going through my mind recently as I, too, lay flat on my back.  Except, I was in a hospital room recovering from emergency surgery.  WHO MOVED MY BALL?  Was I even playing the game?  Why me?  Why now?

Many other questions went through my mind while in that hospital room.  The first thing was that, if doctors come to do emergency surgery, “no” is not an available option.  The second thing was the magnitude of my procedure.  This, I discovered the first time the nurse came to change my dressing.  “Oh my word!” was all I could say at the sight of my belly-length scar.  The third thing that troubled me was the thought, “Will I ever be able to use my left hand again?’  I am left-handed.  My IV was in my left hand, after an unsuccessful right-hand run.  The left hand had swollen and my fingers non-functional. (Call me self-absorbed!)

As quickly as those thoughts came to me, my analytical brain found answers~go figure.  For thought number one, I was grateful that I had a fabulous team of doctors.  I was especially grateful that the doctors found my problem in a timely fashion.  Some people who had my same problem were not as fortunate.  Secondly, I was never gonna wear belly-tops anyways!  After bearing three children, I have all the tributaries of the world etched on my belly in the form of stretch marks.  This new scar added another dimension.  And, writing with my left hand…I needed to suck it up and learn to write with my right hand, if need be.

To be quite fair, those questions were secondary in comparison to this one:  What about my business?  Up until that point, I had many things regulated that related to my business.  I was attempting to blog twice weekly.  I was tweeting regularly again.  I checked my stats, etc. etc.  However, I DID IT ALL…I was not at a place where I had an assistant as yet.  So, if I wasn’t physically doing these things, it wasn’t happening.  After I got sick, I couldn’t wrap my head around doing things for the business at all.  All I could manage was eating, napping, and pacing the house to pass gas!  But my subconscious still worried about the things that were not happening to let the world know that I was in business.  Finally, I got a recurring internal message, “Just drop the ball, Stephanie”.

And, that’s what I did.  Dropping the ball freed me in ways I could never have imagined.  I was able to enjoy the pampering from my extended family.  To be fair, I’ve never really been pampered like that before!  I allowed people to do my laundry, serve me hot chocolate in bed, make me food, and bring me mangoes and coconuts~and I loved it!  I was able to enjoy the birds singing, the daily chasing of lizards and birds from my room…the fact that I was alive!  During this pensive time, I discovered that:  1.  My opinions on failure and disappointment have completely changed (I feel another blog coming!);  2.  My business structure has also morphed;  and 3.  My feelings on what is important to me have completely evolved.

I totally was not expecting that “Lucy Manoeuvre” in my life.  I was on vacation, visiting family that I had not seen in years, for goodness sake!  Although, I am still healing physically, I’m slowly picking myself up, I’ve dusted off my behind, and am re-positioning myself in the game…with some valuable life lessons.  I wasn’t happy during the “Manoeuvre”, but I am glad for what I learned from it.

The next time someone or something moves my ball, I am hoping that I can turn and say, “Thanks, Lucy!”

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

I remember this song from when my kids listened to it years ago.  I’m not a lover of the skimpily-clad dancing scenes, but the chorus really speaks to me.

Excuse Me…Part 2

Excuses are the things that we keep telling ourselves as to why we don’t do something. In the previous post, I talked about FEAR. One of the underlying reasons why we don’t act, is summed up the word excuses.

Excuses are lies, plain and simple. We may blame somebody, something or ourselves, but they are lies. I’ll give you an example:

I have an issue with time. I have been late many times in my life. Sometimes it is only a few minutes. However, for family functions, it could be as much as an hour. For appointments, I could use the excuse that: 1. The subway had a delay, or 2. There was a traffic jam. For the family function, I could inform them that they wanted me to bake bread, after all. It takes 3 hours to make bread, and 1 hour to make no-bake cheesecake! Riiiight. Well, since I brought these topics up, let’s find the holes in my excuses, cleverly disguised as “reasons”.

When I am late for an appointment, do I leave with extra time, or do I time it to get there without a hitch? I leave time for the “without a hitch” scenario, of course! Why would I want to sit in a reception area for an indefinite amount of time? To make a good impression? Yeah, I frequently am running out the door to catch a bus, or sitting in traffic wondering why there are so many people on the road.  Upon arrival at my destination, I find myself running to the appointment to get there with 1 minute to spare. Sweaty face and palms…Good impression!

Now to the baking of the bread thing: Baking bread does take time. However, it is also very methodical. The great thing about bread is, even if it was baked that morning or the night before, it will probably still taste quite fresh. Shot down, yet again!

The truth of the matter is that I never budget enough time. Before recent events, I never gave allowances for getting to appointments on time. My previous coach said that I actually wanted to be EARLY. Yeah. Early has a nice ring to it.

In my blogs, I have often referred back to my healing process. While recovering from my relationship, I was also studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming. One of the presuppositions of NLP is that there is always a payoff for every action. For me, I believe that I hate wasting time. Sitting and doing nothing (although I never, ever do that), seems like such a waste, in my eyes. I feel like I have control when I get to an appointment “just in time“. Am I giving up control by being early? Hardly.

What excuses are you telling yourself for your actions? Things like, “We’ve always done it like this”; “I don’t know how”; “It’s too hard”; and “What will people say?” are all excuses. We may call them reasons, but given a few simple questions, I’m sure you can also poke holes through each of the above comments, too!

Whether it’s change or something familiar done in a different way, trying something new is inevitable in this life. We might as well ditch the excuses and learn to stretch and grow in your new life. The alternative is familiarity and conformity. You know what they say about familiarity… 🙂

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Emerging Princess

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Water For The Journey

Book Release PartyOctober 25th, 2013
The long-awaited release of Water For The Journey: 156 Days To Freedom. All day givaways and book release party!
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