Category Archives: pre 2012

My written material prior to redecorating, updating and reinvigorating the site

Choosing my word for the year

We are just over a month into a fresh new year and I’m finally sitting down to write about my word for the year.  It’s a practice that I first learned about from Christine Kane.  Her suggestion of simply choosing a personal word as the touchstone for one’s year, instead of writing down a list of New Year’s resolutions, which like most people, I likely wouldn’t keep longer than a couple of weeks, immediately resonated with me.

I thought to myself, “Oh I want to do that!”

And then because I tucked away this thought to come back to later I lost track of it until this year.  Occasionally a worthy idea needs time to take root.

Have you notice how it becomes much more difficult to ignore a good idea when it keeps popping in over and over again to say, “Hi! Remember me!”  This is exactly what happened this year.

After presenting itself multiple times in different places over several days I decided the universe was telling me to pay attention.

Several places where I frequent the buzz around picking a word was really hopping.  I was eager to hop in and share my word too.  But I had a small problem.  I just couldn’t seem to settle on a word.

And I was seeing a lot of great words being shared by others and I still couldn’t find one that seemed to fit me.  There were several really nifty words chosen by others I would have loved to have adopted for myself.  But I didn’t get that toe curling zing when I’d try them on.

Finally one morning, after several weeks of this frustrating indecision, I found myself standing in front of the bathroom mirror talking to myself.  I said, “Enough Already! Why can’t you just choose a word?  Just pick a word!  Just Choose!  You don’t have to live with the word all year long if you don’t want to.”

And on the heels of this rant with myself my word suddenly revealed herself.  Choose.  Just Choose.  My word for this year is choose.

” The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities; The pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision.” ~William Arthur Ward

For the Love of Books

I’ve had a long time love affair with books.  Some might rightly call me an addict.  I never counted them, but up until this past year it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they easily numbered in the thousands.

My husband likes to point out that when he retired from the Navy and we moved our “stuff” across country in a horse trailer from Mississippi to Oregon, the horse trailer weighed in at 14,000 lbs. and at least two/thirds of its contents was taken up by my books.  It’s been fourteen years since then and of course the collection has continued to grow.

As I’ve mentioned in another post, one of our activities this past year involved simplifying, reorganizing, and getting rid of stuff.  Lots of stuff!   The big thrust of this effort was dealt with fairly quickly (over a few weeks time).

Well, the getting rid of stuff part anyway.  Reorganizing our space hasn’t fully happened YET!  That project has been carried over into the New Year.  We are making progress in spurts it seems.

I got rid of boxes and boxes and boxes of books this past summer.  But I still had a small pile of boxes stacked in the garage, and a larger pile stacked in an “extra” room waiting for me to figure out what to do with them. How is it that six months flew by while I pondered or avoided this decision?

These were books I wasn’t willing to just donate to the neighborhood thrift store.  Some were collectible, some were vintage, but not especially collectible (the type that would likely be destined for the landfill or recycling bin), and some were “special” books I just wasn’t ready to fully part with for some mysterious reason.

Today these books finally found loving homes.  Most went to a young family.  But there were still two good size boxes left after she picked through them.  The temptation was strong to just let them sit for another bit.  But I knew how that would turn out.

No, today was the day I had decided to deal with them.

I’d then remembered a neighborhood antique shop where I had seen a section for vintage books, so on a whim I decided to see if I could find a home for some of them there.  I wasn’t expecting the owner would want some of the newer ones.

When I walked in she initially said she still had five boxes waiting to find shelf space so she didn’t know.  I explained I wanted to donate them.  I just wanted to find my books a good home and not have them end up in a landfill somewhere.  So she agreed to have a look.

The store owner nearly fell over when I set the box down on the floor and the book right on the very top was a vintage book of The Yearling.  She had just a week or two ago came very close to purchasing a similar copy of this book so she could read it to her granddaughter.  She reluctantly passed it by because the book was too expensive.  Her own mother had read it to her when she was the same age.  It had become one of her favorite childhood stories and a treasured memory, which she now wanted to share with her granddaughter.

She continued to look through the box and found several more books that she immediately knew other people in her life would love.   One of her customers was excited by the collection of thirty Cobblestone Magazines.

In the end, the shop owner gratefully and enthusiastically took every single book.  She said she would pass them along to family, friends, and customers who would appreciate and love them.

As she got excited about sharing the books with her loved ones I got a bit teary eyed and emotions of joy, gratitude and relief welled up.  These old precious gems would continue to be loved, treasured, appreciated and valued. At least for now they had been spared from the fate of the landfill.   It felt like a small miracle.

I wrote this much of this post yesterday.  At eleven o’clock, when it was past my bedtime, I tucked it to bed in my draft folder so I could sleep on the title for it.

This morning I awoke to another small miracle.

I am participating in Adela Rubio’s 21 day FYE program.  Along with her daily call she posts a short thought for each day.   This morning’s thought ended with this:

As you surrender the need for everything, life paradoxically gifts you with everything. And nothing’s missing and there’s more…~Adela Rubio

Consider how you might activate this miracle in your life.   What stacks of stuff could you release?

A yearly ritual

I am feeling especially alive and awake this morning and it is early here.  It’s still dark outside.  But it’s worth getting up for this special, luxurious energy bath.

This treat has become a yearly ritual.  Yes, I keep being drawn back every year to this conscious community, who delights in playing together, hosted by the dynamic Adela Rubio.   I think this will the third year I will be hanging out with Adela and these other wise souls  for 21 yummy days of dancing and exploring ones authentic essence.

If your wanting to:

  • Embody your power and brilliance
  • Access clarity and confidence in all your choices
  • Unleash your creative  flow in everyday moments
  • and so much more

I highly recommend you check out this link and join the party.  It’s a great way to start the day and an even better way to begin the New Year.   Be warned though:  This could rock your world and change your life!!!  I know that it has mine.  Thank you Adela!!

The Gratitude Book Project is available NOW!

And not only is the book  now available, I was greeted by this awesome email this morning from Donna Kozik, the editor of The Gratitude Book Project !!!!

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious news!

YOU, Jan, are now a
Bestselling Author on!

Yesterday at 7:02 p.m. Pacific time, our book became
the #1 bestseller in the category of

Books –> Health, Mind & Body — > Self-Help — > Success!

We also broke into the top 300 books being sold on Amazon — #204!
(Given that we were #180,000+ yesterday morning, that’s quite a climb!)

Here’s a screen shot of “our shining moment.” (You can see the #1 to
the left of our cover and below that how Mr. Stephen Covey became #2.)

The Gratitude Book Project #1 on Amazon
I got my copy and it is like snacking on a bag of potato chips where you can’t stop after eating  just one, only in this case it isn’t full of empty calories that go straight to your hips.   This “snack bag” of gratitude doesn’t just last one day and then its gone either,  but it keeps on giving you tasty bite size morsels to savor all throughout the year.

Plus, when you get your copy here the proceeds go to benefit these four charities: Make-a-Wish Foundation, Women to Women International, Feed America, and the ASPCA .

Treat yourself to a healthy snack of gratitude buy the book today!  You will be grateful you did. Warning though: Reading this book my cause you to ask yourself the question:  “What am I grateful for?”  Answering that question may change your life!

Walking Washington D.C.

The last time I was in Washington DC we were hindered by a car.  We were mainly driving through on the way home from burying Buddy.  So we hadn’t really made plans to be a tourist.   With these combined impediments our stay was brief…a drive thru experience.  We spent more time looking for a parking spot than we did seeing the sites so I remember promising myself I would return one day minus the car.

That was nearly twenty years ago. This time around we didn’t plan on being a tourist either.  We were just coming for a weekend conference and flying back home without taking any side trips into D. C.   Bunnie invited us to share her room and experience.  Years ago we had set the intention to return and here was an invitation.  How could we refuse this opportunity, now that we are both “self-employed” why not an impromptu trip?

So here we are in delicious D. C.  walking and walking and walking some more.  If you plan to do a lot of walking packing a good pair of walking shoes is recommended.  We didn’t plan on this trip so we left our walking shoes at home and had to find a substitute at the Payless store down the street from our hotel.  I do recommend walking Washington D. C. Your feet may wear out if you aren’t in great shape.  By the end of each day my tootsies were whining and fussing at me. But you will see so much more of the city.

I also left my camera at home and packed extra light for this trip.  Washing out stuff in the sink works.  And I am finally learning to use the camera feature on my cell phone.

I am curious how many times have I attracted some gift or fulfillment of an intention into my life, but then let it slip away.

How often do we miss out on our most splendid opportunities because we either don’t recognized the gift when it appears or we  believe we aren’t well enough prepared to receive it?  We hesitate too long.  We say no to shaking-up our predictable routines.  We choose convenience over substance.

So here’s some of my take-a-ways from this spontaneous adventure in our capital city.  Remain open to opportunity.  Pack lightly.  Walk more.  Give life a chance to surprise you.  Take a risk.  Follow your heart.

Pintango Gelato,
Cooling off and sharing a sensational Gelato with Bunnie
Lincoln Memorial ,
Resting my toosties at the Lincoln Memorial

Making Peace With the Out-of-Balance Paradox

With the world spinning as fast as it does these days it’s easy to end up feeling a little like a kid stepping off a merry-go-round, dizzy, disoriented, and pulled off kilter.   As kids we loved that dizzy spun-out feeling, as responsible grown ups we don’t have time for such nonsense.  We want to be in control, have more focus, feel more calm and collected, and remain centered and grounded.  And we’d prefer it all wrapped up in a tidy bow call work/life balance.

Here at our house we’re in the midst of remodeling and reorganizing our life and our space.  So it’s not surprising to note that the crazy chaos connected with these projects has caused me to feel a little off kilter.

From experience I’ve learned this chaotic phase is often an essential part of the creative process. I’ve learned that holding on too tightly and trying to white knuckle my way through these periods is counter productive. I’ve learned getting there is easier when I point my feet downstream and let the creative current carry me where it will.  I’ve learned it’s useful to reframe my experience from frustrating, scary, and uncomfortable to exciting, fun, and exhilarating. I’ve learned to call it an adventure.

It may seem counter-intuitive and a bit of a paradox, but true-life balance contains both the messy and the tidy.  With this perspective I’ve found it easier to deal with the temporary discomfort of that all too familiar out-of-balance feeling.  Do I get caught up sometimes in the tornado? Sure, I still find myself in the struggle sometimes.  But I now know how to say, “Whoa! Stop!”  I can then gently remind myself to take a deep breath and point my feet back down stream.

Kitchen Sink Enlightenment

I used to hate doing dishes. It was such a dreaded chore.  To be honest there are still some days where I am less than enthusiastic about this chore.  But then that is the problem you see.  I’ve learned that when I THINK of dish doing as a chore it’s NOT fun.  And I’m definitely for having fun.

So I got a bit curious,  “Could I actually learn to not just tolerate doing the dishes, but could I learn to love this daily ritual?

“Awe YES!!!  I believe I might be on to something!”

What if I reframed doing the daily dishes from a chore to a ritual…a sacred practice?  I was intrigued by this idea, which seemed pregnant with possibilities.  I mean, where and when did I learn to think of this daily routine as just a chore to tick off my list?  I could choose to think about doing the dishes differently.  I could invite a new experience. I could choose to show up with a smile instead of a frown.

It’s amazing what you can discover and experience at your kitchen sink.  Here are a couple of things I’ve happily stumbled upon.

I’ve frequently found myself slipping into that magical meditative “zoned-in-place” where creative ideas and other Aha’s percolate up into my consciousness.  Who would have guessed I’d find inspiration in dirty dishwater?

I’ve surprisingly found slowing down enough to actually wash the dishes rather than just popping them quickly and mindlessly in the dishwasher to be an all to rare blessing in today’s fast paced stressful environment.  Taking the time to slow down and be fully present to this delicious sensual experience, to mindfully notice the simple pleasure in a sink full of yummy suds and the intimate warmth of the water caressing my hands has fed my soul.

I’ve learned even after having experienced many peak experiences at my sink it is too easy to become complacent and fall back into old habitual ways of thinking.  All habits are hard to break. Thinking habits seem especially stubborn.  I could choose to get down on myself for having slipped, but that is definitely not fun, so here’s what I’ve chosen to do instead.

I first need to become aware of my funky monkey thinkin’…I’ve also sometimes heard this called stinkin’ thinkin’.  Becoming aware can be tricky, but it does get easier with practice.

I then ask myself an empowering question. Are we having fun yet?  Asking the question in this way helps me to keep it feeling light and smile at myself.  It helps me avoid the street marked Getting Down On Myself .

Finally, I recommit to choosing what I really want (i.e. to have fun & experience joy) by choosing a more exciting thought.   What have you discovered at your kitchen sink lately?

Smiles and Cartwheels

Why am I feeling like doing cartwheels?  Because I am excited to finally have the bare bones of my new wordpress site up.  Here is the big lesson I relearned in the process of attempting to get my site up and running.  Settle for “good enough.”

I often coach people to chunk stuff down when they are tackling a major project and take baby steps.  I encourage them to follow their heart.  I suggest they get moving on just the next one or two steps without having to have all the answers or know what all the steps will look like.

It’s nice to have a clear plan all mapped out, but sometimes for right-brain-creative type people this is a luxury that will keep us from fulfilling our dreams.   Too often, I am slow to heed my own advice.  This was one of those times.

My inner Artiste had taken charge of this project and she was holding on with clenched fists. She wanted my site to look just so.  She wanted me to put my best foot forward.  She wanted it all exactly how she wanted it. She and Miss Just-get-r-done were not talking to each other.

Finally last week, with the support of some friends from SARK’s Dream Boogie Community I broke this impasse and said, “Enough! Something needs to shift.  You two need to talk and come to an understanding.”

So I sat Miss Artiste and Miss Just-get-r-done down to have a chat.  And were they ever surprised!

They discovered they weren’t really at odds with each other after all. They had a lot in common. They both wanted the same result, a beautiful home on the web where Gratitude could invite her friends over for heart opening conversation, discovery, and adventure.

We are officially putting out the welcome mat. Keep coming back to see how we continue to spruce up the place “just so.”

After rereading this post in August of 2012 I decided I wanted (needed?) to write an update to this “first post.”   It had left me with a peculiar sort of half-smile plastered across my face.  I decided an addendum to what I shared here was in order.  You can read those updated musings here