I've been missing here for the last couple months. I have a great reason- I'm pregnant (!) and that first trimester was just a lot rougher on my body than I expected. I had very little energy, so all of it had to go to basic functions. Most nights I was in bed by 7pm, even though I'm a night owl who is normally up til midnight or later. My thoughts didn't feel all that coherent sometimes, either, so blogging just wasn't on my menu.
Now, my energy is back up and I wanted to take a moment to share my Gratitude List. I try to remember gratitude daily and think of all of my blessings, but it's nice to write the list out and see it all there on paper.
Right now, I'm grateful for:
1. Most importantly, I'm grateful for the beautiful little being who will bless me as their mama in May. Pregnancy has been a whole new adventure and I'm sure motherhood will be more than I can imagine right now.
2. My husband continues to make me laugh and take care of me. I can't wait to see him as a daddy.
3. The rest of my family. My sister's cancer journey has continued and she's having surgery next week, but her strength and courage in this crisis are so inspiring. The rest of the family is rallied around her, as we do, and it's been a good period for all of us to grow and support each other. Lots of laughter has been part of the journey, obviously.
4. Cell phones and Facebook. My husband's family is on a whole other continent, worlds away. We miss them dearly, but cell phones and Facebook help us stay in touch, which is so wonderful. Also, some of my best friends are scattered to the four winds, so Facebook is how we stay together as well.
5. As glad as I am to be pregnant, I'm REALLY glad the nausea part seems to be over. I know there's probably more unfun stuff to come, but that was rough.
6. More than ever, I'm grateful for indoor plumbing. I think back to living in the village & using the pit latrine and I can't imagine doing that pregnant, as often as I have to go. Plus, squatting when I'm 8-9 months along sounds nearly impossible. I have a whole other level of respect for the women of Zambia that had never occurred to me before.
7. Speaking of amenities, my heart goes out to the victims of Sandy who are still without the basics. I'm so grateful for my home & electricity & I hope they get theirs back as soon as possible.
8. Pecan pie, baked macaroni, turkey, and fresh cranberry sauce. Some of my favorite foods and I get to eat them all tomorrow!
9. Beautiful fall days like today. They are such a gift.
10. That I don't have the slightest desire to participate in the madness of Black Friday and I don't have to.
11. Amazon Prime. I love being able to shop on my phone & get most things in 2 days. Our town has very few options for organic food or greener cleaning products, so I order them at Amazon.
12. Holiday Season. I love the winter holidays- the smell of cinnamon and spices, lights and decorations, snowpeople, carols, favorite foods, gifts, chilly air, parties, the whole package.
13. Health. So many around me are dealing with tough health stuff, so it reminds me how grateful I am for my health and how quickly all that can change.
14. Coaching. It is truly an amazing process to watch people wake up to their own magnificence and I'm so grateful I get to be part of that process.
15. You. If you're reading this, then you're part of my circle- friends, clients, or just stumbling across my blog for the first time- I'm grateful you're here.
There are countless other blessings- both great and small- that I'm grateful for, but I'll stop here so I can get my pecan pie out of the oven. Whether or not you're celebrating Thanksgiving, I wish you a joyful time with your loved ones this week.
If you want to explore your dreams and find more joy, please check out my Work page for more info on how we could work together. Or go here to set up a free Fairy Godmother Session to dig into your dreams and see what magic we can find.
When I first started out a year ago, I was blessed to find Michelle’s Resources page, which was chock full of helpful software & programs I have since become well acquainted with. I see she’s changed that page, so now I guess it’s my turn to share the useful hints I’m so glad someone else pointed me towards. FreeConferencePro*
: Client Calls- It’s free & easy to use, for up to 200 participants! I have my own number that I can record calls on and the recordings are available online about 10 minutes after the call. And I love that the calls always start with ‘Hello Gorgeous’ in a sexy professional voice! Evernote
*: for note making and remembering things. You download it & it will automatically sync on all the devices it's on. So it's on my phone, work, & home computer & I always have my notes with me- no papers to lose. They’re categorized into notebooks, so my notes are easy to find and searchable if I forget what category I put something under! I use it for grocery lists, blog post ideas, saving articles for reference, to do lists, EVERYTHING, etc. Picmonkey*: for picture editing and collage making. I used to use Picnik, but they got bought out. Now it's Picmonkey for all those services & they're great! Dropbox*
*: for easy access to my files & sharing. (Also downloaded on multiple devices for easy access.) I start writing something at work, save it in Dropbox, finish it at home on my computer. Then I can access it on my phone when I’m in the store & need to remember something. First 2GB are free. I also use it for sharing files with clients, like those call recordings- you can get a public link for any document you have there.
(Google Drive* is now available & it seems to be the same type of service with 5GB free). Mailchimp
*: for newsletters & ecourses. Free up to 2000 subscribers. You can schedule your newsletters to go out at a certain time & track the opens as well. Ecourses can be set up to go out on a schedule, so everything is automatic and less painful. And their customer service is top notch! Hootsuite
*: for automatically scheduling Facebook &Twitter posts (it automatically shortens your links for you, too) Echosign*
: for document signing. Prepare your pdf for the signature spots, then it emails to the client and back to you once they’ve signed. Very helpful for contracts with people far away! Audacity*
: for recording & editing audio. Very easy to use and allows you to add different layers- such as a voice recording and music on separate layers so that you can edit each individually. Facebook Groups
*: for any group that wants to easily interact online- ecourses, monthly membership groups, coaching groups, etc. Free platform & most of us are already on FB, so there are no new usernames and passwords to remember or profiles to set up. As private or open as you make it. Dreamstime
: for stock images. I love that their water mark is a spiral and the name dreamstime is just wonderful. The prices seem similar to other stock image places. Vistaprint
: for biz cards, t-shirts, etc. I found a $.01 sale one day & so I got magnets with my logo, which I adore! I also got biz cards for cheap and ordered T-shirts for my friend’s 5k team. Lots of goodness and tons of deals there. Mozy: for file backup so I don't lose any documents. Dropbox is good enough for a small amount of things that I want instant access to, but I have 50gb of photos and music I don't want to lose, so Mozy automatically backs up my computer daily. It’s $5.99/month for peace of mind about my digital valuables. Ejunkie
: for automatic download products. The basic membership costs $5/month to handle your online products automatically through payment to the download. You can also set up an affiliate program for others to market your products & earn a percentage. deviantart
: art. It’s a great place to find unknown artists you like and commission them for reasonable fees. Or to feed an addiction to art with lots of affordable prints….but I wouldn’t know anything about that.
*Free or has a free option. I've added this post to the Nav Bar & I'll keep adding as I think of more. Please add your suggestions in the comments, too. I'd love to discover more useful tools!P.S. None of these are affiliate links (although I probably should find out about those for some of these, as I sing their praises daily.) I use these in my daily life and I just wanted to share it with you in case you need these services as well!
If you are ready to leap into your next step, please check out my Work page for more info on how we could work together. Or go here to set up a free Fairy Godmother Session to dig into your dreams and see what magic we can find.
Today makes 8 years since I moved into my village in Zambia, where I spent 3 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Community Health Program. It was Easter morning, so it was quiet there while everyone else was at church. I was fresh out of my three-months of training and ready to start the new life I'd signed up for. I was terrified to be there all alone, thousands of miles from home, to figure out the language and culture and start working at a job I wasn't sure I was ready for. I was excited to try it out anyway and to make new friends. Two years later, I signed on for an extra year, so I obviously fell in love with my job and with Zambia. Clearly, that experience is one of the key events of my life and the impact on my growth and development is beyond words. Today I am full of memories and gratitude for the friends I made and the gifts I gained. I am especially grateful to the children who lived near me- they were extremely patient teachers of language and culture. Even though I was a fully capable, able-bodied adult, I never would have survived village life without the help of children under the age of 12.
Forster, Me, Mwelwa, Chabby, Ellen, Eliza- My best friends and greatest teachers.
Here are just 10 of the lessons I learned there:
1. A storytelling circle is a priceless gift. Gather ‘round the fire with your friends and share your stories. Even if you’ve told them 100 times, it’s still so much better than the reruns you could watch instead. Some of my best memories from the village are of those story times, even when I couldn't understand them, because the feeling in the circle was of love and community.
2. We are each individuals and deserve attention. In Zambia, when you walk into a meeting, you go around and shake hands with each person and go through a greeting sequence with them, asking how they are and how their family is. You don’t just wave hello at the whole bunch- that will be offensive and get you nowhere. Back in American settings, I've found that instead of just plowing into asking someone something- like at the grocery store- if I first ask them how they are and really listen, it changes the experience. It's more personal and connected and feels so much better.
3. A smile can still light up a room, even when you don’t speak the same language. And a tremendous amount of your message can be conveyed with facial expressions.
1. art time in the village! 2. Me, Patrick, Chief Chimesi's son & wife, Chief Chimesi, Parvathy (my best friend & fellow Peace Corps Volunteer)
4. Share whatever you have. I can't count the number of times I'd see two kids sharing one pair of shoes- each wearing one shoe. There is no greater example of sharing than that. And my neighbors always offered to share their food with me, no matter how little of it they had. No matter how little I think I have, I ALWAYS have enough to share with someone else.
5. Make an honest effort. In my meetings, my caveman Bemba normally got my message across (Boil water. Wash Hands. No diarrhea.) and there was always a translator to assist me when it wouldn't. But, the fact that I showed that I was trying to learn the language and making a genuine effort was always well appreciated by my audience. I always got shocked comments from people who were so moved that I'd tried, even though I murdered their language. It's always worth it to try to use your skills, even when you're not yet an expert.
6. Imagination opens the whole world up for your exploration. Zambian kids create the coolest toys. They make their own soccer balls out of plastic grocery bags and string, make real moving toy cars out of juice boxes and flip flops, and use charcoal for chalk. I was constantly in awe of their ability to create something out of nothing.
7. One woman's trash is another's treasure. I know this is a clichéd statement, but I saw it for truth in the village. I learned to look at my trash and at recycling in a whole new light. I didn't throw away plastic bottles- I saved them to reuse or to share with my neighbors. I even sent my charcoal brazier home with the kids every day after I finished cooking; because they used them to keep warm while they slept (I had enough blankets and preferred them). The ashes then came back to me and went into my pit latrine to reduce odors. Nothing wasted.
8. There is always room for joy. Laugh, sing, dance. My friends and neighbors in Zambia were not always well fed. There were periods when the harvest was poor and they were starving or sick. However, they were always laughing and singing and dancing. If they can choose joy when they're dealing with so much, how can I not choose it just because I'm having some minor trial? Also, any empty container or flat surface can be a drum. There is never a good excuse not to dance.
9. You can find love in the most unexpected of places. I met my husband in the market, in front of the used tires and miscellaneous metals. It was over a year later that we started dating, but the market will always be special for us, since that's where we first met.
Me & Joshua- 2007, Zambezi
10. NOTHING tastes as good as fresh, warm peanut butter pounded with your own two hands.
Thank you, Zambia! You are always my second home and I'm so grateful for the multitude of blessings you gave me. Thank you to all the beautiful people who are now part of my life and my heart because of that adventure! If you need support in seeking out your dreams, please check out my Work page for more info on how we could work together. Or got here for info about a free Fairy Godmother Session to dig into your dreams and see what magics we can find.
Image by IzaDa
(Originally guest posted here on KindOverMatter.) You’re dirty.
You’re no good and you cause destruction everywhere you go.
You make me feel dirty.
You’re a snob. You’re greedy and unkind.
If I said those things to you, would you want to hang out with me? Would you be my friend? I know I wouldn’t and I doubt that you would. (Side note: If you would or you have a friend who makes you feel that way, PLEASE read this and then get a coach or a good friend to help you build up your self-worth muscles, because I promise you are worth so much more than to be treated like that.)
Yet, we all say those things about money and the people that have it every day. It pervades our vocabulary, culture, and even the major religions. ‘Filthy’ rich. ‘Stinking’ rich. ‘Money is the root of all evil.’ ‘Money is dirty.’
Click here to read the rest. If you need support in bursting through your own limiting beliefs about money or anything else, please check out my Work page for more info on how we could work together. Or go here for info about a free Fairy Godmother Session to dig into your dreams and see what magics we can find.