7 Steps to Reach Your Goals (from an 87 Year Old Mountain Climbing Grandma)

May I just tell you how much I appreciate your hanging out with me on my blog and joining me for Life Lessons & Laughter this past year?!  As we begin the new year, I thought I’d feature the post you liked the most (based on views, comments, likes and shares) from the past 12 months.  By a landslide, it was the post about my mom’s mountain climb and her tips for reaching your goals. I can’t think of a better post for New Year’s Day.  And if something inspires you, makes you smile or helps you get through the day, pass it along!  I’ll bet there’s someone in your world who is thirsty for encouragement.

https://conniecarey.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/seven-steps-to-reach-your-goals-from-an-87-year-old-mountain-climbing-grandma/

 

Four Tips to go from “Out of Whack” to “Back on Track” After the Holidays

I hope you had a wonderful, blessed holiday season!

walk-along-railroad-tracksI love Thanksgiving and Christmas, but confess with all the heavy food, rainy weather, being off-schedule and out of the habit of exercise, I’ve felt a bit out of whack.  My usual (somewhat) healthy routine has been DERAILED. Bleh. Well, today, I’m sharing with you what I’m doing to get back on track before the new year.

  1. Get moving.  I’m treating myself to a walk every day this week and it feels FANTASTIC.  Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate, I still get in a walk at the local mall.  I’ve also ordered a new work-out DVD.  My current ones have gotten a little stale and maybe my body has plateaued with the repetition, so a new one is on it’s way, just to shake it up a little.  Also, my fitness tracker died on December 1, so I got a new one.  I use the Jawbone UP.  It’s amazing how motivational it can be to watch my steps add up during the day.
  2. Throw out the holiday junk food.  Throw it away, give it away or take it to the office.  Healthy choices are so much easier when I eliminate the temptation by getting it out of the house.
  3. Drink that water. Water helps with weight loss, energizes muscles, helps keep skin looking good and helps rid the body of toxins.   (Wow. I think I’ll have a glass right now!)
  4. Make this delicious Detox Soup.  This is my go-to soup!  I love making a big pot and enjoying it for lunch throughout the following week.  It’s practically calorie free (except for whatever meat you may choose to add), full of nutrients and so easy to pull out of the fridge for a quick meal.

Delicious Detox Soup – Ingredients: 1/2 head of cabbage, 1 cup celery, 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup sliced carrots, 1 sliced green pepper, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, few shakes of black pepper, 4 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

Instructions:  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add celery, onion, bell pepper and carrots and saute until slightly tender.

Delicious Detox SoupThen add garlic and chicken or vegetable broth.  Add tomatoes and cabbage and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until cabbage is tender.  (By the way, the monogrammed tile was a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law.  I love it!)

Connie's Delicious Detox Soup

Stir in oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt. I usually use fresh basil and oregano from my garden, but this time of year, the basil is done.  This paste works just fine.

Connie's Delicious Detox Soup

Connie's Delicious Detox Soup

 

 

Add a few tablespoons of Bragg’s Liquid Amino to desired taste.  It’s a natural soy sauce alternative containing 16 amino acids, which fight fat and build muscle.

Adjust seasoning to taste. Add roasted chicken or lean ground beef, if you like.

Connie's Delicious Detox Soup

Above all,  SKIP THE GUILT.  Instead, start the new year fresh with these four tips and enjoy a healthier, more energetic you!

Blending music and humor, 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Connie Carey inspires her audiences to view their challenges from a renewed perspective. Her book, Falling UP, offers healing, hope and a touch of humor for hard times. For booking info, visit www.conniecarey.com.

How to Make the Most of Your Thanksgiving: Connect With Conversation

This past Sunday, for reasons not important to this post, my family celebrated Thanksgiving early.  I had read a recent blogpost from Michael Hyatt about maximizing conversations around the holiday table.  I tried his suggestions and all agreed that it greatly enhanced our time together, so I share his insight with you, hoping it might add value to your conversations and relationships this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Maybe it’s just my family, but as much as we love each other and have a great time together, there are occasional lulls in the conversation, awkward moments where no one has anything to say, and it’s tempting to turn on the TV and stare the afternoon away.  On days like that, I leave with a feeling of slight emptiness, wishing I’d connected with my loved ones on a deeper level.

So, this Thanksgiving (remember, we did it early), I took Michael Hyatt’s advice.  I prepared a list of questions, folded each one, and put them in a beautiful, timeless family heirloom.

(Not really.  Just whatever I could find.  In this case, old Tupperware.)

I passed around the container.  “Please take a question.  If you don’t like your question, you’re not stuck with it…try a different one.”  (I didn’t want to be a Nazi about the whole thing.)  “Then tell us your thoughts.”

I’ll admit, I was a little nervous that my cool nephews might think this was the ultimate nerdy activity.  But I did it anyway, and I’m really glad I did!  Here are the questions I used:

Tell us about an embarrassing moment.

When you think about the coming year, what are you most excited to see happen (or accomplish, or see others accomplish)?

When you look back on the last year, what are you most proud of?

What new capability do you want to develop in the next year?

What are the two biggest lessons you learned this past year?

If you had one million dollars to give to charity, how would you spend it?

Looking back over the past year, what are you most grateful for?

Choose someone here today and tell what you admire or appreciate about them.

Moving into the coming year, what would you like to do differently?

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up…and how does that relate to what you do now?

What are your top three strengths…and how do they benefit others?

What is your favorite trait in other people?

The answers were hilarious, tender and affirming to others.  Most of all, they brought us closer together…and kept the TV off. As I left, I felt I knew a little something more about my relatives that I didn’t know before.  I laughed more.  I felt more connected.  I saw family members included that might not have felt included otherwise.  Instead of awkward conversations, we had a blast!

Try these questions for your own holiday gathering.  May it help bring your loved ones together and create a great memory for your family.

If you tried this, how did it go?  What other questions would you add to increase connection among family?

I’d love to hear from you!

Blending music and humor, 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Connie Carey inspires her audiences to view their challenges from a renewed perspective, Her book, Falling UP, offers healing, hope and a touch of humor for hard times. For booking info, visit www.conniecarey.com.

 

 

FREE Christmas Music Download!

Don’t you just love it when something delicious is cooking in the kitchen…especially at Christmastime?  Wonderful aromas fill the air and if you’re lucky, the cook will give you a taste of what’s to come.

www,conniecarey.com

Well, I’d like to share a taste of something I’ve been cookin’ up…my CD, “Simply Christmas”, coming in 2016!  Here’s a clip from one of the rehearsals with my dear college friend, Sandra Chandler.  Between the two of us, I think we may have dusted off all 88 keys.  Sandra, it’s fun making music with you!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXfDluvRFyU

 

Simply Christmas

The free download includes a personal message from me, the piano duet “Sleigh Ride”, “What Child is This” featuring piano and gorgeous violin (thank you, Katie Trotter!) and a fun, upbeat vocal with orchestra version of “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child”.

For a FREE download, simply go to www.conniecarey.com and follow the prompts.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Say These 3 Things Next Time You’re Angry

In last week’s post we talked about the one question to make anger work for you:

WHY am I feeling angry?

Asking this simple question helps get to the root of anger, rather than just skim the surface.  If we don’t get to the root of our angry feelings, they’ll just keep sprouting up and eventually choke out the beauty and love in our lives.

So when was the last time you got angry at someone or something?  Do you have any idea what might have been behind your anger?  As I mentioned in last week’s post, it was shame, humiliation, embarrassment and hurt that fueled my anger on the diving board.

Here’s a list of some of the feelings that often fuel anger:                                                 hurt
guilt
shame
powerlessness
betrayal
insecurity
rejection
dashed hopes and dreams
feeling trapped
unmet expectations
resentment
envy, jealousy
pride
failure
worry, anxiety
pressure, stressed out
exhaustion, fatigue
grief
In other words, when people let us down, when things don’t work out the way we think they should, when we don’t get the respect we feel we deserve, we feel one or more of the emotions listed above. When that happens, we often turn to anger to protect those tender feelings.

Anger is like the warning light on the dashboard of your car telling you that something needs to be checked under the hood.

dash-warning-lightsYour problem is not the warning light. Your problem is what’s going on under the hood.  That’s where you need to look, and that takes courage.

It’s uncomfortable.  It’s scary.  But it’s the first step after anger lets us know something is wrong.  For example, did we feel rejected? Betrayed? Was our pride hurt?

Pinpoint and target the root cause of your anger.

Then apply this practical 3-step tool that’s made a positive difference for me when dealing with anger and frustration.  The next time you’re angry with someone try saying to them:

  1. “When ____________ (what happened),
  2. I felt ___________ (the root emotion).
  3. I would appreciate ______________.” (what we wish were different)

I might add that an important part of this equation is watching your tone and facial expression.Keep it kind…and try to work a smile in there somewhere.  If you’re mean and frown, it’ll completely cancel out any good your words might’ve done!

Let me share a real life scenario.  I lead a Bible study in the inner city of our town.  For a while, it’s gotten on my last nerve that people are up and down, in and out, while I speak.  It’s constant.  It’s frustrating.  I feel disrespected.  Yet, I’ve never said anything about it.

In our Bible study, we’ve been exploring this same topic of anger.  So a few weeks ago, I said to myself, let me give this a try.

“When people get up and walk out of the room repeatedly during the Bible study, I feel  disrespected. I feel as if my time and preparation are of little value to you.  It’s hard for me to keep my train of thought while there is constant movement in the room.  I think it’s also a distraction for others who are trying to hear the lesson.  I would appreciate it if everyone would visit the restroom before we begin.  That way we can keep our focus on the lesson.  Whadda ya say?” 

(And then I smiled!)

When I finished, everyone nodded.  A couple of people apologized, saying they didn’t realize it felt disrespectful to me.  No one, and I mean no one, has been to the restroom in 4 weeks during Bible study.  It’s been great!  I wish I’d done this a long time ago!

This may seem like a silly example, but it reminds me that sometimes we put up with issues that are gnawing at us when, if we communicated them in this simple, respectful manner, we could be done with a few things.

Listen, I know it won’t work every time.  Yes, there are crazy people who won’t respond appropriately.  And perhaps we need discernment to know when to walk away, when it’s not our battle, when to just let it go, etc.  But I encourage you to give this practical 3 step method a try.

What looks hard, uncomfortable and scary at the beginning can become liberating and life changing down the road!

A coupla questions to consider:                                                                               How effective might these “I feel” statements be the next time you’re angry?  Are you skeptical?  Apprehensive?  Why?

What’s the best that could happen?  What’s the worst that could happen?

Do you have an example of what happened when you tried this?  I’d love to hear from you!

Blending music and humor, 2014 Georgia Author of the Year Connie Carey inspires her audiences to view their challenges from a renewed perspective, Her book, Falling UP, offers healing, hope and a touch of humor for hard times. For booking info, visit www.conniecarey.com.