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Close the drapes, the relatives are coming!

Okay, that might be a bit over the top, but sometimes we may feel that way when we are going into a family gathering or interaction.  EVERY family has an issue or two!  What separates the enjoyable from the not so enjoyable is our reactions to the interactions.  “Oh but Chris, you have NO IDEA what my family is like”.  While I do not know the specifics of your family, I do know that when people are involved it can potentially get messy!  There are different personalities involved, different views, different filters being used, even a shared event can have different meanings to 2 people who are experiencing the same event!   If that is not a recipe for confusion!!!

I continue to learn about family dynamics and how each member plays a role.  No matter if your family is large or small, if there is more than you……you experience family dynamics.  How you deal with conflict, change, plans, relationships, careers, marriage, birthdays, and holidays is influenced by the experiences you had in your family.  The good news is, even if your experience was not the most positive or nurturing, you can make a change in the way you think about your past and how you apply that to your present/future!  “There is no how it is, only how it is for you.”  Tim Brownson.  When you look back at experiences or patterns, you can pull a learning or teaching out of each experience.  Decide which of those patterns you want to keep, and which you want to change.  We can learn from every interaction.  What you decide to do with that learning is what we’ll talk about here.

At times, we look back, remember the behaviors and we blame others or continue those patterns into our present lives.  Then we curse our parents, siblings, other family members or friends for making us this way.  When in reality YOU have a choice to make, you can stay in the thought/behavior pattern you are in or you can make a choice to learn, change, acquire new skills and even thank those from your past.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  Research shows that patterns we experience growing up can be patterns we adopt unless we chose to change those patterns.

How did your family handle conflict in the past?  How do you handle it now?  Do you find yourself repeating patterns you don’t like or want to do anymore?  CHANGE!  If you grew up in a home where conflict was handled poorly or not at all, that does not mean you have to deal with conflict in the same way.  Talk to others in your life that you see handle conflict in a healthy way, what are some tips or thoughts they are willing to share?  Does that fit for you?  Check out books that deal with the pattern you want to change.  I highly recommend, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, a life changing book.  Or if you had an abusive upbringing, consider going to counseling.  Heal, accept and learn from those experiences and if desired, CHANGE the pattern!!    If your mom or dad yelled or they were not present, you can thank them for teaching you how you will speak gently to your family and friends, how you will live in the moment each day that you can be present with family/friends.

How was planning done in your past?  Was there a plan in place for say, family vacations?  Or maybe you had micro managed plans for everything.  What do you enjoy?  What works for you?  Can you see a pattern that is not what you want?  Change it!  If you enjoy planning, but the thought of planning something as big as a vacation is overwhelming, start small.  Plan an afternoon adventure, a trip to a museum or train ride to a city close by for a day trip.  Whatever you plan, do it the way you want to plan.  After your outing, debrief with those involved or just by yourself.  What worked?  What would you change?  What would you do again next time?  Then, plan something a little bigger.  You’ll get the pleasure of doing what you’ve planned and you will learn another pattern of planning!

Physical activity – if your family was not physically active or if your family was super active, what do you want your activity level to be?  Healthy is a good beginning point!  Try a class at a gym or Park and Rec department.  Grab your spouse, kids or friends and go for a walk, bike ride, or anything that gets you up and moving.  If running marathon’s or Iron Man competition is not your thing…..don’t do it!   If the thought of running a 5K or training to run a marathon is something that excites you….DO IT!!  Do you have a cause you support?  Check their website to see if there is a run/walk/ride in the near future.  Sign up, train and go for it!  Or sign up to help in other ways that support those physically participating.

Some of us grew up in environments that were encouraging of our uniqueness while others grew up where we were compared to or expected to be like someone else.  It’ time to find the encouragement to be the very best YOU you can be!  You are a unique individual with passions, talents and gifts that are uniquely yours, no matter what you’re your family background is.    What are you doing to use your gifts and talents? What patterns do you want to break or do you want to grow?  Need some guidance for the first/next step?  If you have serious issues that need help in sorting out, go to professional counseling.  If you are desiring to make a change, have a resolve to be the unique individual you are and are motivated to try something new, give life coaching a try.  I would like the opportunity to work with you.  I’d like to celebrate your uniqueness and help guide you to reach your highest potential!  Simply go to the Speak To Me page and complete the form.

Here’s to being all that each of us can be!!  “On the day you were born, the world grew by one life with big purpose and much to be done.” Marianne Richmond, Hooray for You! A Celebration of “You-ness”

 “Chris is one of the most positive people I know. She helped me find my way forward after an unexpected health crisis, and was there for me following the death of a friend. Chris has a unique way of putting things into perspective, of making a seemingly hopeless situation quite manageable. For these reasons, I would highly recommend her services.”-Lisa, Waukesha, WI

Mistakes: opportunity or problem

Mistakes, I’ve made several, we have all made mistakes at one time or another.   Mistakes are so “normal” that songs are written about them.  Here are a few I’m aware of:

Queen – We are the Champions –“And bad mistakes I’ve made a few I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face”

Bob Marley – Mistakes – “I made a mistake, yes, I did, yes, I did”

Smokey Robinson – Oh Baby, Baby – “Mistakes, I know I’ve made a few.  But I’m only human.  You’ve made mistakes too”

If we all make mistakes, do we all react to the outcome the same way?  Do we all change whatever behavior or choices we’ve made to NOT make the same mistake again?   In my life I’ll admit mistakes have been repeated.  Meaning I didn’t learn the first time around, OR, I didn’t stop to find out how my behavior influenced the situations where mistakes occurred.  Do you ever find yourself in a different situation but with the same mistakes being made?  You are not alone and you can change!

Mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.  Mistakes and the situations they bring are new chances for us to take a different approach!  In this article we’ll focus on dating relationships.  A man or woman find what they believe to be their “perfect” dating partner.  The excitement and anticipation build for this new potential relationship.  However, like their previous dating relationships in a few weeks or months….BAM….”it” happens again!  The “it”, can be different for everyone, but why “it” keeps happening is the same.  If you have not dealt with the “it” from your last relationship, stopped to discover your part in the situation and learned a new way to act/think – you WILL repeat “it”!

Have you thought or have you heard others say, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do all the men/women I date end up doing the same thing as my last date?”  Stop!  It’s time to investigate what is happening, deal with your findings, change your thoughts/behavior patterns and head in a new direction!  How do we do that?! Here are several options.  You could ask a close friend to be honest with you and tell you what they see as a pattern.  You can ask a family member for advice. You can seek out a Life Coach – someone that will help you sort out what is happening, think of other ways to think/act, set a plan in place, hold you accountable and guide you to reach your highest potential.  I would enjoy the opportunity to talk with you to see if we would be a good fit for a Life Coach relationship.  Simply go to the Speak To Me page, fill out the brief form and we’ll be in contact!  One of my favorite quotes of Albert Einstein is “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Let’s see what I can do to help you have different results!

We have focused here on the dating relationship but this applies to all areas of your life, marriage, job, family, church, work and more.  If you find yourself living with consequences of past or present mistakes, or if you are thinking it will never change, let’s work together.  We will sort through the situation, learn different responses, new thought processes and set a plan in place to change your focus from mistakes are problems to opportunities for growth!!  Go to the Speak To Me page, complete the form and we can talk about what steps to take next!  Here’s to changing mistakes into growth opportunities!

Change is………….

We experience change every day, change is a constant in life. The weather changes, seasons change, the moon’s phases change, people change and so do we. At times we feel we are “forced” to change through circumstances, whether they are our own doing or things we feel are “out of our control”. Depending on how we think we can look at change as opportunity to grow, a blessing or even a new opportunity in our life. It’s what we DO with change that impacts our life. We can be proactive, choosing to make changes that help us grow, taking actions that fit our values to better our lives, OR, we can choose to let circumstances dictate our lives. After living in a mindset of “just letting things happen” and moving to value driven changes in my life, I know where I want to be!

Several years ago I was invited to join a group that was doing a weight loss study. Mind you, I was large, I outweighed many NFL offensive line players. I knew I would always be a big girl and that was confirmed by the generations of large folks in my family. Why try to make a change, I’m predestined to be big….that’s how it’s been, the cards I was dealt. The new group started, I was so sure it would not work, I did not purchase the study materials until 3 weeks into the session. By week 6, I did start to lose weight, I was changing the way I thought – why I ate, how I cooked, and purchased food! I actually started to set goals and each goal that I achieved I set a new one. It was a LOT of change but it was GREAT! I was able to be more active, I felt better, others were inspired and joined me and we all succeeded. That step to join the group changed the way I thought about food, physical activity and more, even today! I’m still learning, still looking at ways to change my eating and exercise habits and hopefully, still inspiring others to lead a healthier lifestyle. I had no idea I valued the ability to be more active or that I valued helping others achieve their goals. What an exciting new opportunity!

In their book, Change Is Good…You Go First, Mac Anderson & Tom Feltenstein remark – “Change can be a wonderful gift. In fact, it is the key that unlocks the doors to growth and excitement in any organization.” I would add, change is a wonderful gift in each of our lives especially when we believe that changes do make life better, and can help us be more aligned with our values.

Are you thinking of making a change in your lifestyle, family time, personal time or even in your career….how does that make you feel? Does the possibility give you a feeling of excitement? Or, when you think of making a change does it bring up more questions, more angst or even dread? If the latter is the case, the changes you are preparing to make may not be in alignment with your values.

Changes you make that are aligned with your values will most likely succeed. However, if you are making a change that is not in alignment with your values, that will be a struggle. Are you more inclined to make a change that fits your values? More importantly, do you know your values? If you were to sit down and write your top 3 values could you do it? Again, if you are making a change that is not in alignment with what you value, it probably won’t be a change that you are able to keep or even want to keep!

Defining your values will help you make positive changes, will help you in everyday decisions AND it will help you be more intentional in life which will help you find your purpose! I would enjoy working with you to explore, identify and define your values. Your thoughts, changes, goals, life and purpose will be more enjoyable, clear and successful.

Please go to the Speak To Me page, complete the easy form and let’s see how working together will impact your life!

Our Backyard Friends and the Uniqueness of YOU

We are blessed to have undeveloped park land behind our home.  This brings the opportunity for a LOT of wildlife in our backyard!  Birds, deer, coyote, butterflies, squirrels, snakes, possum and one sighting of a mink to name a few!  My hubby, Brian, has been feeding the birds for years with several types of feeders.  We enjoy the visits from many types of birds throughout the seasons.  We live in SE Wisconsin, it seems we can experience several seasons within a few days.

This Spring we have been blessed with new sightings and the return of old feathered friends.  Today we have three pair of Cardinals – their song is beautiful and the flash of red as the males fly in and out of the big pine tree is amazing.  Not sure if we have four or five couples of House Finches who travel with their mate everywhere – feeders, oranges on the table, grape jelly dish on the feeder pole, birdbath for a cool drink – together always, the male with his red head and the female with her brown stripes.  We have been blessed to have two sets of Baltimore Orioles, who are brilliant orange with black and one Orchard Oriole, who is brick red with black, this season.  They visit us at the feeders often flying from one to the other with their beaks full of jelly and nectar.  The hummingbirds flit from our two feeders and this year we added a swing for their (our) enjoyment, they take a quick drink then fly to the top of our neighbors crab apple tree – apparently to be the top bird in the yard.  Grosbeaks, Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves and others, fly in, eat, drink, and I think socialize! With the back door and windows open the sounds are calming, refreshing and mesmerizing.  Some days I turn the rocking chair to face the backyard to relax and observe.

What I’ve noticed this year, different from years past, are several deviations from the norm in our wildlife friends.  Whether by injury or design, we have some unique, special looking wildlife friends.  The first to come and visit was our squirrel friend who lost his tail from an encounter with the large Cooper Hawk.  We thoroughly enjoy his antics as he bounces in the yard doing all the normal squirrel things, but with a different twist and purpose in his movements. We noticed last week we have a female House Finch that lost an eye.  She and her mate come to the feeders, birdbath and extra fruit treats regularly, they are now teaching their young ones how to feed themselves.  A lovely sight of loyalty and parenting with a few adaptations to help her with her tasks.  The third anomaly we noticed is a female Cardinal without any feathers on her head.  She looks like she has a black leather hat on, she too just goes about the business of feeding and caring for herself, her mate and little one.

As I reflect on our wildlife friends, I think how does this apply to me?  To US?  Each of us are created uniquely, with gifts, personalities, preferences and appearances different from anyone else.  We are created in the image of God Genesis 1:27.   Some of us have lost sight of our beauty and our uniqueness.  We carry scars, loss, and disappointments around with us, not seeing the beauty and opportunity to use our unique experiences to better our world and the people around us!   Like the nature friends in our backyard it might take some adaptations or support from others for you to see your unique qualities.  I encourage you to look at your scars, reflect on your challenges, remember and celebrate your experiences to see what you can learn.  Ask yourself how you can use that awareness for the betterment of yourself, your family, all those around you and beyond!  You have a purpose, you are gifted, a unique creation that can make a difference in the world!   “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”  Benjamin E. Mays

I found this to be true in my own life.  In the Fall of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis  What sounded like a death sentence has become one of the best ways for me to connect with others.  I changed the name Multiple Sclerosis to More Special, because I am!  With a few adaptations, support from my family and friends I can see how MS is a unique blessing in my life.   I make opportunities to hike, work, learn, discover, create & play daily, which I know encourages others.  No matter your history or your present situation, you can find your purpose and bless others through your uniqueness!

Do you want to find out more about YOU and how you can make a difference?  Swing by the Speak To Me page and complete the simple form then I will connect with you.  Let’s see how we can work together to guide you in your new awareness, to clarify your unique gifts, set goals to find and put into action your purpose!

Pulling weeds sucks – Testamonial

Pulling weeds sucks. The bending and digging is really hard on my back. Rain will mess up a round of golf or that special outdoor party. Birds make such a mess throwing seed out of the bird feeder.

Bugs – hate ‘em.

Chris has taught me to appreciate nature. When you talk to her or read her blog, you realize that there is good and beauty in nature; you just have to look for it.

Rain is important and does so much good. Ask any farmer or someone trying to grow a lawn.

There is a calmness when I hear the birds singing in the morning. Seed can be messy, but it gets taken care of by the squirrels. When you are visited by a hummingbird or something unique like an oriole, that can be spectacular to see.

Yes, pulling weeds sucks but it is needed to clear out the junk so that the good things keep growing. A weed-free garden looks so much better and is much healthier. Within my own life I have learned from Chris that focusing on the “weeds” in a situation is not good and will drive you crazy. Getting rid of the “weeds” helps me focus on the important things and provides a healthy balance in my life.

I have seen how Chris interacts with people and talks to them. Chris has the personality and qualities that make her a great life coach. When new people meet Chris, they feel very welcome. I would recommend talking to her if there is something out of balance with your life.

Oh – and as for the bugs – they may have some benefit – but I still hate ‘em.

Kevin
Milwaukee, WI

Ugh, I’m Just Spinning My Wheels!!

Have you felt that way?   Do you wonder why you are so busy but not fulfilled?   I know that feeling!   In my past I was doing so much, busy all the time, but I was not making a difference.   One of my values is, trying to make a difference, I was not living in my purpose.

What would you say are your values?   Community involvement, relationships, career advancement, money, adventure, helping others…?   Everyone values something!   Our values are how we prioritize our time, energy, resources… our values help define our purpose.

If you were to describe yourself and your values, would the things you spend your time and energy on, line up with your description?   Are your values part of your everyday life?   Do you filter your decisions throughout the day or set goals for next week, month, year, and beyond through your values? Do your values help you set your priorities?   Are your values driving your life’s purpose?
When your values are aligned with your thoughts, how you are spending your time, your energy, and resources, your life is good, in balance – on purpose!   When your time, energy, resources and thoughts are not aligning with your values, there is something just not right!   Life is not running on all cylinders – priorities are all messed up – we don’t feel like we are fulfilled.
Not sure if you are living your values?   Here is a simple exercise; take a look at your calendar – do the appointments you have set line up with what you value?   Or are the hours you have in a day consumed by other things?   What is taking your time and energy?   Now open your online bank statement or open your checkbook register – do you spend your resources based on your values?

When I first did this exercise years ago, it was enlightening to see that, no, I was NOT spending my time, energy or resources on things that were important to me.   No wonder I was feeling out of sorts!   I did some work to clarify my values, get more in line with them.    After that work, I was able to understand and clarify my life’s purpose – Helping others reach their highest potential through equipping, developing, leading and encouraging!  Wow, what a difference clarification made in my life! Life is good!
If you would like to learn more about clarifying your values, setting and achieving goals or finding your life’s purpose, why not contact me and give Life Coaching a try?   Simply go to my Speak To Me page and fill out the  form.   Let’s set up your free 15 minute session to discuss how we can move forward together.

Go Outside and PLAY!!!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  George Bernard Shaw

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”  Plato

Wise folks see the importance of play and researchers have found positive effects of getting outside.  Have you gone outside lately?  Read on to find motivation for getting out of the recliner and getting outside!

Researchers and physicians maintain that our physical and mental health will improve by going outside.  A recent study in Scotland showed by electrical activity in the brains of the study group, when walking through a park, that group experienced less “brain fatigue” then another group who walked in a busy downtown area.  The researchers concluded that people should take a break each day to walk in a green space or if that is not available, to simply look at the trees outside.  “It’s likely to have a restorative effect” says lead researcher Jenny Roe.

I know my hubby Brian and I get rejuvenated by going outside to enjoy a sunrise over the lake, walk in the park or work to rid buckthorn from our prairie, it renews our spirits and our hearts to be outside!  And might I say, the pictures we get to take are awesome!  What about you?  Where can you go to get some outside time in a natural setting?  How close is the city park?  What about a county Botanical Garden?  For a small fee you can walk the grounds, sniff the flowers and maybe find a new plant for your yard!

Another benefit of getting outside is Vitamin D which is essential for helping us absorb calcium and it facilitates communication between the brain and the rest of the body.   A deficiency of Vitamin D has been linked to the higher occurrence of Multiple Sclerosis in the northern hemisphere – where the sun does not shine quite as much!  I live with MS or as I call it, More Special, and found that my Vitamin D level was very low.  I take Vitamin D supplements but, when nice weather arrives our primary natural source of Vitamin D is sunshine!  Researchers have suggested that 5 – 30 minutes of daily exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can restore Vitamin D levels.  One quick walk around the block, a game of hop scotch or throwing a baseball to your kids is all it takes!

Fresh air just makes us happier!  A study from Jules Pretty at the University of Essex Britain, found that our first five minutes outdoors delivers the bulk of the boost in our spirits, but a full day outside can deliver a major spike not only emotionally but cognitively as well!  How easy is that to raise our levels of happiness AND improve our minds?  To take advantage of these benefits and to get outside, at Pursuing Your Life’s Purpose we offer Walking Life Coach sessions.  What a special way to receive the many benefits of the outdoors, get some exercise and get coached on finding your purpose in your life!

The sight and experience of green in nature has healing effects for us as well.  Recently many hospitals have designed healing gardens on their campuses.  If not a garden then pictures of nature on the walls have shown to be effective in the healing process as well.  Outside magazine recently had a story collecting current research from all over the world on the benefits of being outside.  Some of the information suggested that being in nature can potentially lower blood pressure, lower blood-sugar levels in diabetics, reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol and when the sunlight hits our eyes, the optic nerve spurs the brain’s pineal gland to boost up our production of serotonin, which boosts our mood and cheers us up.  Wow, and it’s all just outside our doors!  So put down the remote, close your laptop and GET OUTSIDE and PLAY!

If you are looking to move forward in life, want to clarify your goals, define your purpose then I invite you to Speak To Me and see how we can work together to make this happen!  Be blessed and be a blessing! 

Thank you to Next Avenue for some of the information found in this post!

Sunny Sunday

Oh what a beautiful morning…

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