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The Importance of Contemplation and Gratitude

“Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us!”

I was going to write about this later in the month of December but after the events of my weekend, I knew I had to write it today!  

Saturday night was pretty normal, I went to sleep around 12:30am, and at around 1:30am Brandon woke me up because he was having severe pains in his abdomen and chest.  After I saw how panicked he was, and how much pain he was in we decided to head to the E.R.  They were amazing and got us straight in…and immediately ruled out his heart as causing the pain – which was a huge relief!

We were taken back to a room where then took blood for some further testing, put him on monitors etc. etc. and kept checking in with us about every 1/2 hour.  After they had ascertained that it wasn’t a heart issue, they ruled out gallbladder and gave him a G.I. cocktail.  It is basically Lidocaine and Maalox, and after about 1 hour his pain was almost gone.  

It took hours to get the labs back, and when they did they thought he could be suffering from pancreatitis, so to rule that out they had him eat some crackers.  Because there was no pain from that, and the fact that the cocktail made him feel better, they thought it was very likely to be acid reflux with esophageal spasm.  

OK, so I know that was a very detailed story, and the reason I wanted to share all of that with you was because that is kind of what kept me going.  I immediately went into the role of helping him, being there for him and not even thinking about the fact that I hadn’t had any sleep.  

As I contemplate my life with Brandon, I realize that I haven’t always been the most amazing wife, I sometimes let my needs be all consuming, and because of my past life and relationship experiences I have, at times, not allowed myself to be completely vulnerable and present with him.  Going through something like we did on Saturday night, even though it turned out that it wasn’t life threatening, we didn’t know that when we were in it.  It certainly made me pause to be grateful for having him in my life.

Adding a pop of color to this fabulous leopard dress – shop my post by clicking the links below

Do you ever find yourself being so caught up in living your life that you don’t have time to appreciate how amazing your life is?  I was talking to a friend who also has kids that are getting older now, and we both agreed that having young kids was one of the best times in our lives…but when I was raising a house full of boys, the chaos, the mess, the tantrums, and the lack of freedom sometimes caused me to wish away those years to the day that I would be able to leave them at home alone!  Now that my boys are getting older, I have less and less control, I hate that they are not the snuggly little boys that they used to be and I wish I could bring back all the wonder and excitement they had around learning new things.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my life, and I love this stage of my kids too – I have definitely learned not to wish away the time, but I am also grateful for all the younger years too.  The years that both they were and I was younger…the years that they were excited to go to the movies with their parents and hanging out with us was always a first choice 😉

There are so many things that I feel gratitude for, especially at this time of year, because I allow myself enough time to slow down and notice the things that are important in our lives.  Having a family I love, working side by side with my husband helping people improve their lives, having a home I love, friends I couldn’t live without, sharing my experiences and hopefully helping others know that they are capable of anything they set their mind to via my blog and so much more.

I choose to pause and feel gratitude every day so that when I contemplate what I have in my life I don’t have any regrets…and that I am able to share my appreciation and love with others!

What would you answer if you asked yourself every day “what do I have to be thankful for RIGHT NOW”…even when things are going wrong, there is always something to feel gratitude for!

Remember the 5th of November

“If you don’t do wild things when you’re young, you’ll have nothing to smile about when you’re old!”

For those of you that know anything about the history of England you will know that today, the 5th of November, is when we celebrate Bonfire Night.  Guys Fawkes was the reason Bonfire Night started, and his story is pretty gruesome.  He tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament, was held as a prisoner in the Tower of London until he was executed.  So, being a country strong on tradition, ever since then we have celebrated his failed gunpowder plot by putting a stuffed Guy Fawkes on top of a bonfire and burning it to the ground.  Kind of crazy when you think about the history, but as I was growing up I didn’t realize all that history (as I am sure many of the youth now don’t either) I just enjoyed a time to hang out with friends and family, with treacle toffee, parched peas, parkin (to name just a few of the foods we ate) along with some fireworks.

Since obviously we don’t celebrate the 4th of July in England, this was when we got to let off our fireworks and have a good time.  I must admit, I do much prefer fireworks in the summer than in November when the nights can be very cold and quite often rainy.

You might be wondering why I am telling you about this good old English tradition – well obviously the first reason is that today is the 5th November, but secondly it’s because as I sit over the other side of the Atlantic from my home country I realize that there are a lot of things, whether the reason behind them are great or not, that I miss about England.  I have traveled back there now twice in the past 2 years, and the more I go the more I realize that I had an amazing upbringing and I am very happy for the life my parents gave me over there.

There is a lot to be said about tradition and nostalgia.  There are a great many traditions that I brought over with me and I share with my family.  Remembering where we came from is a huge part in recognizing and being grateful for where we are today.  I have no plans to move back to England, however, I miss my friends, and I definitely miss a lot of the history that is everywhere over there.  It has made me feel like I want to take my kids (now that they are older) to see some of the sights, to walk down memory lane with me, and to see where I grew up.  My youngest two boys have never been over there, and I think they would love some of the places – who doesn’t love a castle or two?!

There have been times in my life when I have gone through hard things, one of which was moving over here to the US as a single mum…but now as I look back I can be grateful for that trying experience because it shaped me into who I am today.  So as I sit and think about my life and the things that have made me stronger, I feel nothing but gratitude and appreciation.  There are rewards from trials but only if we let ourselves surrender to the good that came from it.  I know in some things it is harder to find something good that came from it – and it may be something as simple as meeting someone that helped you through or admitting to yourself that you need help (a challenge for me)…

Wherever you’re from, whatever you have been through, looking back at your life with fondness and love is the only way that you can move through today into the rest of your life.  After all, nothing can drag you down if you’re not holding on to it!!

Have a fabulous Monday…

You can shop my outfit and similar pieces by clicking the links below…

 

The Effect of Positivity

“Change your thoughts and you change your world!”

Are you someone that notices the energy of people or picks up on “vibes” in certain situations?

I am a firm believer in positivity and what that can do for you.  Basically, whatever energy you surround yourself with, positive or negative, that is the energy you are going to see more of.  It can also be said about our thoughts and what we are thinking.  Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling good, happy or not worried about something that more good things just seem to happen?  Or conversely that when something doesn’t go the way you want it to, and the more you focus on that bad thing, the more similar things seem to happen?

Even though I believe in attracting good things, I don’t mean in a way that it requires no action.  I just mean it in a way that if you want good or positive things to happen, then it is in your best interest to focus on more positive things.  It’s easy to think that because our thoughts are essentially invisible that nobody knows and they can’t do any harm, but that simply isn’t true.  In fact, I have most definitely learned the hard way that I need to focus on the things that I am grateful for rather than worrying about the things I don’t have.

If any of you out there have kids you will probably know this is true – tell a kid to NOT jump on the furniture, what they more often than not hear is the “jump on the furniture part”…

Positivity attracts more positivity, and so on!

 

It’s definitely easier to be positive or happy IF or WHEN something happens than it is even when things aren’t going the way you want them to.  I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I absolutely hate rain.  On my recent trip to Norway and Scotland, we definitely experienced some rain, wind, colder temperatures and things that might have totally put a damper on our whole trip.  So you may be thinking “how could I possibly feel anything but amazing being on vacation in this places and seeing the amazing scenery that I did”…well, it is definitely possible.  In fact, at one point in my life, I would have been so focused on how much I hated the rain, how cold it was or that things weren’t going EXACTLY the way I wanted them to…

I constantly battle with triggers & learning to change my response to them.  What I have found is that even though certain things do still trigger me, I am getting better at my response.  I am not letting the negativity or my sometimes unrealistic expectations control me!  I enjoyed every moment of my trip, rain, cold and all.  I traded my expectations for appreciations and let me tell you, I much prefer that kind of experience.

Even returning back to work after being gone for 10 days was not a chore for me…that has to be a WIN all in itself, right?

Happy Thursday – as the weekend approaches focus on positive self talk, and positive thoughts…let me know if you notice a difference 🙂

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Appreciate Your Beauty

“Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those that don’t value you or know your worth!”

 

When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you see?  Do you notice your flaws or appreciate your beauty?

I think it is so easy to look ourselves and see only what is wrong and not notice the good things.  We all have a voice in our head telling us things and sometimes it is not telling us good things.  Sometimes it lets us believe that we are not good enough, it may even tell us to worry about what others may think of us or how they could view us.  If we don’t have and unshakeable confidence in ourselves it is easy to see how some of these thoughts could make those moments in the front of the mirror less than fun.

A simple but effective technique I have found to work for me when I start feeling negative or self-defeating thoughts about myself or a situation is for every negative or bad thing I see, I make myself find 3 things that are good.  So, for example, if I look at myself and think “I don’t like how fine my hair is” I then find 3 things that I love about myself as I am looking in the mirror.  Maybe, I love the color of my eyes, I like my dimples and I love how it doesn’t take me long to style my hair because it’s fine.

I know, it may sound like a simplistic approach but I can promise that it works.

 

 

Another way I can appreciate myself more is by paying attention to myself.  By taking care of how I look, spending time nurturing my need for alone time, checking in with myself to recognize when negative or sabotaging thoughts come into my mind.

I have found that the greater thought I take with my appearance, not for the benefit of others, always makes me feel better about myself.  Whether you are someone that is interested in fashion or style, or if you prefer to not stand out doesn’t matter, because taking care of your appearance is really about you making the most of YOU for the benefit of YOU.  My only hope is that more and more Women will confidence in being themselves and expressing themselves in their own unique way.  When you feel great about how you look it changes everything.  I even changes how others see you because people are drawn more to self confidence.

I hope this Friday as you head into the weekend you are able to focus more on the amazing things about you rather than what you perceive are your flaws.  But, if you are still seeing what is wrong, take time to also notice what is great!

Happy weekend…

Shop my look and similar by clicking the links below.

 

Finding the Beauty Around Us

 

“I choose to listen to my inner voice not the random opinions of others!”

No matter where you live, there is always something around you that can give you cause to contemplate the beauty and feel gratitude for something.  At my darkest moments, or when I feel the most depleted, I find myself turning to my kids, my husband, my dog, my friends, my family or the beauty in my garden…and that is without even thinking about anything material.

I have shared on my Instastories a little about some mountain biking that I have been doing because Brandon and the kids bought me an E-bike for Mother’s Day.  For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s a mountain bike that is also electric.  I have never been a mountain biker, in fact I had never even done a trail on a bike before…but what I have found is that I love it.  It is partly because I love to exercise, it is partly because I am liking the thrill of riding up and down trails not knowing exactly what is going to come my way next, but it is mainly because I feel so blessed that I can ride right from my house and in about a mile I am in the mountains on a trail, and as I ride to the top of the trail, the views of the entire Salt Lake valley are absolutely breath taking!  I have hiked around the trails many times, but somehow being on a bike allows me to do it almost every day and get better and better.  I have to admit I have a few war wounds from falling – but the key for me is getting back up again and working on not falling the next time.

I think that contemplation, finding a quiet, peaceful spot to think about your many blessings in this life is so important.  Sometimes just a place where you can quiet the noise and focus on only the good stuff is enough.

Today’s pictures were taken in “the gully” which is just around the corner from my house, it has a walking trail, a stream, some great greenery and flowers, and it just such a place.  Yes, I was taking pictures, but as I was in the midst of the shoot I found my thoughts drifting to those things…

Do you have a place where you like to go?  It doesn’t need to be outside, but the key is a place where you won’t be disturbed.  Meditation is a great way to clear your mind, but if you are not familiar with meditation, just allowing your thoughts to go to appreciations and gratitude will allow you to focus on the good things in your life.  I try to take a small amount of time every day to focus on this, but sometimes busy schedules don’t allow every day, so at the very least, every other day works for me!

I often like to walk my dog and as I walk through my neighborhood, as I admire the beautiful homes, the trees and plants, the sunshine or whatever the weather, I find myself sometimes becoming emotional about all the amazing people and things in my life.  My thoughts run rampant as I am walking, and sometimes the most random things come up…I reminisce about my childhood, my family, the things that have shaped my life so far, and as I start to think these things, more and more gratitude comes to my mind.

Even if you feel depressed, like things are not great for you, I promise if you find at least 1 thing per day to be grateful for, you’ll find as you think about that thing more and more things will come to mind.  Whatever we focus on we get more of, so I would much rather focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t…what about you?

 

 

My contemplation outfit was not exactly the walking through the gully type of outfit, however, it’s very feminine and by adding the long strand of pearls, it is also classy!  (more to follow on the pearls…)

Shoppable outfit links below (the best part, these fabulous shoes are 50% off!)…

 

 

How to Show Gratitude

“The best way to love someone and show gratitude is by using a language they understand!”

Yesterday I posted on Instagram about how I had gone to the airport to see my 17year old son off on his Humanitarian trip, and how for 2 weeks there will be pretty much no contact because cell service in the Philippines is slim to none.  I hope I am one of those mothers that doesn’t worry so much that I stress my kids out, one that has so many fears that the lack of communication will lead me into frantic mode – especially when I know what he is doing is so worthwhile and good for him!

We actually did receive a phone call at 12:30am this morning from Canyon in the airport in Japan using wifi he managed to make a call.  It was so nice to know that he was at least part way to his destination (only 2 more plane rides and a boat ride until he was there).  In fact, I don’t know what happened, but he actually seemed humbled already and thanked Brandon and I for supporting him in his fundraising and his decision.

I don’t know about you but when I see a glimpse of my kids showing appreciation and gratitude, or even that they accomplish something, it makes all the sacrifice, arguments, disappointments and challenges almost disappear.

It made me wonder if I actually show enough appreciation to those people that have helped me along my path?  Do I recognize and show those I love how what they do for me means to me?  You may have heard of the book “The Five Love Languages”…I read this book quite a while ago and thought I had it figured out, but I am finding more and more each day how important it is to show a person how much they mean to you by using THEIR love language.  Mine is primarily acts of service – or basically put, I like it when someone shows me love by doing something for me.  It’s not that every time, because there are definitely times when I like to be told things, times when gifts are important to me, and so on – but my primary or most important love language is definitely acts of service.  If you haven’t read this book I highly recommend checking it out.  It works for spouses, kids, friends and family – pretty much it can be the thing that makes all the difference in any relationship you have!   I figure, whatever help I can get I am up for.

 

 

I always like to tie in fashion and style to my posts because I feel that the better we feel about ourselves the more likely we are going to be a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, etc.  It may sound shallow but I promise it’s a real thing.  Taking care about how you look is important not just for how others will see you but also for YOU.  Even if you say you don’t care about the latest trends, or if you don’t feel it’s worth your money to spend it on new styles, trust me on this.  I have worked with lots of Women that may not dress is the latest styles or even know what they are, and that is totally fine.

Taking care of yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that you are spending money all the time.  In fact, looking good and feeling good come from knowing that YOU are important and as such you want to show the world how you feel about yourself. Have you ever owned something that was a heirloom or something that was a gift that had a lot of sentimental value?  Did you shove that thing in a drawer or proudly display it and take care dusting around it?  My guess is that it’s the latter – that you were very careful about how you treated it, and where you displayed it.  I believe the same should be true of how we treat and care for ourselves. Don’t be your own afterthought, spend some time on yourself, and as you start to love and take pride in yourself, everything will change.  Others will see you the way you see yourself!

 

 

As I head into this weekend, I have determined that I am going to show myself some love by doing something for myself.  By showing appreciation to the many amazing people I have in my life, and just loving!

I hope your weekend is amazing…

Oh, and by the way, if you decide that a way to show love to yourself is by buying gifts or shopping- I have put some shoppable links of my outfit below 🙂

 

Don’t just “make it” to the Weekend

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one about how you are going to respond to life!”

I hear lots of people saying and people posting about “making it to the weekend”, and I know I have been guilty of that too, but recently it has made me pause and think about what means.

We live in a time of immediate gratification, high expectations, social media comparison and so on, and I interpreted that as meaning we are always searching for that “thing”that is going to make us happy, we put expectations on ourselves and our situations so high that it is almost impossible for anything to reach those expectations.  And then when you start looking at what other people are perceived to be or have on social media, it only leads to even more  dissatisfaction and disappointment.  I have definitely been guilty of almost wishing away my time while I have been waiting for an event or a vacation, and the result is I don’t get to fully enjoy the moments that I am in NOW!

So, when we talk about “making it” to the weekend, my goal is from here on out to enjoy what I’m doing, and not be in such a hurry to get through the week.  There are definitely times that are hard and challenging, but if we spend all our time waiting for the next big thing, or just pushing through, we could be missing out on so much.

You probably all know by now that my husband is a coach and he teaches to trade your expectations for appreciations and find gratitude in things where there really doesn’t seem to be anything to appreciate. Finding joy in your life journey is the secret weapon to an amazing life.  Finding the good in the things that don’t seem good, or just being OK with things that you can’t control and working through them are a great way to start!

I am an extremely driven and motivated woman, and I am my own worst enemy.  I complete ruthlessly with myself trying to be so much better than I have been in the past, so much so that I sometimes lose focus on the things that are the most important things in this life – which are love, family, friendships, and heath.  I think at this point I am not going to remove that competitive drive from within me, but what I can do is learn that there are times when I need to pause and just appreciate!

 

 

This weekend is one that I am spending with my family at our home away from home in Midway, and our day is starting with a hike and appreciating the beauty of this world, and spending time with my boys (grumbling and all), because that’s what life is about.

 

I hope as next week starts you think about learning to enjoy the week so that you are no longer just counting down the days to the next weekend – you may even find that you start to enjoy what you’re doing 😉

Happy Saturday beautiful people!!

Shop my looks by clicking the links below…

 

Keep Calm and Enjoy Christmas

“In order to love who you are, you can’t hate the experiences that shaped you!”

 

One of the biggest problems with Christmas or the Holidays is that it causes major stress, and we end up just rushing blindly trying to accomplish way too many things, that by the time Christmas day comes, we are frazzled and not enjoying ourselves.

 

I remember when I moved over to the U.S. from England and celebrated my first Christmas here, I loved all the lovely lights, decorations, trees and how much everyone seemed to get into the spirit.  We hardly ever had homes decorated with lights outside and not everyone even put up a tree.  What I realized is that Christmas has become very commercial and we don’t pause to enjoy the opportunity our families and the true meaning of Christmas.  Even if you are not a religious person, having a holiday that is centered around “giving” rather than “receiving” is something I love to teach my children about.  We celebrate Boxing Day which is the day after Christmas and it is a National Holiday in England.  It originated when the Noble class would box up their unwanted things and deliver them to the poor.  Now it is just another reason to have a day off and spend time with friends and family, and I am sure there are a lot of people that are not even sure of the origin.

 

So, when Christmas Day was over on my first year here, and the next day everyone went back to work and I even saw some Christmas trees discarded or put away.  It seemed like such an anti-climax and I was very disappointed.  It was at that moment that I decided I was going to continue some traditions with my family and focus on “giving” and spending time together.

 

Even if you don’t have traditions that give you an extra day off, or you are running around crazily trying to finish up some last minute shopping, planning meals, or travel…I have always found that if I just pause and take a small amount of time to contemplate what I have in my life that I am grateful for, it always makes Christmas that much more satisfying for me.  It allows me to focus on feeling good feelings and let in love, and gratitude.

 

If you take the time to relax a little more and enjoy some Christmas spirit, I am sure you will enjoy the Holiday season so much more and not feel like it went by too quickly or that it was very under-whelming.

Most importantly, as you head into 2018 don’t look back and dwell on things you can’t change, only look forward to the great things you want to accomplish!

 

Happy Christmas or however you welcome in the season…

Michelle
XOXO

 

Beautiful Fall Day

 

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or an event to control your emotions!”

 

While Summer is and will always be my favorite season (I absolutely love hot weather), there are so many reasons why Fall is a close second.

Firstly, Fall is the season where you can enjoy warm afternoons, and cooler mornings, meaning it gives us the opportunity to wear lightweight clothes with some fun jackets and layers  It is essentially the best of both worlds – I get to wear my favorite or new layering options for the season without having to give up some great lightweight favorites from my summer wardrobe.  It is a season where tights may or may not be worn, and layering is more for fun than absolute necessity.

Secondly, we get to enjoy some amazing colors that nature has to offer…the leaves turning tones of Red, Brown and Yellow, not to mention amazing sunsets and sunrises,

Finally, it is the season that prepares us for winter and the colder weather it brings.

 

 

I can’t believe that we are already only a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, and that 2017 is drawing to a close.  As I sit and contemplate what has happened in my life this year I can’t help but to feel grateful about the amazing blessings I have in my life, and the lessons I have learned.  We all have challenges and struggles in our life, but they are not what defines us…we are defined by how we react or handle those challenges.  I choose to feel gratitude for the struggles in my life because they have made me who I am…and I have to say, I kind of like ME!!

I constantly work on myself to choose to wake up every morning with love and gratitude in my heart, because I know when I do that, everything else in my life just seems to work itself out!  Have you ever gone through something and wondered why you went through it, only to find out the answer not long after?

I know that feeling good about things that are beyond our control can be very frustrating, but letting go of those things is so freeing.  I can manage my expectations about many things, but the weather is a constant battle for me.  I get headaches when it’s overcast or dull, and I want every day to have some sunshine and blue skies.  Unfortunately for us all that is never going to be a reality.  There will be rain, snow but there will also be sunshine.  I have seen more sunshine after moving to Utah from England and I absolutely love that, but I still find myself wishing or hoping that every day would be like that so I could feel “happier”. So, as the season with the least amount of sunshine rolls around, I find myself starting to feel a little down or depressed…so what do I do?  I choose to head into winter (my least favorite season) with an OPEN MIND and take the opportunity to become creative with my layering and sweaters…what a great time to start enjoying hot cocoa, cozy fires and snuggling under a blanket with one of my boys!

What if our least favorite thing had some positives too, and we chose to embrace those?  What would that do about your experience?  For me, I can’t wait to find out 🙂


Happiness is Always in Style!


“Happiness is a journey not a destination!”

I don’t know about you but for me, Monday’s can definitely be blah!   I had the most amazing weekend with my boys, relaxing and just regenerating, so when this morning rolled around I had every intention to make it a great day.  Somehow, by mid morning, my best laid plans had become derailed.  I was no longer in the great mood I was earlier, and my whole physiology changed.

So what happened?  Has this ever happened to you…I had a phone call that didn’t go the way I wanted or most importantly how I EXPECTED it would.  I found myself feeling frustration, anger, disappointment and honestly those feelings are still with me.  I know better – I know that I shouldn’t have expectations about anything or anyone, but sometimes, when I let my guard down, something sneaks in and I am left to face the consequences.

So, how do I handle it?  Well, the first thing is realize that those feelings can be chased away as easily as they arrived…easier said than done.  I have to tell you that it doesn’t hurt that I have a Life Coach as a husband, and it also doesn’t hurt that I have so many things to feel grateful for, so that’s what I do…I focus on the things I have, the things I CAN control and I stop sitting there worrying about something that I can’t change.

Style is not just about wearing great clothes, having a healthy, fit body, or even about whether you are buying the latest trends, it is something that comes from inside.  If you are having one of those days where everything seems disappointing, overwhelming or just plain crappy, the only thing you can do to make yourself feel better is chip away at the symptoms.  I realize that it’s not easy to just let things go, so I have found that distracting myself, finding another focus, or even doing something for someone else always helps me from becoming so self-absorbed that things are harder than they need to be!

Surrounding yourself with those that lift you up rather than keep you down is something that I have become so much conscious of as I am now older, because life is so short I would much rather be happy, and I don’t apologize for not wanting to surround myself with negativity.

Happiness is contagious, so when you spend time with those that are generally happy you will probably notice that suddenly you feel happy and you’re no longer dwelling on things you can’t control.

So…to make a long story short – this Monday has not started how I wanted it to, but guess what, I am so much stronger than anything that can be thrown my way.  I have endured much, I have overcome even more, and the best part – world, I’m ready for you!!

Wearing a casual, flowing outfit that makes me feel good.  This is something to be worn for dinner with your partner, movie night, a concert, fun daytime activities or just hanging around, but I loved how feminine it made me feel. It’s always a good thing when your outfit makes you smile 🙂