Christmas – Don’t Miss It

fullsizeoutput_7dddWe are in the thick of it – holiday cocktails with co-workers, gift-buying and wrapping, Christmas music humming in every store, concerts, carriage rides and photos with Santa. You name it, we are doing it. But are we missing it? The other day I drove by a quiet little spot in Lakewood where ducks gather on a creek. Steam was coming off the water on this particularly chilly morning. The sun was beginning to peek through the trees. I had just dropped my kids off at school, and I thought about continuing on. But something made me pull over to photograph this peaceful, quiet scene. Cars zoomed by as I crossed the road to the creek. While taking the photos, I thought, “We are missing it. We are so busy getting to the next thing, that we can’t see the beauty right under our noses.” The ducks on the steamy water were oblivious to the frenzy around them. I paused, and I got what I needed, a reminder that I don’t have to rush, and, if I do, I might miss the beautiful bits life gives us in unexpected moments and places like this.fullsizeoutput_7e25

Do you feel a little down on Christmas day? I do, and now I understand why. It is a single day, which for our family includes brunch, presents, music and mayhem… and then it’s over. Huh. One day could never live up to a one-month buildup of lights, music and parties. Remember in A Charlie Brown Christmas where Charlie Brown screams at Lucy, “That’s it!!!” when she diagnoses his problem? That is what it felt like when it finally hit me. Christmas isn’t December 25. Christmas is right now and all the days leading up to the 25th. I have been missing that key piece of understanding, so it is no wonder I have felt let down on the actual day.

fullsizeoutput_7dceChristmas is all of the things you love to do this time of year. For me, it includes quiet moments by the tree listening to music. Last year I started receiving Better Homes & Gardens as an extra gift to something I purchased. My favorite part of the magazine is the editor’s letter, beautifully penned each month by Stephen Orr. His letter for the December issue reminded me of another part of Christmas I’ve always loved: the gift-buying. He wrote, “I still think planning what to buy, shopping for it, wrapping it beautifully, and finally giving it are some of the greatest pleasures of the holidays.” That’s it!

As you are rushing to and fro in these final days before Christmas day, pause and be aware you are in it right where you are, right now. This is Christmas. Don’t miss it.

Photos of me by Peg Evans of Dog Mom Dallas on Instagram.

When Life Demands a Pause

We live our lives in a great hurry. We run from this activity to the next, from this meeting to the next one, and we look back on a completed year with a smug, satisfied smile for all the things we accomplished. Yet, what was truly accomplished? Were important things getting done, or were you just busy? The way we spend our time, and the goals we set for ourselves become our legacy. It is my hope for 2018 and beyond that I am more focused on wisely using my time.

IMG_2061I became scattered and lost when we moved from Dallas to Seattle three years ago. My husband went to his job every day, the kids went to their school, and I didn’t know where to go except home. I was mildly depressed, and I perfected the art of time wasting. My days were a blur of household chores, text threads with friends back home and lots and lots of social media scrolling, liking and commenting. I can reflect on that time as a terrible funk, a semi-dark time in my life, or I can also choose to look at it as a giant lesson in embracing changes and slowing down.

 

IMG_0222Slowing down was an inevitable result of the move. Starting over in Seattle means I have fewer social engagements and clients. These days you can find me writing, reading blogs, taking photos, planning what I will write and so on (all solitary activities). This slower pace has meant I can pick the kids up from school, take them on afternoon adventures and spend more time with them in general. I had a lot of support in Dallas, and my image consulting business was beginning to take off. As a result, I saw my children a lot less than I see them now. So, this forced pause was good for us. What a blessing it has been to enjoy them during these sweet, young years. My business can always get a re-boot. I can’t get time back with my kids.

The “slowing down” part was easier for me than the “embracing changes” part of this lesson. I do not like change. I do not enjoy the thrill of a new challenge. I freeze, fearful of the unknown, desperate to go back to what I know, my comfort zone. Moving to Seattle, a city that is quite culturally different from The South where I had lived for 42 years, was about as big of a change as I have ever faced. I had to put myself out there, making many efforts to build a social and a professional network from nothing. Three years later, I am relatively well-connected in the Seattle fashion industry, and I have lovely, supportive friends. I am proud of that accomplishment. I love that I have these new connections. I would not know them if I had not been forced into a dis-comfort zone.

The Bottom Line: Life always has a few tricks up its sleeve. I am sure it has blindsided you on many occasions just as it has me. When life tells you to stop or slow down, do it. Have faith that there is a greater purpose for it than at first meets the eye. Try not to be angry or resentful about it, though these feelings are normal and you have every right to feel them. Just don’t stay at the pity party for more than one drink. (My thanks to Stacy for that great illustration.)

IMG_8167You will arrive at the right places at the right time. All the things that are meant for you will be yours. You don’t have to sprint. No one will take them from you. Learn and grow in the “pause” moments. Happy New Year!

It’s Not You, It’s Your Metabolism

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Please welcome my brother, Marsh Buice, to the blog today. Marsh has spent most of his career in car sales in Lake Charles, Louisiana; however, in recent years, he has launched a personal blog, written numerous articles for Auto Success Magazine and spoken on both his Instagram and on various podcasts. As his LinkedIn profile states: “Sales is my platform, but helping people find a better “you” is my purpose.” To that end, please enjoy his piece, and leave comments below.

We don’t have experiences in life. We metabolize them.”—Depak Choprah

Many times when we are unhealthy, we cite the reason we cannot lose weight is because our metabolism has changed. We recount how we could once eat anything we wanted, no matter how much or how unhealthy, and we still looked good. When our metabolism changes, we do not process what we consume the same way. As a consequence, we become overweight, not just physically but emotionally, as well.

We are mentally overweight and overburdened because we don’t metabolize life experiences the way we once did.

There was a time we could burn off all of the minor offenses in life, but along the way our experiences became darker, deeper, webbed and more entrenched. Experiences that once passed through us now cyclically run within us. We become blocked and enraged. Bitterness and perceived injustice become our warm beds of hopelessness that we lie in day in and day out. As a consequence, the good energies of life have ceased to flow through us.

To metabolize our lives differently, we must transform from a life of emotional resistance to a life of emotional resilience. When you resist what is happening in your life, you dig in emotionally and push against uncertainty, fears and uncomfortableness. Often, life will blind-side you because many events are beyond your control. But many things are beyond your immediate comprehension, as well. Your response to an experience is what gives it the label “good” or “bad.” Some experiences, although at the time are very distasteful, hurtful or embarrassing, later become helpful, relatable and applicable when you are resilient rather than resistant to what is occurring.

Those who live “resilient” know there is meaning and purpose in the difficulties of life, while those who live “resistant” never find their way out of their pain.

People living happier, longer lives have developed emotional resilience. They, like all of us, have encountered hardships in life. Those dismal, bleak experiences may have stretched, bent and compressed them, but they never let those moments break them because they metabolized their weakest moments into newfound strengths.

green2Life, by and large, is unpredictable, but we don’t have to be consumed by the unexpected experiences thrown into our paths. We only have to metabolize them differently, resiliently.