Category Archives: passionate life

“Z” is for Zillions of Choices

“Z” is for Zillions of Choices 

I was just on the couch recovering from a dinner of carbs made up mostly of flour by-products. A hamburger (the bun), macaroni and cheese and corn casserole. The only green during the meal was the shade of my face after eating so much flour. How can these foods possibly be comfort foods when together they make me sluggish and sleepy?

Sitting there numb on the couch, I knew I had one last blog to put together before the New Year begins. I peeled myself off of the couch, splashed cold water onto my face after washing it, put peppermint lotion on my feet and covered them with warm cotton socks and then placed myself here with you in front of my PC. I can sleep later.

So “Z” is a fun letter, and I love the number zillion, because it’s great to exaggerate with. However today I’m not exaggerating with it. You know how we do the same things over and over every day? Most of our routine has to be repeated daily; showers, cooking, eating, laundry, washing dishes and so much more, so it’s super important to mix up the rest of the day by inserting fun stuff, interesting stuff and brainy stuff.

Boredom for me is getting harder and harder to come by because of the internet, smart phones, smart TV’s, tablets and now I have a new friend named Alexa-Echo who is super cool.

What did I use to fill my time with before they entered my life? These devices are like Pac-Men eating up my time, but they really do make me smile. (Alexa, tell me a joke. How does Frosty the Snowman travel? On an icicle!) lol.

The New Year makes me think about how I’m going to fill my year to my advantage and to my benefit. No resolutions for me anymore, but what would I like to change this year? Or what could I do better? And what variety of things can I be doing? What’s something beautiful that I can add to my life this year?

With the zillion choices of things to do, I need to be teaching myself something, for one.

Maybe I can learn how to play the drums (after checking out a few zillion videos on the internet on the how-to of drum playing) and I can read some really intriguing books that I keep putting off.

I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth for the last few months, but I just read a post (on social media today) where someone suggested reading ten pages a day of a book your into. If your book is 300 pages, you could finish it in one month. Here I am at two or three months and not finished yet.

Breaking things down into smaller tasks makes something feel more do-able.

Whether you break tasks down into smaller sections or not, putting interesting things on your horizon that you want to take on for the year or month or week, gets you looking forward to making the time to do it. Instead of watching my day unfold on repeat every day, throwing some dog bones out there in front of me gives me the incentive to rock more than just my to-do’s.

Think about all of the choices that you are partitioning yourself from by not brainstorming about all of the wonderful things you could be doing. So right now, pull out a paper and pen or a new window on your computer to take notes and then write this sentence:

Wouldn’t it be cool if…

Then write down at least ten things that you’d like to do in 2017, whether it’s simple things or larger than life things.

1.

2.

3.

etc.

We all have passions and hobbies waiting in the wings for when we “have more time.” Well, guess what? You have 365 days being served up on a platter heading your way. Fill those days with things that you love, things that make you happy and that will fill your heart and your lungs up. Dive in. And I highly recommend leaving the flour where it belongs, in the garden. You need your energy, in order to plant a garden or something like it.

Make 2017 beautiful, you guys. You deserve it.

xo Katherine

Get my Friday Freebie today. It’s a very simple Goal Worksheet to print-out. Yours for the asking and exchanging of email addresses. And then I’ll keep writing you, too. Click here.

 Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose
"G" is for grit
"H" is for higher
"I" is for intelligence preservation
"J" is for just dance
"K" is for kick crap to the curb
"L" is for look for the lesson
"M" is for Making Memories Last
"A" through "M" summary to Better Choices
"N" is for Nurture
"O" is for optimum
"P" is for moms are pack leader
"Q" is for quiet your mind
"R" is for reorganizing 
"S" is for simplifying
"T" is for being your own teacher
"U" is for utilizing 5 tools we already own
"V" is for visualize your day
"W" is for walking

"X" is for eXpect good things

"Y" is for saying yes, sometimes

"Z" is for a zillion choices

Follow me on Facebook  and  Twitter
Books by Katherine A. Rayne on Amazon.com.
Lost in Thoughts Adult Coloring Book An Adult Coloring Book that interviews you with each illustration.
Back to Being a Woman (Without Changing the Man) Turn relationships into Elationships.
#Living Simply #Living Elegantly Your Life Journal Get your head and home in sync.
There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel. You A compilation of some of my earlier blogs that all women can relate to.
Visit my website at www.backtobeingawoman.com

“X” is for eXpect good things to happen today

“X” is for eXpect good things

If you follow my blog, then you might know that I’m not a morning person and I begin my day sluggishly. I get up slowly, shower slowly, think slowly, move slowly and then hit the kitchen with a slightly faster pace to make breakfast and put my daughters’ lunch together.

No matter how I’m moving, I’m thinking about my day ahead.

Some mornings my head is wishing I could be back in bed, and some mornings I’m forcing myself to look forward to my day by thinking about all the good stuff that will happen.

A class full of four-year-old's is a super way to spend your day, by the way. Sometimes they have more energy than I do, but they can paste a smile on my face by just being themselves. Thinking about what will happen in my classroom that day makes me curious and engaged about getting to work.

I get sleepy hugs from my daughter first thing in the morning after she wakes up. I’m usually in the kitchen in a more rushed state by then, and seeing her arms head towards me always makes me stop to enjoy it.

Taking on my day with expectations of all of the good things that could happen is so much more inspiring than dragging myself into my day with a negative slant.

Yes, I have to go to work and yes, I have to walk the dog first thing before my eyes are barely open, but if I remind myself that later in the day I’ll have more energy to enjoy the little things, it also helps me enjoy the morning moments more, too.

Even on the days when I know it’s not going to be my favorite kind of day, I can still look forward to what I think my favorite part of the day might be, and I can also set intentions for how I want the day to go.

Imagine that you are at the bottom of your day getting ready to climb the hill, and during the climb you are going to have nice views as you go.

Eventually it will be time to climb down the other side, and there will be new sights to see as you descend. Looking forward to all of the sights and experiences your day has in store for you sets your expectations on all of the good that you can get out of your 24 hours.

We have 86,400 seconds in a day. How we use it determines how we experience it. It reminds us what a gift each day is because we are allowed to be alive and to live it in the way that we choose.

Choosing to experience the good from your day instead of the bad gives you the incentive to enjoy it and dive in with higher expectations. So even if your day begins with the news that Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds have both passed, you can first mourn for them, but you can still preserve the direction of your day by looking ahead for the positive things. It’s your compass and you are the only one that holds it.

Keep your compass on good - or even great expectations.

 

 

The most recent list of Lunch Box Jokes is here. Print out, clip & add to their lunches.

Get to the root of who you are and to the things that you'd love to be doing. #Live Simply #Live Elegantly Your Life Journal for $14.99 for the paperback on Amazon and $9.99 for the ebook, helps you put your head and home in sync with you and your life so that you can begin creating and living a life that you love. #Live Simply is part memoir, part journal to get you out of distraction and into a frame of mind that helps you to focus on living a happier and more fulfilled life. It was my summer baby two summers ago.

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

"A" is for accepting your present existence
"B" is for be you
"C" is for create
"D" is for do
"E" is for eating and exercising
"F" is for free to choose
"G" is for grit
"H" is for higher
"I" is for intelligence preservation
"J" is for just dance
"K" is for kick crap to the curb
"L" is for look for the lesson
"M" is for Making Memories Last
"A" through "M" summary to Better Choices
"N" is for Nurture
"O" is for optimum
"P" is for moms are pack leader
"Q" is for quiet your mind
"R" is for reorganizing 
"S" is for simplifying
"T" is for being your own teacher
"U" is for utilizing 5 tools we already own
"V" is for visualize your day
"W" is for walking

Follow me on Facebook  and  Twitter
Books by Katherine A. Rayne on Amazon.com.
Lost in Thoughts Adult Coloring Book An Adult Coloring Book that interviews you with each illustration.
Back to Being a Woman (Without Changing the Man) Turn relationships into Elationships.
#Living Simply #Living Elegantly Your Life Journal Get your head and home in sync.
There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel. You A compilation of my blogs that all women can relate to.
Visit my website at www.backtobeingawoman.com

 

We are Coming Together instead of Coming Undone

We are Coming Together instead of Coming Undone

 

I watched with tears this week about the seven innocent men that aren’t with us anymore and felt sick thinking about their families while watching their worst moments being broadcast live.

We all struggled watching bad decisions being acted out, men taking their last breaths and witnessing the emotions that followed. We watched someone’s life ending yet it seemed clear from the images that it shouldn’t have happened.

Everything was so unimaginable. I forced myself to imagine how it would be to wake up one morning not knowing that I would die that day and about how much I take for granted. I thought about what I was doing yesterday at lunchtime. I was sitting at a restaurant having lunch with my daughter and her friend. We were laughing, eating and talking about the movie we’d be seeing later that night, positive that we’d be seeing it simply because we had bought the tickets. When the victims woke that day, surely they believed they’d be going back to bed that night, like we all assume every day. But during the course of a day, suddenly they weren’t thinking anything. Their ability to go to a movie, go to work, sit with family and visit friends disappeared as they lost the freedom to take a breath.

One man had just dealt with a pesky homeless man who happened to have a phone and called 911 to report him. And a man that was responsible for making sure that children were fed each day in their school cafeteria didn't know that his fate would be decided by a broken tail light.

Those deaths then created change in the lives and deaths of five other innocent men. Men who weren't wearing protective gear because they were working a peaceful protest and they trusted the crowds on this. They didn’t die because they weren’t wearing their gear, they died because of hate and pain and bad decisions.

I always try to find the silver lining in everything to better understand the why, and right now it's everywhere. There’s an outpouring of love on social media, a tribute that we feel for them and their families and that we are with them through this. We know that they were men who were loved with families and friends and we want them to know that we offer our support and love. There’s anger, but overwhelmingly there’s love and people pleading for peace and acceptance and coming together. The storm of response is showing that today and tomorrow, there is more love in the world because of it. It’s created more connection and softened so many hearts.

When tragedies occur, people from all over the globe voice their support and concern and care for the families. But even so, what is the silver lining for the loved ones?

Philando Castile, the manager of a school cafeteria, had his girlfriend and her young daughter with him in the car when he was killed. The video his girlfriend recorded after he was shot is hard to watch, but there’s a tiny glimmer of light near the end of the video. She stays calm for most of the recording but she starts to panic near the end because she’s been removed from being with her wounded boyfriend and has no idea if he’s okay. Her four-year-old daughter is off camera sitting next to her in the backseat of a patrol car. As her mom becomes more and more upset, you can hear the little girl speaking softly.

 “It’s okay. I’m right here with you.”

That glimmer of light came from a little girl who was sitting in the back of a patrol car for no reason, and who had just witnessed a police officer shoot her mom’s friend, and was now watching her mother become unglued.

The families might not ever find their silver lining, but maybe we can be the silver lining for them. We can take what a four-year-old daughter said to her mom in a time of panic and say it to them and to each another: I’m here with you, I’m here for you.

We are all here together, whether we like it or not, and I know we can do better than this.

No one should have to be sad and afraid because their skin is dark. We all have skin, eyes, hearts, blood, bones, souls and families that would miss us if we were gone tomorrow.

Never mind embracing and being more open to our differences. We need to recognize and embrace our similarities.

We can’t sit back and shake our heads. We have to say yes, we are one and we are all in this together.

I normally pass on the news, but today I’m passing on the love because of the news. These tragedies are the reason to reach out to do better and to be better. All of our tears collectively can turn into rivers of love that will run through our streets and homes and hearts and remind us that we are all silver linings.

xo Katherine www.backtobeingawoman.com

 

“M” is for Eight (8) Ways to Make Memories Last

"M" is for Eight (8) Ways to Make Memories Last

Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, and the things you never want to lose.  -Kevin Arnold

 
Laundry is boring, but I do it over and over again. Most of the time you can find me doing it on the weekends with earphones on and my favorite music playing in my head. When I’m old and gray, I will probably look back on the memory of laundry, not as dull and monotonous, but as entertaining because of my music. I think making memories last will come easier if we tie fun into them.
 
I didn’t take anywhere near enough photos of my kids as they grew. I took many shots of my son while living special moments with him. With my daughter, I wanted to suck them up in a different way, by just being and watching instead of jumping up and getting my camera each time she did something that I wanted to remember. Then came phones with cameras. Now I take candid photos often and store them away for a glimpse any time I want. They are always there staring back at me and reminding me of the moments.
 
As time passes, things become less important, and memories become more vital and endearing.

Here are eight (8) ways to make them last:

  1.  Journal. I say this often for lots of reasons in many of my blogs. Journaling brings you closer to feeling the memories, reliving them, and embedding them further into memory. Even if you don’t like to write, (even I don’t like to take the time needed to journal daily), write a paragraph or two every couple of days of special things that happened. Writing them down stores them so that you can go back to them again and again. 

 

  1. Document. If journaling isn’t for you, have a notebook at your bedside and write one sentence at the end of each day documenting your favorite moment of the day. They may not be dramatic or exciting moments, but to sift through your day for “good” things is a healthy practice before bed and a double benefit to store it away to be remembered again.

 
 

  1. Photos: Whenever my family and I have a get-together or outings, we are so engaged in each other that we often forget to take photos. Such a waste! Take photos, even just a few. If you are tired of the same posing, boring, say-cheese shots, make it interesting. At our last dinner out with my sisters, I took a picture of my birthday sister through my wine glass. Double loves; wine and my sis together in one.

 

  1. Photo Story. I have a super young-at-heart aunt who is dealing with dementia, but we still get visits from her and my uncle once a year, but less and less because trips are becoming more difficult for her. During one of her last visits, I took her to the botanical gardens and used my phone to take countless photos of her genuine smile and silly poses that she is famous for. We went right to the drugstore afterwards to develop and print out our photos so that I could share them with my uncle, remember the day, and so that she’d have a souvenir of a day she might not remember. It was a special day for me to have her all to myself and enjoy her humor and wit that she never loses, even after losing some of her memory.

 
 

  1. Memory jar. Even if you don’t do this every single day, keep the jar out for all to see and be reminded of with a pen and plenty of pretty slips of paper to write on. Encourage everyone to add to this jar regularly, including guests when they visit. When the end of the year comes, you get to relive each moment together by reading them out loud.

 

  1. Talk about special moments. Even if you don’t write them down, discuss the best part of your day with family (vs. the failures, the bumps, the problems) to remember them longer. Reiterating them and talking about them will embed them into memory better than not discussing them at all.

 
 

  1. This one’s hard for me. I really love to shop. Retail therapy really does work for me, but I’ve found creating experiences is a better choice and place for my money. I may or may not remember the excitement of finding a great bargain, but doing something fun either by myself or with family and friends is the memory I will keep longer.

 

  1. A road trip, even if it’s just to the next town for the day. Think of a place that you have wanted to see, or haven’t seen for a while and just go. Take lots of photos. Start a road trip journal (there’s that word journal again).

 
Do more of the things that you love, and keep doing them. For me, that doesn’t include laundry, but the music is what I love. Jot down (in your journal, if you must) things that you love to do. Start checking them off one week at a time. Make sure that you plan a life of creating memories for your heart.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

Simple and Elegant Couch Sitting

I haven’t blogged in a while and I miss it. I’ve been busy with school beginning again but I have also been a bit in the “too lazy/too tired to do it” phase. My classroom duties keep me busy so being able to relax on the weekends is REALLY nice. You’ve heard of people who house sit? The last two weekends I feel like I’ve couch sat. 🙂

To keep myself on the couch a bit longer, instead of blogging, I am passing on to you an excerpt from my book. When I read my newest book, it almost feels like a memoir, although I didn’t intend it to. It’s about making your (my) life more simple and more elegant, and I wrote it as a journal/workbook as well as non-fiction. You get to write and doodle in it in other words! AND I won’t even read your answers. 🙂 Okay, so here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2, page 54:

Your own simple and elegant have many different definitions and appearances. I used to look for someone else’s creation of it in home magazines for decorating my first very own teeny-tiny 800 square foot home and the very last larger home many years later as well as all of the homes in between. When you grow up as the fourth daughter and the youngest, everyone is better than you. They are better at running, board games, friendships, socializing, drawing, singing, coloring, remembering, riding bikes, making beds, aiming, pony tails, dancing, make-up and even better at winning arguments. You are never the best at anything so you settle for being good. Good at everything, the best at nothing. Even when you’re an adult, you still seek out the better things that other people create. You know you’re good but you want the better so you always look elsewhere. And you do that until one day you figure out that maybe your good is better, sometimes even best. There’s more than enough room in the world for everyone to have better and best. And sometimes you just have to make the best of it. I do that often and I’m good at it. 🙂 I’ve had enough practice, and practice IS what makes us better at what we do. I’ve been upgraded to better!

Between the gazillion people in the world, there are a gazillion standards to go by. When I talk about making my life simple and elegant, it’s me who gets to decide what that looks like and what it feels like. It’s also me who gets to decide when I get there and how long it takes. I will pull on my intuition and check my gut to feel it and to find it. Simple and elegant to me are defined by one word; agreeable. It’s when something doesn’t have any more thorns on its side that prick me and tell me that something’s just not right. It can have scratches or be off center or tainted, but if it is agreeable to my gut, we’re good. Or we’re better, or best. Find your good, better and best and remove all of the thorns #ThatYouHaveControlOf so that you can become your own simple, elegant self. The rest of the thorns that you don’t have control of? Those are just #Pricks. #:)

You can find your simple, elegant side AND encourage your hidden put-on-the-back-burner gifts to shine in my newest book. #Live Simply #Live Elegantly-Your Life Journal is on Amazon.com. I want you to shine so strinkin’ bright, that we’ll need sunglasses just to look you in the eye. 🙂     Love, Katherine   PosterLogoTM

Paperback: $9.99   Ebook:  $7.99

Untainting Color

Untainting Color

by Katherine A. Rayne

 PosterColor

The controversy and racial tensions over the Ferguson city police shooting of Michael Brown took over our emotions for days and days. We weren't there and can’t judge or decide what happened that night, but most of us have witnessed racial discrimination. It’s born and reborn. It can’t be snuffed out as long as it exists in even the smallest of amounts.

The color of our skin shouldn't make a difference any more than the color of our car does. I won't judge someone for having a blue car just because I have a white car. We are born into our skin and it serves the same purpose for everyone; to keep us healthy and to protect us.

So why then, does the color sometimes hold someone back, limit them and hurt them in some way? Why, for so many people, can they not look past someone’s skin and instead look into their eyes to see them?

I worked as a cashier at a local grocery store during my high school years. One of the bag boys that was African American often bagged groceries for me at my counter. He was teenager-shy enough that I never got to know him but he was always quiet and kind to customers and co-workers.

A family known only by sight shopped at our store often. In my line one day, their soggy-diapered almost two-year old son sat in their cart behind me as I checked out their groceries. Half way through their order I heard his tiny scratchy voice yell the “N” word out in anger, and when I turned, he was pointing at my bag boy with his barely two-year old disgust and accusatory stare. It was loud enough to draw the stares of the employees and customers at the front of the store, not towards his target, but at his parents standing in front of me. Everyone silently piqued a need for their reaction.

They yelled at their son to quiet down. His confident anger dwindled into his pale, mosquito-bitten skin as he dropped onto his swollen diaper, hidden now within the large section of the cart. He was immediately a toddler again. The parents stood closer to one another in discomfort and unity. There was no apology for the employee. Only flushed skin, dirty hair and two smirks.

The stares followed the family out the doors. I heard the sounds of solemn mumbles among everyone while I stood nearest to my bag boy, his head down while preparing more doubled paper bags for our next order. His skin not showing red embarrassment under the darker tones.

“Someone had to teach him that,” escaped from my teenage lips. “I know,” he said, with an air of having had it happen before.

They were that “smallest of amount” of racism. Someone that believed that color was to be judged.

A two-year old hating before he could even understand hate. It was ugly. Two-year old's are supposed to be cute and lovable and mischievous, which he went right back to being when he sat down.

He was oblivious to the discussions he’d perpetrated. The emotions felt. The unity of a crowd it created. The memory carried forward even decades later.

I have no memory of the bag boy after that day. I can’t remember if that was his last day or if he continued working there. But I can still see his grace and peace behind me getting ready for the next customer. I pulled from it and moved forward, too. I let it go as they left our parking lot. They continued to return to our store, now with the void of any grace or class or dignity. A tainted memory of low-class behavior and my thoughts of their son’s angry future that was well on its path.

Who would he meet one day that might change his mind and undo the anger and hatred?

There was an opportunity for it to change that day if the parents had only watched and witnessed how ugly it was. How is it that they saw color as something uglier than their behavior?

The parents of Michael Brown asked for peace to return to their city after the rioting and looting began. A city swimming in bitterness wasn't going to help anyone. I saw no bitterness around me in the grocery store that day. I saw disgust and shock and then quiet and dignity. Everyone kept calm instead of adding their anger. But everyone there that day felt the moment and took it home with them.

Katherine A. Rayne is a mom, preschool teacher and author. Find more about her (and about yourself) at her personal website, www.KatherineARayne.com. She is the publisher of Back To Being A Woman on Facebook and tweets #DailyChallenges on Twitter at @BeingAWoman.