Good Find Friday: 2018 Big Game Eats

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Are the bleak days of Winter weighing you down? Then throw a party! Here are two big excuses – the Super Bowl and the Olympics, both just a few weeks away.

The links below have you covered if you can’t imagine the big game without chili and nachos. But if you’re ready to shake up that same old menu, try a simple rule of thumb: Make the table as colorful as possible.

Think small changes with foods that have gone mainstream. More vegetables than tan food (chips or anything fried). More salsa or dips that use greens, less sour cream and mayo. And edamame or nuts to munch on instead of pretzels.

Keeping your 2018 healthy eating habits going is easier than you might think. Here are 3 hacks to try:

  1. Drink plenty of water throughout the day (not just during the party);
  2. Eat before you go, so you’re not tempted to nibble the night away; and
  3. Set a limit on your splurge foods.

Having fun with your nearest and dearest is good for your health, reducing symptoms like high blood pressure. Just go easy on the crockpot meatballs and chicken wings!

Enjoy! (And go #TeamUSA!)

 

Williams-Sonoma Salsas, Dips & Spreads

Williams-Sonoma Game Day Favorites

Pioneer Woman’s Best Recipes for a Crowd

Cooking Light 20 Minute Appetizers

13 Whole 30 Appetizers

Cooking Light 16 Chili Recipes

15 Fabulous Pitcher Drinks

Hiding in Plain Sight

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Are you ready to conquer the world in 2018? Fantastic!

I just have one question for you as you head out the door. What’s for dinner?

You might think that’s a petty question, yet it’s exactly where we get off track. The little recurring problems are really important. They show us what’s blocking our way to achieving big dreams. Solving the blocks that are hiding in plain sight is one of the meaningful intentions we can have.

“What’s for dinner?” was a surprisingly complicated question for Kara and Steve. They thought their intention was simple: Healthy eating. Somehow, they never got there.

First, they were going to follow a special diet. But the restrictive list of foods coupled with their limited cooking skills made it impossible to manage.

Then they decided they would stop eating out every weekend. Dining out meant having drinks and appetizers at a local bar before moving on to a lavish meal. Although that plan was good on paper, they also wanted to see their friends.

Steve and Kara’s story applies to the way most of us start the year. We have a big, life-changing goal in mind, like flipping over our whole diet. But then reality kicks in. We start making little compromises. A load of bargains. Then we tell ourselves that hardly anyone has the outcome they want. And that’s how we get derailed by the end of January!

Let’s take a step back from the “what” of Steve and Kara’s story and think of the “why”. Eating well was just how the problem showed itself; the true issues were much deeper.

They really wanted to stop negotiating with each other during the drive home when they were both starving and irritable. They also wanted to have fun – with each other and their friends. Trying to have the cooking skills of a “Top Chef” contestant or accommodating a complicated diet every time they ate out was anything but fun.

In a sense, they wanted ease and connection. They ultimately got there through a combination of meal prep delivery, switching from pizza to salads to go, and an occasional splurge on the weekend. Practicing that kind of mindfulness has an inevitable ripple effect.

Before you produce a long list of intentions that will leave you shaking your head in a month, put the list in a drawer and sleep on it. The next day, think of the emotional satisfaction you’ll receive. That feeling is your true intention, the focus of the January series, My Soul Says Yes. Then take that feeling and plan what you’re going to do to put it into action.

For example, have you bought a shiny new planner because you’re trying to manage your time better? That’s a good start, but a meticulous schedule only works as a “what” if it supports more time available for the “why” – the people and activities you love.

This week, challenge yourself to go beyond a superficial goal and dig deep. Is the most important intention you’ll make this year hiding in plain sight?

Good Find Friday: 15 Minute Organizing – Winter Edition

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Imagine a year without stacks of stuff everywhere, quietly draining your energy. A year where you never pay late fees or waste time looking for your keys. And a year where you have plenty of time for creativity or hanging out with friends and family. Does that sound good for 2018?

Organization matters for Soul Bosses because it brings clarity. It keeps your life moving and refreshed. Most important, honesty about what you have and how you’re managing it has an inevitable ripple effect in your life.

Don’t pressure yourself to flip over the whole house in a single session. Instead, try these simple ideas to get the new year started on the right foot. They all take 15 minutes or less!

  1. Clean a horizontal surface: Clear off at least one flat surface. (Pro tip – make it the thing that bothers you every time you see it, whether that’s your dining room table, bathroom counter or bedroom dresser.) Act on it, toss it or shred it.
  2. Pick a regular day/time to handle paperwork: If you’re a stacker, choose your new weekly day and time to sort through whatever you receive, like every Sunday evening. Think of it like this: What is more appealing – a few minutes each week or an hour or more at the end of the month?!
  3. Check your coat closet: Why wait until the end of the season? Someone would love to have your extra coat, hat or set of gloves during this especially bitter Winter.

If you’re still making January intentions, decide to make your home the ultimate place of rest and renewal this year. Don’t let post-holiday clutter and mess become the boss of you!

Enjoy!

Your First Thing

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I have a drastic proposal for you: Give up the hunt for The Big Intention.

I’m not suggesting that you stop caring about how 2018 may turn out. But widening your vision may make all the difference.

I learned this lesson many years ago when I sang in several church groups. A friend from Chancel Choir happened to catch me one morning after Modern Worship. I laughed, “Oh – you caught me doing my other thing!” He quietly smiled and said, “Yeah. But this is really your first thing.”

I had never thought of it that way, but he was right. That’s why it’s a good example for the January series, My Soul Says Yes. If I had limited myself to a single genre, I would have missed incredible music. Classics like Handel’s Messiah or a Bach cantata presented a completely different kind of musical challenge. And singing only one kind of music would have meant that I wouldn’t have known the irreplaceable camaraderie that existed in the choir community. Our conversation taught me an important lesson: Pop music was my first thing, but I was glad it didn’t have to be my only thing.

Find Your First Thing

Illustrator Mari Andrew described a similar squeeze to find her passion. On Instagram, she told how the pressure to find a single passion was making her miserable. That was, until she decided to change her mind. And guess what she learned? The most beautiful part of her life was who she was, not what she accomplished every day. She wrote:

“Drawing is not my passion. I started drawing consistently at age 28 because it was a soothing and nice thing to do, but it’s not a PASSION. Even if it were, I couldn’t do it for two months this year because my hands were paralyzed. For that reason, I’m so glad it wasn’t my be-all end-all and the foundation of my identity. I’m glad it’s not the one thing that makes me spring out of bed in the morning.

I always felt a lot of pressure to find MY THING throughout my 20s. I’m 30 now and still haven’t found it. So if you’re feeling pressure: I’ve learned that a passionate life doesn’t mean finding ONE THING that is the center of your life. YOU are the center of your life, and all your interests and curiosities can float around you like good company and consistent friends.”

This week, emulate Mari Andrew and make a New Year’s resolution to let go of all the stress to perfect a single passion. Don’t let your social media feed make you feel pressured. The more you relax, the easier it will be to put the pieces in place.

It’s only January, so dream big! Your intentions can be broad, vivid and ever-expanding, with as many interests and passions as you’d like. (And by the way, you’re not a failure just because you’re not making money doing them.)

Don’t limit yourself to one thing. Find your first thing.

Good Find Friday: The 1+1+1 Practice

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Are you still easing into 2018? Then you’ll love the 1+1+1 practice. What am I talking about?

Begin your day envisioning 1 intention, 1 concern and 1 joy. You don’t even have to get out of bed to get started!

  • 1 intention. It can be as small as “It’s a good day to have a good day, and I’m going to have a great day!”
  • 1 concern. Make 2018 the year you admit what’s bothering you rather than letting it fester. If you’re so inclined, ask for help to solve it, release it, or make peace with it.
  • 1 joy. Yes, something as simple as sleeping under your favorite blanket can go on your gratitude list. Don’t overthink it!

If you’re up for the advanced version, write your 1+1+1 list down. By the end of the year, you’ll be amazed by the answers (and even a few miracles) that show up.

Enjoy!

Temporarily Satisfied

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Let’s run straight at the problem with the long list of goals you’ve started sketching out: They may not make you happy.

Setting intentions has become a little like giving a genie three wishes. On January 1, you think big, cross your fingers, and hope everything comes together.

Yet we all know how that works out!

An intention that can change your life – the one where you look back and say, “That year was the game changer for me” – has nothing to do with perfecting the more, more, more mentality. If your mindset is oriented around the chase for getting stuff or constant activity, you’re only going to be temporarily satisfied.

So, let’s start over and do something radical. Let’s look at “why” you’re setting the intention as well as “how” you’re going to get there this year. When the why, how and what are working together, you’ll have intentions that satisfy your soul, the theme of the January series, My Soul Says Yes. 

Intentions What and Why

Jim Koch never planned to start a brewery. His father discouraged him from pursuing what had been the family business for six generations. He ensured him it was a miserable way to make a living.

Jim followed his father’s advice, earning an MBA and JD and working with important clients as a management consultant. And he was really good at it. But his life took a left turn when he asked himself some hard questions. He remembers thinking about his job at Boston Consulting Group: “Do I want to do this the rest of my life? The answer came back: No. The next sort of corollary to that was: Well, if I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life, I probably don’t want to do it tomorrow.”

On the surface, it may look like Jim Koch’s goal was to create a successful business. But founding Sam Adams was about more than the prestige of running his own shop. It brought him closer to what made his soul say yes, which was spending his days doing something he deeply cared about.

Jim’s dad was right – becoming a brewmaster is one of the hardest things Jim has ever done. He knows a lot about running a multi-million dollar company, yet over 30 years later, his takeaway advice isn’t about how to launch a blockbuster start-up. Instead, it’s about the art of being present and authentic, which can be the intentions of a lifetime. Jim counsels, “Leadership is more about living and modeling the behaviors and the values that you want people to embrace. The values you want to live have to come from your own living heart.”

Imagine yourself at the end of this year. What sounds better – a long list of stuff or being more aligned with your deepest values? As you’re toying with your list of 2018 intentions this week, draw two columns, separating the “what” from the “why”. Like Jim Koch, your why may change your life.

Thank you, 2017 Soul Bosses!

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As 2017 comes to an end, I wanted to recognize everyone in the Soul Boss community. I’m happy and humbled to know that Soul Bosses are around the globe – from my home in the rainy, fierce beauty of the Pacific Northwest to countries like Turkey, India, China, South Africa and Ireland.

I thank everyone who has read, commented, liked and shared the posts. The deep work we do every Tuesday is just a set up for all the fun we have on Good Find Fridays. Qualities like mindfulness, empathy and awareness show up in the least expected places – whether you’re eating great food with friends and family, traveling the world or taking in a new book or movie. Soul Bosses took those ideas off those page and made them a rich part of daily life this year.

Thanks for joining in and meeting up:

  • At Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We continue to keep the conversation thoughtful and positive in an unpredictable, often volatile space. We stayed centered and didn’t let all kinds of crazy become the boss of us!
  • On Soundcloud and iTunes. A hat tip to everyone who takes the columns on the go, especially listeners half a world away in Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • At MyTrendingStories. I’m grateful to readers who catch the series every month at the MyTrendingStories hub.
  • By Email. Special acknowledgment goes to email subscribers. Many of you are close friends, and I value your support, encouragement, and kind and constructive feedback.
  • Through WordPress. My fellow WordPress writers motivate me with their creativity and tenacity. Thank you as well to the WordPress staff who work hard to make their platform better and better.

I always take a break at the end of December, and I hope you will, too. Until Tuesday, January 2, I’ll leave you with a beautiful idea from author Hamilton Wright Mabie.

However you choose to celebrate, go in peace. Have a blessed holiday!

Peace and Purpose

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If anyone had a right to hold a grudge, it was New York Police Department Officer Steven McDonald.

McDonald was shot three times on a routine call to Central Park in 1986. He had just two years on the job when he became paralyzed from the neck down.

Officer McDonald was as human as the rest of us. Still, he found a way to channel his feelings toward Shavod Jones, who ultimately served 8 ½ years for attempted murder. He wrote, “I’m sometimes angry at the teen-age boy who shot me, but more often I feel sorry for him. I only hope that he can turn his life into helping and not hurting people. I forgive him and hope that he can find peace and purpose in his life.”

Steven McDonald’s life changed the day he was shot, but he was adamant about making a difference. He became a regular spokesman for the NYPD, meeting with students throughout New York City, campaigned for gun control, and even had an audience with Pope John Paul II. NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said, “No one could have predicted that Steven would touch so many people, in New York and around the world. Like so many cops, Steven joined the NYPD to make a difference in people’s lives. And he accomplished that every day.”

In the December series, Satisfied, we’re talking about how to surrender. You might listen to the story of Steven McDonald and think, “He had to surrender to his circumstances; his injuries wouldn’t permit anything else.” But thinking that would take you past the true story. McDonald’s years of service showed how he fought back at every turn against the common expectations of what someone who is paralyzed could do.

Yes, Steven McDonald surrendered, yet he never gave up. He surrendered being resentful. He let go of any notion that he was above the man who shot him. And he didn’t burden himself or his family with days filled with bitterness. Before he passed away from a heart attack this year, he spent three decades contributing to his community.

As the year ends, there’s probably someone you need to forgive. But if you find forgiveness next to impossible, follow Steven McDonald’s lead and decide that you will take the first step and let go. Let go of reliving the hurt that does nothing but give you pain. Leave every disagreement, no matter how large or small, behind as the clock strikes midnight on December 31. And then send a blessing to anyone who might be doing the same for you, so that you can be completely at ease as 2018 begins, living in a world free from harsh judgments, fear and unhappiness.

In the place of anxious, restless energy, welcome the peace that passes all understanding. The feeling where you can honestly say from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, “It is well with my soul.” When you can do that, you are truly satisfied.

 

 

Good Find Friday: Classic Christmas Cookies

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December has barely started, but you probably have 20 browser windows open as you search and search and search for new ideas. Am I right?

Here’s a thought. Skip the pressure to make all new dishes this year and stick to the classics. Whether you’re at the office cookie swap, the school concert or hanging out with friends, the cookies below are everyone’s favorite for a reason! (And think of your Christmas meal this way: When dessert is a snap, you’ll have plenty of time to wow your guests with a knock-out main course.)

If you’re new to cooking or have a kid who wants to pitch, start with an easy sweet bread. A friend who is a master baker raves about tried and true recipes like cranberry orange loaf, banana bread and lemon pound cake (you can find them all at a slideshow from Martha Stewart). She jokes, “I hate standing over the oven switching one tray of cookies after another. With breads, you have one pan, hit the timer for about an hour, then walk away!” That sounds like a self-care practice in the making to me.

Enjoy the baker’s dozen below and wash them down with one of 40 Winter drinks. Don’t forget – calories don’t count when you’re having fun!

Enjoy!

  1. Original Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies
  2. Mexican wedding cookies (a/k/a snowballs)
  3. Sugar cookies
  4. Chewy molasses cookies
  5. Jam thumbprint cookies
  6. Snickerdoodles (cinnamon cookies)
  7. Citrus butter cookies (a/k/a spritz cookies)
  8. Oatmeal raisin cookies
  9. Peanut butter cookies
  10. Peppermint brownie bit cookies
  11. Lemon zest shortbread cookies
  12. Dark chocolate cookies with espresso
  13. Rugelach

What I No Longer Want or Need

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I admit – I had to read the product review twice. The tech journalist liked the device…just not enough to keep it. The final verdict? It wasn’t something they wanted or needed. After the test, it went straight back to the manufacturer.

The December series, Satisfied, is looking at the topic of surrender. When you hear “surrender,” what words or phrases spring to mind? Someone waving the white flag of surrender? Surrendering in defeat? Surrender as loss?

What if you could rejigger this idea so surrender wasn’t disempowering? Instead, imagine it just like the journalist: you see something for what it is, but gain satisfaction as you release what you do not want or need.

This is what happened for Cassie Young, an on-air host and social media director in Atlanta. She was thrilled to announce her engagement on Twitter. Things got interesting when a personal trainer reached out and offered to get her in shape before her wedding. He confidently declared he was worth every penny of his $75 an hour fee. Cassie thanked him for the note, but her reply was swift and clear: she was in shape.

The trainer refused to quit, sending one message after another. Cassie said, “If [he] had hit me up and said, ‘Hey, you know I can help you find the perfect balance in your life between being healthy, working out, and still having the life you love’…I probably would have been like, ‘All right, let’s see what you’ve got.’” Instead, none of his suggestions resonated with her, especially his final message that shame was a great motivator.

The personal trainer may have had plenty to say about Cassie’s waistline, but he didn’t see a critical component: her heart. You could say she surrendered trying to win the argument. However, she also released a less than view of herself, something she didn’t want or need. She ended their conversation with the hopeful statement, “I know I’ll look my best because I’ll be so happy I get to marry the man I love.”

Cassie Young’s experience is about much more than body image. It’s about self-confidence and perspective. Think back over this year. Do you have a similar story? When you use key Soul Boss principles like demonstrating courage and trusting your instincts, other people’s comments can’t become the boss of you. You’re able to release negativity before it takes root and say, “In the past, that really would have upset me. But not now. And not in the future. Thanks for the information, but I’m at peace with my choices.”

Being satisfied isn’t about ending the year with a million dollars or the love of your life. In fact, the reality of December may not bear any resemblance to the high hopes you had in January. Yet before you write this year off, take another look. Like Cassie, you might have achieved something you never set out to do – learning how to remain true to yourself, automatically creating space for people, places and things that are right for you.