A Reminder to Slow Down and Appreciate the Beauty All Around Us

The Wonder of a Single Snowflake...

Quote about Snowflakes

The wonder of a single snowflake outweighs the wisdom of a million meteorologists. –Sir Francis Bacon, philosopher

I once heard someone say that we should “look at” everything in life as though we were seeing it for the first or last time. If you think about it, that’s a very profound – life-changing, even – approach.

It reminds me of the unspeakable joy I always got when my daughters were babies and would see anything for the first time – snow, Christmas lights, cats, airplanes, monkeys at the zoo, etc.   Things that we all saw for the first time at some point.  None of these things are any less spectacular or beautiful today than they were then.  The problem is we get “used” to so many of them and take them for granted.

The holidays are a perfect example – whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, we often get so busy buying, baking, wrapping, and complaining about money (come on… we’re all guilty!) that we allow one beautiful scene after the next to slip right past us.

  • I always get a kick out of mall “Santas” – well, not them as much as the little ones in line and on lap.  Their expressions are precious and their excitement is contagious. If you need a little extra Christmas cheer, trust me, find a mall Santa and the company he keeps.
  • Christmas lights always put on a dazzling show.
  • Maybe it’s because I’m a foodie, but I think there’s a great deal of beauty in all the candies, cookies, pies, hams, and casseroles!
  • Candles – especially the ones that smell as beautiful as they look.
  • Nativity scenes are also extra beautiful and meaningful.
  • Christmas music – driving around town while bellowing out loud with songs on the radio? Priceless.
  • Tinsel, bows, wrapping paper, ribbons, bags… they’re works of art in and of themselves.
  • Christmas trees – a beautifully decorated Christmas tree is gorgeous  – but so is a small, humble “Charlie Brown” tree. No such thing as an ugly Christmas tree as far as I’m concerned.
  • Last… but certainly not least… there isn’t anything more beautiful than families gathering together – around the tree, around the table, and around the tv – this is the stuff memories AND LIFE are made of.

Like snowflakes, there are wonders all around us. I hope that this Christmas season – and all the seasons thereafter – you’ll slow down and allow yourself to be awestruck by the beauty and the wonders that surround you.

~ Joi

Change??? Difficult?? Not According to the Man in Red

In Fact, Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other... Soon You'll be Walking Across the Floor..

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change
THE WINTER WARLOCK: It’s so difficult to really change.

KRIS KRINGLE aka SANTA CLAUS: Difficult? (hearty laugh) Why… look here… changing from bad to good’s as easy as taking your first step… Put one foot in front of the other…

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change

 

Who knew you could get a motivational self help kick in the keister from an animated Christmas episode from 1970?!  Okay, besides Kris Kringle… who else would have known?

There are cookies to bake, ribbons to be perfected, and shopping to be done, so I won’t be my normal long-winded self today (Santa’s listening, so don’t go sayin’ anything ornery!)

I’ll just leave you and your thoughts with a few graphics, quotes, and  a video – all straight from a favorite scene in Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Whatever change or changes you’re mulling over for 2015… get up on your feet!

~ Joi

P.S. Filing this one under “Vintage Self Help Daily” because if making animated graphics and turning Santa’s words into a motivational speech isn’t vintage me, absolutely nothing is.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Quote about Change

Quick Lesson from Henry Kissinger

I love this story:

Henry Kissinger once asked an aide to prepare a report for him. The aide toiled away until his report was finished.  Not long after receiving the report, Mr. Kissinger returned it to the aide with a note that read, “Redo it.”

The aide worked day and night and redid the report.  Again, it was delivered to Mr. Kissinger, who, again, returned it with the same note.

Redo it.”

The diligent aide redid the report and asked to see Mr. Kissinger, himself, face to face.  After handing over the report, the aide told him, “I have completed this report three times, and this is the best job I can do.”

Kissinger replied, “In that case, I’ll read it now.”

Moral of the story: Never, ever, ever settle for less than the best – from anyone else OR from yourself. ~ Joi

 

Be of good cheer. Do not think of to-day’s failures, but of success that may come to-morrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will have a joy in overcoming obstacles–a delight in climbing rugged paths which you would perhaps never know if you did not sometimes slip backward, if the road were always smooth and pleasant. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. -Helen Keller.

Be Yourself: Let Them Be Them, You Be You

I Am Who I Am, Your Approval is Not Needed

Quote About Being Unique

If God had wanted me otherwise, He would have created me otherwise.  – Johann von Goethe

True story:  When I was on the verge of high school, I was in a department store shopping with my mom and my one of my best friends, Tamra.  We were shopping for back to school clothes and Tamra and I each had a certain amount of money to spend.  I will just go ahead and admit it – I was up to my elbows in the “hot new” and “popular” clothes. Calvin Klein jeans, crazy colored tops, and.. of course… the coolest of the cool shoes.

At some point, I was mid-rant about the price of a pair of jeans when I realized I’d misplaced my buddy. While my mom scampered off to look at something else (and to probably escape my “How can I get everything I simply must have if the price tags are so unfair?? Life isn’t faaaaiiirrr….” meltdown), I went off in search of Tamra. I found her in a section of clothes I didn’t even know existed – inexpensive ones.

She said some sort of nonsense about being able to actually get MORE clothes if she bought CHEAPER clothes.

I’m sure I wondered how she and I were even friends at that point. I mean, what was with this girl?

Trying to save her from herself, I leaned in and whispered something like, “But no one’s wearing these clothes.”

My buddy supreme lit up and said, “That’s why I love them – I’ll be the only one!

I’d LOVE to be able to say that the early teen version of me had a moment of clarity and tossed down my Calvin Klein’s and pulled out some clothes from Tamra’s goldmine but, alas, I did not. Enlightenment was a word I could probably barely spell, let alone claim ownership of.

We were going to be entering high school for the first time, I was not going to do it in clothes that weren’t all the rage! I would not walk through those doors without the most expensive jeans in the store on my behind!

After about two hours (feeling sorry for my mom yet?), we left the store.  Tamra had more bags than me… more clothes than me.. and even had money left.

I thought possibly she was an alien. I walked out with my bag… yes, BAG.. felling like I had just won the shopping game.

Funny thing, though, my mom went on and on about Tamra’s approach. Praised her as we walked to the car… praised her as we ate the lunch she treated us to… at one point, it hit me that all this “praise” was as much for my benefit as it was her’s.   She kept looking at me as she said words like smart and thrifty.. and something about stretching money.  I’m pretty sure the whole lunch thing was so I could hear about “making the most of your money” and “making it last.” How “clothes were clothes” blah blah blah.

Great. So now I had two aliens.

Oddly enough, over the years I came to realize that… of course… I was the one who “didn’t get it.”  I was too preoccupied with wearing what the other kids were wearing to realize that the greatest thing in life is to make your own way, be yourself, and not worry about who anyone else thinks you should be.

Or what they think you should wear.

The whole enlightenment thing didn’t hit me until I was in my Senior year of High School.

My poor mom.

It finally became clear to me that the coolest thing in the world was to stand out from everyone else… not blend in.

Whether it’s what you wear, how you do your hair, how you walk, how you talk, or any dang thing that makes you you…  don’t let anyone try to re-make you or re-do you. I don’t care whether they think their intentions are great or not.  They don’t have the right. It’s YOUR life.

They have their own.

Truth is, if anyone tries to make you into something or someone you’re not, they’re actually the one with the problem, not you.  If they were completely comfortable in their own skin and at peace with life, they’d have better things to do than worry about your hair. Or clothes. Or anything.

Personally, I cannot imagine taking issue with something personal about another individual. If they’re mistreating someone or putting someone else at risk… sure, I’d have to say something. But if they want to braid garlic cloves into their hair and dress in sackcloth, I’m not going to let it rock my boat. I won’t sit downwind from them, but I’ll let them stink if they want to.

It’s their right.

There’s an old Polish proverb my husband loves, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.”  Pretty much I think you could also say it this way: “That’s none of my dang business, so I’m going to just do me!”

Be you…. let them be them.

Life’s better that way.

~ Joi

I am who I am your approval is not needed

 

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.  – Harvey Fierstein

Making an issue of little things is one of the surest ways to spoil happiness.  One’s personal pride is felt to be vitally injured by surrender, but there is no quality of human nature so nearly royal as the ability to yield gracefully.  It shows small confidence in one’s own nature to fear that compromise lessens self-control.  To consider constantly the comfort and happiness of another is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

–  Charles Conrad