The Five Best Things About Being Back From Vacation

La Campana Pastry Shop

La Campana Pastry Shop, Sevilla Spain

It’s been 28 days since my last blog entry. I have a good reason…I was on vacation, in the far far away land of Spain. I wasn’t battling windmills in La Mancha or running away from any stampeding bulls. I was in the modernly ancient city of Sevilla, where the old, such as the traditional pastry shop, La Campana (1885), seamlessly meets the new every day. Starbucks sits just across the street. Though international phone and Internet service were available through our carrier, we decided to go it alone and check emails whenever we had access to a computer. It was wonderful at first. Aaah, freedom. While everyone else around us had their heads bowed, busy looking at their hand-held, we got to hold our heads up to look up to the sky, point to an ancient landmark, or feel the raindrops fall on our foreheads. But, by about the 8th day, I was feeling anxious and very much out-of-the-loop. I missed the apps telling me which was the best place for a hot seafood soup, or for the thickest hot chocolate. I missed my maps and GPS. I missed being able to see if my flight to Mallorca was going to be on time. There are so many little things that make our life convenient and comfortable that we take them for granted. This was the longest vacation we have taken, and it was wonderful to spend time with our family. That said, I am so glad to be home. I have come back rested, renewed, and with a greater appreciation for the little delights that just make life so enjoyable.

5.       Long showers with plenty of hot water. When I came home I wanted to hug my water heater. There is no greater torture than having to lather up dry while you’re body’s temperature is dropping to 60 degrees, only to turn on the water and get about 15 seconds of warmth. Yes, I feel guilty for not being as conservative and energy-conscious as the Europeans might be, but I’m working on it. Until then, I’ll take my 10 minute hot shower, thank you.

4.      Driving. This one surprised me because I complain a lot about my long commute. Truthfully, I would not have liked driving inSevillebecause the city is best enjoyed walking from tapas bar to coffee shop to tapas bar. But, I did miss covering longer distances with a car. Actually, I think I just missed my car…the seats are just the way I like them, I have programmed my favorite stations, I can sing at the top of my lungs without offending anyone. It all boils down to independence and customization. I really missed that.

It's time to eat again? don't mind if I do

3        Eating like a normal person. What is it about vacations that make us eat like we’ve never eaten before or will ever eat again? I ate not because I was hungry but because I could not pass up foods that I wouldn’t ordinarily eat. By the last day of vacation I was fantasizing about a 30-day fast. Luckily is not happening and I am so happy to be eating like a human again.

2        Having the time of the day feel right. Look, I know it takes time to adjust to a new time zone, but even after I got used to the wake-up and nighty-night times, I never felt like the hour coincided with what I expected to be happening. I lost track of weekends so all days felt like a workday when you’ve called in sick. Coming home allowed me to thank God it’s Friday and feel excited for the weekend.

1.      The joy of super size. I learned that for me, size matters. I was so happy to sleep in my King-sized bed again, and to wash my face over a big sink, to cook over a big stove. I didn’t realize how accustomed we are to large things and open spaces. Europeans are great at making small spaces work, but I missed having the extra room in everything.

I loved my vacation and it was wonderful to break free from the daily grind. Coming home to appreciate the blessings has been just as wonderful.

Much Love,

Creating A Vision Board

So the first quarter of the year is behind us and some of us (okay, me) have gotten off track from our annual goals. Weather, illness, schedule and plain-ol’ laziness are the culprits for not keeping up with my running goals. This week’s blog is a repost that is going to help me. It is written by my friend and guest blogger, Janie Montoya-Ledet. Janie has accomplished a lot in avery short time and she shares with us her recipe for success with the help of vision boards. Right now I need that visual cue to keep me committed and focused on my 2012 goals. I hope you will also find it useful. 

The beginning of a new year is a great time to set goals. Unfortunately, it’s so easy for New Year’s resolutions to be pushed aside and forgotten over time. Want a way to make them stick? Try vision boarding!

A vision board is a big board used to post your goals and dreams. The process of creating one helps you clarify the exact results you want to achieve. It also serves as a reminder and motivator every time you look at it.

Step 1. Write 4 or 5 specific goals

Write down your goals/dreams and leave plenty of space between them. Starting with too many can be overwhelming, sojust pick a few. You can always add more later.

Step 2. Envision/clarify results

Underneath each goal, write down the specific results you want. Ask yourself the following questions: How will I know I am finished achieving this goal? How will I measure my progress? How will I feel? What does it look like? Where do I picture myself when I’ve achieved my goal? What am I doing? For example, underneath “Get Healthy” , I might write “Feel sexy enough to wear a bikini to the pool this summer.” and “Meditate during yoga so my mind is peaceful and happy”. Try to stay focused on positive action statements instead of writing down things you wish to avoid. For instance, instead of “Eat less junk food”, change it to “Eat more fruits and vegetables”. This will help you prepare for the next step.

Step 3. Gather supplies

You will need:

Cork board (or a large poster board)

Stack of magazines

Scissors

Thumb tacks (or tape)

 

Go through the magazines and clip pictures that will remind you of your goals. Cut out large words or numbers if they are important to the goal, but if possible use exclusively pictures. They are much more descriptive than words. Scrap booking aisles are a great place to find stickers you can use. I recommend cutting out stickers and not peeling them off of their backing so you can move them around and enable yourself to reuse the cork board later.

 

Step 4. Put pictures on your board

Using the thumbtacks (or tape), place the pictures onto your board in groups. As you work, new goals or ideas will probably come to you. Add as much as you want, and re-arrange as needed. If you think of another image you can use, go back to the previous step and gather more pictures. On my first vision board, I replaced a picture of a baby boy with some little pink baby girl footprints, and

within 2 months I was pregnant with a baby girl. Be specific!

 

Step 5. Hang it

Hang your board somewhere you will see it daily. Hanging it in the kitchen is a good idea if you wish to enlist the help of your friends and family in achieving your goals. If your goals are a little bit more private, perhaps a bedroom or closet is a more suitable place to hang it. If you feel an urge to hide it, ask yourself why. Showing it to someone you trust, may help you move closer to your goal. There is something very powerful about broadcasting your desires out into the universe.

 

Step 6. Celebrate

Accept progress towards your goals in whatever form it comes. Sometimes you will achieve a feeling that you wanted (e.g. happiness, peace-of-mind) in some other way than what you originally wrote on your list of goals. Recognize and celebrate each time you achieve something on your board. Once your goal is completed, remove it to make room for another goal, or add another picture if you’d like to work on another aspect of the same goal.

 

I read this blog frequently, so post any questions or comments about vision-boarding and I will respond. Good luck!

Much Love,