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I know – this blog is kinda ugly

I get it.  There is no real branding, maybe it’s seemingly random, but it’s what I have.  The site will get prettier, but the message will still be the same because it’s coming from my heart to the page.  That is why I decided not to wait until it’s perfect and branded and looks like other cool blogs.

I don’t care about that so much right now.  What’s more important is that I touch you with my words.  That I give you inspiration and hope with my words. That something I write touches you, makes you think- more importantly – makes you act differently so that you get the results you want.  No, make that the results you deserve from life.

Because life can be beautiful or it can suck.  It’s not your circumstances that will define the suckiness – it’s your attitude.  More enlightened people than I have said that same message over and over.  It’s not the situation – it’s how you deal with it.

I could have let my financial situation drag me down – I chose not to let it.  It’s just money.  There are more important things in life.  Family, love, a warm Spring day, the beauty of a flower, the soft touch of your child’s kiss on your cheek.  The smell of bread baking, the laugh of a baby so pure and sweet.

Take time to notice how wonderful your life is.  I hate to sound so cliche’d as to say stop and smell the flowers, but I will anyway.  And, I’ll go one step further – don’t just smell the flower, let its beauty fill your soul with wonder.  It sprang from a tiny seed in the ground and will only be yours to enjoy but for a brief time.

So, enjoy it while it’s here.  And pas that feeling on to someone else today.  Smile at the harried mother at the supermarket, hold an elevator door open for someone.   Because something beautiful happens when you share happiness.

Try it and tell me how it feels.

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this is the real me

I’ve been blogging for about 4 months now.  Basically just letting off steam.  And that was ok, but I was feeling like I wasn’t really expressing myself.

I’m done with that.

It’s time to let loose and write the way I was meant to.  I’m inspired by the movie Seabiscuit.  He was a little horse who didn’t realize that he wasn’t physically supposed to win races against bigger, supposedly better horses.   His owners didn’t understand him, because he didn’t act like a champion.  He slept and ate too much, he was too complacent.  so, they tried to make him run the way they thought he should.

It didn’t work.

It screwed him up so badly – he forgot how to run.  He forgot how to be the horse he was capable of.

Until – he was found by people who believed in him.  Who saw that inside beat the heart of a champion even if it was covered by the body of a horse who didn’t act like the other race horses.

And, Seabiscuit responded.  He remembered his true horseness.  He remembered how to run.  And, most importantly, he remembered how to win.  Seabiscuit became not just a horse who won races, but a symbol for everyone who had gotten beaten up by life, everyone who had lost a few races, everyone who had lost hope.

Great line in the movie – “You don’t throw away a life, just because it’s been beaten up a bit.”

Well, who hasn’t been beaten up a bit?  Who besides me has forgotten what it was like to be your true self?  How many of us have lost a few races, have been misunderstood?  Am I alone in feeling like I was just repeating the same bad tape over and over again – not living or acting the way I was born to?  Just a year and a half ago I had a business fall apart.   I had to declare bankruptcy and just when it looked like my bankruptcy would go through I got notice that I was being sued not only to prevent my bankruptcy from going through but for serious charges and spent a year and a half in the process of a court case.

Last month I both won and lost that court case.  My bankruptcy was not discharged, so it wasn’t allowed to go through and everyone who was suing me for money before was allowed to go after me again.  But, I was exonerated of the other charges against me.   Freedom came with a price – I was exposed again to have my creditors from my bankrupt business come after me.  Sheesh.

I had gotten so caught up with the negativity and the fear of being sued that I forgot who I was and what I was made of.  That stops now.  There is still fear, but I’m going to work past it.  I’m going to keep moving forward, furlong by furlong.  I’m going to do whatever it takes to cross the finish line ahead of the pack.  Even if there are people ahead of me, bigger than me in the field – I don’t care.  I’m not going to be looking behind, I’m going only to be looking ahead.  To feel the excitement and the thrill of pushing past mile marker after mile marker.  To enjoy the race, not just the win.  To feel connected to the Source of all through creation, through what I will be creating.

If you want to come along on the journey – come on.   I’ve entered the starting gate – and the doors are about to open.  There is a sense of excitement, anything can happen.

But, nothing will happen, you can’t win, hell – you can’t even be in the race – unless you join me on the field.   Ready, set….

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Seriously Awesome Pumpkin Pie

Being the former food geek that I am I just have to use this opportunity to post some of my Thanksgiving recipes.  If you’re not happy with your pumpkin pie recipe or shudder you buy store made pumpkin pie – consider this recipe.  My relatives would boycott Thanksgiving if I didn’t make it – it’s that good.

Oh, and it’s also really, really easy.

Seriously Awesome Pumpkin Pie

2/3 cup packed (meaning push it down in the measuring cup so it forms a solid mass) golden (light) brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, plain pumpkin)  = 1 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons light molasses

3 large eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1 frozen deep dish pie crust

1 bag of any kind of dried bean (to weight down pie crust)

Place baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Remove the frozen pie crust from the freezer, cover it with tinfoil.  Pour enough beans onto the foil to just cover the bottom.  Place the crust in the oven and bake until the edges are barely browned.  Remove pie crust from oven, remove the beans and the foil and set aside.  Cool the beans and save them in a plastic bag for your next pie baking.  Raise heat to 450 degrees F.  Whisk the first 8 ingredients together in a large bowl to blend.  Next stir in the pumpkin, molasses and eggs, then cream.  Pour the mixture into the crust.   Place pie on heated baking sheet.  Bake 10 minutes.  REduce heat to 325 F and bake until the center is just set, about 40 minutes.  The center is set when it doesn’t look like liquid.  If the sides of the pie crust are getting too well done, remove the pie from the oven and cover the crust with pieces of tin foil.  Let the pie cool.  Cover and refrigerate if you’re not eating it that day.  It’s best served slightly warm or at room temperature.

Serves 8.

That’s it.  I’ve gotten rave reviews from everyone I’ve served this to.  So, let me know what you thought if you make it.

I’ll post another recipe tomorrow for you.  In the meantime, the other message about Thanksgiving is to be grateful for all you have.  Whatever you have is a lot more than many people in the world have.  Don’t just count your blessings, feel them.  And, get into the habit of doing that all the time, not just at Thanksgiving.

Or, just enjoy the pie  🙂

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Dear Diary Living on Purpose – Part 2

Dear Diary,

This purpose finding is more challenging than I thought it would be.  But, that may just be my perception.

I promised you another step in the journey, another way to get a glimpse of your life purpose.

Here it is.

Ask those that know you to tell you the things that you do really well.  You may be surprised at what you hear, you may not.

Make a list of things that interest you.  Astronomy, wine-making, whatever.  List all that you can on a sheet of paper.  Put it aside.  Then, come back later and see which ones on the list interest you the most.  They are clues.  Match the top things from that list with the things that you are really good at – and look for patterns.

Do the things involve you being a teacher, creating something, working with the disadvantaged?  Look for patterns.

When you find them, you’ll be getting really close to finding your life purpose.

You’ll want to start playing with putting it into a purpose statement like:

My life purpose is.. to joyfully create beautiful paintings for people to enjoy.

My life purpose is … to teach children how to express themselves through dance.

Your turn…

Please feel free to post your efforts here.  I’d love to hear from you to witness your creation.

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Dear Diary why live on purpose

Jim White is leading a purpose movement to help one million find their purpose, Eckhart Tolle writes about living your purpose, heck, I’m writing a book about women who are thriving while living on purpose. After 50 years on the planet not living on purpose, I’m finally getting it.

Purpose has been appearing in my life in so many various ways it’s hard to ignore. Just last night I heard about life purpose in The movie The Legend of Bagger Vance. Will Smith made an eloquent reference to it..

Yep… Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing… Somethin’ we was born with… Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone… Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned… Somethin’ that got to be remembered… Over time the world can, rob us of that swing… It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas… Some folk even forget what their swing was like…

Beautiful. Something that can’t be taught or learned – it just has to be remembered. That means that you, I have the answer to what our purpose is right now, and the sooner we remember our purpose, our authentic swing, whatever you want to call it. The better it will be when we play the game of Life.

So, how do you get a hold of your purpose? First, be quiet. Shut off the tv, the radio, ship the kiddies to a playdate and just sit. Just sit and breathe. Just sit and breathe and think of the things that you do that totally light you up, things that you do that when you do them – time stops, when you do them – you feel like it’s effortless. Just sit and think about those things. Is it when you’re writing, drawing, singing, cooking, helping others, teaching? When you get these answers – write them down.

We’ll talk about what to do with this info in my next post.

Do this today. It’s important.

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The power of gratitude

This morning I awoke to a beautiful sunrise, the light was so pretty as it shone on the trees in their various stages of brilliant colors. I immediately felt grateful for experiencing that in my day. I’m also grateful for having coffee and cream and sugar at my fingertips, my cat playing with me, the book I am enjoying, a refrigerator stocked with food. Get the picture? Being grateful raises your inner vibration. It makes you happy. And when you are happy and grateful, the Universe sends more of what you want your way. It just does.

I know this may sound simplistic, but that’s how the Universe works. I won’t explain it in this post, but I will challenge you. Make a list of twenty things that you are grateful for, right now, today. These can be things you have or to add a different twist – things that you desire that you believe to be coming to you.

Look at your list and really feel that warm feeling of gratitude. Put it down. Pick it up again later today or in a few hours and read each one, then feel that warm feeling of gratitude again.

Do this for a couple of weeks and notice if there are any changes in your attitude and/or any unexpected things/opportunities that show up for you.

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Take it easy

Well, now that Halloween’s over, that can only mean one thing – the holiday season is here.  Thanksgiving and all that food you either have to make or the flurry of travel to the relative or friends house.  All that last minute preparation and/or packing.  The stress of just getting family together, let alone whether the gravy will come out lumpy or if you should try that new recipe for pumpkin pie.  And, there’s all that shopping and fighting crowds and AAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHH.

If you get stressed out every year at this time, you are going to get stressed out this year also.

UNLESS

You try a different approach.  It’s really that easy.  For example, if you’re not sure of the recipes for the Thanksgiving meal practice them in smaller quantities on your family now.  Make that new pumpkin pie recipe and serve it to your family.  You can make homemade cranberry sauce in advance and freeze it, same with whipped sweet potato casserole.

Now, if it’s the family dynamics that makes you crazy – you have control over this one too.  While you don’t have any control over what your nutty relatives do or say, you can control how you react.  Don’t let them bother you.  If you usually get aggravated – just don’t let that happen.  You are in full control of your emotions, they can’t control your emotions no matter what they do.  Just set the intention before the holiday that you are going to fully enjoy the day – no matter what happens.  If the turkey is over or underdone – so what, if Aunt Betty drinks a bit too much hard cider – so what, if someone spills wine on your new tablecloth – you get the point – so what?

Practice this now.  Pick a day and just set the intention that you are going to enjoy your day – no matter what.   If you’re stuck in traffic and that normally ticks you off – let it go.  Pop in your favorite CD or audio book and enjoy the time.   You get the picture – turn what is usually a negative into a positive.

You’ll be amazed how it changes your day…..

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Fail fast, fail often –

And success cannot elude you.- Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive.

Thank you Carrie for reminding me that I have failed at so many things and couldn’t be happier about that. It means that I’m that much closer to my success. But, also, it reminded me that I really don’t like using the word failure. Because I don’t think I failed at any job or business or relationship. I just think that I didn’t achieve the results I had thought I was going to achieve.

A short story to make my point. The Wright brothers wanted to conquer the sky – to give wings to man so that he could forever soar with the birds. They did achieve gliding, but real flight – that they failed at. But, perhaps they should be remembered as two of the most successful failures in history.

What!! How dare I make that claim? Well, because through research I have come to find out that a man by the name of Glenn Curtiss was really the father of modern day airplanes. Mr. Curtiss, along with a mastermind group that included a Mr. Alexander Graham Bell, designed a plane he called the June bug that not only took off under its own power, but stayed aloft and actually flew.

I think more importantly than that, Glenn Curtiss’ planes were also as safe as aircraft could be in those days, compared to planes made with the Wright Brothers design. Planes made by the Wright Brothers had a nasty tendency to crash and kill their pilots due in part to an error in the design of the wings. This made the Wright Brothers a bit cranky and they wound (well, the surviving Wright brother) wound up suing Mr. Curtiss for stealing their patented plane design until World War 1 came along and the government stepped in and told both parties to kiss and make up because they needed planes to use in battles.

In closing, although Wilbur and Orville failed to make safe planes – they made a name for themselves that history will long remember.

So, I embrace failure – or should I say – I embrace not achieving my desired outcome – And you should too!

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I feel your pain

No, I don’t.  How could I?

As I’m not that intuitive I can only feel mine.  But, I can understand your frustrations.  Maybe you are feeling stuck in a rut in your life or you have challenges that you’re facing.  Is your relationship with your spouse making you unhappy?  Do you have a weight issue?  Is there too much month left at the end of your money?

Well, listen up, and you may not like what I’m going to say.   Whatever is going on in your life right now, at this very moment – is all of your creation.   You have created the reality that is your life – no one else.

Don’t like that?  It’s true.

Hey, I’ve created some really crappy stuff in my life too.  And, I’m sure that I’ll create/attract more.

But, I am not a victim.  I realized that I have the power to change my circumstances if I choose – and so do you.

But, you have to change something – your mind.  You have to change the way you think.  You have to stop blaming others for your crap.  They are responsible for their crap.  And so it goes.

You want relief?  Here are some steps that can change your mind and change your life.

1.  Make a decision to change – right now.  And, that decision means that you are committed to your new way of thinking and won’t ever, ever, ever let yourself go back to the way of thinking you had before you read this.  You have to have a big reason WHY you want to do this.  Example: I tell you to give me $5000.00, but you only have $2000.00 in your bank account.  I tell you that if you don’t give me $5,000.00 in twenty four hours I am going to burn your house to the ground, with your pets inside.  How committed will you be to getting that $3,000.00?   You wouldn’t stop, you would do whatever it took (ethically and legally, I would hope) to get that money.  And, you wouldn’t stop when you got tired, you wouldn’t stop because you didn’t feel you were worthy of the money, you wouldn’t stop for any reason.   That’s the level of commitment to change that you need.  Get it or stay where you are.

2. Don’t blame others for your circumstances.  Blaming makes you a victim and victims have no personal power.  It’s your mess, admit it and that will free you to move forward.  Don’t blame yourself.  What?  Then who are you going to blame.  Nobody, that’s who.  You are just going to look at your circumstances as a learning experience, that’s what they are there for.

3. Fall in love.  What?  Fall in love – with yourself.   We are taught from a young age not to think too much of ourselves – HOGWASH!!  You have to love yourself to be good to yourself and to be able to love and give to others.  So, cozy up to that bathroom mirror and give yourself a big SMOOCH!!  Fall in love with who you are.

Okay, that’s enough for today.  Do steps 1-3 above.  Do them if you want change.   No excuses – just DO THEM.

And, get ready for magic…..

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Are you a Beatle or a Rolling Stone

Here’s the thing about this post – be yourself. The Beatles took the country by storm with their long hair, their music and everything that made them Beatles. They were truly different and truly themselves. Then, the Rolling Stones came along and although they were from England, they didn’t try to be Beatles. They are different, their music is different and they are truly always themselves.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Beatles song reference:) – but what does this have to do with me, Lee Ann, get to the point.

Be yourself. There’s immense power in being truly who you are. When you can honestly say that you don’t care what others think of your actions because you know that you are acting in true accordance with your true self. Mick Jagger knew that his success was in NOT being like Paul McCartney – and he was right.

This being yourself can be very tricky. I know for a long time I tried to fit in with the crowd. I socialized with a group of ladies, but I never quite fit in. I joined their bowling league, their mah jongg club – I tried to talk about subjects they talked about, have their interests become mine – and I was miserable. It just was a bad fit, they really didn’t like me. And, here’s the kicker – I thought it was me!! I thought that there was something wrong with me and if I could just fix it, I would fit in. What was wrong with that picture? Everything!!  When I realized that I couldn’t deny who I was and and trying to “fit in” would just not work – I realized it was impossible to fit in because I was hanging with the wrong crowd.

When I changed who I hung out with – I was liked for who I was.  There was nothing wrong with me.

That’s the lesson.  And, it involved a tough decision.  I had to basically make all new friends, and I was lonely for a while.  But, the friends I have now – are truly soul mates.  I enjoy their company, nothing is forced.  And it feels wonderful.