Thursday, December 8, 2011
1. Some people really don't like a lot of attention, not even the "good" kind. (Obviously, this is not in my genetics.)
2. People don't always have the same values, and may not appreciate in themselves what you see as a gift, expertise or skill, etc.
3. Yet, other would rather need a bigger sign of affection or encouragement, a hug or, even applause.
4. It is just polite to ask before you mention someone else by name, especially in these times when privacy is rare.
It is amazing how one smile turned into 4 right before my eyes....Our school is good at math.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The connection between your waist line increasing as your bottom line decreases could be due to four key factors: loss of self-esteem, a more sedentary lifestyle, less money to spend on food and gym membership, and tackling the search alone. Each of these components can be perilous on their own, but together, they create a perfect storm for increased weight. Let’s take a closer look at these factors individually, and explore some ideas for keeping our physical life together as we work toward our fiscal future.
While in the throes of job loss, many people become disoriented by this personal blow to their self-esteem. The loss of employment puts the average person into unknown financial waters and disrupts the part of a person’s self-image, which is identified with a profession or position. If much of the person’s worth, social status, active hours or security is wrapped up with the previous job, then job loss or retirement can wreak havoc on a person’s self-image and feelings of worth. Recovering from the personal blow to your self-esteem may require reconnecting to personal values such as family, creativity, health and travel.
Values’ inventories abound online and can help you connect with what is most important to you in your life, give you a perspective from which to measure your next step, filter out opportunities that would not be a good fit and keep you grounded. You can easily perform a search for a free personal values’ inventory online, and I have included a Values Compass on my own blog at http://passionforlifepassionforfood.blogspot.com.
Another ego boost that comes to mind includes making lists of your talents, skills and knowledge. Often making these lists on your own and then asking previous co-workers and colleagues that you trust to contribute to these lists benefits the job seeker two fold. First, these lists help expedite written materials such as resumes, marketing plans and reference pages that are needed to conduct a productive search. Second, this process provides the added benefit of highlighting your best attributes adding buoyancy to how you view yourself and your current situation.
Although sitting on the couch in your comfy jeans or sweats pants with your laptop can seem like an ideal working situation at first, this prolonged time in sweats can promote a lack of routine eating habits. A sedentary lifestyle and over-eating, at extremes, can signify depression and a need for additional help. A meeting with your family doctor or a healthcare professional may be in order. So, I whole-heartedly recommend making a weekly schedule, designating a quiet work space with office supplies, the appropriate phone connections, computer or tablet, and even add in a professional dress code. Not only will these boundaries make the job search process more streamlined, but it will also define boundaries of work space from household duties and interruptions from family members. I also suggest that job seekers delegate household chores or leave the house to find privacy, structure and a change of scenery.
Penny pinching is often a critical part of budgeting when facing a job loss. These cuts may include dropping gym memberships or reducing the grocery budget. Both of these activities can lead to weight gain for obvious reasons and some not so obvious reasons. Although some gym memberships can be pricey with additional services and amenities, there are cheaper alternatives available. Some athletic clubs will put your membership on hold for a number of months, and allow you to return at your current monthly fee schedule or extend the hold if needed due to special circumstances. Additionally, there may be less expensive fitness facilities in your neighborhood that offer more basic services and equipment for a lesser fee. So, ask around and do your research before dumping the gym altogether.
On the brighter side, a change in schedule can afford you the time and flexibility to start new habits related to fitness, and add to your social well-being. Many people complain that they would exercise or participate in more activities with family and friends if they just had the time. Finally, you have the time to swim in the local pool, play a pick-up game of basketball with the kids, or start a neighborhood walking group. This break in the daily search routine gives you something to look forward each day and gets you off the couch or away from your computer.
Daily exercise can also lessen the symptoms of depression that often accompany job loss. How does exercise help depression and anxiety? According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways which may include:
• Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression
(neurotransmitters and endorphins)
• Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
• Increasing body temperature which may have calming effects
The second victim of cutting the family budget is often the grocery bill. Unfortunately, spending less money on food often means sacrificing whole foods and organic options in favor of cheaper items. This change may also lead to weight gain. Simply put, many of the less expensive choices at the local market are the convenience foods that tend to be lower in nutritional value and higher in calories. These food items are often loaded with salt and simple carbohydrates. In addition, the repetitive nature of searching job boards, e-mailing resumes and updating your social media can lead to mindless eating at your computer.
So, this is a critical time to purge the pantry, plan healthy meals and take the time to shop wisely. Studies have shown that people who plan their meals keep a healthier diet and weight by having healthy food on hand for meals and snacks. A bag of crisp carrots, a few almonds, bottled water, fruit, granola, celery and other low calorie or portion controlled snacks can help you save those couple of pounds over a lengthy job search.
Even if you have everything you need to conduct a job search right there at home with healthy snacks and a solid routine, it is still a good idea to step away from the computer on a regular basis and connect with your peers. I suggest combating the stress of going it alone in a job search by finding a job search group or work team that will share the ups and downs of job search. There are several ways to find a group to support you in your search endeavor: tap into current job search clubs formed by civic or religious organizations, government sponsored programs found in your area and private organizations. Also, you can find local Success Teams originally created by world renowned career coach Barbara Sher. These teams are not just for job search but designed to build groups that help people reach their dreams through the sharing of ideas, connections, leads, resources and support on a regular basis. Check out http://shersuccessteams.com/. If needed, build your own support team to remain motivated and stay afloat as you share similar the struggles and victories of the career changing seas.
Creating a job search strategy that works for you should include: reconnecting with your personal values and your strengths, scheduled time for search, physical and fun activities, planning for healthy eating habits, and making social connections that are positive, supportive and consistent. With these factors in place, both you and your waistline can weather the storm of landing your next job.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Okay, so the kids were very excited to start school, more excited than I have ever seen them about a first day of school. With the gain of uninterrupted time without kids in the house, my first instinct was to make a list of all the things that I would do, catch up on, and fill time with completely. Then, I realized that was the opposite of what I really needed to do. Yes, I can rush around, slamming down the gourmet coffee, knocking things off the “to-do” list with the best of the crowd, and come to the end of the day exhausted, often feeling empty, asking, “Where did the day go?” Long gone are the days when I was exhausted from feeding and diapering my kids, where I was the center of their world and each moment was a milestone. Now my kids can scramble eggs, do their own homework and dress themselves. Boy, can they ever! So, what do I do with my new glimpse of freedom? How do I make it work for me, not just work me?
I took my own advice. Hard to do for a coach, but that is what I did. Often I advise clients who are unhappy with their lives, relationships or careers, that to find the satisfaction, the joy that they are looking for, they need to get back to the basics, their values. So, I spent time completing the Values Compass again featured on my blog http://passionforlifepassionforfood.blogspot.com/2011/08/set-your-values-as-your-compass_10.html . I followed the steps there and came up with my top 5 values, my compass-Fun, Creativity, Family, Art and Encouraging.
I found that I have spent very little time operating in my top 5 Values. Specifically, I have left little time for creativity and family, lately. So, instead of working late last night, I went to the movies with my family. The movie was okay, but to hear my family laugh was priceless. I also, have made the conscious decision not to take on some of the assignments offered to me lately, if they do not line up with my values. This is difficult, since my husband has just started his own business and finances are a bit tight. However, I have to know that when I am living and working in my values, I am happier, more rested, of better service to the ones around me. So, by taking on less, I hope to be more.
Taking care of you can mean doing less, putting away thoughts, reframing an experience, or just quietness. Cell phones, e-mail, the Internet are ever present.....It is said that people on average handle 6 times the information on a daily basis as they did in 1960. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=2595 With all this information zooming at us, we may feel the need for speeding up. It is easy to understand why there is a major coffee shop on every corner and "energy" drinks galore at every check-out stand and convenience store. We become over-stimulated, overscheduled, overworked, overwrought; overwhelmed.......I see this as one the ways that we as a culture dilute our power and our presence.
So, as we have opportunities, offers, obstacles and ideas, we need to ask ourselves some questions:
How does this fit into my values?
How does this fit into my vision for how my life could be?
What will this cost in energy, time, relationships, and money?
If I take this on, what will I have to give up in order to maintain my life balance?
Who can help support me in my decision?
How would I advise my best friend in this same situation?
Is there a "should" involved? (“Shoulds” are great signals for when something does not fit into your life, but is hard to say no to because of old stories or habits.)
Friday, August 12, 2011
1/3 Cup Oil
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Lb. Fresh or Frozen okra -sliced about ¼ inch thick
3-4 Medium tomatoes diced in large chunks - about ½ in.
1 medium onion diced ¼ inch thick
1 diced bell pepper
1 Cup diced celery
1 TBS. Joe’s Stuff or your favorite Cajun seasoning
½ tsp. Garlic Powder or 1 small clove garlic, crushed
1-2 dashes Tabasco
2 bay leaves
3-4 tsp. File’
3-4 Cups Chicken Broth
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 cups left-over turkey, diced or shredded*
(Add water if needed to fill pot.)
2 Cups cooked rice
1. Make Roux by heating oil in large non-stick skillet on high. Sift flour into pan. Cook until medium-dark (The color should be between caramel candy and coffee with a little cream.)
2. Add okra, bell pepper, onion and celery to Roux. Brown in pan on high. Do not over-stir. Flip with spatula until vegetables are dark brown on 3 sides. (About 10-15 minutes)
3. Add tomatoes. Sauté about 5 minutes, until tomatoes are fork tender. Do not over-stir.
4. Move vegetables to large stew pot. Stir in chicken broth and all remaining ingredients.
5. Simmer 20 minutes or longer and serve with additional file on the side. Remove bay leaves.
6. Serve over the cooked rice.
* You may use cooked chicken, sausage, or seafood instead of turkey.
Skip the meat and substitute vegetable broth.
Grill okra, onion and tomato brushed with a little olive oil and file’ for 10 or 15 minutes. This will add another depth of flavor.
Add on TBS tahini.
1 med. cucumber, pared, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 med. green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 28 oz. can Italian style tomatoes (Cento brand works well)
2 TBS. fresh cilantro
2 TBS. balsamic
2 TBS. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
1 dash Worcestershire
Seasoning salt and pepper to taste
Put all above ingredients in blender or processor and process until smooth. Chill several hours. Serve in ice cold bowls and garnish with chopped cucumbers, cilantro, tomatoes, celery, chilled cooked shrimp and dollop of sour cream.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Eliciting Your Values
Here is a step-by-step method to create your own personal values compass. This can be a time consuming process, and it will require your concentrated attention. If this is not a good time for you to do this, feel free to read it over now and then complete it when you can put in the time. It is worth the effort and is a process worth repeating every six months or even more frequently if you find yourself struggling with your level of satisfaction or success in your life or career.
When I refer to values, I am not talking about how much money you have, what type of car you drive, or where you live. Although cars, clothing and locations can be symbols of what are your deeper desires, more important than these symbols are words like comfort, adventure, excitement and financial security. I am talking about what is truly important to you in life.
Brainstorm a list of your values as the answers to this question. Try to reduce your responses to a single word or two that encapsulates each answer. For example, if one of your answers is, "having a successful career," then you might edit that phrase to the value of "success." Don't worry about the order of your list yet or how long it is, just get everything down in writing.
To make this task easier for you, I've put together an extensive list of values below which you can use to help build your own list. Most of my clients usually find it easiest to circle the words that most appeal to them right away then narrow the circled list further and further. There's no hard rule for how long your list should be, but I usually prefer a list in the range of 5-8 values. If you have more than this, consider cutting out the marginal values that just barely made your list, or combine multiple values that are nearly identical on a single line, like achievement/accomplishment.
So you might end up with a list that looks something like this:
Prioritizing Your Values
The next step is to prioritize your list. This is usually the most time consuming and difficult step because it requires intense thinking. Many people find this exercise enlightening and take a quiet personal approach to the process. However, it can be fun to do this with a partner. I encourage people to tackle it with a nonjudgmental friend over coffee or lunch. It could be fun!
My preferred method of prioritizing my values list is to identify the top value, then the second highest value, and so on until I've rebuilt the whole list in order of priority from the top to the bottom. So you may begin by asking yourself these questions: Which of these values is truly the most important to me in life? If I could only satisfy one of these values, which one would it be? The answer to this question is your number one value. Then move down the list and ask which remaining value is the next most important to you, and so on, until you've sorted the whole list in priority order.
These values in order become your Values Compass. Even though you may have a Destination (Vision) and a Map (Goals) and Steps (Clarity/Direction) to getting the career or life you want, this Values Compass builds awareness that may keep you heading in the right direction. You can be confident each step of the way by measuring, or filtering, each opportunity against these values to see if they are in line with your ultimate desires for your life. This values compass can be integral to overcoming obstacles also, but we will discuss more about that in another post.
Complete the exercise and reflect on where you are, where you want to be, and what steps you need to take between. Then, move as you follow your Values Compass to a better life.
- Attractiveness/ Beauty
- Financial independence
- Intelligence/ Knowledge
- Making a difference
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
2. Permitting mistakes allows us to take risks.
3. Noticing mistakes show our commitment to quality, to making our life work.
4. We can use mistakes to practice. Look through the lens of your values.
5. Mistakes make powerful teachers. Help us learn new value, new behaviors.
Adapted from Falling Awake by David Ellis
Sunday, July 10, 2011
4 to 6 servings
• 2 large bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/3 palmful
• 4 cloves garlic
• 1 red pepper (Thai Talon)
• 1 small red onion, chopped
• A generous handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
• A few sprigs fresh thyme
• 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon sea salt
• 1 pound very small button mushrooms
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Into a food processor add the bay leaves, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic, chile, onion, parsley, and thyme and pulse-chop into a paste. Place the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, sugar and salt in a pot and bring to a simmer to dissolve. Then add the paste and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Place the mushrooms in a container and douse with the hot brine; cover and steep 1 minute. Stir and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
This recipe is for a 1 gallon freezer can.
3 Egg yolks
1 Large 13 oz. Can of Evaporated Milk
1 Can Water
1 TBS Flour
1 Cup Sugar
Combine custard ingredients and cook, stirring until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. You may want to use a double boiler for this. Strain and cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
Next, in freezer can combine the custard mixture with the following:
1 16 oz. Carton of Whipping Cream
1-2 TBS Vanilla Extract
1 13 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Enough Whole or 2 % milk to fill to line
Place lid on freezer can and hold can in place while filling the freezer alternately with ice and rock salt. Put crank on and begin cranking or plug in to outlet. Operate freezer according to directions for your machine. Add more salt and ice as needed. The freezer may stop from time to time when ice gets in the way. So, readjust ice by turning off the machine and picking ice with wooden spoon and turn it back on. When ice cream maker stops completely, remove the can and enjoy the ice cream or place in deep freeze until it has reached desired firmness.
My mom makes the best homemade vanilla ice cream. My first memory of making ice cream was on the ranch where I grew up outside a small East Texas town named Rusk, in an even smaller community named Atoy. Making homemade ice cream was an all-day event and everyone had a job. First of all, my dad believed that the best ice cream was made from a fresh block of ice that you bought, brought home and chipped up yourself. So, while my mom got all the ingredients together to cook the custard. My brother, sister and I would ride with dad 20 minutes to Rusk in his1963 green Chevy pickup to get the block of ice from the ice house, where we could watch the ice slide out of the freezer down a conveyor belt. We would wrap the block in a blanket and set it on the back of the truck. Then we would dare each other to sit on the covered block and count to ten. Boy, that was cold! When we got home, dad would painstakingly chip up the ice with a pick, and mom would pour the now cooled custard in the can, carefully filling the rest of the can with that rich custard mixture and whole milk. In went the ice and the salt, on went the top of the freezer. Then, it was our turn. My brother, sister and I would sit on the wooden steps of our carport and crank the ice cream by hand. Sometimes, we had watermelon or blackberries on the side. Sometimes, we had company and other times we had the ice cream to ourselves. Even when the ice houses closed down in Rusk, we still drove to the neighboring town of New Summerfield to buy ice.
My father has been gone now for many years; I live in a big city now and have kids of my own. However, my mom is here this week visiting and guess what? Yep, we are making ice cream using her recipe. It still tastes great! Although we used ice from our refrigerator, it brought back memories of truck rides into town, laughing with my brother and sister, and how a family working together can reap sweet rewards and even sweeter memories.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
As I was driving to work recently, I saw a young cardinal hopping along the grass on the side of the road as I stopped at a stoplight. The image that comes to mind when you hear the word cardinal is probably of a tall majestic beautiful red crested bird with a black mask around its strong triangular beak designed for cracking seeds, but this is not what I saw. This cardinal was caught in a phase just after the fuzzy cute baby bird stage but before the poor creature developed its beautiful red flight feathers. It wasn’t chubby and cute anymore but it wasn’t the sleek flying creature it was meant to be one day either. Many things in our life go through stages that aren’t so pretty.
Barbara Sher, a world renowned career coach and best-selling author, says that ideas start out like babies animals. Human beings give birth to ideas and at first, we love them. We imagine how they will turn out with incredible pride and romantic optimism. When it comes to working out the logistics, budgeting time or money or both, for this new vision, the wonderful idea can molt away some of its attractive newness. As this idea develops you may find a need to further plan, to polish, to gather support of others and overcome obstacles. At some point it may be hard to share this vulnerable, not quite developed idea, at this ugly stage. However, this is a time that not only the idea needs support, but also the person who gave birth to the idea may need support. I encouraged a group of friends recently to set a goal, and some of these friends might be at an ugly stage of reaching this goal, just as you may also.
Some common goals are related to health, like starting a new exercise program; others wanted to reconnect to art they had put aside years ago. I had set a goal to complete two art works this month, and really had some great ideas that I wanted to bring to fruition. One of the ideas was a collage on canvas in tribute to Frida Kahlo, a well known Mexican artist. However, this idea did not come together on the canvas the way I had wished. So, I could stop, give up on this project at this ugly stage, but instead I have decided to work at it some more, ask for support and ideas. I may change my tactics, redo some of the piece, allow myself to struggle with the details, step back and look at the big picture. I am hoping that in sharing this photo of my work at this ugly stage that it might encourage anyone who reads my blog to do the same with their life, their ideas, and their relationships. So, here it is, and here are some of the steps that I am willing to do to make it a better piece of art. I am leaving some of the steps blank you, as you will notice, for you to fill in because I know that there is no way that I could have all the answers. No one really does. How are goals going for you?
1. Make a goal.
2. Plan some small steps.
3. Take action.
4. Assess the progress, from the detailed perspective and the big picture view.
5. Adjust as needed.
6. Share your goal.
7. Ask for help, or support.
8. Be willing to make changes, or redo’s.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
“We cook and eat for comfort, nurture and companionship. We cook and eat to mark the seasons and celebrate important events. We cook and eat to connect with family and friends and with ancestors we never knew. And through this baking and breaking bread together, we come to know who we are and where we came from.”
Talking With My Mouth Full, Bonny Wolf’s book
Saturday, May 7, 2011
-Bruce Williamson, It's Never Too Late To Have A Happy Childhood, 1987
Saturday, April 30, 2011
2. Sing or listen to music, your favorite music, even holiday music, no matter what anyone else thinks or the time of year. I have a friend that loves Christmas carols and plays them in his car during his commute with the air conditioner on full blast after a particularly stressful day at work. During especially difficult times in his life, he even makes a fire in the fireplace at home and recreates the holiday mood. Sounds funny, but think about it...
3. Take your shoes off for a moment and wiggle your toes. Wiggling your toes can be like a breath of fresh air, well not for those around you... It can take you back to your childhood and it also changes your posture.
According to the science of Reflexology -- which has been around in other cultures for thousands of years -- your feet are a kind of master control panel for the rest of your body. "Meridians" in the body -- which are those channels of energy treated by acupuncture -- end up in the feet. So the ends of those meridians in your feet connect with every organ and every part of your entire body. When you wiggle your toes, you are stimulating -- and thus relaxing -- your entire body. (Incidentally, this is a good place to mention that you can be energised and relaxed at the same time. It's a matter of the quality of that energy. If it flows freely and smoothly, you will be relaxed. If the energy flow in your body is restricted or blocked, you will be tense. Toe wiggling helps to bring about a relaxing, free-flowing energy.)
4. Really look at something alive. Study a caterpillar, watch a leaf blowing in the wind, or watch the expressions on a child’s face as they play or tackle their math homework. Connecting with something outside yourself, especially something with a life of its own\ will give you great perspective and draw you away from your own struggles for a restful moment and can turn into your next adventure.
5. Smile for no reason. Yes, you have probably heard that smiling releases endorphins and can influence your mood, but another reason to smile is …..When you smile people are more likely to smile back, except on the subway. My less than scientific reason is that it reminds you of other times that you have smiled or enjoyed someone else’s smile, and if your cheeks begin to hurt from the strain in just a few seconds, it may mean that you haven’t been doing nearly enough smiling lately and that there are other areas of life calling out to you, happier ones that you haven’t made time for or sought out lately.