Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sippy Cup = Big Boy

Does that sippy cup say "Jackson?"
And are those my baby's chubby hands holding it?

Does this mean he is old enough to drink from a sippy cup? How did that happen?

 Couldn't you just melt looking at those eyes?

As with anything edible, he LOVED his first sippy cup experience!

The Great Debate

I feel like in our society there is a giant usher who asks you where you want to sit. More specifically, on what side of the aisle do you want to sit. The left side or the right side. And you're expected to choose what side your seat is quite early in life. 

What he doesn't tell you is that when you choose your seat you are also agreeing to agree with all that "that side" agrees with. That when your friends, family, co-workers find out where you sit they may look at your differently and will most likely stamp some sort of stereotype onto you. 

Well, I don't want to sit anymore. I want to stand. I want to stand for what I believe, not what my "side" believes. Let me explain. 

Growing up, I was unusually political for a little girl. I wrote letters to the President, I volunteered for campaigns, I could speak the political-speak very easily and I knew where I stood on issues. 

I passed this love of politics on to my younger brother. When he was only 5 years I remember a specific occasion when we went out for lunch together at Pizza Hut and we were having a conversation about World War II and the political and social implications of that era. Did I mention he was 5? And I was only 17 for that matter. Jordan went on to share his love for the politics by campaigning for George Walker Bush in his 2nd grade classroom, while passing out snacks he would ask his classmates who they planned to vote for (as if they had a vote!) and would "suggest" that they might consider Mr. Bush. Meanwhile, I was at Purdue having parties with my friends to watch all of the debates and major political milestones of the race. I bled red- both literally, of course, and politically. 

But, I had an ah-ha moment today. You see, I have been grappling with why my passion for politics seems to be fading fast. Why is it that as I get older (I lose that term loosely since I am 26) my "love" for politics is simply not there like it used to be. I am in no way apathetic. To be clear, I am not apathetic about anything in life because that my friends is what I consider to be laziness of the mind. But, I also realize that I no longer want to choose a side of the aisle to stand on.

I don't want to choose a permanent seat on either side of that aisle because at the end of the day I simply don't agree 100% with what either side stands for and I certainly don't agree completely with how either side is choosing to manage their agenda. 

Instead, I am finding that when it comes to my view on issues I am looking not through the "political" lens, but instead through the lens of my values and my faith. This is not a whole lot different than how I took positions before- always based on my values- but now I am eliminating that "3rd party" -the political party. I know who I am, I know where I stand and I know which causes and issues mean the most to me and I will spend my efforts focusing on those directly, in whatever ways are appropriate. 

I am not completely naive, I realize why political parties exist, I realize their purpose and why they are needed, but in my tiny role in this world I am coming to peace with the fact that I will most likely  not make my impact by involving myself in those parties. I will go about it in different ways, ways that are completely, 100%, whole-heartedly in line with what I believe to be right- no compromises, no "almost" agrees, no sort-of lean that way kind of stuff. 

On a last parting thought, I will tell you that I think Jordan was years ahead of me in getting to this realization. He may not be able to express it in words, but I think that Jordan already looks at things through the view of his faith and I hope that he continues to do that. If so, he will be years wiser than me. 

And finally, if you actually read this entire rant post, then I will treat you with this adorable video of Jackson from bedtime a few nights ago!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Hoffman's: Reunited

We counted and it had been almost exactly 2 entire years since my entire family (on the Hoffman side) had been together at one time... until last night! Here are a couple of photos from our dinner last night at our home (thanks to my Aunt Sandy since my camera battery died after 5 minutes... you can imagine how devastated I was):

The Hoffman's

Peyton, Jordan & Aaron- best buddies. I can only imagine the conversation they were having. 

JP & Lex: The way she loves Jackson reminds me of how much I loved her (and still do) when she was a baby. 

Aaron & Kelly- Kelly is 5 months along with Zoe Marie in this photo! They will be beginning the next chapter of their lives next week in Cape Cod, MA where Aaron has been stationed with the Coast Guard as a Rescue Diver (so proud of him!)

B, Mary & Grandma in the dinner line...

Jumpa... Jumpa...

(I warned you... lots of video posts coming at ya)

Here is Jackson jumping his heart out at 3 months and then last week at 6 months!

Life: Pre-Jackson

Prepare yourself for A LOT of random video posts... Dan ordered a new little thingy that makes uploading videos to our computer SO MUCH easier. We just received it yesterday so now all of our videos are loaded on the computer and finally ready for sharing. Whereas, before, it took forever to get them on here. Anyway, while I was organizing the videos into nice little folders (in chronological order, of course) I came across a few from when we first bought our video camera last November. Those were Pre-Jackson days. I was around 7 months pregnant to be exact. This is one little snapshot into life before Jackson when Sammy was still king... 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Speedy Catch Up

How is it Friday already? This week went crazy fast. I know I say that a lot. I feel like a broken record, but it's true- time flies when you're having fun! In an attempt to give a speedy catch-up on Life on Cottage Hill, here are a few random updates and stories from this week.

1. The week started out with a bang. Literally. A bang to my head. We had a meeting at work that was themed around baseball and the Reds. To kick off the meeting two of the men in lead got up in front of the room (of about 50 people I am guessing) and decided to get everyone pumped up by hitting t-shirts into the "stands" like they do at Reds games. So, they stand up and proceed to hit the first t-shirt with a bat- meanwhile, I am sitting in the second row with a hot cup of coffee and BANG, I get hit by a line drive to the side of my head. My coffee goes everywhere and the room erupts in laughter- big time. I am in shock. My good friend, Kristen (shout out :O) quickly helps me clean up the coffee- I think her exact words were "here, I have a black dress on, I'll get it for you" and proceeded to wipe up the coffee on my chair with her clothes- now THAT is supportive! The poor guy who hit me in the head- we'll call him, Hector (because that's his name), felt awful. Seriously awful, which only made people laugh more. To make a long story somewhat short I was the running joke of the entire meeting and week for that matter. On Thursday I was walking down the hall, thinking that the joke was long forgotten, when a roll of paper towels came flying at my head. I ducked. The guy said "just seeing if you're used to things flying at your head yet" -oh, so funny and hopefully soon forgotten. 

2. Dan, Jackson and I booked flights this week so we can go to Denver early next month to meet our beautiful newest niece, Violet! It will be JP's first flight and first time meeting his Aunt Sarah, Uncle Brian and cousin Violet O. 

3. Speaking of travelling. I will be going on a business trip in a couple of weeks to Singapore. I am excited since this is my first time to that country, but pretty nervous as well to leave Jackson for the first time. I know Dan has everything completely under control and both Grandmas are close by for back-up, but it will still be emotional I am sure!

4. The Reds are in first place still. We are HUGE fans if I haven't mentioned that before and are pretty pumped about the fact that they are currently 4 games ahead of St. Louis!

5. Tomorrow we will be having the entire Hoffman family over for a cook-out. I am really excited- this is the first time in a long time that all of my cousins will be together at once. We are a very close family and as we all get older and busier and somewhat spread apart geographically it makes it more and more challenging to get everyone in one place, so it should be perfect!

Okay, I must cut myself off from this speedy catch-up so I can go prepare some things for tomorrow's get together and maybe make some more baby food while Dan and I relax and watch the Redlegs while JP is in dreamland. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010

As I was going through some photos that Dan & I took of Jackson tonight I received an email from my good friend and Purdue mentor, Bridget, who has 3 beautiful (or should I say handsome?) little boys of her own. She was passing along an article she had received on parenting advice and reminders spoken from the child's point of view. I really enjoyed reading through these bits of wisdom and wanted to share with you  as well- many of these are very much so in line with how Dan and I will raise all of our children- I have intertwined some photos from our cuddle/play time with JP tonight right before he went to bed (hence the VERY droopy eyes!). Thanks, BWG, for sharing! 

 Don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all that I ask for. I am only testing you.

Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I prefer it. It lets me know where I stand.
Don't use force with me. It teaches me that power is all that counts. I will respond more readily towards being led.

Don't be inconsistent. That confuses me, and makes me try harder to get away with everything I can.

Don't make promises that you may not be able to keep. That will discourage my trust in you.
Don't fall for my provocations when I say and do things just to upset you. If you do, then I'll try for more such victories.

Don't be too upset when I say, "I hate you." I don't mean it but I want you to feel sorry for what you have done to me.
Don't make me feel smaller than I am. I will make up for it by behaving like a "big shot."

Don't do things for me that I can do for myself. It makes me feel like a baby and I may continue to put you in my service.

Don't let my bad habits get me a lot of your attention. It only encourages me to continue them.
Don't correct me in front of people. I'll take more notice if you talk quietly with me in private.

Don't try to discuss my behavior in the heat of a conflict. For some reason my hearing is not very good at this time-my cooperation is even worse.
It is fine to take the action required by my behavior, but please let me know why I'm being punished, and that even if you might hate what I did, you don't hate who I am.
Don't try to preach to me. You'd be surprised how well I know what's right and wrong.

Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins. I have to learn to make mistakes without feeling that I'm no good.
Don't nag. If you do, I shall have to protect myself by appearing deaf.

Let me know when I have done something that you like. If you let me know how I did it right, that makes it easier for me to please you again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jackson, Lately...

If the first 6 months of Jackson's life are any indication on how fast the rest of his childhood will go, then I might as well start packing his boxes for Purdue tomorrow. 

It is because of this tendency for things to go by in a flash that I want to capture some of the smaller moments before I forget them. Here are a few stories of Jackson lately...

I'm determined to teach JP as much as possible and I also have convinced myself that there is no such thing as "too early" - one such teaching moment comes at dinner time. In between bites I catch myself asking Jackson if he wants more in 3 different ways: first in English "Jackson, do you want more?" then in Spanish, "Jackson, quieres mas?" and then in sign language. No wonder he gets impatient in between bites.

Another teachable moment comes when we make our regular runs to the library. I pick up Spanish children's books to read to him at bed time. I can only imagine how I sound to Dan when he walks by the nursery only to hear me speaking in my best Spanish accent to Jackson. The latest reads are "Clifford El Perro Grande Rojo" and "Donde Esta El Bano." 

Speaking of books. When JP was born my mom (Nanna) signed him up for a monthly book club. So, every month a new book arrives in the mail. Last month I was overly excited when "The Little Engine That Could" arrived- one of my favorites from when I was little! I remember for a fact that I used to write "I think I can, I think I can" on the back of all my tests in 2nd grade- that is until Ms. Johnson wrote a note back saying "yes you did!" and I got embarrassed and stopped. Anyway, this month I was less-enthused when a book called "SkippyJon Jones" arrived. I had never heard of it and it looked lame. But, my little man LOVES this book. The last 2 nights we have read it several times over and over because he cracks up every time. I fear that we may have very different tastes in books. This could be bad. 

SkippyJon Jones is not the only thing that gets Jackson to erupt in laughter. The list of random things that he finds hilarious grows every day. This weekend the list grew with things like Dan's socks- seriously, he stares at Dan's feet and cracks up. Certain noises that I make with my mouth also get a good reaction and the more odd the games that my Dad (Poppy) play with him, the better. 

I read somewhere when Jackson was a newborn that babies need to hear something like 30,000 words a day. So to reach his "quota" I started talking to him all the time, including when we're in the car together, just the two of us. I find myself saying the most random things. "Okey dokey artichok-ee" are among the most often heard sayings. What does that even mean? This habit of talking out loud in the car seems to carry over even when Jackson is not with me. The other day I caught myself referring to myself as "J Money" - what?!?! Are you kidding me? Who have I turned into? 

Water bottles. The child is obsessed with playing with them. Why? Who knows. 

On Sundays, Jackson now goes to the nursery during church service. He loves it. He gets to play with his friends and gets more than his share of attention from the ladies taking care of him. He is referred to not by "Jackson" when he is there but by "The Bouncy One" - his reputation of not being able to sit still and being overly curious already precedes him. This morning Dan and I were convinced that we were going to get "the call" to come and get our child from the nursery during service because Jackson was in dire need of a nap when we dropped him off, but no such "call" was received while in church. When I went to pick him up after service the ladies told me that he was in such a great mood, laughing and smiling the entire time and put on quite the "show." I'm telling you, he is a FLIRT. He loves the attention. This, too, could be bad. 

Those are a few stories of Jackson lately. I'm sure I'm forgetting many, but you KNOW I'll share more soon!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

JP: A Man on the Move

Jackson continues to get faster & faster, army-crawling his way around the house much to the dismay of his older puppy brother, Sammy, who is in constant fear of the dreaded tail-pull. Poor guy, we encourage him to find napping spots on higher ground to protect him from our curious little man who has so much to discover!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dear Friday night- so nice to see you!

This has been a crazy busy week- productive- but busy, so as I sit here my head is still spinning a little bit from the past few days- so thank you in advance for letting me get my random thoughts out- none of which have any real connection to each other except that they are all dancing around in my head:

1. I am loving the ice cream I am eating right now. We very rarely have unhealthy foods in our house. So, on the occasion when I am just craving something sweet it usually requires an extra trip out. Tonight the extra trip out that Sammy and I made was 100% worth it.  

2. My newest niece has arrived! Violet Olivia was born late Wednesday night in Denver. She is absolutely adorable and beautiful and precious. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty sure I have the most beautiful nieces and nephew. PS: We now have 6 grand babies under the age of 3- Love it!

3. Like I mentioned, it was a crazy week at work. Lucky for me I do well when things are crazy and busy. I feed off of it. The bigger my list and the more important my projects the happier I am. The happier I am the more productive I am. It's a beautiful cycle. The week was topped off with an all afternoon workshop today. I can't really talk about the specifics, but it was one of those experiences where I sort of have to pinch myself a little bit and ask "how did I get so lucky to do this kind of work" - sitting in a room with some of the most brilliant and intelligent people you could imagine and just dreaming BIG and brainstorming your hearts out, coming up with new ideas and inventions that all of you will hopefully see in market over the next several years. PS: Did I mention that I got to draw upon Jackson as my inspiration? Yep, we were dreaming up big ideas for babies, my most favorite subject.

4. It's the weekend. Endless Jackson & Dan time. Need I say more? 

5. This weekend's to-do list includes: making more baby food, cleaning the house from top to bottom, meeting Jackson's newest friend Ethan who is 2 weeks old today, church, reading, relaxing... heavenly stuff. 

6. A few random things that I wrote in my journal this week- many from a book Dan & I are reading on Goal-setting:

-Faith, happiness, love, enthusiasm, success... they are all contagious- go and spread them!

-"The truth is, everything that has happened in my life that I thought was a crushing event at the time has turned out to be for the better." - Warren Buffett

-"The potential of an average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good." Brian Tracy

-Your mind has the power to create almost every aspect of your life. You become what you think about most of the time.

-Studies show that the average person only uses 10% of his/her potential and only 2% of their mental potential. (that was mind-blowing to me!)

-"The elevator to success is out of service, but the stairs are always open." - Zig Ziglar

-The greatest enemies of success & happiness are negative emotions of any kind. 

-You are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.

-"Realize what you really want- it stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold." -William M. Marsden


Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Headlines from August 18, 2010:

1. First thing this morning Jackson had to get a vaccine at the pediatrician. He did great! We have chosen to put him on an alternative schedule that basically requires that he only get 1 type of vaccine at a time so we don't overload his little, growing body. He was a big hit in the waiting room- he literally had every nurse and receptionist on their feet talking to him because the boy is a FLIRT. Big time. 

2. Today, Uncle Juey started High School. BIG day. Jackson missed getting to play with him all day since he has been home on summer vacation, but Jordan reported back that he had a good day. He refused to answer a lot of questions, but I think we're all still in shock that he's old enough to be in high school. Crazy! Luckily, he let me live vicariously through him last Saturday morning by letting me take him school supply shopping- my MOST favorite day of the year throughout my entire childhood!

3. My 4th niece is on her way into this world as I type this very post! My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have been at the hospital all day as Sarah's water broke early this morning. We are all anxiously awaiting photos and delivery details from Denver!

4. I had way too much on my to-do list for today, so I am officially putting the list away for the night and am going to be at peace with the fact that yes, there are dishes in the sink that still need to be washed and no, I did not have time to puree the sweet potatoes for the newest batch of baby food. They will just have to wait until tomorrow. Look at me not over-obsessing (pay myself on back)!

5. And lastly, word is just in that yes, Jackson is still the most adorable thing I have ever seen. Check out my handsome little man in his tight-fitting-ducky-robe from bedtime that Nanna bought him. 
Post-bath, pre-story time & pre-clothes. When we get to the "putting on PJ's" part of the bedtime routine this smile quickly fades. The child likes to be el natural. Which is why I often come home from work and find him in diaper only- Dan gives into the no-clothes preference. 

Check out my rolls. 

What a face! Clearly getting tired at this point. He looks like a grumpy, chubby old man!

There's my happy boy!

JP chattin' it up. This is his new thing. He talks with extreme tongue movement. 

Check me out, ladies!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, Grace!

I can't believe it, but today my niece Grace turned 2! TWO whole years- unbelievable. It seems like she was just born and now she's a little lady who is full of life, giggles, smiles and LOVES her cousins. She loves to give "Baby Jaxton" hugs and kisses. And he likes to return the love by pulling her hair. Here are a few photos from the day she was born...
Grace - Just a few hours old!

Uncle Dan & Mama Cher... amazed at the tiny little bundle. 

Grace's future BFF, Mya & Aunt Jess

Grace now- so beautiful & growing up way too quickly. 

Hurricane Grace. 

We love you, Grace! Happy Birthday!
Uncle Dan, Aunt Jess & Jackson

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sweet, sweet relaxation

I am so thankful for this weekend. It provided some much needed rest and relaxation. 

This morning was no different- before church, while JP took an early morning nap, I did yoga on the dock.
My little yoga retreat. Just me & nature- a peaceful Sunday morning.

My yoga-partner, Bing. 

Watching the rain, making s'more brownies, cuddling & taking afternoon naps with Jackson were also crossed off the to-do list. 

Late-night sewing was also in order.

Dan wanted to make a bag for Jackson. I love the concentration on his face.

I never knew Dan's Grandma Sue, but I have a feeling she would be proud of his sewing. Or, really, proud of how much pride he took in making this for JP.

Speaking of the little man, he did lots of playing, eating (his favorite) and playing some more with mama and daddy.

Another perfect weekend on Cottage Hill. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Post-Marked 2023

A letter to Jackson on his 13th birthday- year, 2023. 

To my handsome little man (who I'm sure is now even more handsome, but not so little):

As I write this you are rolling around in your baby bed. You are supposed to be sleeping, but you have chosen to play a little first. You like to go about things your own way- you get that from both your Dad and me. We like to think of it as 'independence.' Your Grandmas and Grandpas would probably call it 'stubbornness.' As I wait for you to drift off into dream-land, I wanted to get some thoughts out that have been running through my mind today. Things I wanted to tell you. Things I WILL tell you many times throughout your lifetime. Some guiding words that are as much a reminder message to myself as they will be gentle words of support for you: 

I have post-marked this for when you turn 13 because I think that is a pivotal age. An age at which your love for life is high and nothing in your eyes can possibly stand in your way to live it to the fullest- this, I hope, is a view that you will forever hold on to and never let slip away. Jackson, as I look into your big baby blue eyes, I cannot help but feel instantly proud and excited for all that life has in store for you. You have every resource at your fingertips to make the life of your dreams come true. So, with that, I will say DREAM BIG, my sweet boy. Dream BIGGER than big, because as big as you think you're dreaming, the Lord has already planned dreams ten times bigger for you on your behalf. He will be patiently waiting for you to use your gifts to make all of them come true. Remember: your GIFTS are where your PASSION and your TALENTS intersect. Talents: you will have many. Don't worry, Dad and I will help you develop and hone these. 

As far as the passion: I pray that yours grows every day. Because it is PASSION that will not only get you up every morning, but will keep you SOARING through the day, into the night and to your dreams. What you are passion about is up to you- these things in which you fall in love with will come naturally. It will be our goal to ensure that God, family and learning are among your passions. We will work at that every day. It is my dream for you that you turn your PASSIONS into your life's work. It is my hope that you will never have a "job"- instead, have a career that you love, a career that further feeds your passions. 

There are a few things you must remember if you are to spend your life feeding your passions and fine-tuning your talents (thus, sharing with the world your gifts). Realize that your MIND is the greatest tool God has blessed you with. Your MIND provides you with the outlet to realize any and every goal you set for yourself. So, cherish that tool. Strengthen that tool. Help that tool grow. Your mind is like a muscle. You must work it HARD to strengthen it. NEVER let your mind go unused. Because, just like a muscle, a lazy mind will weaken quickly and turn to waste. I pray that through our example you will learn to minimize the amount of time you spend on mindless activities and will instead practice discipline in working-out your mind every day- challenge it, use it, stretch it. Stretch it FAR. 

There is absolutely nothing you cannot achieve in this life. Nothing. Dream the biggest of dreams. Hold tight to your values. Never waver in your faith. And know that your dad and I will be beside you every step of the way, encouraging you, guiding you and reminding you that God put you here with a PURPOSE and he has big plans for you. Big, big plans. 

I love you forever. More than you'll ever understand. You're only 6 months right now, but that first 6 months has gone so quickly that I'm sure when you turn 13 it will feel like I wrote this only yesterday. May the bright lights in your eyes be just as visible then as they are today. 

Love- your biggest fan,

PS: You have given up on play time now and are fast asleep... good boy, JP, good boy. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Starry Night

Dan & I just came inside. We spent the evening sitting on our dock, with a fire, eating s'mores, Dan had a glass of wine, talking and watching the meteor shower. It was heavenly. Meanwhile, Jackson was tucked tightly to sleep, dreaming away. The perfect ending to a very busy week. 

I plan to continue this theme of absolute peace and serenity through the remainder of the weekend. Lots of Jackson & Dan time are in store. A lot of cleaning. A lot of relaxing. A lot of reorganizing. A lot of just soaking each other up. A lot of dreaming. A lot of laughing. A lot of staring at this face. 
 A lot of time kissing this face.

 A lot of time thanking God for this face.

 But, for now, it is time to turn off the computer.
To thank God for all of the blessings he gave us this week.
The good times. And the not-so-good times.
The challenges he presented us with.
And the courage & energy he gave us to overcome them.
And for the next 2 days to spend every minute with each other.
Before beginning another crazy- but incredible- week of adventures.
Good night!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

do less good work. do more GREAT work.

I receive this regular email chain from Michael Bungay- his emails are usually based around some piece of advice that is meant to inspire, motivate, etc. You know the drill. To be very honest, I rarely open them due to lack of time, but for some reason I opened it today and read the entire thing. I think it was one of those little favors from God. 

You see, I have been in a HUGE slump this week. I think this slump stems to the fact that I was sick all weekend and have felt pretty awful for most of this week. That in combination with just feel generally burnt out at work all lead to me just feeling a little less than enthused in general the past few days, which is generally not me at all. 

So, when this little email popped up this morning and I actually opened it and read it I realized that it had some great little reminders that immediately pumped me back up. I thought I would share a few in case you too need a little pick-me-up:

6 Principles to Follow: (Michael's point was to follow these to do more "great work and less good work" but I think these are just great principles for LIFE, no matter who you are, what you do, where you want to be)

1. Be Resilient 

"The truth is, everything that has happened in my life... that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better." -Warren Buffett

Resilient = capable of bouncing back from or adjusting to challenges and change 

To be resilient:
-Focus on results: efforts and attempts are great first steps, but we need to act with commitment to delivering real results 
-Make lessons of failures: We need to learn from our experiences and accept them as tuition for future successes
-Continue on- smarter!
-Reinforce: Support each other and yourself continuously

2. Serve

It's all about attitude and action- it's all about being positive and having a sense of urgency. It's all about SERVING with a SMILE.

The fact of the matter is that if we want more (more money, more flexibility, more time, more whatever) then we have to be willing to give more to those we are serving. 

3. Give extra effort:

A few years ago, I used the 212degrees video in a presentation at work because it spoke to me so much. The video is all about the fact that at 211 degrees water is hot, but at 212 degrees water boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. The point is that one degree can make all of the difference. Live the 212. 

It is your life. You are responsible for your results. 

-2 extra acts of kindness weekly plan 1-4 more seeds of generosity each year
-15 extra minutes a day creates over 90 hours each year for what is important to you
-1 extra risk each week leads to 52 more opportunities every year

4. Live Ego-Less:

Imagine a world without ego. No toes to step on. No feelings to hurt. No territory to defend. Just pure love and caring. 

-Be humble
-Be teachable: focus on what you can learn vs what you know
-Listen more (talk less)
-Appreciate people
-Relax (let go of the need to be right or win every time)

5. Make your own Luck:

"Diligence is the mother of good luck" -Benjamin Franklin

-Prepare: Luck is where opportunity meets preparation
-Be awake
-Take action: Put yourself out there, be vulnerable, explore, make contacts, take risks
-Expect positive results: Optimism ALWAYS improves your chance

6. Complain Less

"...the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -George Bernard Shaw

I love that quote because it's so true. The world does not revolve around us. We are entitled to nothing. We are each responsible for our own happiness. To quote Dan's grandma, Billie, "just get up and live your life!" We were having a conversation this weekend about how negative people are in general and how a lot of times they end up over-medicating themselves because they think that perhaps popping a pill will make them happy and she said "they need to just get up and live their lives" - now, I understand there are severe cases where medication is necessary, but the fact that nearly 40% of the adults in the US are on an anti-depressant is just ridiculous in my opinion. Wise words from a woman who is nearly 90 years old and is still more active than most of the people I know.

Lastly, in the time it takes you to complain about something you could have come up with a solution. Think about it. It's true!

Okay, I must stop my rambling now and get back to work. I didn't mean to sounds preachy or like I know it all, because certainly I don't, but I needed to read these words myself today to kick my own behind into gear. So, if you ever find yourself in a rut like I did the past few days then I hope these thoughts will help you as well!
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