This special time of year has always been synonymous with gift giving. Though beautifully wrapped presents and holiday packages can be found under most trees during this time, the greatest gifts we really can give are our time and talents.

Most of us can agree that this year has been unlike most. In many ways it’s brought us closer together, at least for many that live in the same household. For those that don’t, it’s created a distance as a result of COVID-19 and the social distancing measures put in place to prevent it from spreading. While the elderly, who are considered to be the most vulnerable, have had to limit their interaction with their family and dear friends, our school-age children, and even some college-age, have been forced to have classes online at home due to the pandemic. The effects of the limited socialization our current circumstances have created are likely to be felt for many years to come.

During this season in what has been an unprecedented year, I encourage you to give in a different way that you may have before. Take time to call, ZOOM or FaceTime your family and friends. Reflect on wonderful memories from the past and let them know why they mean so much to you. If you have children, try having them reach out to their older relatives. You’d be surprised at the wonderful conversations that can be created between generations.

Sharing our talents with those we care for is another gift we can give that doesn’t cost us too much. That could mean creating homemade cookies, replacing a store-bought holiday card with one you designed from home, creating a video of you playing an instrument or singing a classic Christmas song and sending it out as a video text to your loved ones.

There is no better time than the holidays to show those around us how much we truly care. Use this opportunity to think outside the box and give in a creative or different way this year. Reach out to a relative or friend you haven’t been in contact with for years. This may feel like a different holiday season in many ways, but if you get creative with how you approach it, it could turn out to be one of your best holidays ever. I’m sending peace and blessings to you and your family. Happy Holidays!

The air is a crisper, the leaves have turned various warm color hues and we’re starting to introduce sweaters and boots into our wardrobe. That means Autumn is officially here! What better time than now to give yourself permission to fall in love, and in this case, not romantically? Instead, fall in love with yourself, a new concept, a book, or even a new recipe.

So often we are expecting to find love with and within others, but the deepest love comes from within. When we embrace seeking out the things that bring us true fulfillment and joy, we’re left with a fullness that allows us to spread love to others. While it’s a great feeling to be in love, creating these opportunities to fall in love have to be sought out; and it starts with determining your likes and interests.

I have an infatuation with fashion and I find that I come alive anytime I’m able to soak it in, whether it’s in magazines, on TV, social media or while just admiring a well put together outfit on someone I pass by. Through fashion, a person is able to be the lead of their very own movie, and as the audience we’re the spectators. My favorite part of my day is deciding what I’m going to wear. Generally, this starts with what mood I’m in. Do I want to dress sophisticated, flirty, smart, sporty or sexy?

Once I determine what I wear, I slowly start to visualize pieces from my wardrobe that will pull together the perfect look. My process of selecting my outfit is an adventure all on its own. I always feel rewarded by the outcome - a look that showcases my personal style and my mood. The reason fashion speaks to me is because of my love for the variation of fabrics, textures, silhouettes and colors in my looks.

Everyday, I get to fall in love with fashion over and over again. For you it may be cooking or another interest. Whatever it is, I encourage you to embrace what you love wholeheartedly. You should find as many opportunities to fall in love as often as possible. I officially give you permission!

It’s the wee hours of the morning and you're churning over that creative thought, that big idea, or that seemingly unrealistic goal. As the sun begins to rise, that restless energy just can’t be contained and you realize those scattered thoughts may be the makings of something great. However, in order for those thoughts to be manifested, it may require you to push through the boundaries in your mind - - self doubt, fear, laziness and the criticisms of others, and instead move toward the limitless boundaries of going after what you want; peace of mind and the satisfaction that comes when others benefit too. 

To me, the old adage “thinking out the box” goes hand and hand with this way of approaching things. I often encounter this when I take on doing something I’ve never done. A good example of this is when I started learning a new language. In my case, that was French. Initially, I was very intimidated when I could not pronounce any words correctly and was having trouble memorizing basic phrases; but then I realized it was how I was approaching it. I started pushing the boundaries in my mind by seeking out French speakers to practice with and I recorded myself talking so I could hear as I improved. I’ll admit, I’m far from fluent, but I found that my focused dedication put me on track to accomplish what I set out to do, be conversational.

When pushing boundaries, it’s my thought that you be clear on your intended goal. If you are doing so just to be a rebel, you may get temporary satisfaction, but you may not garner the long-term benefits you truly desire. I’d also say you would want to give consideration to who may be affected by the actions you may take. If pushing your personal boundaries meant, for example, a plan to relocate to another city and this would possibly be disruptive to a committed relationship you’re in, consult with your partner to ensure you’re both on the same page. If it’s just a matter of timing, even if it takes a little time, a plan can be mapped out that will allow for optimal results.

When considering how far to push boundaries you shouldn’t start with the obstacles you may encounter, but instead think it through, write it out and see what is needed to execute a solid plan of action. If once evaluated, you see that it makes sense to proceed, I encourage you to do so. Allow yourself the opportunity to walk out the box, or work through any limiting beliefs which is not only freeing, but could also open all types of doors. Don’t be afraid to push boundaries!



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