balance, giving, perspective

Holiday Smoliday

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This holiday season has looked a bit different than years past and different than I planned in my mind, but peaceful all at the same time.

This month I spent time on gratitude. I wrote hand written notes to those who made an impact on me. I shared some sweet Starbucks treats as an added bonus and it made me feel so happy to see the smiles for those who didn’t know they were coming.

I received as well. I met some girlfriends for an annual exchange event. It was a blast and I received some treasured keepsakes. A pickle ornament. Random but special. A notebook. A super secret notebook to pencil my ideas and visions. A bracelet. An intention bracelet that reminds me to love others unconditionally.  Stickers. Seems simple enough but they were motivating stickers. Power stickers to use as momentary reminders to take action. The infamous tank top. A bold statement given on a shirt to see if I have the brass to wear it in public. The answer is yes! My gal pals know me so well. They are also part of my inspiration. I continue to evolve as they support my goals and dreams.

I made my annual donations at Goodwill, coats to the homeless, books to kids and made some other charitable donations to warm my soul. Giving will always be part of my holiday season.

I spent some time rekindling with family and friends near and far. Sometimes when you only have the ability to make a call it’s still is better than no call at all. Technology offers the flexibility of FaceTime or Skype as well.

I cleared some clutter on the home front. Shifted some furniture and mindsets. I made some shifts personally and professionally to be aligned for the new year and all the crazy that 2019 has waiting for me.  Put up a new vision board to help focus on moving forward with vim and vigor. As part of this process I took some time to invest in myself as well. Nothing major, just aligning of key resources to support what’s ahead.

In order to be a strong leader, one must take slivers of time when they present themselves as opportunities to recharge your batteries. This could be in the form of pampering, it could be in the form of extra rest, some time alone, some time thinking, or maybe even a shopping spree. I won’t tell all my secrets here but I will stress the importance of self care. Self care is often overlooked and can cause stress for some.

I also emphasize the ability to give up control to gain control. Sometimes you battle so hard without seeing results, requiring you to let go in order forge ahead. This could be translated to business, personal or even relationships. Letting go can be hard but can be a necessity to reach the ultimate outcome you want or need.

The above leads me to risk. Every day one is faced with risk taking. Some take a cautious approach while others stare it down with optimism. I look at risk with ambition and optimism. I trust the process. I look ahead knowing what the worst could be, but smile at the thought of what can be.

As 2019 approaches for you, be fearless. Connect or reconnect with a loved one. Try something new that you have been putting off for whatever reason. Step out of your comfort zone and invest in YOU. The power of YOU is something you control!

I leave you with one of my cards from a vision board I use. It may help with any ups and downs you face in 2019.

More rants and blurbs to come in 2019 along with cool new projects on the horizon. #kt247

 

giving

Paying it Forward, Chick 2 Style

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Travel is such an important part of life. It’s a great way to spread your wings. I learn something new wherever I go.

This summer, I’ve had opportunities to visit a number of different cities.  I traveled to family celebrations as well as chased my daughters as they pursue their passion for lacrosse.

Whenever the schedule allows, we try to take time to enjoy the cities we visit.  Sure, we hit the famous spots and that is always fun.  On a recent trip to Nashville, we loved walking in the evenings, listening to lively music spill from the honky tonk windows and rooftops onto Broadway.  We spent time on the beach at a tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and rode roller coasters for a day at Cedar Point while visiting Cleveland, Ohio.

In addition to the major attractions, there are a few other things I try to do to get a closer sense of a place.  If I can, I shop a local market like Cleveland’s Westside Market. I try to get out into nature by visiting a park. Finally, I make an effort to have a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop.

We just returned from a few days adventuring in Nashville.  During my time there, I stumbled across Caliber Coffee Company.  I liked it so much, I went there two days in a row. Although the coffee was excellent, it was the friendly employees and energy that brought me back for the second time.

As you get to know our brand, you’ll see that the 2 Chicks are serious about giving.  We have given our books to kids in hospitals, food pantries, and low-income schools.  We’ve had support from generous readers and corporate sponsors.  This is just the beginning! We are always looking for new and inventive ways to give.  So, when I saw this board at Caliber and read that it was a way to pay it forward, I had to ask for details.

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Every sleeve clipped to the front and back of this ‘Shot of Grace’ board is a cup of coffee that was bought as a gift that day.  Some sleeves have names of local people on them. You can call or text the person you’re treating and let them know they have a coffee waiting.

But it was the other gifts that interested me even more. These sleeves are less specific. Instead of a certain person, they are made out to someone in need…a single mom…a freshman at the local community college…a newcomer to town…a daycare employee…a first responder…a step parent…a fireman…someone having a bad day. I imagined the smiles these tiny bits of thoughtfulness would bring to someone who needs a lift.

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I immediately thought of the 2 Chicks and our passion for giving. My imagination started spinning…who could I connect with using this opportunity? It didn’t take me long to decide.

I couldn’t resist the chance to encourage someone who may be thinking of telling their story.  The Chicks have found such amazing power in storytelling.  Although I don’t know where it ended up, I hope the coffee brightened someone’s day and encouraged them to share whatever unique and powerful story they have to tell.

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It also made me start to wonder again about new ways the 2 Chicks might connect and share.  I can easily get bogged down in details and logistics, but maybe giving doesn’t have to be as complicated as I think. As I was reminded again only yesterday, paying it forward isn’t only about the the news stories we see about the drive-thru at Chick-fil-a. Even more importantly, it’s the small, sincere acts of caring that are never noticed by the cameras but have an enormous impact nonetheless.

What are some of your favorite ways to pay it forward in your life?  What random acts of kindness bring you the most satisfaction? Let us know in the comments, readers!  Cheers!

-Beth, (aka Chick 2)

#2CHX  #2ChicksGiving #Payitforward #travel #lifelessons #reflection