Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Be

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Nine years ago my family and I experienced a devastating house fire. We lost almost everything. The key word in all of this, however, is THING. Stuff, pieces of paper that mean what? For whatever reason, we literally escaped death. The fire marshal reminded me that 99% of those that experience what we did, don’t make it out alive. He said, “Someone up there is watching out for you; someone up there knows you have a bigger plan.” He wondered what woke me up in the middle of the night to save my family. I can only answer, “my dad,” (a few more tears, here) the man who taught me that you never get anywhere in life unless you stick your neck out.

A year after that fire I got a divorce at the same time my sister and her husband encouraged me to become an ordained minister with them. I had no idea how that would change my life so many years later. I’m not here to be preachy and teachy about religion or spirituality. In fact, you’d probably find my spiritual path a little crazy. What I know is “It’s a-ok!” We are all so different, yet connected by one thing – Love.

For nine years I have been trying to remember what I had and what I did before then. I have been trying to hold on to what I was, so as to not lose what I am. What am I? Who am I? What am I trying to find? I have been searching and grieving on a subconscious level for nine years. Yes, I wake everyday being thankful for another breath. Yes, I constantly share words of joy, BLISS and love. Yes, I constantly wear a smile on my face. Yet, a part of me has been looking for something for nine years!

What happened in those few devastating moments really doesn’t matter. The truth is “All that I am, is here, right now, in this moment.” I am breathing, I am smiling, I am writing, I AM ALIVE! AND SO ARE YOU!!!!

I am here to remind you to stop, for just one minute today, to look up at the sky and marvel at this incredible universe. To see beyond your circumstance and breathe in the joy of the moment – It is more than we could possibly imagine – And so are we.

Be grateful. Share your gratitude. This week I am particularly grateful to Tamara Stone, for sharing something called a SPARK with me; to Lori Lipten, for providing a safe place to evolve on my journey; to my husband, Jeff, coincidentally a fire marshal, for sharing his “spirit” and desire to “be” with me; to the UNIVERSE for waking me up in the middle of the night nine years ago – and waking me up today! To my children – you saved my life 20 years ago and don’t even know how! To my sister Sue, for encouraging me to look beyond what I think I know. Every day I am so grateful for all of you; for all of you that are in my life, whether directly or indirectly. YOU ARE all part of my BLISS! I share my gratitude and so much more, with you! I share my love!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Living Debt Free

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A few years ago my husband and I made a huge decision. We decided to "live debt free"; pay cash for everything and be more focused on our environment. We donated most of the things we didn't need to our favorite charities, set the thermostats way below the average and canceled the memberships we really didn't use that often, including Blockbuster. We sold our new vehicles, opted to car share and buy used, American made vehicles (well, as much as can be - that's another blog). We bought slightly used Fords, for cash, wanting to keep it as much a Michigan product as possible. NO MORE MONTHLY CAR PAYMENTS. Bonus - our insurance rates have dropped drastically.

It's not easy, especially for me. When I get cold, I want to crank up the heat - not put my winter coat back on, but I don't. When I want something, I don't necessarily want to take the time to see if it's on sale somewhere first, but I do. When I want to go somewhere, I don't always want to see which car is available first, I just want to get going, but I do see what car is available first and if I have to I walk or ride a bike! Well, at 40 something, I think I got it and the words, "Patience; good things come to those who wait" are finally sinking in. I started to breathe and meditate instead of constantly spinning and spending! We have become more mindful of our budget, our family, our pets and our environment. We take the time and pay attention to what matters.

Besides taking time to breathe and meditate, here are some great tips from Stacey W. Johnson's new book, "Life or Debt 2010." He fully supports eliminating debt by finding extra cash in your own budget, without depriving yourself! The first thing he says to do - stop wasting money! Try some of these and you'll not only reduce your debt, you'll put a few bucks in your pocket, too.

1. Buy Generic
2. Stop over paying on insurance
3. Don't use disposable plastic water bottles
4. Borrow books at the library or from friends
5. Use internet coupons
6. Stop paying 20% on credit cards while earning only 2% on your savings
7. Split the cost of rarely used items - like lawn mowers and snow blowers
8. Stop buying everything new - visit resale shops, Craigslist and more
9. Cook from scratch - not only does it save money in the long run, it's healthier
10. Bargain and barter - most companies will give you a discount if you ask
11. Stop being a trendsetter-buy used or outdated
12. Stop paying for things you don't use - Fitness clubs, etc...

You can read the full text of these tips and more at Readers Digest. His descriptions and advice are certainly worth the few minutes of your time to put more money where it counts - your bank account, not someone else's. It's working for us - it can work for you, too!

Here's to having more money and time to focus on what counts...
YOUR BLISS!

Bliss ON!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

FREE HUG DAY!

Today is Free Hug Day, a social movement created in 2004 by Juan Mann from Sydney Australia, who offered free hugs to strangers. Free Hugs is the real life controversial story about Mann, whose sole mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives. Controversy or not, The Bliss Lady thinks hugs are pretty awesome and can lift your mood in a heartbeat!


With good reason, I write a lot about my dad. He was truly an inspiration to me and many others. He was the first person I knew to celebrate hugging! Talk about a giver! He wore a button on his suit coat that said, “Everyday is a hug day” and treated his employees with compassion, honesty and integrity. His team knew they could count on him for support, no matter what, and they knew they’d get a big hug when needed!

According to an article I found in his effects after he died, “Hugging is painless, unless you are hugged by Hulk Hogan." The article ran June 11, 1986 in The Way We Live section of The Detroit Free Press and was titled, “Get Ready for the Big Squeeze” celebrating the 3rd Huggers Holiday. “Since the skin is the largest organ, it works best when it is stimulated” says Jim Johnston, organizer of National Hug Day. What better way to get your mojo on than a friendly hug.

There are some pretty basic hug styles. Below is a list of the most common types:

The A-Frame – Shoulders are barely touching. Mostly done by members of the opposite sex
One Sided: Moving only slightly closer, the huggers have close contact at one shoulder
Two-Sided: There is close contact with both shoulders, but both stand with lower torsos apart. Sometimes the huggers may even step back and kiss each cheek.
The Full On: or complete: From shoulders to the tips of your toes and every place in between!
The Group Hug: You get it! Someone in the group yells, “Group Hug” and everyone joins in a big hug!
The Run-and-Jump: Ever watch reunions at the airport? Those are my favorite – when two people run and jump into each-others arms, with huge smiles on their faces – sometimes even tears!

You might want to let people know ahead of time that you are celebrating Free Hug Day. Click here now to watch a few great Free Hug Day videos!! Remember, it’s all about giving – giving of you to brighten someone’s life, even if a moment! A smile is the best way to welcome anyone. Start your hug campaign with a smile and share your blissful self today!

Bliss ON!

Friday, April 9, 2010

More Spring Cleaning Tips

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Watch the video or read below!

Having spent the last six months working very closely with local Balance Chic, Tamara Stone, on helping others manifest the miracles in their life, it became quite clear that I needed a little more "balance" in my own home. What better time to do that than Spring. Last week I worked on my business, this week I'm working on my house. Tamara is an Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Practitioner who makes "Balance House Calls". There were just a few things out of sync in my own home. Below you'll find her top five tips for balancing yours; after all, balance on the outside creates more space for balance on the inside!

Her list is very simple and includes daily practices. Of these practices, some I've been including in my daily routine for years, like minimizing clutter and listening to music. Others, I've never even thought of.

1. Take a good look at your front door and make sure it is welcoming, clean and
in good condition. A happy entrance is a good entrance!

2. Look at your space with new eyes. Identify anything for the room that will
make it feel finished. For example: window treatments, a new rug, or artwork.
Complete the room,make sure it feels good! Repair anything that is broken,
cracked, or damaged.

3. Clear ALL CLUTTER. Release all things that no longer serve you. Ask
yourself these three questions; Do I love it? Do I need it? Is it useful?
Take action and throw away, give away, or clean it!

4. Play inspiring music daily. Find something that speaks to you and
incorporate it into your day!

5. Make sure you have some plants in your home. Check the condition of them
to make sure they are healthy and thriving.

I remember a day when she walked into my office and said, "You know you have a wall cover missing on one of your outlets, it makes the space feel unfinished." I also remember the day she walked in and said, "Oh, I love the sound playing in the background, it's so relaxing - a sunny kind of feeling". It's the little things in life that we don't generally pay attention to. Those little things can make all the difference when it comes to creating a balanced space.

For those of you that need a little more balance on your road to bliss this spring, you'd do well to connect with The Balance Chic, Tamara Stone. As my co-host of Miracle Box and Self Discovery/Self Love Workshops, I've witnessed firsthand the positive effects of her Balancing Techniques. For your own "Balance House Call" connect with Tamara today at tamara@tstoneinteriors.com or call 248-591-7380. Here's to a blissfully balanced spring!

Bliss ON!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Guest Blogger!

Every couple of weeks The Bliss Network will host a guest blogger. This week our special guest is Roxanne Weber of CremeMagnolia.net! CremeMagnolia.net is your Pay It Forward, on line community! Look for more great stuff from Roxanne!

Replicating Spring
by Roxanne Weber
Editor in Chief, CremeMagnolia.net
Email: roxanne@crememagnolia.net

Every Spring I look forward to the snow melting, the sun starting to shine regularly and the grass turning a deep green. I break out my cleaning supplies, dust off the curtains and deep clean my carpets, and let the breeze flow through the open windows which have been shuttered all winter.

All these efforts, though hard work, make me feel alive and ready for whatever comes during what will eventually be a long hot summer. I don't have to worry about "when" I'm going to start all these efforts. Nature tells me by the changes in temperature and spring flowers growing in my backyard. These seasonal changes in fact are nature's biological cues; they are ways of reminding us that we need variety and change.

It is just too bad that there isn't a similar natural cue for businesses each year. If there was a nudge to clean out the files in my documents folder, or spruce up the content on my website, or clean out old customer files in the cabinet perhaps business wouldn't be so sluggish year after year.

What I'd like to see is a computer programmed to change with the seasons, like in nature. In the spring perhaps some flowers could start growing out of the top of my monitor, to signal that it is time to water some new, creative ideas. Or maybe the screen could show signs of dust build up, making me think about all those extra files cramping up my harddrive and slowing down productivity. Better yet the computer itself might be designed to change colors slowly over a 3-4 month period, indicating the change in seasons. Each color could be a "cue" to tackle new projects, dust off old ideas with fresh content, and throw some sunshine into my work day.

While these developments may be a bit far-fetched, the concept of business spring cleaning shouldn't be something we throw out the window too quickly. Every business could use a fresh perspective, and what better time to fertilize those ideas than in the Spring, when everything around us is budding and growing as if it were all brand new. The fact is, one of the keys to creative and new ideas is to truly marvel at, and enjoy, our natural surroundings. When we forget about the beauty around us our whole lives suffer. A work-a-holic may be materialistically successful, but how much fun are they to be around? And, how creative are their solutions to business and personal problems.

When we allow ourselves to take in what nature so joyously and selflessly provides each and every Spring we can use that energy to help develop our own personal and professional needs. That flower you stopped to smell along the road can become the energy you use later to visualize a new idea. The heat of sunshine you allow to soak into your body can later become a moment of calm and relaxation during a trying business project. A beautifully blooming meadow may become the impetus for your next big idea, project, or business adventure.

While we may not be able to replicate the beauty of seasonal changes through our computers or offices, what we can do is use that beauty to bring out the best in our personal and professional lives. After all, life without beauty is really no life at all.

Thanks, Roxanne! I'm ready for a new color on my computer...I'm thinking sunshine yellow will do the trick! Bliss ON!!!