Posted in featured, Joy, Wellness

Know Thy Self….and Adjust as Needed

Personal development is, well, personal. BUT, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ways I work to make improvements in my life and my “why” for being passionate about daily personal development. I feel it is very important to know who you are, then adjust the rough edges as you go.

First, my “why”.

My personal development story is long and arduous and ever evolving.  I would say my desire to continuously work on myself began with my passion for reading as a child.  I have always loved to get lost in a book. I loved all genres, but my favorite was biographies. I loved (and still do) to read about interesting people in history and see if I could figure out what made them extraordinary or successful. I would take the lessons I felt I could apply to my own life and I would implement them in my own way.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was creating personal development programs without even knowing what “personal development” was.

As a student of sociology, people are fascinating to me! I love to learn how the brain works and why people act and react the way they do. I love to read about and learn how to implement ways to change habits and strengthen relationships and I apply everything I learn to my own life because I know there is much improvement that can happen within my own little world.

So, now that you my “why” let me share the “how”.

happierI am an avid listener to several podcasts. My favorite for habits and life is “Happier with Gretchen Rubin”. This podcast was created by the author of The Happiness Project, also one of my favorite books.  Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Craft talk about “try this at home” ways to better your habits and give themselves weekly “gold stars” and “demerits” based on what makes them happier.

Another podcast I love is “Radical Candor”. Co-hosts Kim Scott and Russ Laraway discuss how using candor in the workplace is actually a kind and productive way to build teams that are cohesive and communicative. Although meant to be a podcast dealing with leadership in the workplace, the concepts discussed also work in several areas of life. Plus – I love the tagline: How not to hate the boss you have or be the boss you hate. You really can sub so many other words for “boss” in this sentence.

Along with podcasts, I love to find uplifting and teaching books on different areas of life.  Although reading is one of my favorite things, I find my time is so limited often and that enjoyment goes to the bottom of the list.  To still get my book-time in, I listen to books on tape the majority of the time.  My current playlist is 50 Ways to Yay!, The Confidence Code, and Daring Greatly. Each of these books are found on Audible and are ones you will go back to often.

When do I listen to books on tape? When I drive, when I’m making dinner, on my lunch break at work, when I walk around Costco – whenever I can.  I download one book at a time to my phone and listen to it whenever I can.

Find the time in your life to work on YOU. Do you want to learn to cook? Get a book or watch videos. Do you want to develop better habits? Listen to a podcast. Take the time to work on those things that make you happy and feel nurtured.  You deserve it.

Posted in featured, Joy, sisterhood, Women

The Joy of Sisterhood

I was raised by strong women. Women who not only went through incredible trials and difficulty, but who taught me the beauty of resiliency and the strength of sisterhood.  They taught me to lean on other women when I needed to and to be a shoulder to lean on. They taught me to work hard and find my confidence in my strong mind and my spunk.  Even before “leaning in” was a thing, I had my “lean in circle” of the strong Franklin women I was gifted in this life.

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I am now blessed to have a tribe of women around me who are curators of “the sisterhood”. These women rally together and look for ways to support the efforts of each other and of all other women.  Some of these women do not know each other – yet they are sisters. I have found great joy in weaving a rich tapestry of women colleagues, friends, mentors, and heroes in my life.  These women inspire me each day to be better, to do better, and to lead better.

Every woman I meet becomes a part of my tribe. I have learned something from every single woman I have ever meant. Admittedly, sometimes I learn a hard or unpleasant lesson. But, even at those times, I am grateful for the experience. I truly believe everyone has a story – one that is important and needs to be heard. I work hard to find common ground with all women because it’s there. Sometimes it takes a lot of digging to find it, but it’s always there.  As women, there are things uniquely similar to all of our experience no matter where we grew up or how.  We have some of the same struggles, same hopes, same fears. Nothing can connect you to another woman more than seeking those things that allow you to say “I’ve been there”.

My advice to women is to “find your tribe, and love them hard”. There is a special kind of joy that only comes from the sisterhood women share.  Find inspiring women and learn from them. Become active in groups, cohorts, clubs, and communities of women who share your interests and goals, but also seek out those with differing opinions and experiences and learn to find the common ground.  Most of all, learn to mentor others. There is great joy to be found in building up other women and cheering them on!

Posted in featured, Uncategorized

Let Go

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

I read this once and thought, “such crap!” You always try harder – there is no giving up. Giving up is what losers do, not those who are in control of their life.  You never walk away, and you never give in. Period….and yes… that mentality has come back to bite me in the hind end more than once.  One divorce. A couple of career changes. Friends. My weight. My health. It wasn’t until I really understood faith and acceptance that I understood that “letting go” and “walking away” can be act of courage and is not always “the easy way” out.

For the past year, I have served as a leader for the sisters in my church. The position is one that takes a lot of time, requires you to do many things on your own, and also humbles you to your core.  It is emotionally one of the most difficult church assignments I have ever experienced. In my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Relief Society (or women’s organization) President is relied upon by the entire congregation, or “ward”, as they are known. The mantle you carry is heavy and the cumbersome. I carried this mantle while working 40 hours a week and attending university ¾ time. I am also a wife and mother, daughter and sister.

During this time, I was diagnosed with advanced Hashimoto’s Disease. Basically, my body has killed my thyroid – to the point where there is little to no live tissue that shows up on an ultrasound. This has, at times, rendered me incapacitated and unable to fully function after my full week of work and school.  I have felt out of control of my body and powerless to make any strides to heal. And then one day, I watched a video about the Widow’s Mites and realized, we are only asked to give what we can. I had given all I had to give… and it was enough.

“Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: for all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”

Although poultry, what I had to give was all that I had. I did not have the luxury of being home during the day to accomplish tasks needed with my calling. Those tasks happened in the evening, after an 8-hour day and in between homework and making dinner. Coupling these long days with reoccurring flair-ups, I was often unable to speak well due to inflammation in my throat or stand for long periods of time.  I had severe brain fog, and severe pain in my joints and muscles. As difficult as these things were for me, my illness seemed to really bother others.  They didn’t understand that I was chronically ill because I “looked just fine”. They didn’t understand (or possibly care) when I was unable to simply sit during church for any length of time because my heart would skip and pound if I did anything other than lay down. Isn’t it funny how we are so quick to judge?  I know I am and I judged myself harshly.  I must not have strong enough faith. I must need to learn a lesson. I must …blah blah blah. This is a place where sickness grows and joy does not dwell. It is dark and lonely.

I found joy when I came to the realization that I had given all that I had to give. Was it perfectly given, absolutely not. Was it equal to what others have given or could give? Not at all. I chose to let go of trying to meet other’s expectations of me. I chose to focus on my health and put myself first so I could heal and then be available to help others. I chose joy over some strange human need to feel accomplished and included.  I chose joy when I decided to turn the page and start on the next chapter. I chose joy by actively putting my wellness in a place of priority.

…and I would choose joy again.

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

Beautifully said.

Posted in featured, Hashimotos, Joy, Wellness

For a minute there, I lost myself….

True. For a minute, there, I DID lose myself. Ok….actually, it wasn’t a minute. It was more like a year.

But……

I am at least “looking” for myself, and that’s a start.

 

The last week of December was spent in many moments of self-reflection.  Decisions are choices – one has the power to always choose how life will be. Yes, often times things out of our control occur, but WE get to decide how to react and whether or not we confront our struggles. This week, I took action and chose to make some changes that I hope will bring more joy into my life.  Today, I acted on one of those choices – to take my body back – and it was JOYOUS!

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I have committed to a month of Barre3 workouts. Barre3 is a combination of ballet, Pilates, yoga, strength training, and mindfulness.  For me, this is the perfect combination.  I truly believe the main element of wellness is connecting your body and your mind – Barre3 is built on this foundational practice. For the next 30 days, I have committed to 5 workouts each week and eliminating processed food. If this sounds inviting to you, as well, you can learn more about B3 All In on Barre3’s website.

My joy this week came not only from moving my body in a way that I know will strengthen it, but in making the choice to act and then putting that decision into motion.  There is something fulfilling about taking action – a sense of accomplishment and the power to take that action again is a great recipe for happiness.

 

 

Posted in Family, featured, Food, Hashimotos, Joy, Wellness, Winter

Finding Joy

In the past, I have made the proverbial New Year’s resolution like the majority of the world.  I’ll lose 20 lbs, learn a new language, keep myself organized, and be a better wife/mother/daughter/friend. I will also strengthen my faith and be more charitable along with creating the perfect capsule wardrobe while becoming a practicing minimalist. Oh, and I’ll do yoga. And meditate. And read more.  Sound familiar?

This year I’ve decided on a one word mantra for each day – Joy.  Here’s a little back story as to why I chose “joy”…..

Last year, 2016, has left me in a blur.  Honestly, I don’t remember much. This could be because of a few reasons. First, I work full time while going to school 3/4 time. I’m also a wife and mother of four. (Ok, only three of my kids still live at home…but still…) In May of 2016, I was diagnosed with advanced Hashimoto’s disease. Advanced meaning, basically, my thyroid has little to no live tissue left – my body has destroyed it. I’ll write more about my diagnosis in another post. I also hold a leadership position in the women’s group of my church. In a nutshell, I. AM. BUSY.  And tired…so, so tired.

By the end of November 2016, I realized I had turned into a robot living on autopilot and not doing anything with much meaning or gusto.  This is completely the opposite of who I am and how I want to live.  By the time Christmas 2016 was over, I realized I had forgotten my kids stockings, to even look for a gift for my husband, and was physically and emotionally exhausted. I have spent the better part of the last two weeks in bed or wanting to be in bed. This has to change. So, I decided to do what I usually do when I know something needs to change – I started a project, The Joy Project 2017.

I am not sure how the project will play out yet. My intention is to use this blog as a journal, writing at least weekly as I work on wellness in all areas of life. I hope you enjoy the ride and maybe learn a little something to bring YOU joy along the way.