The Gratitude Journal Challenge

Do you have a journal? Have you ever taken a gratitude journal challenge? What is it you ask? You take a journal and write down what you’re grateful for. Maybe it’s not a challenge for you though. I used to write in my gratitude journal on a daily basis for years …many moons ago. Then one day I stopped. I think it was because I was seeing such great results from writing in the gratitude journal. Then I found myself in a weird place this past fall, postpartum. I wondered what I could do to get back my happy spirit. Then I remembered during a conversation with a friend, that I would write in my gratitude journal to focus myself on all the amazing things that was happening in my life. Read on to learn more about the gratitude journal challenge.

Continue reading The Gratitude Journal Challenge

And the winner of the Melissa & Doug Giveaway is….

Last week on My Pocketful of Thoughts we made it Cyber TuesdayWe teamed up with  Melissa & Doug to give ONE The Rattle Rumble Push Toy AWAY to a LUCKY reader!  It ended last night but I have the winner!
Before I announce the winner, I wanted to apologize for missing this week’s Soulful Sunday Post….see what had happened was …well … It’s a long story I have no excuse.  I got so excited about the P.N.K. Sugar Holiday Shopping Event that Soulful Sunday wasn’t written.  It will go back to its regularly scheduled programming and later on this week I will share the shopping event with you.  Hopefully the pictures will sway you to forgive me.

Without further adieu ….drumroll….And the winner is Christine from Moms N Charge!  Congratulations Christine!!

I’m practically finished with my shopping, however, I’m having trouble looking for the perfect gift for some of the little ones in my life.  I have a Melissa &  Doug toy in my Santa Bag, but what else is out there right now that you absolutely adore.  Please give me some ideas in the comments section below!


Until then,
Disclaimer: The winner of this giveaway was chosen by random.org. The prize should arrive within 15 days after the end of the contest and mailing information has been received. This is a sponsored post, but the opinions are my own!  

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Remember the Important Things in Life

As you get older in life, time becomes relative.  In my youth it felt like the summer would last forever and I would count down to the beginning of school.  Most kids will claim the exact opposite, not me though.  Money was tight for us then, but I only know that NOW.  There weren’t that many activities outside of the house that I was allowed to do.  Those were the days where you had to be super creative to not be bored.  Back then there wasn’t the technology of today.  If it weren’t for the good ole’ Bridgeport Public Library, two blocks from my house, I am sure I would have lost my mind.  The summer would crawl but then the next thing I would know, it was August again.  The sales would be arriving in the newspaper.  Signs would be hung up at the Hi-Ho Mall (no longer there) and I knew that I would be getting something new for school.  It was my Christmas in August.  I’m not sure if you’ll remember the fun things I am about to list, I may be dating myself here ( :-O if you turn your head sideways to the left, that is my gasping face.) These are the top three things I looked forward to picking out for the new school year.

  1. NEW sneakers.  Now I know that there were a ton of brands at Sears but the ones that were in budget were these bad boys, L.A. Gears….I remember trying to ask for the ones that had the light up bottom, but I got SHUT down.
  2. A NEW book bag.  For whatever reason, I never liked getting a character type book bag, or maybe that is how I remember it.  I always had a simple, solid color, bag.  There might have been an incident where I pleaded for one, maybe Strawberry Shortcake or She-ra, and didn’t get it.  I might have been so traumatized by the NO, that I have created the memory where I only think I wanted solid colored book bags.  I’m not sure, just saying its possible.
  3. A NEW coat.  I recall this memory vividly.  My mom and I were standing in Burlington Coat Factory, all their coats were on the lower level, I wanted this beautiful brown satiny like jacket, with this tribal print along the collar in black and white velvet, and along the edge of the collar hung white stringy fur.  It was expensive.  My mom wanted me to try on other coats but I ONLY wanted that one.  I thought, HOW COOL WILL I BE AT SCHOOL IN THIS COAT.  She bought it for me.  Even though IT WAS expensive.  When school started, and it was time to wear our new coats, everyone was wearing sports jackets, with basketball or football teams. WHAT?!  I hated my coat then and pleaded with my mom for a new one.  If I could go back in time I would slap myself.  However, I have to remember that I was a kid, a HUGE nerd, who just wanted to fit in with the rest of the kids.  I wanted to belong, but never felt I had anything to connect to them.

Its funny, now everything seems a blur.  Time seems to go by so fast now.  You blink and its the next season.  I think back on elementary school now and no matter what NEW thing I got, it still didn’t give me that connection I thought I’d get from it.  It was never THE name brand that was popular at the time.  Remember the important things in life are not material things! 

What I was shocked to learn was that kids, sometimes, are not so horrible.  There are kids who will pick on you because you’re clothes are not a label.  There are kids that will make stupid comments to you just to see if they can get under your skin.  BUT there are kids who will stick up for you, who will get in between you and the idiot kids, who will protect you and who will be your friend regardless of what you’re wearing or what you do not have.  Those are the friends I keep today, those same kids from elementary school.  Their qualities were a must have, of the people I looked for later on in life, to give the honored title, Friend.  I wouldn’t trade that for all the Fila sneakers and She-ra book bags in the world.

What are some of the important things in life you’ve learned along the way?

Until then,


From Brian Tracy’s Eat that Frog…Start NOW…

Happy Tuesday!  Here on My Pocketful of Thoughts I like to discuss topics that are affecting me. us all.  Today I thought I’d revisit Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy.  I started reading this book last summer and half of the pages are full of sticky note place holders.  As I’ve re-read sections to discuss here on the blog, I’ve run across something that I have been implementing and I share that with you today.

“…The Quick List Method
Here is an exercise that we use with our coaching clients very early in the process.  We give them a sheet of paper and then tell them, “In thirty seconds, write down your three most important goals in life right now.”

We have found that when people have only thirty seconds to write their three most important goals, their answers are as accurate as if they had thirty minutes or three hours.  Their subconscious minds seem to go into a form of “hyperdrive,” and their three most important goals pop out of their heads and onto the paper, often to the surprise of the people doing the exercise.

…When you force yourself to ask and answer each of these questions in thirty seconds or less, you will often be amazed at the answers.  Whatever your answers, they will usually be an accurate snapshot of your true situation in life at the moment.  These answers will tell you what is really important to you.

While you are setting goals and priorities, getting organized, concentrating single-mindedly on one task at a a time, and disciplining yourself to complete your most important tasks, you must never forget that your ultimate goal is to live a long, happy, and healthy life….” -Pg 50-52 from Eat That Frog!

I had the opportunity to go to a Brian Tracy seminar a few years ago, and we did this very exact exercise.  Brian asked a series of questions (that you can also find in this book), I reviewed the list at the seminar, and then stuffed the list into my notebook and completely forgot about it.  I know, I know.  Don’t we all do this though, we take valuable information, things to get us ahead in life, and we regard it as “nice things to know”.  What if we actually took the information we were given and DID something with it?  Imagine the potential.  Well, I found the list when I was going through my old notebooks, I read the items on my list and I had actually completed half of them.  I had goosebumps.

The first step to achieving any goal, is to write it down.  WRITE IT DOWN!  If you don’t already have your goals written out then I suggest you do it right now….go ahead I’ll wait.  Even if you never look at the list again, its in your head, your brain has already started to figure out ways to make it happen.

Speaking them into existence gets others to help you work towards your goals.  SPEAK YOUR GOALS INTO EXISTENCE.  Go ahead, speak them out loud, I’ll wait.  I found out my friend has written a graphic novel.  How awesome is that?!  But I would have never known, if she did not speak it out loud.  All she needs is an illustrator to finish the book and begin to publish it.  If you happen to know the process to finding an illustrator and how to self-publish a book, let me know in the comments section or send me an email by hitting the email icon in the right hand panel.  See what just happened there, I spoke it into existence to and now you’re thinking hmm do I know an illustrator or do I know anything about self-publishing.  She is now working on her goals with help.  This is why we must speak our goals into existence.

One of my goals this year has been to organize my desk.  In January I removed every single item from my desk area and piled it up onto the other side of my bedroom.  It is this monster of a pile.  I swear it speaks to me. :/ It kind of sounds like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors, when the plant says to Seymour, FEED ME.  I’m not going to lie, the pile scares the living daylights out of me.  Its this HUGE task that I think about and see every day.  So why don’t I act on it?  Why is my desk not organized?  Huge tasks scare us all.  This is why we should tackle all HUGE goals, one bite at a time, just eat that frog right?

A few months ago, my very good friend introduced me to a site called Me and You Health.  This site has a daily challenge that is sent every day to your inbox in hopes of changing your life with a task.  When I first joined the site I was interested in how the challenges might better my life.  As time went on, I thought it was nice to meet new people with similar goals and to hear their stories.  It wasn’t until I changed the track I was on to Clutter (You receive a different set of challenges depending on what you want to work on.) that a light bulb went on.  Every day I received a challenge to sort through/organize/clean for a 15 minute interval.  15 minutes was all I had to do.  It is a short amount of time, you isolate one thing that you can start working on and you get to it.  Once you start making progress you look up at the clock and an hour has gone by.  It makes the goal more approachable and it gives me confidence that I will get it done.  If 15 minutes is too long for you start at 5 minutes and increase how long you work on something over time.

Whatever your goals are, write them down, speak them into existence and start working on them today.  As Brian Tracy has said, Eat That Frog!  #GiddyUP

PS If you do happen to know the process of hiring an illustrator for a book you’re writing or the methods of self-publishing please share :)

Should We Come with a WARNING Label?


photo credit: elycefeliz via photopin cc

You walk into the supermarket, reciting the short list of items to pick up and out of the corner of your eye you see something that causes you to stop.  You take a double look, this one slower, to see a vision that makes you hold your breath in until you realize, oh I’m holding my breath. You realize you’re staring and you try and distract yourself with what you came into the store for.  But who are you fooling, you can’t remember a single item.  May you be so bold as to inquire if the lovely creature is taken?  Might you exchange numbers in hopes of starting something that will end in a happily ever after type scenario?

For you, the first encounter, might not have actually been the grocery store.  It might have been the gas station, the shopping mall, the dentist’s office, or dare I say a blind date.  One thing did lead to another and the next thing you knew you were in a committed relationship.  Regardless of how you got there you have to admit that you’re not alone.  There are many people out there, within a stone’s throw from you, that shares a similar story to your own.  You’re eyes met, a spark sprang into being, you fell madly in love and now you hope to end in a happily ever after type scenario.  You are now comfortable, as is your significant other, and you start to notice that all the things you thought were cute are starting to REALLY ANNOY you.  Before we enter into a committed relationship, Should we come with a WARNING Label?

I’ve been reading Committed, by Elizabeth Gilbert (A part DOS to her Eat, Pray, Love) and she gives a play by play of how her feelings went from never marrying again to understanding/researching marriage and her journey with Felipe.  The thing I love about this book so far are all the tidbits of history you read about marriage itself.  In chapter 4 she talks about the potential to minimize our dangers in premarital preparation.  If we look past our delusions of the person we love, and realize that no one can be perfect, that we all have our faults, can we not help the other person out by listing the items which, while they love now, might grow to ANNOY them.  Can we cross our fingers and hope that despite our long list of undesirable faults, that the person we love, loves us back anyway? 

When listing her faults, Elizabeth asks Felipe HOW can he love her still and he responds after a while saying, “When I used to go down to Brazil to buy gemstones, I would often buy something they call ‘a parcel’.  A parcel is this random collection of gems that the miner or the wholesaler or whoever is bulls&#@ting you puts together.  A typical parcel would contain, I don’t know, maybe twenty or thirty aquamarines at once.  Supposedly, you get a better deal that way -buying them all in a bunch- but you have to be careful, because of course the guy is trying to rip you off.  He’s trying to unload his bad gemstones on you by packaging them together with a few really good ones….So when I first started in the jewelry business, Felipe went on, I used to get in trouble because I’d get too excited about the one or two perfect aquamarines in the parcel, and I wouldn’t pay as much attention to the junk they threw in there.  After I got burned enough times, I finally got wise and learned this: You have to ignore the perfect gemstones.  Don’t even look at them twice because they’re blinding.  Just put them away and have a careful look at the really bad stones.  Look at them for a long time, and then ask yourself honestly, ‘Can I work with these? Can I make something out of this?‘ Otherwise, you’ve just spent a whole lot of money on one or two gorgeous aquamarines buried inside a big heap of worthless crap.

We are fortunate, when we can find that special someone, who we love despite their flaws, and they love us back despite ours.  However, what does a person do, when they only took the time to look at the blindingly beautiful gemstones in their parcel and ignored the huge heap of worthless crap?  I’m sure we’ve had at least one of these moments in our earlier years of dating, where we stopped and realized, beyond all our wishing for the happily ever after, that this relationship was NEVER going to work out.  How did you end it?

I think sometimes, people do give us warnings.  They let us know from the very start, their character, their truth.  We tend to turn a blind eye on it, hence the phrase, Love is blind.  We see what we want, when we want to see it.  What did you do in that situation?  For a while I bought parcels, with the intention of examining it with a microscope before making any commitment.  If the amount of crappy gemstones outweighed the few beauties, then I gladly handed the parcel back to the seller.  Giving yourself time to examine the character of a potential significant other, is not something to do lightly.  If what you see is something you CAN commit to, do it, if not then don’t.  But love can blind us, and I think its only fair to yourself and to the other person, to use the ‘Rip the bandaid off’ technique.  Dragging it out only makes it worse.   

A penny for your thoughts! What advice could you give someone trying to face the fact that they got a bad parcel?  How can a person take charge of their love life?  

Until then,

Don’t quit…just yet!

Happy MONDAY!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend!  The other day I was chatting with a friend of mine, who is very dissatisfied with their current job and is itching to flip out on everyone and kick over their computer as part of their grand finale exit.  So, while that might sound satisfying to some of you reading this as well, I ask that you don’t quit…just yet.

If you are sitting there thinking, I can’t take this job another day, make sure you have one of the following done before you tell your boss PEACE OUT.

  • An emergency fund padded with at least six months worth of income (in this economy maybe more)
  • Another job lined up
  • Your brilliant business idea is NOW coming into fruition (YAY FOR YOU!!!)

Now the reason why I say to wait just a little bit more is that if you don’t have one of these in place you might find yourself in a bind. Unemployment was on such a rise that a 13 week extension of unemployment insurance benefits was signed into law by the president on June 30th of 2008. In Connecticut, I read that Federal Legislation, enacted on February 22, 2012 has extended the time that an individual can apply for and receive Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) (26 weeks).   While they said in 2008 that we were not in a recession it surely felt that way.  Recession surely hit us and it still effects our pocket and any financial decision we make today. Not only that, but do you really need EXTRA stress in your life right now?

Once you do leave, go in peace.  DO NOT kick over your computer.  DO NOT flip out on anyone.  SMILE.  Pretend you are the king or queen of England and wave on your way out the door!

If you realize it is not possible to quit, just yet, make the most of your current job.  Figure out what it is that frustrates you so much and if there are ways you can turn that around.  Employers want happy productive employees.  What if you bring up your issues (in a calm, reasonable matter) and they’re resolved?  The answer is always NO until  you ask.  Always take a moment to be thankful for what you do have, for there are many, many, many people out there jobless and less fortunate than you are.

Share any advice below or on the My Pocketful Of Thoughts Facebook Page, on what you did when you were looking to quit your job or advice someone shared with you.

Until then,
PS.  When I was in the process of finding a job in my field, a good friend and co-worker of mine told me to make sure I sent off HAND-WRITTEN letters of thanks to anyone who interviewed me.  It could set you apart from someone who has the same credentials as you.  I do not know if that made any difference at all, but I have to say I like my job now and am thankful for all my experience in getting here.

From Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog…Are you focused?

“…Your ability to select your most important task at each moment, and then to get started on that task and to get it done both quickly and well, will probably have more of an impact on your success than any other quality or skill you can develop…”(Pg 1, Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy)

The question to ponder over today is, are you identifying the most important task you need to work on?  If so are you choosing to do other things instead of doing what you’ve identified as the most important task?

I can honestly say that more often than not, I choose to procrastinate with everything else, rather than working on the task I know to be the most important task I should be working on.  Some days though, if I really focus and remind myself, hey woman, you know what you should be working on, I work on what I should be working on.  If you’re a fellow procrastinator, then you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  One thing that I found, as I was reading this book, was to identify what was feeding my procrastination.  Facebook.  I wasn’t catching up with friends or making plans with family members.  I was playing games.  Games that I’ll admit I sometimes miss.  So what did I do?  I deactivated my personal Facebook account.  I haven’t been on it since.  I read more now.  I write more now.  I volunteer my time.  Its amazing what can be done in the 168 hours we have a week, when we identify what is keeping us from doing all the things we want to do.

I ask you again, Are you identifying the most important task you need to work on?  If so are you choosing to do other things instead of doing what you’ve identified as the most important task?  What’s feeding your procrastination?  Let me know in the comments section OR if its Facebook that’s feeding YOUR procrastination then find me on the My Pocketful Of Thoughts Facebook Page, LIKE it, and Share. :)  IF, twitter is your poison than send me a tweet ‘@djrelat7 ________(fill in the blank) feeds my procrastination.’  Can’t wait to read them!

Until then,