Sweet Memories & Good Times

My oldest son, almost 21 years, is staying with us for the week while his truck is under repair. We live closer to his job than he does and he needed us to take him to and from work for the week. While we were driving to go get his work boots that he forgot, he looked at me and asked, “Do you remember when I was little and we lived in Arkansas and talked to you about mistletoe? You immediately told me the Norse legend of how Loki killed Baldur with mistletoe.”

I told him that story 17 years ago…and it stuck with him and helped spawn his love of Norse mythology. Moral: read to your kids. Talk to them. Tell them fantastic stories that feed their imagination. They are listening. They will remember. And when they say, “Hey remember when…” you will remember and it will be a sweet moment in time.

Why Manifestation Works (And How to Really Use It)

First, I have to break your hearts. Manifestations means to bring something forth. It’s not magic. It’s not a pipe dream. It’s not you putting a note under your pillow and you wake up as a billionaire without ever doing any sort of work. Manifestation involves making something. That, my friends, requires action. So, before we get to how you can actually use the concept of manifestation, let’s talk about why it works.

Why Does Manifestation Seem to Work?

You’ll note I said above that manifestation is not some sort of magic trick or pipe dream. It does, however, rely on your ability to picture yourself achieving whatever goal or goals you have in mind.

This isn’t just a broad image in your mind. This is a highly detailed image. You can picture what you’re wearing, where you are, what you do for a living, the type of people you hang out with, the type of people you work with, how you feel about yourself (including self-confidence), what the weather is like in that image, smells that may be present…everything. It’s like writing a story in your mind.

Our brains cannot necessarily differentiate between an actual memory and a highly detailed scenario we put together in our head. Sure, we know on the conscious level (if we’re in touch with reality). However, to the subconscious…there’s no difference. It’s just there.

For example, I have complex PTSD. Although I finished specialized therapy to learn to better manage and live with it, I still have triggers. And when a memory is trigged, I can see, smell, feel, and hear everything from that moment. My body doesn’t know the difference (including the brain). Sure, I still know that I am not in that instance. However, I panic. I feel fear. I sweat. My blood pressure goes up. I get into fight or flight. I deal with more hypervigilence. From a physiological standpoint, it is the same situation all over again.

The brain can and does work in the same way for positive images. The trick is making sure that the image is so detailed in your mind’s eye that you can engage each and every sense you have. If you’ve ever read Unlimited Power or even Awakening the Giant Within by Tony Robbins, you know, at least in theory, the power of putting yourself into “state.” He advocates remembering certain times where you felt really good, confident, and competent…and when you get into a bad space, you shut your eyes and remember that certain time with so much vivid detail, that your body re-enters into that state. It takes practice (and sometimes I don’t remember to use it if I’m involved in a C-PTSD moment), but it can be very relaxing and very powerful.

How to Really Use Manifestation

Alright, now that I’ve drop kicked the mystical bullshit out of the way (which is funny because, by and large, I do enjoy me some mystical bullshit!), let’s talk about how to really use manifestation.

Gain Clarity – Why Do You Want What You Want?

“Clarity” is a word that gets people excited right now (much like the word “disruption”). To clarify something means to get clear on it.

You need to think about why you want what you want. You need to really understand why you want what you want. What would it mean to you? How would it really change your life? Does it break a cycle? Does it set a good example for children or young adults in your life? Does it get you out of a bad situation? Do you want to prove people wrong? (Ain’t nothing wrong with that…that was a motivating factor for me for a lonnnngggg time.)

Much like when you think about what you want out of life, which takes a certain level of clarity (making a clear image), you must understand why you want it. This is what will continue to drive you in the future.

Do yourself a favor and write this down. I don’t care if you share it with anyone. Sometimes it is helpful to go through this entire process with others, but you have to choose people who are also goal (and future) oriented. You can’t do this with just anyone.

Start Detailing What You Want

Dream big…and dream in detail. I also recommend you think about what you want to be in the near future (week, month) and going on out. You should set one-year goals, three-year goals, five-year goals, and ten-year goals. Make some that you know you’ll meet and add some that are challenging…and add your ultimate goals.

Take time to really engage with yourself on the entire scene. Picture it. What are you wearing? Where are you? Who are you with? Where do you live? Where do you like to go? Recognize how you’ll feel during that time. Will you feel more confident? (The answer is yes.) Will you feel peaceful? Will you feel content? Will you feel happy? Will you have less anxiety / depression symptoms? Think about your relationships, but don’t sugarcoat them (because you can’t make anyone change – people change on their own). Are you strong enough to make the best decisions for yourself and for your future?

Think about everything. Picture it. Hold it. These images need to really stick with you. You must be able to picture yourself as the future you.

Write It All Down

Write them all down…and include those details. This is something you can read over to help keep you motivated. Then, separate out your goals. Write out the very basics of your goals in the next year. For example:

  1. I want to travel more.
  2. I want to be healthier.
  3. I want to make these certain repairs around the house:

Those examples could all be one-year goals. They are things that could all be accomplished within a year.

Do the same thing for three, five, and ten year goals.

And, by the way, it is perfectly fine to make changes. Shit happens and to some degree, we all have to learn to roll with the punches. It doesn’t mean you fail if you have to tweak or something (or if your goals change altogether). It means you have the right frame of mind to recognize that something needs to change. Knowing that and taking action upon it is a recipe for success in life.

Goals Are Nothing If You Don’t Take Action

And, drop kicking more mystical bullshit out of the park….you can’t reach your goals if you don’t put in the work. Daily work. You need to create an action plan. To start, think about what you want to accomplish this year as well as what you need to do this year to move you closer to your long-term goals.

You are taking your goals and breaking them down into steps you take. Think about what you need to do this month. Then, consider how you get to that by thinking about what you need to accomplish each week. Then, think about what you need to do each day. Yes, day.

Write it down. Write down your action plan…and follow it.

Monthly Review and Refocus

Every month, take some time (pick a time of the month and stick to it…I’m writing this during the new moon because it is a good time to set goals) to review how far you’ve come, setbacks you’ve faced, thoughts you have, and pat yourself on the back. Even if you didn’t have a month full of awesome days, pat yourself on the back. Readjust, refocus, and prepare for the new month.

And Understand Some People Will Try to Discourage You

Manifestation takes a lot of internal motivation. You cannot rely on others to cheer for you. Of course, some people will cheer for you and support you (but they cannot do the work for you). You have people in your life who will work to discourage you. They may call you names. They may sabotage you. They may abandon you because “you changed.”

You cannot allow the fear of losing a relationship (or more than one) to deter you from working on what you know is best for your future. Giving up is giving into fear. It is returning to the rut or situation you know you want out of in life. And you do it because it’s easier to stick with the known than to face the unknown. Some people come around…some don’t. Not everyone wants or believes in living better than the place they’re currently in. Some are quitters…so because they quit, they think no one can do it.

Manifestation is a personal process. You must go through the entire experience for you.

Modified French Toast Cups

So, I recently came across Confessions from a Fit Foodie’s 21 Day Fix approved French toast cups. And if there’s one thing we like in this household, it’s French toast. For the record, I love the majority of what is on that site…but we’re vegetarians. H

I know (from personal experience) it can be very overwhelming for people, regardless of whether they work from home, to move to a cleaner, healthier way of eating. And some cannot afford organic versions of what they eat (even if they like produce). My family isn’t a big fan of Ezekial bread which is used in the original recipe. We also do not use Splenda, Stevia, Truvia, or other “natural” sweeteners. They make me sick. Bull does use Mio which has Splenda in it, but he doesn’t care for it all the time.

So, I’ve created a modified version of the French toast cups that just calls on what most of us have on hand. I did the math and it works out to about 105 calories per “cup.” The “cups” are muffins. Clearly, my modified version has more carbs. So if you’re low carb, this is not the recipe for you. Follow the original recipe and use Ezekial bread.

If you can afford to do so, I recommend you follow the original recipe for the best possible results if you’re a 21 Day Fix junkie or if you’re looking for healthier versions of your favorites.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of white bread, cubed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 2 t. sugar (which, by the way is a total of 15 calories. So, take that and divide it by 12…unless you’re diabetic, it’s not enough sugar to write home about)

You’ll also need a 12 count muffin tin. I used muffin liners to attempt to minimize mess.

Preheat your oven to 350. Put your liners in your muffin tin. Cut each slice of bread into 12 squares (three rows, four columns or vice versa). Place six bread cubes into each cup. Remember, this is using plain white bread. You could use whole wheat bread or whole grain bread or whatever type of bread you like. Bull bought plain white sandwich bread on sale. One piece of bread will fill two cups. That means there are 60 calories of bread per cup.

In a bowl, beat the six eggs, almond milk, cinnamon, and sugar together. I used a small measuring cup to make sure that I filled each muffin cup. The original recipe said you can mix it with your hands. I did not do that. I just made sure I covered the bread with the egg mix. Each egg is 70 calories. The easiest math is to say each muffin has half an egg. That’s 35 calories per cup. Then, you have one cup of almond milk. I buy Almond Breeze Vanilla. It is 80 calories per cup. So, that’s about 7 calories per cup (6.666666——–>7). The sugar is a little over 1 calorie per cup.

Modified French toast cups before going into the oven!
Modified French toast cups before going into the oven!

My math isn’t exact, but it’s still better than eating a plateful of French toast. Not to mention the sugar rush.

I baked them at 325 for 30 minutes. Bull loves them. I think they’re pretty good with some butter. We did not use syrup. Nancy Lynn’s post also included the use (or option) of fruit.

Eating better doesn’t have to always mean giving up everything you love. Sometimes it means finding healthier ways to make what you do love. It means finding small changes you can make to start feeling better.

National Wine Day

So, I noticed on Twitter today that it is National Wine Day (or National Wine Drinking Day). I stopped drinking on October 23, 2018 for no other reason that alcohol is dehydrating and I was coming off the med I took for atrial fibrillation. The way my morning happened (so far – it’s only 10:35 am!), I would not say no if the wine fairy dropped a bottle of red at my door.

We all woke up around 8 am since Baby Bull doesn’t have school today. I sprained my ankle on Friday (and how I did it is as equally ridiculous as my morning). It’s been swollen and I’ve not been able to really walk on it. This morning, the swelling is down and there’s less pain. I can kinda walk. I thought MAN THIS IS GONNA BE SUCH A FUCKING AWESOME DAY!

Then the shit hit the fan.

Bull went outside to check the tires on the van. Yesterday, before we drove to Broken Arrow to get his pictures done for Fight 2 Win, three out of four tires were flat (or almost flat). Coming home, the indicator for the back driver-side tire kept coming on. We stopped before we hit the turnpike to air it up as well as after we exited the turnpike (because there’s literally ONE place on the turnpike where we could have stopped for air). So, we knew that tire, for sure, has a problem. Since he is a mason, it could very well be a nail in the tire.

Anyway, so he goes outside this morning and sure enough…that same tire is totally flat. It’s cold here…not as cold as some places, but it’s cold for Oklahoma. He’s outside looking for the four way to change the flat. I am inside with Baby Bull, the dogs, and the cat putting together my list for the day and prepping for a 10 am call with a prospective client.

I remembered I soaked chickpeas overnight. I hobble into the kitchen (we have a galley kitchen and it starts maybe three feet from where I sit to work during the day (because my actual office space, which is part of the garage we converted, doesn’t have heat or air…and with a sprained ankle, I can’t go that far). I go into the kitchen with my wrist braces on to get the Knorr chicken bouillon granules so I can put the chickpeas on to cook. I take the lid off. I turn around to take the two steps to the stove…and I drop the fucking container. It went EVERYWHERE. A large portion rehomed itself on top of my six pack of Blue Sky soda. So then I have to wash the soda cans…and sweep up the mess.

I warn Bull that if he decides to drink a Blue Sky to rinse the lid again just in case…because cherry vanilla chicken cane soda sounds like some awful shit. I sat down and not two minutes later, Pandora is vomiting in the living room. (She’s fine, by the way. We sort of expected this anyway because she broke off a significant portion of a dog treat and tends to swallow and not bother to chew. She wasn’t choking or in any distress.)

I hobble into the living room to let her out back (yes, our back door is actually in our living room. Don’t ask me. I didn’t design the house!). I let her out. I walk to the back of the house to get a towel because all of the clean laundry is all over Private Christian’s bed right now. I limp back into the living room and clean it up. I let Pandora back in.

I check the clock and it is 9:45 am. MY CALL IS IN 15 MINUTES!! I plug my headset into Skype. I sit down with my notebook. I review the email sent to me. I call at 10. It is a seven minute phone call. During that seven minutes, Pandora, again vomits. I kept waiting for the prospective client to ask me what that noise was…thankfully, he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t hear it. That’s my hope.

So, I clean that up and I get the dogs fed. Crom won’t eat in the early mornings any more. Athena is hit or miss. Pandora will eat anything at any time. I’m sitting on the couch with Athena after the other two are done eating. I’m pouring her dry food onto the cushion because right now she won’t eat unless I do that. I live stream what I’m telling you now on IG to highlight that working from home is often NOT glamour. It is often a train wreck. I’m blessed it wasn’t a literal shit show.

I will take vomit over that ANY DAY.

And right after I cleaned THAT up, Bull called. The price on the tire went up…so we have to pay the difference I guess between what we paid (still under warranty) and the replacement tire.

I don’t know what else this day has in store for us. I’m almost afraid to find out. This isn’t the post I planned for today. So with that:

WAH Rule #856: Harsh Truth: Outsourcing May Not Correct Your Lack of Productivity

As I sit here listening to a podcast about productivity for entrepreneurs, I am certainly not surprised to hear the guest and the host mention outsourcing not just business things you need done, but also personal responsibilities like cleaning. While I wholeheartedly agree with the base concept, I must correct something the host mentioned.

She stated that she and her husband hired someone to come in a few hours a month to do the deep cleaning that they don’t have time to do. Something that I can empathize with. It was her lack of logic that twisted my brain. She stated they did it because of how much time it would free up for them to focus more on their business.

Outsourcing to Free Up Time

Outsourcing to free up time is common. Outsourcing is also both a convenience and a necessity for many. However, outsourcing does not free up your time from a certain project…if you weren’t working on that project to begin with.

And It’s Not about Freeing Up Mental Space

Your brain creates an unlimited universe for you. Outsourcing something you’re not doing doesn’t free up any mental space. It relieves your self-imposed guilt. It gives you a reason to think you can be more mindful with what you believe is a better use of your time.

Yet, if you can’t be mindful now on this most important project that you’re doing instead of doing X, it’s likely that the X isn’t the problem. You are the problem. Your intimidation toward the important project is your problem. Your procrastination is your problem. Your lack of follow-through is your problem.

Your lack of self-honesty through self-assessment is your problem. It is not mental space. You will not focus any better just because you’ve outsourced something else. You’ll find something else to fill your thoughts instead of fully engaging in the project in front of you.