Monthly Archives: May 2015

Keeping a PMA

PMAPositive Mental Attitude

Where does it come from and how do you keep it?

The universe has a funny way of dropping a big ole’ mind battle right into your morning coffee sometimes.  You’re reading the newspaper with your slippers on and the next thing you know your mind is taken over with negative thoughts of situations that you have no way of controlling. Maybe it’s a verbal bomb someone left for you.  Or you saw something on Facebook that struck a nerve.  Maybe you’re recalling that time you were standing on the soccer sideline and heard an opposing parent say something to your child on the field.  These things have all happened to me.  I consider myself a pretty positive person…hence the Soul-Positive website.  But after all I am also human.

The easiest form of rationalizing for me seems to be oozing a stream of negative thoughts on a reel inside my head.  I completely internalize everything.  My worries have worries.  I lay it out in my brain, cut it open and dissect it some more until I am completely overwhelmed.  I think this is human nature and it can be a pattern a lot of us get caught up in.  I allow myself that short period of time to purge all my negativity – even if it’s only in my own brain.  I think that’s healthy mentally for me.  A huge problem arises when you allow yourself to move in to that negative space and unpack.  That is something that I will not allow myself to do.

After purging the negative – brick by brick I begin building up the positive.  Positivity gets threaded on that reel and I start to think of all the ways that I can accept the things that I cannot change.   There are situations in our lives that are just beyond our control.  I can control exactly one person – ME.  What someone says or does, how they treat me, how they conduct themselves – that’s not my concern.  How I react to these situations is my concern.  Keeping a Positive Mental Attitude and remaining mentally fit during these times takes a conscious effort.  PMA is not just three beautifully strung words – it’s something you have to work towards constantly, you have to own it and believe in it.  And most importantly – you have to WANT it.  

Can it ever be mastered?  My short answer is no.  I don’t think you ever master having a Positive Mental Attitude 24/7.  Even the most positive of people have their share of dark clouds.  But I do believe that you can manage a Positive Mental Attitude.  Recognizing your thoughts are just that – your thoughts, they’re not facts, they’re not set in concrete.  You can control your feelings.
Being conscious of your thought patterns and embracing the positivity will foster a healthy PMA environment.  Isn’t that really what we all want?  We want to manage our lives – the good, the bad, the ugly and the uglier.  We want to be able to function when the universe drops a worry on our doorstep.  Keeping your mind open, uncluttered of negativity will ease your way into managing a Positive Mental Attitude.  Negativity has a purpose but it’s purpose is brief.  Positivity is the big guy…he needs all the room he can get to help you lead a successful, happy and POSITIVE life.

Thank You Veterans!

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Every year our hometown has a Memorial Day parade.  This town, this place we have set down roots.  We all come together.  I love this parade.  All of the hometown pride lining up on the sides of the parade route.  I love seeing all the red, white and blue shirts.  The children waving their American Flags.  The families gathered together in tradition.  The men, women and children of my town marching to support our Veterans.  My heart swells with emotion every year as the older Vets from the VFW and American Legion make their way past us…

My heart is grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed for this beautiful country.  And for the men and women who continue to serve.  Thank you from the bottom of my pride filled heart.  May God Bless You All!

Learning Something New Takes Time and Patience

om soul sister bracelet

I’m a big fan of trying new things.  A few months ago I registered for a Belt Making Workshop from Christy Tomlinson.  I’m sure you’ve seen the bracelets – made from leather belts and hand stamped with meaningful words.  Christy is one of my all time favorite artists.  She constantly tries new things and shares all her knowledge and talent with beginners like me.  I admire Christy a lot because she has no fear when it comes to art or creating.  That takes guts.  To put yourself out there day after day for the whole world to see is scary.  I want to be fearless when it comes to creating.  Sharing more of the projects that I’m working on is gently nudging me towards being a fearless creator.

After registering for the belt making workshop it sat in my inbox for about a month.  The workshop consists of several how to videos and a complete video of tools and supplies that are needed.  The bracelets are really beautiful.  I have seen them over the years and was so excited to be able to learn how to make them.  Like most of my projects I thought it would be a “snap”.  Snap is in parenthesis for a reason folks.  I often dive head first into a project only to find that it’s a little more difficult to complete or the process is much more challenging than I could have imagined.  Trying something new takes time and patience.  Lots of patience.

After watching the videos and gathering all the tools (there are many…and they are somewhat pricey) I sat down ready to turn out bracelet after bracelet. The version of this project in my head was not exactly what turned out in reality.  Let’s just say my optimism came to an abrupt halt when I couldn’t get the snap to fasten.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Who knew that snaps could be so stubborn.  I’d get the snap set and hammer away like a mad woman to get it to fasten.  I’d try the bracelet on and go to take it off…the snap would stick.  The male part of the snap would stay in the female part of the snap and stick together essentially not allowing the bracelet to stay closed.  Insert hair pulling emoji here.  Oh the frustration.  At first I thought it was me, then I blamed the cheap snaps from Walmart.

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Snaps that just won’t let go…

Eventually I found snaps that were specific for leather use.  I hammer the stink out of those snaps and so far that seems to be working.  Hurdle 1 – complete.

Next step was the metal stamping of words.  Who knew that stamping in a straight line was so challenging? See picture below.  Sometimes my hammering was too soft…barely scratching the surface.  Other times I hammered too hard and too crooked and had to start again…all while using tape as my guide.

A few of my mistakes...

A few of my mistakes…

Eventually after a few mishaps I got the feel of the stamps and how much pressure you need to apply with the hammer.  I was able to gauge where the stamps should be placed and Voila…straight words.  I had contemplated for a while naming my bracelets “Slightly Imperfect” –  giving myself a little loop hole for my impatience.

After several rounds of practice and a whole bunch of new “slightly imperfect” bracelets for myself I got the hang of it.  And I LOVE making these bracelets now.  I have started taking orders and making them as gifts.  It’s been a really fun project that I am especially fond of. Hurdle 2 – complete.

I think that I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t give up.  Learning new things isn’t always easy or fun for that matter.  Whether you’re making jewelry or learning a new skill at work – it’s a process.  Make room for the hurdles that you will cross.  Deep breathe your way through the frustration.  But KEEP GOING.  The end result just might surprise you.

Following Through

Forward Momentum

The sixth month mark of 2015 is almost here.  Way back in December of 2014 when I was declaring 2015 the Year of Positivity I wasn’t sure just how things would pan out.  You see I have plenty of ideas and a whole bunch of “I’m gonnas…” but seldom do I have a strong follow through.  I tend to get all hopped up on an idea for a few weeks – maybe do a little research, pencil some notes and then quietly let the idea climb into the back seat never to really hear from it again but only to give it a quick glance through the rear view mirror.

My chosen word for 2015 is “Momentum”.  Hand on heart this word has changed me in 2015.  I still have a ton of ideas floating around my head but guess what?  I have been following through on many of my ideas and slowly seeing my dreams become a reality.  The best part about all of this is that it’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.  I’m still able to get all my other responsibilities done.  I still cook, clean, take care of my family and run my household.  But I also take the time I need for myself and work towards accomplishing my own set of personal goals.

How do I do this?  Well – first I have an ongoing handwritten list of things that I’d like to accomplish not just for this day, week, or month but for the actual year.  My list is grouped by the following ‘Goal Categories’ – Emotional, Physical, and Creative.  I keep this list posted on my refrigerator as a constant reminder of what I am working towards.   As most of you know I am a part of a year long workshop called “One Little Word” created by Ali Edwards.  The idea for breaking my list into these parts came directly from Ali and her prompts the beginning of each year.

An earlier version of my goal setting list

An earlier version of my goal setting list

This list holds me accountable.  By keeping my list and essentially my word ‘Momentum” so visible I am continually reminded what is important in my life.  I add to my list and check off items that I have accomplished.  The physical act of crossing out an item is a win for me. I like that satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.  I like adding new things to my list.  This keeps my momentum up and encourages me to keep going.

Now with that being said – does life sometimes get in the way?  Of course.  I have days and weeks where I am just completely swamped with other obligations and maybe cannot work on my goals as much as I would like to.  However, instead of making my goals take a back seat completely and letting life take control – I take the time I need, even if it’s only 15 minutes of quietly sitting on my bed, to reflect about my goals and how to make them achievable.

I will steal 30 minutes to complete an art journal page.  I will take the hour to write a blog post.  I will bring a notebook with me while I am out and jot down ideas that are floating around my head.  Small consistent steps are the key to my success.  That bears repeating – small consistent steps are the key to my success.  Being mindful of how life is trying to take control – this is what keeps me moving forward and in a positive direction.

These first six months of 2015 have been full of accomplishments and learning experiences.  I am looking forward to the next six months where I can achieve more of the goals that I’ve set for myself while moving forward with a positive mindset.  I have no doubt that you can achieve the same.  Set your goals, write your list and watch how small steps can ignite a fire within yourself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and heading straight toward your goals.

Keep it Positive!