Tag Archives: choices

Daily Self Care

I was told about the benefits of daily Self Care 5 years ago.  While I have tasted the sweet fruit of getting my day started off on the right foot with Self Care many times, I have yet to make it a discipline.  What the crap?!

5 years is a long time to know that doing this leaves me feeling happier and peaceful (even when life isn’t playing fair) and still not do every day.  I guess it’s no different than anything else we know is good for us that we choose not to do, like eating healthy, exercising, budgeting, and so on.  What I’m told will happen and I hope to prove to myself, is that by making Self Care a discipline, not only will I have better days more often, BUT I will be able to be more disciplined in other areas of my life by learning to be disciplined in this one.

Here are the 4 thoughts I was taught to spend time thinking about each morning.

1. We live in a miracle.

2. Everything is interconnected.

3. The ONLY thing I can control is HOW I CHOOSE TO BE in the world today.

4. Be gracious with myself.

Four thoughts.  That’s it!  That’s REALLY easy, easier than eating healthy and definitely easier than exercising.

The other day I was at work, feeling a little low and I decided to turn to Self Care to lift me out of my funk.  I started with the first thought WE LIVE IN A MIRACLE, which for me has turned into THIS DAY IS A GIFT.  I tried to get in touch with that grateful/excited to be alive feeling but it just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t feel like the day was a gift at all.  I felt sorry for myself.  Here I am standing in one spot for 12 hours, doing a really boring job, and missing my family.  The whole day is over by the time I get home.  Some gift.

I stayed in pursuit of the feeling.  I kept exploring different thoughts and then I hit one.

I thought about Joey Feek, the world’s most famous dying person.  She’s truly a beautiful soul.  I’m sure she’d like more time with her family and wouldn’t mind working in a factory to get it.  She’s not the only one. There are women all over the world and whether they are dying or in poor health, they would do ANYTHING to be able to come home and hug and kiss their families at the end of a long day.

That did it.  The “feeling” was there!  The THIS LIFE IS A LIMITED TIME OFFER/THIS DAY IS A SPECIAL ONE thought was locked in.  I was grateful for my health, for a pleasant work environment and great co-workers.  I felt grateful for the opportunity to keep creating my life, to exploring possibilities because I’M NOT STUCK. I have choices.  WE ALL DO!  Even if we get to a place in our lives where, like Joey, our choices are less and less, we still have one choice left, perhaps the most important choice of all.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—

to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

-Viktor E. Frankl

Writing this post has me raring to go.  If taking a few minutes each morning to do Self Care can help me live each day more POWERFULLY, if it can help me be more present with my family, if it can help me face hard times with more peace, what the heck have I been waiting for?

I’ve been thinking about this for a week already, but it’s time to quit thinking and start doing. Tomorrow morning, I’m waking up 30 minutes early to do Self Care instead of getting thrown into the day.

Here’s one of the first posts I wrote about Self Care way back when, if you want to see more about how I do it.

Do you have a morning routine?  I’d love to hear about it and be encouraged by your discipline as I start my own.  Leave your thoughts here or on Facebook 🙂

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If YOU are ready to experience more peace and less struggle, I’d LOVE to personally go through the What One Person Can Do program with YOU.
This conversation has been conducted in schools, corporations, prisons, and one on one with the program’s founder, Bill Cumming, and other program conveners for 30 years.  Space is EXTREMELY limited for anyone wishing to go through this with me.  I only have room to work with 10 women, so click HERE to contact me (or Bill) with questions and to grab your spot.
There’s also an online version of the program available HERE.  It’s an incredibly affordable option. 12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work for both the online and one on one programs.

 

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No He Didn’t – He’s Out Of Control

Have you ever been somewhere with a friend and they do something that might be considered socially unacceptable?  Perhaps they burst into song or talked too loudly.  Maybe they acted ugly about the service they received at a restaurant and you wanted to crawl under the table and die.

Those particular situations don’t happen in my family very often but this sort of behavior does ALL THE TIME.

Jason and I took Nora to the doctor on Friday and had to wait a little too long.  Jason got bored and decided to put his “medical knowledge” to use.

Dr Appt 1

Needless to say, I was HORRIFIED as he picked up each instrument and proceeded with his “examination.”

Dr Appt 2

He noticed irritation and drainage.

Dr Appt 3

Any minute the door was bound to open.  My heart was racing as I documented the fun.  I was amused and fearful.

Dr Appt 4

Good doctors ALWAYS wash their hands after an exam is over.  After a thorough washing, Jason proceeded to explore the cabinets.  He’s always opened the drawers at doctor’s visits but never actually played with what he found like he did this time.

Dr Appt 5

Thankfully he only picked the blood pressure cuff up and put it right back.

Dr Appt 6

I had a choice to freak out and be mad about what was happening around me or accept it for what it was and let him be responsible for his actions.  I could’ve huffed and puffed and been angry, but that would’ve only stressed me out.  This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from the What One Person Can Do program that has saved me a great deal of stress over the years.  The ONLY thing I can control is HOW I CHOOSE TO BE in the world.  I can’t control my nutty husband.  All I can control is my reaction.

Dr Appt 7

I wouldn’t go back and undo one moment of this experience.  Nora enjoyed the whole thing thoroughly.

Dr Appt 8

We could hear the doctor and a difficult patient in the room next to us, so Jason was telling Nora that they’d be able to hear us too and to keep quiet.

Dr Appt 9

A bio-hazard bag may or may not have made its way into Jason’s right pocket.  I’m not advocating any of this.  I’m just reporting the facts.

Dr Appt 10

As the fun was drawing to a close, Nora said, “It’s time to Buddy The Elf this cotton ball.”

Dr Appt 11

 

What a fun girl!  I’m extremely thankful the doctor didn’t walk in on any of this because after dealing with the cranky guy in the next room, she was NOT in a good mood when she walked into ours.

In all situations we have a choice.  Have you ever noticed the moment that you chose to react in a certain way to people or circumstances that happen to you?

I’m really mindful of my choices now.  I remember choosing to get out my phone and start snapping the insanity instead of freaking out about it.

I am mindful EACH time I decide to react angrily towards whichever child is disobeying my instruction to do A, B, or C.  I choose calm or anger.  I have the thought to say angry words and whether I’ll say them or not.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  My kids don’t “make” me do it.  Their behavior doesn’t make me yell.  I choose it.

My husband wouldn’t have made me react angrily to his actions.  I would have chosen to.  I’m so glad I chose to be laid back this particular day and just enjoy the chaos that is my family.

Giving up the idea that I can control other people and recognizing my choices more often are 2 of the many practical and powerful tools found in What One Person Can Do.  If YOU are ready to experience more peace and less struggle, I’d LOVE to personally go through this program with YOU.

This program/conversation has been conducted in schools, corporations, prisons, and one on one with the program’s founder, Bill Cumming, and other program conveners for 30 years.  Space is EXTREMELY limited for anyone wishing to go through this with me.  I only have room to work with 10 women, so click HERE to contact me (or Bill) with questions and to grab your spot.

There’s also an online version of the program available HERE.  It’s an incredibly affordable option.  12 weeks of support for what 1 hour of counseling would cost!  But…and I know this firsthand, even reasonably priced is not an option sometimes, so don’t write this off. Partial and full scholarships are available for those that need them and are serious about going through the work for both the online and one on one programs.

Wishing you all the peace and happiness your heart can hold,

Sarah

duck face

 

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Moving On

A year ago our family of 7 moved out of our 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,000 square foot home into my brother in law’s spacious old farm house on 5 acres. We’ve been renting the upstairs of the house while we attempted to save a chunk of cash.

It’s been a good year. There was lots of brother bonding time, lots of mini farm life fun with goats, chickens, turkeys, puppies, and a duck, and lots of zombie watching.

amelia and goatsThe year wasn’t all fun and zombies though. We had our share of drama. It’s hard sharing living space with another family. My brother in law was very brave to take on the chaos that is our family.

This past week Jason and I drove by a cute little house with a for rent sign in the window. There is a ridiculous shortage of decent rental property in our tiny town so we called right on the spot, met the homeowner within an hour, put down a deposit, and signed a lease the following day.

We are so excited about the new house! We’re excited about moving on.

Moving on can be sad or scary when it’s a move you didn’t choose for yourself, like losing your job, divorce, illness, or the death of a loved one. It can be really hard to do but it’s still necessary. We can choose to stay in the pain but that won’t be good for us and it won’t be good for anyone around us. So here are 3 of my personal goals for moving on.

1. BE PRESENT
Have fun.
Embrace the challenge.

I’m going to accept this sudden move in all it’s chaotic disorder. I’m going to relax. I’m going to do what I can each day to help it go smoothly, but I’m also going to take time to do things that bring me joy, like write this blog post, the 3rd one in 1 week!  And…make sure we have some Fall Break Fun with our kids.

2. BE THANKFUL

This past week a woman who lives in a house like this

big house

told me and my husband that she was embarrassed to tell her clients where she lives because they live in houses like this.

bigger house

Her housing dilemma helped me realize that the poorest of us spoiled Americans, myself included, can benefit from reality checks every so often so we can remember to be thankful for all we DO have. I’m choosing to be thankful for our little rental house with heat in the winter, cold in the summer, and clean drinking water. For the first time in 15 years, we’re going to have 2 toilets!!! The second potty doesn’t even come with a sink, but who cares?  I’ll be happy anywhere as long as I get to live with these goofballs.

boucher fam 2015

3. GET RID OF THE JUNK
This is an opportunity to get rid of our junk. Even though we got rid of bags and bags of toys, clothes, and kitchen gadgets we never used in our old house, we never fully unpacked here and then we collected even more stuff. We have an opportunity to weed out again, to take what we love and discard the rest.

Besides physical stuff, there’s emotional crap to leave behind as well. My husband and I separated in August of 2012 for 9 months. When we decided to reconcile, we merely coexisted for 1 ½ years. I wrote a couple of posts about it last year when I was exploring my feelings on how to go about reconnecting. This resulted in a “talk” in December about possibly calling it quits for good. At that point we made the decision to recommit. It’s been almost a year of connectedness, but I’ve been holding on to some of the relationship “junk.” I’m making a commitment to let it go and leave it behind. I’m looking forward to a fresh start in our new home where we’ve only ever loved and been committed to each other.

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”

1554446_1203788252971049_6280201826353211397_n

While I’m leaving emotional junk behind, I’m going to leave as much as I can bag up and throw away (which it just occurred to me that we can choose to do this EVERY DAY if we’ll only remember to do so.)

When I leave this house, I’m choosing to see myself as a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, ready to soar. I’m leaving my feelings of insecurity, guilt, and failure in the cocoon. I’m enough. I’m enough every day and so are you! We don’t have to carry old baggage around with us.

That baggage is a story. It may be a story based on actual events but it’s still a story. It may be a story you are telling yourself or it may be a story that someone else has been telling you your whole life about WHO YOU ARE and how you do things, but you can choose to change the story at any point as many times as you want to, EVERY DAY even. You are not stuck! You have the power to write your story and make it beautiful. Don’t give your power away. Don’t let anyone else write your story. If it’s not a happy one, for Pete’s sake, change it. Only you can.

If you want to change your story but don’t know how or where to start, I encourage you to consider What Every Person Can Do.  I’m here to answer questions and support you any way I can!

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What Are You Working For?

What Are You Working For?

Sarah Boucher | I Am A Powerful Woman
This is a question I’ve asked myself quite a bit lately.

I’ve been a stay at home mom for 15 years, with just a few months employment here and there, once in a wholesale club, another time as a school bus driver, and off and on over the last 3 years as a childcare provider in my home, but for the vast majority of the time, I’ve been what my husband now calls, “The Stay At Home.”

I’ve been measuring belts in a factory at my new job. It’s easy, but boring. It’s given me lots of time to ponder life’s greatest mysteries, well my life’s greatest mysteries anyway. My mind is ALL OVER THE PLACE during those 2 hour stretches between breaks. I’ve been amused by all the thoughts that come and go rather quickly, completely unrelated to each other (and the songs that pop into my head.) I’ve spent time being nostalgic, thinking about my childhood, revisiting some unhappy times as an adult, giving myself grief over mistakes, and then cheering myself up with some of those songs. I’ve also been able to get in some quality brainstorming.

Here are some of the songs that put some pep in my step or remind me what I want to be up to in life.

You’ll Be Okay
Put on a Happy Face
Breath of Heaven Not everybody’s cup of tea but it encourages me.
All I Want To Do (not the Sheryl Crow song)
Tonight You Belong To Me (random fun song that pops into my head A LOT)

I’m looking at any job I work at through this temporary service as just that, temporary. I like looking at it this way because I feel like I’m not stuck in this particular factory job forever, whether I end up working here for 5 minutes, 5 months, or 5 years. It’s one of the thoughts that are helping me transition from being “The Stay At Home” to a working gal.

There are other thoughts keeping me going too. One of the biggest motivators is of course that paycheck at the end of the week. That MAGICAL paycheck. That paycheck that’s going to help with bills, cover summer birthdays for 5 kids, allow for a couple of Girl Scouts trips this weekend and a road trip with my husband in September, and fund some creative projects. It’s AMAZING how far that paycheck can go in my mind and THAT’S JUST THE FIRST CHECK!!! Okay, in reality the first check was gone to pay a bill an hour after being cashed, but I never would’ve made it to the first check without the dream.

Half the time I enjoy what I’m doing and appreciate the fact that I have all of that quiet thinking time and the other half of the time I think about what other more enjoyable work I might be missing out on and how my right arm is sore and my wrist is starting to hurt and wah wah wah.

REALITY CHECK

When I got to work Thursday night, the lady who works across from me told me that an employee was found dead that morning. He was only 30 years old. I didn’t know him, but I felt sad for my co-workers who lost their friend. It snapped me into the present moment and to what matters most in life.

What am I working for?

For the rest of the night that magical paycheck didn’t seem so magical. In the grand scheme of things, what am I doing with my life? Am I working for “stuff”? What do I want for my future? What do I want now? What am I trading my family time for? Why am I doing this?

I’ve come up with these three answers.

#1 I want the money but not the STUFF.

I’d love to have the ability to buy STUFF but I don’t want that to be my motivation. Stuff is not important to me. I want the money because I don’t want to struggle financially any more. There’s too much stress in the struggle and it can be alleviated. I want financial freedom. Don’t we all? 🙂

#2 This is just part of the journey.

Working now in this way is a stepping stone. It’s necessary and it’s not a big deal. I’ve got a vision that I’m working toward and this is going to help me get there faster.

and finally

#3 I don’t have to have all of the answers.

“The greatest joy in life is being a contribution.” Bill Cumming

I’m pretty sure that the quote above is the short and to the point version of this much longer quote.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish, little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
George Bernard Shaw

For now, I’ve chosen to contribute to my family in this way and I like the way that contribution feels.

Do you have any words of wisdom to offer for balancing work and home? What are some of the ways you keep things running smoothly? I can use lots of help in this area 🙂 Leave your comments below or come on over to facebook and share them there.

I Am A Powerful Woman shirt
Sarah Boucher happily encourages women to grow in their power daily at I Am A Powerful Woman. Come join the conversation there. If you are interested in learning about the 12 week conversation What One Person Can Do, you can get in touch with Sarah here.

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How Did I Get Here?

Flame Tattoo

Hey! Who put that there?

Do you ever feel like that?  How did I get to this place in my life?  How did we end up in this situation?  How did that huge flame tattoo end up as a permanent part of my body?

I have been scratching my head for a couple of years at how I came to be in this place in my life. How did I end up the mother of 5 children?  How have we survived all of these years on one income and especially the last couple of years?  And now more than ever It feels like it all just happened to me–that I was not an active participant.  But that’s not true.  It has all been a series of choices and reactions to choices and thoughts about reactions to choices.  I recently read the book The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews and he has many good things to say about how we end up where we end up and what we can do from this point if we want to be successful.

“By disclaiming responsibility for our present, we crush the prospect of an incredible future that might have been ours.”  The Traveler’s Gift

I highly recommend the book!

Crazy things do happen to us.  Marriages fall apart, people get sick and die.  There is very little in this life that we have control over.  But we get to choose how we react to the crazy circumstances and we have control over ourselves.

How does all of this fit with a picture of my big flaming tattoo?  I’m not sure exactly.  Somehow in my mind–it does.

To me, my super sized tattoo represents walking through trials–walking through the flames and not being burned.  My husband and I walked through these same fiery trials 6 years ago.  I thought we both made it out unscathed.  My mom, who tried desperately to thwart my efforts to get inked, calls this my battle scar.  These are the verses that inspired my tat.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze..–Isaiah 43:2

It also represents growing in those trials.  If I had my druthers, I’d really rather not do all of this growing.

“These trials are only to test your faith,
to show that it is strong and pure. It
is being tested as fire tests and purifies
gold, and your faith is far more precious to
God than mere gold. So if your faith remains
strong after being tried by fiery trials,
it will bring you much praise and glory and
honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed
to the whole world.” I Peter 1:7

Anybody want to go bike shopping?

But it also doubles nicely as a biker momma tattoo if I ever take up riding!

We are POWERFUL women taking this life one day at a time, fiery trials and all.  We have made choices to get to this point in our lives and there are always choices available to us at any given moment.  I choose to learn from people who have already been down this road.  I choose to live a full life as long as there is breath in my lungs.  I will survive in the words of Gloria Gayner.

Do you have any battle scars?  What is the meaning behind your tattoos if you have them?  If you don’t have one, but if you were going to get one, what would it be?  Come over to facebook and tell me about it.

 

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