New Year’s Resolutions!!!

New Year's post its

At the beginning of each year we tend to come up with our “New Year’s Resolutions.” These resolutions can be year-long or short-term depending on your preference. We all strive to be the best “us” that we can possibly be. Usually, this is easier said than done. At the beginning of a new year, we tend to aim high and a few months in……so of us throw the white flag of surrender. Yes, your intentions we excellent but the delivery so how got lost in translation. Yes, I fall into this category as well. In efforts to stop my revolving cycle….I changed up my resolutions….well more so, I changed the manner in which I plan to achieve my goals. For example, in the past I have resolved to lose 25lbs…..I say this is realistic and doable. So instead of spreading the 25lbs out over the course of the year. I wanted to lost the weight in 5 to 6 months and the other 6 months were for maintenance. A little more difficult but still seems doable at least on paper. This resolution is ideally unrealistic for me. I am not 25 lbs overweight….sure i could lose the 25lbs with difficulty but I’m pretty sure you would encounter the grumpier version of me…because I would be hungry ALL THE TIME!!! Yes, weight loss is still one of my resolutions….but I have accounted for special occasions and little perks to treat myself when certain small goals are met. Instead of 25lbs my first goal is 5lbs with no time restraint. Once I meet this goal I get a treat and move on to the next part of the goal. Ultimately, I want to be a happier, healthier version of me and for me small goals seem to work better than long-term goals that i may give up on by the March. Even better, I have made my husband my accountability partner….a little extra push!
What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?
How will you achieve them?

Happy New Year!!!

Mindful in 2016

Mindful in 2016

As this New Year begins like most people I have reflected on how I’d like to improve myself.   I’d like to be more mindful and intentional in 2016!   I don’t like the concept of “New Year’s Resolutions” maybe because it’s been hyped too much and these “resolutions” seem to fade after a few weeks.   I like the concept of lifestyle changes instead.

At first glance I didn’t have an idea of what I would like to do this year that is new for me.   Of course after some holiday feasting I’d like to get my eating habits back on track.   Then after attending a woman’s bible study and making several comments in the group and after reading a friend’s social media post I realized that I do have an idea about a lifestyle change I’d like to make for 2016.   It’s the concept of being more mindful or intentional in my life.   There are a few things I’d like to be more mindful of and instead of just “fitting in” these things; I’m going to schedule them into my life.   Not to clutter my schedule more but to realize these activities are also important.   Some of these things I’ve already been doing but some of them I haven’t.   For example: I’m going to schedule my quiet time with God.   I’m going to schedule my bible study time everyday.   I’m going to schedule time to connect with friends and family members.   My work is all about connecting with others so I tend to think I get plenty of “relating to others” time but I think I could use more time to grown my relationships with friends.   Here’s a real change for me: I’m going to schedule time to relax!   I’m going to put on my schedule time to do NOTHING!   For some people this naturally happens but for others the busyness of life grabs us and we speed through each day.   I tend to stay busy, I will create things to keep me busy, and sitting and relaxing does not come naturally to me.   We as a society must invest in our own relaxation time in order to be most productive during our active times.   American’s tend to praise one another for being busy because laziness is sinful.   Yes the bible says that laziness is a sin.

I found his in Wikipedia about laziness:

Sloth is one of the seven deadly sins in Christianmoral tradition, particularly within Catholicism, referring to laziness.  Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy, and being physically and emotionally inactive.

Religious views concerning the need for one to work to support society and further God’s plan and work also suggest that, through inactivity, one invites the desire to sin.

Yet the bible also makes several references to resting.   Exodus 20:10-11 is a commandment to keep the Sabbath day a day of rest.   In Mark 6:30-32 Jesus commanded his apostles to rest and to set themselves apart in the desert in order to rejuvenate themselves.

The point I think God is trying to get across is life is about keeping things in balance which can be challenging.   We shouldn’t be lazy but we also need to take time to rest and rejuvenate ourselves.   Rest in your quiet time with God or your higher power, rest when you’re enjoying a family outing or just being at home with your family, rest when you get a cup of coffee with your good friend.   Why not schedule a nap on your weekend?

I’m going to be more mindful about taking time to being with God, to study God’s word, to play and rest more this year.  For me, being mindful means being intentional and actually putting these things on my schedule and making them a priority in my life.   I know my drive to feel productive (i.e. busy) keeps me from taking time to do some much needed things like connecting and resting!

Happy New Year!!!

new year

The end to 2015 here.  I was looking up traditions from various cultures as to how they embrace the New Year. What I learned is that most of these traditions involve food….my favorite!!! While surfing the web, I saw numerous traditions from different cultures but most were dealing with food. I decided to share a few that I found on epicurious.com titled “Lucky Foods for the New Year” by Lauren Salkeld

We begin with the yummy fruit- grapes.

Grapes

New Year’s revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.

We move onto green. This is a tradition I have practiced as far as I can remember- usually cabbage but sometimes collard greens

Cooked Greens

Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year’s in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It’s widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one’s fortune next year.

I also practice this one- hello black-eye peas

Legumes

Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it’s customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame. In the Southern United States, it’s traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin’ john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.

Next we have pork. Growing up we would have neckbones and ribs. Some of my older relatives like to partake in eating chitterlings……yeah, I  pass

Pork

The custom of eating pork on New Year’s is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year’s in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig’s feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.

I’ve never had fish for New year’s but this is one tradition that I might incorporate.

Fish

Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year’s table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church’s policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalà, or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year’s. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).

Lastly, we have my favorite……..cakes!!!

Cakes, Etc.

Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year’s around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy haschiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland hasollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.

In certain cultures, it’s customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico’s rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year’s Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.

Cakes aren’t always round. In Scotland, where New Year’s is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called “first footing,” in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The “first footer” often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.

And we can not leave off what not to eat……

What Not to Eat

In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.

Now that you know what to eat, there’s one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it’s customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it’s important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don’t get too greedy—or the first place you’ll be going in the new year is the gym.

Wishing you much happiness, health and prosperity in the New Year!!!

 

RESPECT!!!

Mutual respect in the workplace - it's free

Growing up it was the norm or common knowledge that when addressing one of your elders, you addressed them with “Yes Ma’am” or ” Yes Sir”  or “No Ma’am”, “No Sir.” No matter what the conversation there was a “Ma’am and/or “Sir” involved.  This is done in efforts to show respect.  Rarely will you hear kids/teens address their elders in such a manner. More times then not you will be lucky to get correct grammar in their responses.  Sadly, we have accepted this as the new norm….”yep”, “nah” etc…… The other day one of my daughter’s friends addressed me by my first name……yes, I quickly shut that down. You may address me as Mrs. NeCee or Mrs. Palmer. The girl looked puzzled as if she had never been told this before. We have taught our kids that “Ma’am” and “Sir” are required when addressing adults. Not only this but to respect others. As adults we have to do better in guiding or kids in a positive, productive manner.  I do not think a few extra words every killed anyone.  So what happens when you encounter an adult/adults, older than you that do not exhibit common courtesy? I have encountered this a few times over the years. In my opinion, it has gotten progressively worse.  Which brings me to the title of Aretha Franklin’s song RESPECT.  Really doesn’t it simply come down to having respect for yourself and for others.  That means not taking someone’s kindness for weakness.  It seems that we have become a society of “how to get over” on the next guy. Your time, trade etc….is just as important as the next persons. When interacting with others, I think about if what I am doing may be seen in a negative light or simply as disrespectful. I follow the golden rule and treat others in the manner that I would want to be treated.  I know that adding “Ma’am” and “Sir” will not fix all of the dis-respectfulness going around….but it is a good place to start!!!

What do you think?

December Grieving Time

December Grieving Time

December can be a time of grieving.  For many people the holiday is a time of fun festive parties and family get-togethers. For others it brings relentless reminders of people they loved that have passed away.   When it’s the first Christmas without their loved one, they think of how the experience would be better if their loved one was with them.

I have a close friend whose loved one was very sick this time last year. She spent the most of the month of December at his bedside hoping he would recover.   He passed away a few days after the New Year.   It’s safe to say she did not ring in the New Year with joy and laughter.

If a loved one died in the month of December or soon after this time of year can be very hard.   Even if they are bringing the mood of the season down, don’t call them a “Scourge” or a “Grinch.”   Remember that both of those characters were hurting people, they had losses and had pain that caused them to want to spread it.   Hopefully the people that you know who are emotionally hurting during the holidays aren’t trying to hurt or ruin the joyful times for others. But if they are try to respond in love instead of anger.  If that’s doesn’t work there are trained grief counselors that could help them, try suggesting this to them. Those of us that have not had to grieve during the month of December need to remember that not everyone is having a “Holly Jolly Christmas.”   The best gift you can give them is your understanding.