Taking Stock

gratitude Nov 25, 2019

 

Here, in the US, we are entering a week of reflection and gratitude, and this year I’m taking that a little more seriously. Some wait until December 31st to look back over their year, but I prefer to start a little early. 

 Like, now. 

Looking Back

The past 11 months have been full of monumental change ~ in my life, my family and my friends. We are all different as a result… and it’s all good. Not one of us is less mature, less wise, less aware or less grateful.  My circle has grown exponentially, and as a result, so has my worldview. As I’ve learned about others, I find I’ve learned even more about myself. Some lessons have been tougher than others. All are valuable and important.  

Many of those lessons have resulted in a changed mind, changed beliefs, and changed behaviors (I promise, I’m working on them). It’s tough to take steps away from what you’ve been raised with. Away from the way your culture sees things and how you are expected to keep in step with those ideas.

 Here’s the thing: 

My culture should not define me,
I should help define my culture

What we currently have, is a reflection of where we’ve been and what we believe. To change what we have, we must change who we are and share what we are learning with others.  In order, then, to define my culture, I may need to shift my cultural allegiances or even walk away from things I’ve celebrated in the past.  

 Gathering In

As many in our country prepare to gather together to express thanks, I find the best way to express mine is to step back from the hustle and bustle, with my husband and my son, and reflect on all my blessings. 

This is a new and different kind of “gathering in” for me. 

I’m gathering in my little family, to renew and refresh our love and commitment for each other.  We are spending some time on a true family vacation, not just “going away for the holiday.” We are talking about what we are grateful for, remembering what we like about each other, and celebrating the beauty of the family that God has made us to be. My son, sitting up on the kitchen bar doing some homework, just looked up and said “Mom, you know what I’m grateful for? You, Dad, that Shasta (our beagle) is in a good, safe place while we travel ~ and WiFi!” It’s the little things, right? 

Fostering this kind of organic communication of gratitude is what I want my life to look like.  This is why “gathering in” is different for me and my family. It helps us strip away the hype, the cultural noise and the expectations ~ and just be “us.” It aids in reminding us what is important, how we need to show up (for each other and the world around us) ~ with a grateful heart, ready to serve and share. 

Looking Ahead

Part of renewing and recharging this week, includes setting my intentions for the rest of 2019 and preparing for 2020.  

Next week is the first week of Advent. This is an important time of year for me, as a Christian, and for many years I’ve struggled to be present and focused on what I believe is the most important aspect of the season. I’ve had a hard time letting go of the desire to receive lots of presents. I LOVE giving and receiving gifts! For me, however, this has been a bit of a road hazard. There’s such a focus on it, and my greedy heart falls into this pothole annually. 

This year, without the “traditional Thanksgiving,” I find myself seeing Christmas in a new light. I’m more open to, and ready for, Advent. I’m open to enjoy the spiritual pilgrimage of yearly celebrating “God with us.” 

So this year, I choose to set my intention to focus on the season before me, giving and receiving simple gifts, and celebrating the beauty of what “God with us” means. This change in my thinking makes Advent seem more potent, more moving and more engaging. 

In the future, it’s likely we will continue to incrementally step away from the things we no longer believe or can support.  Instead of the usual harried pace, I plan to use all of December as a time of preparation ~ for my heart and mind to better focus on what is important, allowing the noise and clutter to fall away.   

In this way, I hope to set the tone for beginning 2020 with a calm and settled mind, intent on making an impact on those around me ~ as a strong, courageous, patient and kind wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend. 

As you “gather in” this week, I pray you find the space to express gratitude in ways that remind you of all your blessings. Some of those reminders will cause you to make changes, some will allow you to settle in.  Either way, I hope you gain clarity. Use it to set your own intentions as you close 2019 and enter 2020.  

If you have not yet joined our Intentional Optimist Facebook Group please do so, and share how you are setting your intentions. We are building a global community of women who celebrate the wonder of our beauty and diversity through helping, teaching and mentoring other women. 

As a coach, I provide the structure and accountability needed to focus on what’s important and achieve your goals. If you find my message encouraging or inspiring, let’s chat about how I can serve you, as we head into the next, exciting decade.  Contact Me

Laughing at the days to come!

~Andrea

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There are events in life that define our journey. Once they happen, we begin describing everything else as “before X” or “after X”. For me,it was the day my mother died. Suddenly, I became aware of my own limited timeline. The drive to find my voice, purpose and place became urgent. I dove in, head first, and discovered the desire to help myself fueled a greater desire - to help others. Soon, I stopped defining myself in terms  of roles (wife, mother, manager),  but in terms of qualities: curious, determined, happy, adventurous. I've come to understand, that the qualities that make us who we are, are what we must celebrate. We each have a special purpose, unique perspective, and unlimited potential. Better yet, we can both discover and develop them.   

I do this through speaking, training, coaching and writing -  with a focus on helping women grow into the leaders they truly are. Intentional Optimism is my philosophy of life, and includes these five pillars:

          Optimistic - Hopeful, Positive Proactive

          Present - Seeking Wonder, Generous, Kind

          Courageous – Leading Others, Adventurous, Resilient

          Energetic - Industrious, Excitement, Life-focused

          Wise - In Respect, Words and having Understanding

          Intentional - Purposeful, Planning, Growth Mindset

I'm building a global community of women helping women. A place where we foster leadership from every stage or position in life. A place where we celebrate wonder; move forward with hope and openness; share wisdom and encouragement; offer each other a helping hand; ask freely, and share lavishly; and celebrate our differences as avenues of growth and expansion.

Let’s  change our understanding of what it means to work, provide for our families, have financial stability, and be a leader in the community. Life is an adventure - let's live it to the fullest!  

It’s time to laugh at the days to come! - Prov. 31:25

Won’t you join me on the journey?