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I’m blown away by the creative genius involved in marketing for the holiday season. Yet despite all the clever and cheery commercials, I know that the reality of our lives during this time of year is often quite different. We don’t spend our days singing and dancing in the aisles of stores. If anything, we may find ourselves less content and focused than usual with added pressures that tax our time, patience, emotional fortitude, and finances.

In the mist of all that the last five weeks of 2018 may bring, we each have a unique opportunity to create space for reflection and spark new ideas. This process takes time because often we don’t know what we want until we spend time reflecting on it.

It takes work to figure out what we truly want.

This week’s intention

If we aren’t careful, we can end up allocating all of our mental energy over the next five weeks toward completing holiday tasks instead of reflecting on our desire to live year-round with joy, purpose, and meaning. We can look up five weeks from now having only found great shopping deals, decorated our homes and attended social events – charging into the next year without being any closer to knowing what we want from it.

My intention is to set aside dedicated time for reflection.

Instead, I want to encourage you to be deliberate about shifting your energy toward reflection. Commit to spend the next five weeks reconnecting with the truest parts of yourself through joyful activities and cultivating inspiration for what next year could bring. This week, start with two simple questions:

What brought meaning into my life this year?

AND

What topics do I want to learn about next year?

I realize that journaling is not for everyone. I recommend writing out your thoughts if you can, but if not, simply set aside time to think on each question during your commute to work. Pray about them or ask them aloud just before starting your daily meditation. Hold each question in your spirit as you take a walk outside and see what answers come up for you.

We’ll have more questions next week. See you then!


Learn more about Simply Service, my work and me at Purpose and Kourtney’s story.


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Know someone else that needs peace and inspiration in their work life? Please share.

HolidayCooking

I do a lot of cooking around the holidays. But most of my life, I hated to cook. It was a chore and something I thought I wasn’t good at. When I started dating my husband, I realized that home cooked meals were acts of service for him. Cooking for him has become a key way I remind myself that love requires action and work. I cook for him (and our family) regularly and with a joyful heart. I even dare to say I’ve gotten good at it over the years. Once you get motivated to do something, you usually get better and better with practice.

This is how I’d like you to think about your holiday giving strategy this year. You may already be feeling motived to give, but not sure how to do it in a way that has real and lasting impact. Some years you may have been content with kind acts of charity that reaped immediate rewards. These acts include things like toy drives and providing food for holiday meals. These are generous gestures and clearly quality ways to give. But this year, you may be ready to go a step further.

You may be asking yourself the following question:

  • Do I want my impact on families to last longer than one holiday?

Which may lead to you to a question like:

  • Why don’t the parents have enough money for food or toys?

Which may lead to you to a question like:

  • Why don’t the parents have jobs that provide them with adequate financial resources?

Which may lead to you to more questions like:

  • Are there quality mental health services in place to get parents employable again?
  • Can parents truly focus on employment and education if they don’t have secure housing?
  • Are there laws and systems in place so parents can earn a living wage?

This list doesn’t even begin to cover all the paths your questions could lead you to. It is just meant to show you how “peeling the onion” on needs may lead you to a giving strategy that goes beyond the holidays. It may lead you to a greater focus on social change and not just charity. You may still want to give food and toys to needy families which is great. Just give in a way that best aligns with the love and impact you hope to provide this holiday.

Happy Giving Tuesday Everyone!

I hope you will take a moment to share online how and where you give using #GivingTuesday. As a close friend of mine said this morning, “Let’s break the internet with something that matters!”