Gratitude Confetti When Times are Tough

How many times have you been to hell and back? Maybe in this post-election, holidays-are-coming time of year, you feel the embers of hell at your feet right now. Any type of suffering…physical, mental, familial…it’s hard. The only way to get through it is to sort of turn your hell beast into some sort of anti-superhero.

Kind of like this…


Why? Because the saying goes, “what you resist, persists.” The more you DENY that your situation sucks right now, the more it holds a grip on you, keeping you from DEALING WITH IT and moving on. You stay stuck. And you burn up. Ouch.

Painful times can help us grow and discover who we are and what we really want out of life. Whether you are in hell right now because it’s your first Christmas without a loved one, your traditions have changed due to separation or divorce, your kids are away from home, you lost a job or your business is suffering, you’re worried about the state of the country with Trump at the helm…know that no matter what THIS TOO SHALL PASS. In some situations, it means you have to get out of your own way to LET IT.  The gurus say that it isn’t the situation that causes us unhappiness but in our REACTION and THOUGHTS about the situation. In other words, it’s us, not them. It’s our own mind that causes us misery.

So what are you going to do about it? Mope for the next four years…or take action to work on a social cause to make a difference?

Spend the entire holiday in mourning…or do something special to lift your spirits or create a new tradition?

I get that “making the most of what you have” is easier said than done, but it is possible. Is it weird and awkward when you switch up a tradition? Can be. But it can also be better than you expected. I had to learn to let go of the importance of “the date” versus an experience around a holiday because I have shared custody of my kids so I have to be flexible and make sure they experience a beautiful time despite what day we celebrate.

The holidays aren’t the same if a loved one has passed and honestly the holidays don’t have the same BIGNESS as they did when my grandmother was in charge of our holiday merriment – and she’s been gone 25 years. They don’t have the GIDDINESS from when my kids were little and we did the whole Santa thing and waking extra early for unwrapping gifts, either.

Because it makes me happy, I put out holiday photos of the kids when they were little and elfish. This year I even added a photo of my grandparents to my mantle display so I can remember the two decades of holidays spent with them and honor their memories.


Now my kids are older and it’s my third Christmas with the man who recently asked me to marry him. I am so full of love and gratitude and that’s what life is really about, isn’t it?

pic by Valerie Sebestyen
pic by Valerie Sebestyen

My antidote to surviving life’s hellish times is to THROW GRATITUDE LIKE CONFETTI. It’s like throwing water on the fire – extinguishing some of the pain and soothing the burn. Gratitude makes you realize not all of life is so terrible…there’s always something, someone, to be grateful for.

List your confetti…heck, maybe you should even write them down on a  piece of paper, cut them up and throw them over your head. Add the little things, too. I’m so thankful for Lipsense because I can kiss Chris and drink coffee and it still stays on my lips. I’m thankful my daughter is so chatty with me. I’m so thankful for bride tribe of supportive girlfriends. An on and on. List it. Live it. Volunteer. Whatever works to cheer you up.

Namaste. Happy holidays.


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How to not lose your mind in transitions

I can’t write a lick this week. Okay, I’m writing *this* but as for fiction, I’m toast. My energy is wonky and for good reason. My household is in transition. My husband started a great new job this week, my boys returned from 5 days in California (missed ’em!), I’ve been to three schools for registration, back to school shopping minutia *and*  buying my almost 16 year old a car. (Don’t even get me started on car dealers!)

I’m also going off retainer with one client so I’ve closed the chapter on that big project, which makes rooms for something else. And I always love the something else because I love change and something new. I also know I need to finish writing THE LITTLE BRAND THAT COULD and the sequel to TWIN FALLS.


But until that school bell rings, I’m not sure I can focus on the “new” just yet.

If you’re also in transition mode, here are some ideas for getting through in a healthy way.

  • Stress seems to make some of us eat more sugar, but instead of reaching for the unhealthy quick fix, stop yourself and grab a better choice. I literally spit out some “cloud cake Twinkie wannabe” after taking a bite and rinsed my mouth and ate grapes instead. Seriously, it’s not worth that. Yuck.
  • Take time for stillness. I think it’s when we’re at our busiest that it’s the most important to take extra time out for stillness. I made a point to go out under my zen tree today and meditate. It was shady, a bird soared overhead, and for the moment the roofers nearby had stopped hammering. It was divine. Remember, stillness is not thinking (to clear your headspace) but it doesn’t have to be formal!
  • Shift to something outside of your normal routine or task list. This makes sense – if your routine is already wacky due to the transition, it can be tough to accomplish the things we normally do in a day. This is why i think my garage and closet might actually get cleaned this weekend!
  • Listen for answers. When we elevate our consciousness, we’re able to pick up on the little clues as to where we should go and what the universe has in store for us. And when that opportunity knocks (even softly), answer it. That could be as simple as getting out of the house when a friend asks you to come have wine with her that evening. (Thanks, Lillie-beth!)

Let’s see, always and forever, practice gratitude. We get so busy we can forget that, but those little things lift us up when the trade winds of transition try to knock us down. Right this second, I’m very grateful my husband will be bringing pizza home tonight.

When you’re in prep mode, it can feel like “we’re not there yet” which can cause anxiety and worry about what’s to come.

If you have other tips in dealing with transition, please leave them in comments.

And a huge welcome to the new members of Alpha Chi Omega across the country. I loved helping at the house at my alma mater, University of Oklahoma, last Friday and seeing all the lovely pics of our 87 new pledges. Leadership, sisterhood, smarts and service. Go get ’em.


Book news:  Still time to enter to win a summer escape ebook through the 18th, and then – ta-dah- summer escapes 2 starts on the 19th! Get a sneak peek of the poster going up Monday below.