How to Play “The Smile Game”

Smiles are contagious. 

Every time you smile, you start a feel-good party in your brain.  Your brain starts throwing out neurotransmitters, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin like confetti. When other people sense your smile party, they want to join in too. Before you know it, your infectious smile has spread.  People all around you have contracted your contagious smile.  Scientist and spiritual teachers alike agree that smiling can transform you and the world around you. Current research (and common sense) shows us that a smile makes you appear more attractive to others. It lifts your mood as well as the moods of those around you, and it can even lengthen your life. So slap a smile on that face of yours.  Who knows who you will spread your case of the smiles to?!?!

THE SMILE GAME   The perfect great game for ANYONE, ANY AGE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!

How to play:

  1. Smile at someone, anyone.  It can be the cashier at the grocery store, your mom, a baby or the mail man.
  2. See if they smile back.
  3. If they do, hooray!  You get one point.
  4. If they don’t, boo hoo.  You lose one point.
  5. The goal is to get 10 points.
  6. This can be a contest between multiple people to see who gets to 10 points first or a race to see how quickly you can get to 10-points on your own.

My family has a blast playing this at the grocery store, at home with each other, at school…any where.  

Have fun and may the smiling odds ever be in your favor! 

 

How to create your happiest year ever…

I love this time of year. The beginning of a new year. New goals. New aspirations. Excitement. Optimism. The start of something new brings the hope of something great!  We set goals to eat healthy, exercise more, lose weight, quit bad habits, be more productive…

Why do we set these goals?  

Is it because it’s the “right” thing to do, what we think we “should” do? Or, is it because doing these things will make us happy?

I challenge you, this year, to stop “shoulding” yourself and set your New Years resolutions based upon your soul’s deepest desire: HAPPINESS.  

Take a moment to reflect on your life. What moments do you remember with a smile? Is it busting your butt on the treadmill at 5am or is it that afternoon that you hiked through Tooth Fairy Forest with your family?

This year, instead of setting goals for things you SHOULD do, write a list of all the things that will make you HAPPY. Then, resolve to spend more time doing those things.  

Resolve to choose happiness above all “shoulds”.

I’m definitely not saying go hogwild on the fried chicken at Country Kitchen buffet or spend the year sitting on your couch laughing at reruns of Seinfeld. Those activities might make you happy in the moment, but when December 31, 2016 rolls around are those the moments that you will remember?

Resolve to create moments worth remembering.

I am certain this resolution will lead you to your HAPPIEST year yet!

What are your resolutions to create happiness? I’d love to read them!

A few of my resolutions to create happiness:

  1. Having FUN makes me happy…Spend more time playing, laughing and being silly.
  2. BALANCE in my life makes me happy…balance my time between work, play, relaxation, relationships, me-time, charity.
  3. SUCCESS and accomplishment makes me happy…Take daily action towards my life goals.
  4. Spending QUALITY TIME with my loved ones and friends makes me happy…have parties, celebrate everything, host more happy hours, lunch dates, put down my phone and Be present with people, snuggle my family and puppy.
  5. TRAVELING makes me happy…plan vacations, take road trips.
  6. Feeling HEALTHY makes me happy…walk the dog, walk with friends, do yoga, plan healthy meals, cook with my family, meditate.
  7. MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION makes me happy…spend time daily talking with my kids about topics beyond “how was your day”.  
  8. INSPIRING others makes me happy…write inspiring blogs, public speaking, write inspirational book, practice affirmations.
  9. Being KIND and HELPFUL makes me happy…continue working as a pediatric OT,  volunteer at kids’ school, volunteer on HOA board, do lots of random acts of kindness.
  10. Being CREATIVE makes me happy…write some more books (maybe with my kids), launch the Comfy Cup.
  11. Having FREEDOM and FREE TIME makes me happy…So I vow to practice saying “no thanks” to thongs and things that don’t make me happy! (haha, typo that I decided to leave in–because thongs don’t make me happy…I much prefer a cozy booty-covering underpant). No thanks to thongs that ride up my crack!  Also, no thanks to any THING doesn’t create FUN or FREE TIME or HAPPY AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS.

Each year, I choose a “word for the year”.  Several people have asked what my word is this year.

 This year, my word is HAPPINESS.

    What is yours? 

    5 Things To Do Before 2016

    Although the high temp in Lenexa is 56 degrees today.  (Woo Hoo!) It’s officially winter. Yes, winter is here and spring is just around the corner.  From now on, the days will gradually lengthen.  I love this time of year.  It’s a time for reflecting on everything you have.  All the things, people, and experiences you are grateful for. This is the time to look forward to a new beginning.  It’s the time for setting goals and intentions for the new year.

    Amidst the buzz of the holidays, take some time to quiet your mind and do these five things to prepare yourself for the new year:

    1. Make a list of all the things you love.

    2. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.

    3. Answer these questions and set your intentions for 2015.

       -When are you the happiest?

       -What is something that you can share with others to improve their lives?

       -Where do you see yourself one year from now?

       -What is your personal mission statement?

       -What are your values?

    4. Make a vision board.

    5. Take time to play. Be silly and have fun.

    The greatest gift you have is the gift of creation.  You were born to create.  You are constantly creating and you probably don’t even realize it.  You create thoughts, love, kindness.

    You create your own future…what will you create in 2016?

    That Elf on the Shelf…

    Why does Elf on the Shelf catch so much flak?

    Meet Buddy. He is our family’s elf.

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    Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few years, you probably know who these little elves on shelves are. These little elves get plenty of praise, but they sure do catch a lot of flak!

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    That joy was sapped last Christmas because of a villainous invader whose very presence was meant to enhance that Christmas experience, not destroy it. That villain was the Elf on the Shelf.

    Parents use Elf to scare their children into good behavior, and that is not a very nice thing to do.

    I agree with these comments (to a certain extent). Just like any toy created with good intentions, it can be misused. Elf on the Shelf is not intended to replace the meaning of Christmas and it is not nice to “scare children into good behavior”, but who says you have to invite a spy elf into your house to change the meaning of Christmas?
    Couldn’t you just as easily choose to create a tradition of a fun-loving, silly, crafty, and creative elf that brings your family closer together, inspires creativity, imagination and wonder?

    Most evenings, after the kids are in bed, my husband and I sit at the kitchen table chatting and finishing our daily paperwork together. BORING!
    However, during “elf season”, we share hours of laughter scheming up creative stunts and pranks for our silly elf to do that we know will make our kids chuckle.

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    Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments where we are snuggled into our warm, cozy bed, just about to fall asleep, when–€#@$!–we remember that we forgot to move Buddy!
    However, the moments spent together as a couple inventing, creating and watching our children hoot, howl and belly laugh as the witness the elf magic far outweighs those “oh $hit” moments.
    As the parent, YOU get to choose how you invite this tradition in your home.
    The true JOY of having an Elf on the Shelf is not in frightening your children to behave. It is in creating lasting, happy memories for your children and your family.

    At our house, Buddy Elf, does not “keep tabs” on the kids. He doesn’t need to. Our children know the house rules and our family’s expectations for behavior. When they misbehave, it is our responsibility to discipline. Not Santa Claus or Buddy Elf.

    In our home, Buddy Elf is a source for creativity, imagination, laughter and fun for my husband, my children, and me. I guess you can add grandma and grandpa into the mix too.
    Just this morning, my mom, who is staying with us for a few days, poked her head downstairs and asked, “Where is Buddy?”
    “Why?” I responded.
    “Well, I guess I am just as curious and excited as the kids are to see what he has been up to!”

    We all have a wonderful time “playing” with Buddy.

    Childhood is so short. It’s just a small blip on the radar screen before reality sets in. The magic, the wonder, and the curiosity dissolve so quickly.
    What is wrong with diving in and fully embracing those years of mystical, magical, playful youth?
    What is so wrong with creating opportunities for laughter, imagination, creativity, and fun?
    Our world needs MORE fun, MORE laughter, MORE wonder!

    Say what you want about Elf on The Shelf, but in my home, Buddy Elf has created magical, happy memories and a tradition that we will continue to cherish for years to come.

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    Snooze E. Sheep’s Toddler Treasure Hunt is Happening THIS OCTOBER!

    Guess what?  A magical sheep has just flown into Kansas City.  His name is Snooze E. Sheep, and he is on a mission to transform toddler nap-times into a fun adventure.  Snooze is so super duper excited for the kids of Kansas City to discover the joy of “snoozing” with Snooze, that he is going to hide copies of his book, Snooze©, in various kid-friendly spots throughout the city!

    Everyday Friday this October, Snooze will hide his book in a new location.  Check his Facebook page each Friday morning at 9am to get a treasure map to help you find the book.

    Use the treasure map and take your toddler on an exciting treasure hunt to look for Snooze’s signature z-shaped clue and find the magical book that has the power to transform not-so-happy nap-times into magical adventures.


    Don’t worry if you aren’t the first one to find Snooze’s hidden treasure.  Anyone who finds Snooze’s clue has a chance to be a winner! Take a picture of your child next to Snooze’s clue and post it on Snooze’s Facebook Page with #snoozethesheep for a chance to win a copy of his book!

    Winner’s names will be drawn and announced at the end of the month.

    Don’t have time to take your toddler on a treasure hunt, but want a fun new way to transform nap-time “nays” into “hip-hip-hoorays”?

    Check out Snooze’s website where you can purchase the book and get more fun information about Snooze E. Sheep (like what in the world is his middle name and what Snooze likes to do for fun).

    Happy Hunting!

    Snooze the Sheep

    Toilet Meditating for Parents who Barely Have Time to Poop

    As a parent in a busy household, one of the wishes I have each day is for just a few moments of peace and quiet and solitude. As a mama also aspiring for enlightenment– a few moments of meditation would be equally awesome.  But, let’s be honest.  Finding peace and quiet is a rare commodity in a busy household–unless you wake up at the crack-of-dawn and disappear to the solitude of the basement before those little feet pitter-patter down the hall squealing, “I’m hungry”. 

    Of course, you could wait until the house is quiet in the evening after the kiddos are in bed and your spouse has finished blaring his nightly Netflix episode of Breaking Bad on the TV …if you can stay awake that late.  I don’t know about you, but it seems that my house is abuzz with activity from dawn until midnight. 
    So, what is an exhausted mom seeking a slice of solitude to do? 
    We all know the “escape to the bathroom trick”.  Oh, come on, don’t act like you have never used the bathroom as a getaway.  Once you are in there, hunched down holding your head in your hands, how do you maximize those precious moments of “me time”and bring your energy from zero back to hero?  
    Toilet Meditation.  
    Yes, you read that correctly…Toilet Meditation.
    It can be done, and it can be glorious.  We take time to “lighten the load”, but what about our emotional and energetic load?  We owe it to ourselves and our families to pause a few extra minutes on that porcelain throne to enlighten our minds and not just our behinds.
    The benefits of mediation are comparable, if not better than a good BM, so why not squeeze a MB (meditation break) in after your BM?

    Consider these benefits of toilet meditation:
    1. Provides a sense of calm and balance
    2. Increases energy
    3. Reduces pain and enhances the body’s immune system
    4. Reduces stress
    5. Relieves muscle tension

    Follow these 10 Steps to Master the Toilet Meditation:
    1.  Secure the area (that’s basically the lock yourself in the bathroom technique aforementioned).  
    2.  Get loaded.  The toilet provides a wonderful support for you to sit grounded with your spine erect and your feet flat on the floor.  No need to try the lotus position in the loo. 
    3. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the space between your eyes.  
    4. Get your brain from Beta to Theta.  I personally love listening to Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “You are the Placebo” meditations (available on iTunes).  However, if you are locked and loaded and you left your iPhone and earbuds in the kitchen, the hum of the bathroom exhaust fan is the next best thing to the harmonious binaural beats.
    Follow this handy-dandy brainwave map to get you there:
      

     5. Do not attend to any knocking, hollering, barking, ringing for 5-minutes.  Imagine that your body is not a solid mass, but instead that it is made up of millions of tiny atoms (because it actually is). Feel the space between the atoms expanding and filling the room (kind of like a fart). 

    6. Breathe.
    7.  Ignore that pounding on the bathroom door and the “Moooooom, are you in there?”
    Bring your awareness back to the space between your eyes.  Keep your eyes closed.  
    8.  Stay in that Toilet Theta State as long as you can…but not too long.  You don’t want to end up with ring-around-the-toilet thighs (especially during tennis-skirt season), or worse yet, have your legs fall asleep!
    9. Bring your awareness back your body.  Open your eyes.  Can you feel your toes?
    Your legs? Your arms? Feels good, Right?
    10. Don’t forget to flush and wash, and while you are in there, go ahead and give yourself a wink in the mirror and say, “I’m good stuff!”

    Happy Tootie Toot-Toot Day! (2-22-2015)

    We have so much to celebrate. Every day of the year should be a holiday. Which is why last year, I created a new holiday which is a day dedicated to the Gas we Pass: February 22nd (2/22), “Tootie Toot-Toot Day”.

    On my blog, spreadlovingkindness, I am embarking on a mission to spread love and kindness and encourage others to do the same. Passing gas can be a hilarious means of spreading kindness. What!?!? Did she just say, spread love through farts? Yep. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that farting is always a means of spreading kindness. Let’s be honest, sometimes a “Dutch oven”can be downright mean.
    But, really, who doesn’t chuckle when they hear a rip-roaring toot?
    We can all use a good laugh every now and then. So, why not break the ice by breaking a little wind? And see if you can get someone else to “crack” a smile while you are at it.
    Check out this video where a hilarious farting family spreads laughter with a little gas passing prank.

    Happy Tootie Toot-Toot Day!

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    Vision Boards 101

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    Vision Boards 101
    vi·sion board
    \ˈvi-zhən\ˈbȯrd\
    noun
    : a visual representation of your goals, dreams, and ideal life.
    : see also-“dream board” or “inspiration board”

    How to create a vision board:
    1. Identify your goals and desires.
    Each of our lives has a unique purpose. When we align our goals with this purpose, we have more fun have manifesting your desires and more easily achieve success.

    The key to making a vision board filled with goals and desires that reflect your unique life purpose is to take some time to figure out what in the heck your life purpose is.
    Don’t overthink this.
    Many people spend their entire lives trying to answer this question. But, it is really quite simple.
    (For me, I believe my life purpose is to be creative and helpful to others.)

    Ask yourself these questions to zero in on YOUR purpose:

    -What have I always enjoyed doing? (From childhood to adulthood)
    What did you play as a child?
    When you first started considering a career, what was your initial thought?

    -What are my interests? If you had nothing else to do, what would you love to spend your time doing?
    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered that people find genuine satisfaction during a state of consciousness called “Flow”. In this state they are completely absorbed in an activity. During this “optimal experience” they feel “strong, alert, in effortless control.
    Think about a time when he you were in the “flow” state.
    What were you doing?

    -What resources do I have available to me?
    I believe that the universe aligns us with the resources that we need to fulfill our purpose.
    Do you have resources that are unique from others and align with your interests? This could be a clue to what your life purpose is!

    2. It’s time to get crafty
    Get out your magazines, photo albums, glue and markers.
    Find pictures or words that represent the experiences, items, and feelings you wish to attract into your life and paste them onto a piece of paper or poster board. It does not matter what size you choose. It could be an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of copy paper or a large stretched canvas. Just make sure that it is big enough to hold all of your desires.

    The images don’t have to be of YOU doing the activity. However,
    I have had the most success when I get crafty and past pictures of my face into experiences that I desire.

    Last year, I pasted a picture of my face next to my favorite author, on my vision board. Several months later, we had coffee together!

    You can choose words and pictures that depict the goals in one specific area of your life or your vision board can be all encompassing. You could make one vision board for personal goals and one for career goals. It is completely up to you.

    The most important thing, is to choose words and pictures that touch you on an emotional level. You want your vision board to be filled with images and sayings that inspire positive feelings, get you excited, and make you smile.

    3. Post your vision board in a place where you will see it frequently.
    It is especially important to place your vision board in a spot where you will see it right before you go to bed.
    The images you see in the 45-minutes before you go to sleep are the ones that replay in your subconscious mind during the night as you sleep.
    I keep my vision board in my bathroom above my sink where I can see it every morning and every night while I brush my teeth.
    My dentist, Dr. Smiley, (yes that is her real name) will be happy to know that I spend a few extra minutes cleaning my pearly whites each night as I become absorbed in my vision board.

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    4. Feel gratitude.
    As time passes, you will begin to see the desires on your vision board manifested. Make sure to take time and feel gratitude for these things.

    Every morning, before I get out of bed, I routinely go through and think about all of the things I am grateful for, including those desires that have manifested themselves in my life.
    I am oh so grateful for my dear friend, Allyson File, who taught me this valuable practice.

    5. It is a work-in-progress.
    Your vision board does not have to be a “one and done”. You can always add new desires to your board as your dreams evolve and expand.

    I like to make a new vision board every year. I have started a tradition in my family of making vision boards at the beginning of each year. It is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your family as you share the successes and achievements over the past year and look forward into the future together.
    I always keep my vision board from previous years. It is like a visual journal of my dreams and personal growth.

    6. Take action!
    Your vision board is a wonderful place to start in realizing your ideal life. However, let’s be realistic. Your desires are just going to magically appear while you sit on the couch watching re-runs of Seinfeld.
    You have to get out there and take advantage of the resources and opportunities that the universe gives you.
    This is when you release your fears and trust that, “the universe has your back”. When your desires are truly aligned with your life purpose, then you will discover that it is very easy to attract the things you wish for.
    But, YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING! This is the part where you email your favorite author and invite her to coffee or send a letter to the publishing company that you want to publish your book.
    You have to believe that the answer is already “yes” and that the things and experiences you desire are already on their way.

    Now, go get crafty and let your vision board be a catalyst for creating the life you were born to live!

    How does it get any better than this?

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    It’s the first day of 2015. Two-thousand and FUN-teen is over. Now what? My intention to live 2014 having fun was a huge success…
    I made new friends.
    Connected with old friends.
    Played and laughed with my kids.
    Took vacations.
    Sprouted creative ideas.
    Materialized those ideas.
    Celebrated ordinary days.
    Wore funny costumes.
    Snuggled my giant puppy.
    Had slumber parties with my kids.
    Took time for date night with my hubby.
    Tried new things.
    Learned new things.
    Asked lots of questions.

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    It’s a question that I hold in my mind at the beginning of 2015…

    “How does it get any better than this?”

    One of the many things I learned this year is that when I ask questions, the Universe answers them.

    It is with excitement and giddy anticipation that I look forward to how the universe will answer my question for 2015…
    How DOES it get any better than this amazingly FUN 2014?

    I know it does. I know it will. With a new book, a sprouting business, a trip to Hawaii and 364 1/2 days ahead of me to fill with amazing awesomeness…I know it can and will get better.
    But the HOW (this is where the fun is hidden)…the HOW I am going to leave up to the Universe.

    My hubby says, “You can’t have a question for your intention for the new year.” So, to satisfy him, and anyone else (including my children) who think a question is an unacceptable intention, I ALSO choose 2015 to spread loving kindness. I have learned that what you GIVE you RECEIVE. So with the intention of spreading my love and kindness, I hope to receive loving kindness as well.

    Check out my website: spreadlovingkindness.org where I will be sharing how I #spreadlovingkindness in 2015.
    I invite you to #spreadlovingkindness this year as well and share your stories with me on Facebook.

    With LOVE and KINDNESS I wish you a Happy New Year!

    HDIGABTT?