Tag Archive | happy new year

Discovering Hidden Opportunities, Every Day in 2013

By Jen Ashenfelter

Happy 2013 everyone! How are those resolutions going so far? How many have you broken already?

Jimmy Choo

oooo… Jimmy Choo’s might be in my future for 2013! (Credit: OhJimmyChoos.net)

Don’t fret, just laugh. It’s a quirky tradition so why not have some fun with it. After discovering my favorite shoe store didn’t close but simply moved to another location, I gleefully announced to my husband, with a chuckle, that I resolve to buy more shoes in 2013. I only bought new flip flops and one pair of shoes in 2012, so I think buying more shoes in 2013 is a pretty good resolution!

Regardless of your thoughts on resolutions, I think they are a good idea if not taken too seriously. I really like my friend and fellow blogger Jenna Schuler’s recent post about creating “value principles” so if you haven’t read it, please do. The only way to move forward is to reflect—not dwell—on the past and make plans for the future. Celebrate the accomplishments—both great and small—and learn from the challenges and mistakes. Writing down desires, goals or value principles should motivate you to start the year off on a positive note. Think of things that excite you rather than creating a laundry list of things to change; however, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

While reflecting on 2012 and thinking about 2013, I  came across this quote on Facebook and decided this is really the only resolution needed: Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. ~Michael Josephson

One resolution…that’s it, you say? I know, where’s the fun in that? In theory, it’s a great resolution but a bit vague. It gives nothing to be excited about or work on. How do you hold yourself accountable to succeed—or not—without any details? So for the sake of a few giggles and something to work toward, here’s my list.

Write – Possibly the most important item on this list since I’m writing content for 3 blogs—this one included. Past resolution lists have included steps to reach my goal of writing more—personally and professionally. I recently landed a job as a marketing coordinator for an animal hospital and lodging facility where my primary responsibility is writing—yay me! Now the focus is to improve my writing and learn more about content marketing and social media.

Read – Good writers spend a lot of time reading too. 2012 was a good year. I read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, definitely did not ride the 50 Shades bandwagon but did enjoy a romance novel written by a good friend, and finally bought a Kindle where Gone Girl is waiting to be finished.  Reading for pleasure might prove more challenging in 2013 now that I’m working, but I have a healthy reading list to work on.

In 2012 I read my friend Kelly Jameson's novel To Tame A Rogue. And her novel What Remained of Katrina, is on my list for 2013.

In 2012 I read my friend Kelly Jameson’s novel To Tame A Rogue. And her novel What Remained of Katrina, is on my list for 2013.

Eat – This one is easy; I love to eat! Ok, too easy…let’s call this resolution Healthy Eating. Listing “lose weight” is pointless because I automatically get defensive. I will not give up bagels! I prefer to continue with my quest to eat better and provide healthier meals for my family. I believe in the real food approach and reducing the amount of foods with a long list of ingredients and preservatives in our pantry. I plan dinners before my bi-monthly trips to the grocery store, so creating Meatless Mondays and Seafood Saturdays will be fun. Besides creative menus, 2013 will be the year of the vegetable. My youngest actually announced his new-found love of brussels sprouts and asked that I make them more often—wow!

Pray – And let’s call this resolution Wellness—in mind, body and spirit. I thought maybe I’d join a 5K training class at the YMCA and blog about the experience. I have completed the training and 5K race in the past; it’s definitely a good way to jumpstart an exercise program. However, it requires training outside in extreme winter weather conditions from January to March. Been there, done that—I don’t live in Florida. I’m quickly changing this to a focus on yoga—easily done in a warm, dry setting without having to wear 20 lbs of clothing. Remember, resolutions should be motivating and not include “crazy.”

I’ve taken restorative yoga classes and loved the experience. I’ve tried aerial yoga—hanging upside down from a silk suspended from a ceiling is definitely challenging but exhilarating once you get the “hang” of it. But what I’d like to spend more time on in 2013 is learning and practicing more traditional yoga poses as a form of exercise and meditation. This one will be tough since committing to time for exercise and quiet prayer always seems to be at the bottom of my To Do list. But I’m excited to try a basic exercise plan I found in a recent issue of Prevention which combines yoga exercises with journaling—two resolutions with one stone. If all else fails, I’ll sign up for another round of restorative or aerial yoga classes. Namaste.

Love – Of course my first priority is to my family. I’m extremely lucky to have a loving family as well as wonderful friends. As the saying goes, anything worth having is worth working for. So this resolution is my commitment to continue working on being my best so I can give back to the family and friends who mean the most to me. Whether it’s achieving milestones with my husband, celebrating the accomplishments of our sons, sharing special weekends with girlfriends, or simply telling family and friends how they’ve touched my life, I resolve to live each day with no regrets or words of love and appreciation left unsaid.

Committing to resolutions—or whatever you decide to call them—is like reviewing that class syllabus at the beginning of the year—a bit overwhelming at first, but if you take it day-by-day, step-by-step, while diligently working through challenges and celebrating the accomplishments, reaching the end is not so difficult. Maybe some resolutions will fall by the wayside quickly but if you find the positive lesson and the joy in each, then nothing is lost.

Maybe I’ll only read one book in 2013, but I will enjoy every chapter of the adventure. Maybe Seafood Saturdays won’t last past February because the family absolutely hates it, but hopefully they will appreciate trying something new for a few weeks. Maybe you won’t lose 10 lbs, run a marathon, or mend a broken relationship but consider the hidden opportunities to be discovered in simply trying.

Whether it’s a resolution or a value principle…or maybe just one thing you want in 2013, I encourage you to write it down. Yeah, post it on the refrigerator or share with your social peeps, just keep it handy and see how far you go. If you find a dead end, then create a new path to whatever makes you happy and brings health, happiness and harmony to you in 2013.

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Taking a Leap of Faith into 2013

By Karen Hendricks

Famous cliff jumpers: Thelma & Louise

Famous cliff jumpers: Thelma & Louise

“The fiscal cliff” is the hot topic in the news today, and it makes me think about the expression “jumping off a cliff.” Blogging is a bit like jumping off a cliff or taking a leap of faith. You dream up a concept, create a website (blog), post your opinions and topics for the world to see, hope you’re adding some good to the world, and making connections to readers and a community. Many thanks to YOU, our readers, for finding us, subscribing to our posts and sharing your thoughts and ideas with us! We appreciate your support as we launched in 2012.

Jumping off a cliff, taking a leap of faith, or in our case, “jumping off the merry-go-round,” takes some courage. But it’s been an extremely rewarding experience on many levels. Personally, this was the first Christmas season that I spent 100% with my family (ok, honestly, I did a tiny bit of work… but only about 5% of the time!). Past holiday seasons, I spent the majority of my time working, but wishing I could devote more time to my family. I truly feel for parents who don’t have a choice but to work through the holiday season–medical and emergency personnel come to mind. For me, making the decision to leave a full time, 60-70 hour-per-week job in 2012 and concentrate on my own business during a more manageable 30-40 hour-per-week workload… was the best decision for both my family and myself, personally and professionally.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know other bloggers and parents through Off the Merry-Go-Round. I invite you to comment or email us (OfftheMGR at gmail.com) with your ideas for future topics in 2013. Let us know about parenting issues you struggle with, phases or stages your kids are going through or career issues. Likewise, send us your tips, comments and words of wisdom! Tell us how you solved a parenting problem, share your best penny-pinching tips or share a fabulous craft idea or recipe. We’ll compile and share your ideas in future upcoming posts.

Our bloggers–Jennifer, Jen, Mary Ann, Ruth and myself–have been brainstorming and developing future blog topics for 2013. They are a joy to work with! Here are some of the topics you can look forward to (in the news business, this is called a “tease!”):

  • Training for a 5K
  • How to Journal
  • Life: It’s the Little Things that Matter
  • Small Changes You Can Make to Help Improve and Save Our Environment
  • A Craft Project for an Icy Day
  • Adoption Issues
  • The College Search Process
  • Living with Lyme Disease
  • Tips for Family Fun on Skis
  • Pinterest “Picks”
  • How to Lose the Boob Tube
  • A Fabulous Recipe for Homemade Soft Pretzels
  • And so much more!

Happy New Year! We look forward to sharing 2013 with you. If you’ve enjoyed “Off the Merry-Go-Round” thus far, please share this website with your network of friends and widen our community! Many thanks! 🙂