You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup

Blogger: Jennifer Angarano-Ricci, “Ms. Happy, Alive & Built to Survive”

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How many times have you heard that phrase, You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup?  Too many is my guess.  But how many times have you heard that phrase?  Really heard it resonate within yourself?  Shit, we hear stuff all the time:  “Take time for yourself”.  “Self-care is important”.  “You can’t pour…”, oops said that already!  But you know what?  It’s really friggin hard to take that first step in taking care of yourself- in Self Care.   I know for me, I was always a people pleaser, and to some extent I still am.  I’ve been known to think to myself,” I can take a nice detox bath right now, but I could be getting X, Y & Z done before my daughter gets home”.  But after going through the past year, I’ve really gotten to know and feel the importance of putting ME first.  And let me tell you, putting yourself first, only makes it better for everyone.  When you do things to better yourself, then, and only then, can you help others with the overflow of goodness coming from within you.  What IS self-care, you ask?  It can be many things to many people.  You can practice self-care physically, mentally, socially, emotionally and spiritually, and even then, that can mean so many different things for each of us.  I’ve put together some examples of self-care from these categories:

Physical Self Care Examples:

-Eating healthfully

-Laughing

-Working out

-Getting a massage (or acupuncture, etc.)

-Getting’ your hair did!

-Having a mani/pedi

-Getting a good night’s sleep (SO important)

-Taking a nice long bath or shower

 

Mental Self Care Examples:

-Listening to music

-Reading a book

-Taking a class or learning something new

-Giving yourself a break (whatever that means to you- unplugging from the internet for a few hours/days, sitting quietly for a while)

-Learning to play an instrument

 

Social Self Care Examples:

-Planning a get together with friends or family

-Going to a book club/ garden club/ theater group

-Reaching out to people, making a new friend

-Taking a walk with a group of friends

 

Emotional Self Care Examples:

-Connecting with friends

-Using essential oils (if you’re into that)

-Saying “No” when you’re really not able to do/help/volunteer/ whatever

-Finding positive affirmations/mantras that mean a lot to you

-Practicing Gratitude

-Journaling

 

Spiritual Self Care Examples:

-Volunteering

-Meditating

-Praying

-Going to a religious service

-Practicing Yoga

-Taking a walk in nature

See?!  There’s something for everyone, and that means EVERYONE can practice self-care.  Do not even attempt to tell me that you don’t have time for any of this, because we all make time for what we want, and who doesn’t want to feel more peaceful and happy?  Please promise me that each of you will do at least one thing in the way of self-care each week, and then- each day.  YOU DESERVE IT.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Here are some things I do to self-care:

Detox baths and baking are two of the things that give me peace, relaxation, and joy, so here are two different recipes for you to try:

Detox Bath: 

1/2 cup Epsom salt

1/4 cup baking soda

3 tablespoons of ginger powder

Dissolve the Epsom salt and baking soda in hot bath water, then add the ginger. Soak and relax for as long as you can!  MAKE SURE TO DRINK WATER BEFORE, DURING and AFTER THIS BATH.  You WILL sweat and lose fluids.  And of course, if you have any medical issues, talk to your doctor first.

 

Anise Biscotti:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoon anise extract OR 2 teaspoons anise seed- or both- I’m not judging!

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Grease and flour three 8.5 x 4.5-inch loaf pans.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed until light and frothy (about 2-3 minutes).
  5. Add the sugar gradually and whisk for another minute or so.
  6. Add the oil and extracts. Whisk for another minute.
  7. Incorporate the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
  8. Pour mixture in the 3 prepared loaf pans.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch
  • Remove from loaf pans and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Transfer to cutting board.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick (or thicker).
  • Place slices flat down on parchment lined baking sheets, and bake for about another 5-8 minutes. Make sure to turn the slices over to ensure even toasting.
  • Can be stored at room temperature for a week or two…If they last that long, lol!

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Jennifer Angarano Ricci is a wife, mother & creative soul-searcher.  She is a musician, artist, and baker, and runs her home business Baked By Jen, in addition to running her local community theater group.  She loves to sing, create and help others, and tries to connect all three passions whenever possible.

By the time you read this, I will be 7 days clean

 

Blogger: Janis Gaudelli, “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

Today, I am 7 Days clean of a drug I have struggled with my whole life.

Sugar.

You might say to yourself, “Sugar isn’t a drug.”  Well, friends, research shows that that sugar consumption fires up the same areas of the brain that are triggered by cocaine. And according to Dr. Mark Hyman, sugar is EIGHT times as addictive as the narcotic.

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If you still don’t believe me, check out this lab study done with rats.  It will blow your mind:

I have tried to kick my sugar habit so many times that I have lost count.  I have given it up for lent a couple times, taken on a bet with friends, accepted the challenge from one of my fitness trainers… but each and every time, the monkey on my back returned and won.  Furthermore, every time I returned to my sugar-induced life, those sweet, evil demons became more powerful, convincing me that I cannot live without them.

Last week, as we all prepared to welcome 2019, I thought about this whole ‘resolution’ idea.  You know, when people make a pledge to give up something (smoking, drinking, etc.) or bring something more positive (exercise, new job, etc.) into their lives.  Once the clock strikes midnight on 12/31, it’s game on. And usually, just a few weeks later, game over.

That rollercoaster is exactly why I stopped making resolutions.  I don’t like setting myself up to fail.  Instead, a few years ago, I decided to dedicate a “word” to guide me throughout the year.  Focusing on a word is easier, more amenable, and aligns with my overall soulful approach to life. I set my word on my birthday and this year that word is Nourishment.  When I chose my word, I took into account all the things in my life that don’t serve me mentally, emotionally, or physically.  As I mentioned in my birthday blog, when you say “nourishment”, diet is generally what first comes to mind. My word didn’t necessarily have to do with what I consumed nutritionally, however, at that time, I was in denial that my love of sugar was, in fact, an addiction.

Since establishing that word as my guiding light, I have done really well at nourishing myself emotionally and mentally. But physically? I am failing. And that failure was all the more evident during the holidays.  If it had sugar on it or in it, it was consumed.  I woke up each day declaring I wasn’t going to eat the cookies, candy, cake, etc.  And yet I did, all damn day.  I couldn’t stop.  I felt like shit, I looked like shit and my spirit was breaking down.  I had hit rock bottom and knew I had to pull myself out of this sugar-induced frenzy.

I believe when we make the conscious decision to do something, the universe delivers in strange yet beautiful ways.  During my week off I saw not one, but several articles appear in my newsfeed about the effects of sugar, how to detox from sugar, and food plans to help people like me quit the sweet stuff.  I am an avid podcast listener, and suddenly my updates included advice from nutritional experts and mindful practitioners about how to properly “nourish” (yes, that’s the word they used) your body, mind, and spirit. I know this comes as a shock, but apparently, you can’t nourish one without the others.  It’s a one-stop-shop if you’re going to commit to living a nourished life.  It was then that I realized I was half-assing how I was applying Nourishment to my life.

Then the final sign appeared. The one that made me realize this ain’t no coincidence. As I sat on my couch, channel-surfing during the holiday break, this appeared on the screen:

Have you ever seen the documentary, Fed Up? Since its release four years ago, everyone has nagged me to check it out, to which my reply has consistently been, “What I don’t know, won’t hurt me.” (In hindsight, I believe their suggestions were out of concern).  I didn’t want to see it because I didn’t want to admit I had a problem.  I didn’t want to see people like me on the screen, living ‘for and by’ the sugar Gods.  I also wasn’t ready to recognize that this drug, which I was so reliant on to bring me joy, was out to kill me.  So, I avoided this documentary like the plague. And I could pretty easily because, at the time, it was only on Netflix.  But this time, I couldn’t run anywhere. I mean, I could have changed the channel, but I was meant to see this documentary.  It was time. This was the motherload of all wake-up calls.

I’m pretty sure my mouth was open in shock for the entirety of the film.  I watched in horror– disgusted, sick to my stomach and ashamed.  I saw myself up on that screen.  I was as ill-informed as those individuals in the film who shared the same addiction. I knew the level of sugar in the usual suspects: soda, cereal, candy, etc.  But what I didn’t realize was how much sugar is in almost every product I have in my kitchen cabinets.  A quote from the documentary kept replaying in my head, “There are 600,000 food products on the US market.  80% have added sugar.”  Facts like that made me pause and rewind a few times, just to make sure I heard them correctly.  Holy crap people, we’re in deep, and every food manufacturer (and our government) is aware of it (and profiting from it).

If you’re addicted to sugar like me, this is a must-watch.  Your life depends upon it.  If you’re a parent, I advise you to set some time aside to check it out, as childhood type 2 diabetes has increased at an alarming rate. Basically, if you have a pulse, I urge you to not ignore this film.  I’ve even made it easy for you, because here’s a link to the full version:

After the documentary ended, I sat there for a good hour trying to shake off what I had just processed.  But I couldn’t.  Instead, I went to my kitchen, flung open the cabinets and started to evaluate the sizeable sugar count in my so-called “healthy” foods: yogurt, bread, tomato sauce, protein shakes, salad dressing, peanut butter, breakfast cereal (the supposedly healthy kind), wine, dried fruit, protein bars and even some fruit (albeit natural sugar, it still feeds the beast) and the list goes on and on.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I confess to eating A LOT of candy.  Not a day goes by that I don’t chew away at some type of sugary confection – gummies, nerds, starburst, skittles, twizzlers, etc.  I had candy stashed in every corner of my house, office, and car.  That’s the obvious culprit of my addiction, but when I started to pay attention to the sugar content in the normal foods I consume, I was dumbfounded and sickened.  These food companies disguise their products as “healthy”, but they’re not.  Food manufacturers play an important role in perpetuating the sugar epidemic

What does someone with a sugar addiction do with this information?  You can’t just watch this film and not change something about what you’re eating.  After the shock wore off, I attacked my kitchen. I gathered every piece of candy in my house (the amount filled a recycle bin) and threw it out.  Here’s how you know you have a problem: I stared at that bin in my kitchen for two whole days before I threw it out.  And when I finally did, it pained me so much that I had to literally take the garbage bag and put it in the bin outside… because I didn’t trust I that wouldn’t pick it out of the garbage.

After disposing of the evidence, I began researching gentle detoxes.  I am painfully aware from my past sugar hiatuses that withdrawal from sugar can be fucking brutal.  I have experienced extreme fatigue, headaches, mood swings, body aches, light-headedness, and distraction.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid all these symptoms, but I wanted to withdraw in the least invasive way.

Today, seven days into my detox, and I feel pretty good.  This time I experienced extreme fatigue and was terribly distracted.  The body aches returned but not as bad as I experienced in the past.

Other than giving up sugar, I have employed other tactics to help me succeed and fight this lifelong problem.  I’ve started paying closer attention to labels.  I feel more informed now that I know what to look for and what to avoid.  I’ve started cooking real food, grown from the earth: fresh veggies, legumes, grains, etc.  When we cook our own food, we know exactly what is going in it.  I have taken back my kitchen, which had been hijacked by the food industry and take-out cartons.  I spent a full day reading about some of the new food plans (Keto, Plant-based, Paleo, Whole30), seeking out recipes on Pinterest (I posted some of my new, favorite recipes below) and mentally preparing myself for kicking the shit out of sugar once and for all.

I believe I’ll do it this time.  I know I haven’t succeeded in the past, but I have a lot riding on this decision.  I am getting older and I am raising a 7-year-old boy.  I am his only parent, and I want to live a very long, active life if I can help it.  I want to remain fit, not only for me, but so I can go on any adventure Kellan leads me on.  I don’t want to pass this sugar addiction on to my son.  I believe kids watch what their parents consume, and I don’t want him to watch his Mom getting a Skittles fix pre-dinner.  For these reasons and more, I am committed to beating this lifelong battle with the sweet stuff.  I have always had great respect for those who faced their demons and won.  Those people found something within themselves that allowed them to step forward when everything inside them was screaming “NO”. I have been deafened by the “no’s”, but today, the volume was a little less intense.  And tomorrow, well, I’ll let you know when I get there.

Wish me luck!

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Yummy recipes that have helped the detox a bit less daunting:

Magnesium-rich foods (nuts and seeds, brown rice, quinoa, and avocado) are said to curb sugar cravings – so I upped my magnesium with these yummy recipes:

Overnight Quinoa Breakfast:

Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad

Bean & Rice Casserole

No Tuna Chickpea Salad

Some other helpful tips that have helped with the sugar withdrawal:

  • I substitute sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (on oatmeal, plain yogurt, etc.). They add some sweetness without the sugar.
  • When I am jonesing for something sweet, I eat a sweet potato. They’re sweet and soft and just hits the sweet spot 😉
  • As I mentioned above, most fruit is high in sugar (albeit natural).  I love fruit but I know going down that road could be a slippery slope.  But berries, well, they’re free game.  They taste sweet, but their high fiber content means they are actually quite low in sugar.  Yippee.

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Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.

FOLLOW JANIS AND THE DAILY FEELS TRIBE @:  FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

 

 

WIPING THE SLATE CLEAN

Blogger: Nancy Fraioli, “Queen of Ageless Wisdom”

The old feeling of watching the ‘apple’ or ‘ball’ fall, (here in Sarasota it’s the pineapple),
always gives me warm, pleasant, fuzzy sensations, as well as affection. When the countdown is completed, and loved ones have been hugged, toasts have been drunk, and a tear or two have dried, I mentally review my new to do list for myself.

I will admit I have too much on my list so I will start with two.  The two that will create major changes in my life!

The purpose and the wisdom of wiping the slate clean is to restart our lives anew! Remove all the cobwebs of yesteryear which have been entrapped in the attics of our minds. An oppressive job; pushing and removing weaves of webbing caught, forever, in our daily thoughts. To make a list of thoughts and deeds to change is easy but to do,  is difficult!

Imagine, if you will, going to your attic or storeroom, and rediscovering an old mosaic so
blanketed with the heavy gray mold of yesterday, that it has lost all of its gloss and beauty!  That’s what negative thinking does and what, eventually, becomes our anchor. Follow me and together we can remove, once and for all, the stains that have held us back from a bright future. As we wipe away the snares which are keeping us prisoners of old and decayed beliefs, we must let a new bright light into our thinking process.

I’d like to begin with a famous and poignant quote by Fulton Oursler.
“MANY OF US CRUCIFY OURSELVES BETWEEN TWO THIEVES:
REGRET FOR THE PAST AND FEAR OF THE FUTURE”

Regret and Fear are like heavy leg chains. They both slow us down and most times stop us!  Remember the “stained glass!” We must gently clean away the entangled webbing with special cleaners or just a gentle rubbing of a soft cloth so the light can, once again, reveals all the bright colors and picturesque drawings. Remember, regret and fear can be, in our minds, taints of guilt! Regret and Fear are the cobwebs of a time past. Why, then, do we choose to shackle ourselves to yesterday?

Now it’s your choice; live in the light or dwell in the dark? Time to break loose!
I have chosen two new words to release me from yesterday’s fate. Two words to uplift me: FORGIVENESS AND KINDNESS

Forgive the past and this will satisfy most of yesterday’s ill thoughts and deeds! It will! Forgiving and kindness are my new thoughts (tools) for the future. These two words ‘uplift’ a soul, and let all the light in! Like a polished stain glass window!

A most brilliant writer, Mark Twain, left these words for us to remember, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” What a wonderful gift we give ourselves when we keep a gentle soul! All things start with self.

I am aware that I can hurt people with my words, gestures, ungratefulness, and deeds.
Knowing this should help me stay on the straight and narrow. My prayers and new thoughts must be the cloudless and transparent vehicles for my now and my future. Recall the stain glass window; when fully cleaned it reveals its true beauty. Forgiveness is a gift! Forgive all your hurts of yesterday!

“Forgiveness is the needle that knows how to mend.” – Jewel

The Daily Feels commemorated “12-Days of Kindness”! However, Kindness should not have a timeline, but what I learned was astounding! Yes, kindness should be an everyday
characteristic. But, when we are pressed for time, we can easily lose sight of kindness. While our intellect dictates one thing, sometimes our irrational thought or
‘nerves-pressure’ speak another language. You know, like the crud on the stain-glass window!  I learned that being the recipient of “kindness” is so rewarding! It makes one’s day! Kindness, like an unexpected gift, is magical! Whether your kindness is with prayer, card, letter, deed, word, donation or just a random gift to an unknown soul, you are on the right track. The perfect gift. I was also surprised at letters I received and how good they made me feel.

Whether it’s Christmas or any other time, always remember how good it ‘feels’ to be a recipient of kindness. It makes both giver and receiver glow and shine, like our stain glass window!  Remembering this helps us stay on track. Thank you to The Daily Feels for the “12-Days of Kindness” tribute! Bravo! A beautiful reminder!

May all your tomorrows be filled with bright colors, with a new awareness of forgiveness and kindness! Forgive the hurts of the past, and call in “love” to light up and heal us.

To all, I wish a beautiful New Year filled with much kindness and forgiveness!  Let’s recall Auld Lang Syne and its real meaning! “And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne!”.  BRING KINDNESS AND FORGIVENESS IN THE NEW YEAR.


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Nancy Fraioli is a retired Benefits Asst. from Town/Village of Harrison, NY. She’s alive and well, residing in Sarasota with her daughter and family and enjoying the Floridian lifestyle daily.

Her passions are writing, reading books of philosophy, children’s stories and poetry. Her deep love is living, learning and sharing how faith, meditation, and music guide her daily life. And she loves to lunch with the ladies!

Guilt – The ugly five letter word!

Blogger: Deborah Levine-Powell, “Soulful Wonder Chef”

During this time of the year, many people are looking forward to the changes they’re making.  Since my blog falls in the first week of the New Year, I decided to share one of my resolutions for the New Year.

I’m not big on making resolutions because I don’t think there is a set time to make changes or grow.

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Let’s look at the definition of guilt.

GUILT /ɡilt/

  1. To make (someone) feel guilty, especially in order to induce them to do something.

“Celeste had been guilted into going by her parents”

  1. A cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes—accurately or not—that they have compromised their own standards of conduct or have violated a universal moral standard and bear significant responsibility for that violation.

The lost art of how to say no, without feeling guilty, has been written about so many times. My new year’s resolution is to say NO to the things I am not passionate about.

I am guilty of saying yes to so many things at the expense of myself. I love to help others, volunteer, be class Mom, a PTA member, Girl Scout leader, etc…It’s truly an exhaustive list. During this last year, I’ve been dealing with a lot of my own health issues.

I had to learn how to start saying NO. For some reason it produces a lot of feelings of guilt for me. I had to really take a step back, and ask myself why I would feel bad about saying No, in order to be able to take care of myself.

By nature, I’m a people pleaser and a caretaker.  I am always the one to fix things and make them better.  I always want to make sure everyone gets along and everyone is happy. As women, I think it is our natural instinct.

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I started to feel resentment towards others, for the things I agreed to do. I hated that feeling. When someone would ask me to do yet another thing, I felt overwhelmed. It is a running joke that every call me “Wonder Woman”; if you know me she is my all-time favorite character (she is even tattooed on my back). The truth of the matter is, that even Wonder Woman needs to rest.

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I had to take a real look at why I was upset with the person or the situation, and figure out why I was feeling that way.

I began to feel as if I had no control over what was going on, and I did not have time to do the things that had the most meaning to me.

It was internal guilt and my perception of what others may think if I could not help them. I don’t think it was an outside influence that was essentially making me feel this way.

I have talked throughout my blogs this year about taking care of ourselves, but oddly I am guilty of doing the opposite and putting others before my own needs.

I had to admit, I was my own worst enemy. Let me tell you, it is not an easy task to take the blame, especially when you have to do some serious soul-searching.

I used to worry what someone would think if I said no, and then I realized (not to be obnoxious), it didn’t matter what they thought. If I didn’t feel it in my heart that it is something I really want to do; I started to say no.  I worried they would be angry, and not ask me to do certain things.  I had an overall concern of how they would react.

You know what happened? NOTHING!

I was honest with anyone who asked a favor of me or to volunteer or take part in an event. I told them I only have so much of myself to give, and my family and my wants and needs had to come first. I was not so blunt with them. But, I let them know up front.

There were a few times I genuinely felt bad, and almost caved in after saying no. I took the time to honestly explain that I had to say no for my own sanity.  I gave alternatives for something they can do, or maybe someone else suited for the task.

As a psychotherapist, I help others set boundaries for themselves. I began to follow my own advice. I still struggle with this and have to remember in order to take care of myself, I have to show others I am important too.  I have to make a conscious choice daily to prioritize and set internal and external boundaries.

I encourage everyone to take a minute to think about the things, and people you commit to throughout the year, and make sure that you are taking care of yourself in that process.

I leave you with two parting gifts:

One of my guilt-free “Wonder-Chef” recipes (see below) and a Book Suggestion:

Guilt-free Chicken Egg Rolls 

 

CONTENTS:

1 package of egg roll wrappers
1 pound of ground chicken
1 bunch of scallions
2 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion chopped
1 small bag of coleslaw mix
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Hot mustard
chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Warm two tablespoons of sesame oil in a frying pan
2. Add the onions, garlic  and ground chicken
3. Cook through, and add coleslaw mix and scallions until it starts to wilt
4. Add salt and pepper, chili flakes, soy sauce and hot mustard to taste
5. Set Aside to cool

6. Take out the egg roll wrappers and place on a cutting board

7. Get a small bowl of water

8. Begin to fold the egg rolls – take two tablespoons of filling and place it in the center of a wrapper – make one fold up and then fold the two sides in and roll, put a drip
Of water on the corner to seal it.

9. Make an Egg wash with one egg and some water

10. Brush all sides of the egg rolls and bake for 20 min at  350 degrees

 

BOOK: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson

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Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking.  She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager.  When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.

 

If We Don’t Believe in God, What’s the Point of Life?

Blogger: Debbie Arace, “Ray of Sunshine, Hope & Laughter”

The older I get, the less I understand why some of us won’t accept the reality that there is a God.  Why do we have a hard time acknowledging the existence of The Creator of Life? Why do we deny the existence of God?  Have we been so disappointed in life that we refuse to believe in a God that we feel let us down?  Do we reject Him because we feel rejected?  Maybe we’ve never been hurt or rejected, we just believe that we evolved through time.  Okay, so that means we evolve, we live, and we die.  We were here, and now we’re not.  Goodbye, Fini, that’s all folks.  What’s the purpose then of living?
There has to be a reason for life.  It can’t just be over and out.  There has to be more to it than that.  There has to be purpose.  That purpose has to be from God.  I can’t prove to you there is a God, any more than you can prove to me there is not. I can only share my beliefs with you.
We can believe that good things happen.  We can also believe that bad things will happen.  Both are true.  Good and bad happens. That’s life.  Either way, we believe in something. What we believe becomes our foundation.  We build our lives on it.   If we’ve been hurt or disappointed, we might build it with a negative flow of energy.  We start to believe that something is either wrong with us or with the rest of the world.  We reject positive input, out of fear it will end disastrously.  We’re only gonna be let down so why bother believing.  We set ourselves up by accepting that nothing good is coming our way. We’re never gonna find happiness.  The world is out to get us.  People are out only for themselves. We become hardened and find ourselves going into survival mode.  Fending for ourselves is the only way out.  Life gave us a bad blow, and now we’re going to take control of our own lives.  Our belief system gets ambushed. We become believers of the wrong things.   Our lives become one with no faith.  We deny what is ours because if we accept it, we may also accept the pain that may come with it. We want a pain free life.  Unfortunately, that reality does not exist.  Whether we believe in God or not, pain can find its way to us.  Isn’t it better to believe in someone who will carry us through it, then to go through it alone? Is it possible that we are doing ourselves a disservice by not believing in God?
To believe in God means to accept that One greater than ourselves is in Control. We take the good with the bad, and we learn from both. We marvel at the unexpected.  Delight in the awe of knowing we are not alone.   We embrace the joy that is found when something that seems impossible happens. We trust without question.  Of course, we realize that things may not happen as we’d like.  That’s okay because we understand that God knows what’s best for us.  He will deliver to us in His way by His time, not in our way or our time.  We weather the storms knowing that without rain, there are no rainbows with a pot of gold awaiting us.
In my life, I have found that the best things have happened because of my belief in God. I trust Him.  All that I am and all that I do comes from Him.  I’m not perfect, I stumble and fall all the time.  But God is right there waiting for me to call for His aid.   I know that my fall is needed, in order to teach me how to stand without wavering.   Life teaches me balance.  If things don’t happen exactly the way I hoped they might, it’s fine.  Of course, I’d like smooth sailing but what would that teach me?    I know there’s a reason why it didn’t happen exactly as I may have hoped.  Often times it happens better than expected. If it doesn’t happen, something else will take its place.  Something even better.  Something that will balance the ebb and flow of life.  One thing I can tell you for sure, when I stand in my own way things go upside down.  My desire to control sends me out of control. The moment I let go of trying to control and turn things over to God, the more in control I become.  Things happen in Gods way, not my way.  Amazing things happen. Now I’m not unrealistic, I know bad things can also happen.  It is because I trust God with my life, that I have been able to weather the roughest of storms.   He always sees me through the rough moments.  It’s the little everyday showers that I have difficulty getting through.  That’s because I think I can handle those on my own. It’s the stubbornness in me wanting my own way.  Silly me for even entertaining that thought.  I know better.
We all believe in something.  We either believe there is a God or there is not.  We believe we control our own destiny or that God does.  If we believe in God we take everything in, accept what comes our way, and have faith that God will see us through.  If we believe we have a black cloud over our head, that cloud may follow us through life because we don’t believe it will go away. If we don’t believe in God, well then we better have enjoyed life to its fullest because that’s all there is.  What we choose to believe will become our reality. I’ve been blessed in what I believe in.  I believe and trust in God.   I know without Him, I would not have weathered my storms.  Each storm I get through leaves a coin in my hand from my pot of gold.  I’d like to collect the rest.  The only way I will is by God placing them in my hand.
Why not believe in what makes all things possible. The Creator who will reveal the purpose of our existence.  Is it not better to live in hope of a better eternal world where there is no end to our being?  To believe in something rather than nothing, so that when the time comes for us to say goodbye to this world, our belief will bring us to a new world which awaits our arrival.  A world that welcomes us with open arms because we dared to believe in what we knew nothing of, but trusted anyway!
There’s a saying which goes something like this:  It’s better to have believed in God, and never know He doesn’t exist, then to live a life rejecting God, and finding out He does.
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bippic2019
Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”.  Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant.  I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate.  My thesis is titled:  How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else.  I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself.  Faith and humor are my survival kit.  Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.

Today, On My Birthday, The Gift I Give to Myself is My Obituary.

BY: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”

Chapter 18: Celebrating My 45th Year at the Border of Crazy.

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Visions of the past 44 birthdays flash before my eyes.  This is a day of dread not because I care much about getting older, but because I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my birth’day.  

December 28th is the non-descript 362nd day of the year.  It’s a day that is sandwiched between two of the biggest holidays; three days after Christmas Day and three days before New Year’s Eve.  This is indeed a shit hole of a birthday.

I saw a quote recently on Facebook from a fellow Daily Feels blogger that sums it up perfectly, “The five days between Christmas and New Year: where you don’t know what day it is, who you are or what you are supposed to be doing.”  And my birthday is smack in the middle of this no man’s land.

Most people are generally holed up in their homes or traveling somewhere warm.  They need a break from the year, plus a well-deserved pause from the frenzy of the holiday lead-in where they are cooking, cleaning, gift wrapping and managing screaming kids. Adding insult to injury, no one is interested in going out their front door as the weather is usually a disaster; typically either below freezing, raining, snowing or all of the above.

I could easily throw a pity party about how terrible my birthday is…however, this year I decided to stop bitching like the petulant child that missed out on the annual cupcake parties at school, and flip the script.  

See, I’ve lived a life being obsessively goal-oriented to the point of goal-mania.  Every year, I’ve provoked change, both big and small; always in need of some project to tackle, trip to take, life-altering event to plan.  Since I was a child, I’ve thrived in change and every year presented an opportunity to shoot for the stars, to achieve something better — all in search of greater happiness. All this change, I realize now, in search of me.

This has also served to help me avoid dealing with my pain and with the past.  I was always looking forward, as looking back was way too agonizing. It came to the point that I was so busy that I was incapable of being present.  I didn’t appreciate what I had and always focused on what was missing or what was next.

Last year, I had the honor of writing my Uncle’s retirement speech and shortly after his eulogy (check out my blog that shares his story, I Saw the Signs, And It Opened Up My Eyes!).  I had the chance to tell the world about his fascinating life. I pray that he was pleased, that I captured his essence and his story.  

And then I began to wonder what my loved ones would say if I went down in a ball of flames right now.  While I realize this is incredibly morbid or even a bit narcissistic, it wouldn’t surprise me if many people reading this blog shared this thought process when facing a similar tragedy.  It forced me to think about what my loved ones would say. Would I be proud of my life? Would I be satisfied? Would I agree? (I laughed out loud thinking about all the crazy shit I did in my life, wondering if those stories would make it into the documentary).

Then I had an epiphany, what would I say, if I could write it myself?

As these questions blazed through my mind, I decided to stop my self-imposed madness and eliminate goal setting.  Mostly because, fuck, I’ve accomplished everything I could ever imagine and more. I mean, not in my wildest dreams would I ever believe that I would be here in this moment writing this blog, in my beautiful home, after celebrating Christmas with my remarkable daughter, surrounded by loved ones, while on a nine-day vacation from a career that I love (and I get paid while on vacation!).  

So instead of creating a vision statement or a long list of new goals, or fixating on what is missing in my life; today, I’m going to reflect on the past 45 years by writing my obituary.

 I’ll leave it to you to decide if it’s morbid or enlightening…

chris

Cherry Maggiore, aka the Freak of Nurture, passed away on December 28 at 11:11 am. She was 45 years old and was surrounded by her family and friends at her home in Westfield, NJ.  

Her darling daughter survives her, her pug baby, her beloved mother, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew’s, as well as her large Italian family and “framily” filled with cherished uncles, aunts, cousins and friends (her chosen family).

Raised in Brooklyn, she lived on Staten Island for ten years, and most recently resided in Westfield NJ in her 1887 home.  She credits her working-class Brooklyn-Italian roots with keeping her humble and hard-working throughout her adult life.

Cherry was an award-winning marketer for 23 years, proud leader, and creative visionary with many side hustles, passions and hobbies. She was most passionate about being a writer of The Daily Feels, ballroom dancing (Argentinian Tango was her favorite), traveling, home design and being a mom.

This insatiably curious humanist was relentlessly learning. She loved connecting with people of all cultures and walks of life. Her laughter was infectious, and she respected those who made her laugh and those that made her think.

This divorced college drop-out has no regrets. She gratefully realized that her life wouldn’t have been as blessed if she’d forged a different path. She welcomed failure, striving to fail forward, and believed this was the most essential part of growing into her whole self.

Her daughter was and always will be the light of her life, and she loved her beyond measure, beyond explanation. Her greatest wish is that instead of living a life asking Why? She lives a life asking Why Not?   

Services will be held at her home in Westfield, where her life will be celebrated with a proper Italian Sunday dinner, followed by dancing the night away to an eclectic playlist that she dedicated to every single person that loved her through the ugly and the beauty.  

_________________________________________________________________________

This was such a cathartic process because I had to cull my life down to the simplest terms, to what was most important. There was so much else I wanted to say, so many other lessons I wanted to impart.  However, I realized these are my learnings, and each person leads their journey through their successes, mistakes, and missteps.

Writing this obituary helped me face another year with arms and eyes wide open; to be present, to welcome whatever life throws at me, to continue to say Why the Fuck Not to any cool experience that crosses my path.  I live a life of YES…and I vow to forge ahead with the knowledge that I am full.  Anything else that comes my way is a cherry on top (pun intended).

And now I will go blow out 45 birthday candles (hopefully I won’t start a fire), as I’m thankfully still breathing. I have no more wishes for me because every wish I ever made came true (and then some).  What I wish for this year is that all my loved ones find their path, and cherish their life as much as I cherish them.  I wish that they relish every goddamn second of the life they’ve been gifted. Goals are great, but they should not distract you from the beauty in front of you or the love that surrounds you.  

I hope that you all, “Think Big, Live Bigger and Love Biggest.”  Happy Birthday to me!

Xoxo, Cherry

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Cherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.

Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.

This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.

December’s “FAN OF THE FEELS” is…

This month’s “FAN OF THE FEELS” is: Gab VM.

Gab has been with us from day 1, cheering us on, supporting our voice and a true believer in what we set out to do here on The Daily Feels.

Gab has liked our posts 67 times, commented 18 times and takes time out of her busy schedule to read all of our blogs. For that and more, we are so very grateful and want to honor you as December’s, FAN OF THE FEELS! Oh, and Happy Birthday 🎂!

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New Year, New You…blah, blah, blah

BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

I have never been a fan of New Year’s.

Every New Year’s Eve I find myself waiting for the countdown, reflecting upon the past year, and focusing on all the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments.  As I sip my bubbly, I bathe in regrets, lessons unlearned and yet another year of not achieving the “new year, new me” pledge I made one year earlier.

So, I have an idea: let’s make a pact right here, right now.  A promise that will benefit us all if we keep it: Let’s stop with the “new year, new you” bullshit. Why? Because the “you” you are right now is enough.  Actually no, you’re more than enough: you’re fucking magical. Whenever you make the pledge to become a “new you”, you’re implying that who you are today is broken and needs to be fixed. I am here to tell you that that’s totally and utterly bogus, because the only thing broken is the phrase, “new year, new you”.  So, are you with me?  Let’s set fire to this old, disempowering mantra because YOU is good, YOU is smart, and YOU is a magical sunbeam of love and light.

I say all this because, year after year, I have subscribed to this “new year, new you” philosophy.  Folks, it’s a fucking trap.  I’m all for constant growth, change, and renewal, but this phrase has us stuck in a constant hustle to become a new, improved or better version of ourselves.  Tell me, when will we ever get tired of picking ourselves apart in pursuit of becoming “better”? 

I think that’s why many people are not fans of New Year’s: because we feel pressured to change something about ourselves.  I am not saying it’s all bad— if you want to lose 10 lbs or quit smoking or find a new job, go for it! What I have a problem with is changing who you are and becoming someone new.  We must stop focusing on what we need to fix and start celebrating all that’s good about ourselves.

I applied this new mentality on NYE 2016.  I decided the only thing I am in control of is how I feel about and react to things— like NYE.  Every year I wanted to feel “new” or “improved” or “better”, and yet every year I  felt like the same version of me that had sat on the couch exactly one year earlier.  I’d had it.  I threw up my hands and realized a positive change was in order.  So, as I watched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve that night, I decided to pop the cork on a brand new ‘tude towards New Year’s.  I decided to put some traditions in place and let go of the toxic one— the “new year, new me”.

From that year forward, I decided that New Year’s Eve would focus on all that was good about the year: happy moments, accomplishments, positive changes, etc.  That is when the “All Good Things” Jar came into existence.

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This jar is chock-full of all good self-celebrations.  Every time something ‘good’ happens to me, to my son, or in our life, I write it on a post-it note and put it in the jar.  I do this on most days throughout the year (some days I forget or have nothing to report).  Then, on NYE, I empty the jar and relive those good moments.  Kellan and I read them aloud and we smile, laugh and recall the memory.  Every year, as I read the notes, and relive the good, I feel happy and accomplished and enough.  This simple practice lets me focus on the good from that year, rather than reflect on what wasn’t. That’s why we get so depressed on New Year’s: we often look back on what the year wasn’t.  We tend to remember what didn’t happen during the year as opposed to what did.  It’s what I call our jar of “high-five moments”.  This jar, this simple, glass cylinder with paper inside, is proof that I experienced more good, more triumphs, more happy in a year I had thought quite sucked.  I highly encourage you to start yours.

There are a couple other things I implemented that year, which help me reflect positively on the year that’s leaving and welcome the new one knocking at the door:

WHAT IS YOUR WORD?

Word-of-the-Year-Ideas-by-Happiness-is-HomemadeSomeone once asked me, “what’s your word for the New Year?”.  I asked her what she meant by that, and she offered this explanation: “Your word is like a mantra or guiding force for the new year.  Your word takes the place of a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a word that embodies what you want to think/feel/do in the new year. Something that you can apply in little ways throughout your life instead of a concrete goal that involves either failure or success”.  I was suspicious at first, asking myself, “How does a single word guide you?”

Well, I am here to tell you that it does in a very impactful way. My word has become a form of measurement throughout the year.  My word keeps me grounded in how I am living my life and staying true to myself.  However, I don’t usually set a word for the new year; my word is appointed on my birthday, because that’s what I consider my new year.  My word this year was “nourish”, and you can read all about it here.  Nevertheless, most people declare a word on New Year’s.  Whichever you chose to do, I promise you will find it a powerful constant that will carry you the whole year through.

FIND YOUR PASSION PROJECT

This time last year, I was speaking to my closest friends about my idea to start a blog.  I was unsure of what it would look like or how I would do it, but I felt a fire inside me when I talked about it, a fire I knew I couldn’t ignore.  A fire that felt familiar.  A fire that once lit me up, but that I had contained to focus on motherhood.  I missed the sparks it set off inside me, and I was ready to reignite the flame.  This fire was in the form of a passion project. A Passion Project is basically a creative side project: something you dedicate time to (often outside of your chosen career path) that gives you satisfaction, happiness and puts you into a state of flow. It’s what you do to escape it all. It’s your tiny (or huge) contribution to the world.  My passion projects in the past varied in scope and subject matter: from starting a women’s group focusing on healing after a break-up or divorce, to creating a self-esteem program for the elementary school level, or bringing a meditation program to nursing homes.  I had gone six years without a passion project, and I most definitely felt the void.

It was January 1, 2018 when I sat in a diner with my soul-sister Dee-Dee, discussing this project idea and, naturally, she encouraged me to go for it.  That project transformed into a blog I now call The Daily Feels.

My Passion Project Introduction on social media

Honestly, this passion project has been life-changing, in ways others weren’t.  I was not only reigniting my internal flame, I was overcoming one of my greatest fears: writing.  You see, fear is a very uncomfortable feeling for me.  I do a good a job of not living in fear.  Whereas I don’t claim to be fearless, I honestly don’t fear much in life.  Writing was a fear I needed to extinguish once and for all.  A fear I knew I couldn’t battle alone.  I needed a community to inspire me, encourage me, and write alongside me. On April 2nd, 2018, with the help of ten fearless writers (now there are 16!), I smothered those fears for the last time and launched The Daily Feels.  For me, The Daily Feels is what has made 2018 a year to remember.  It is the project I turned to throughout the year when life got a bit too heavy (and heavy it was).  It was my vessel for support, love, relief, grief and more.  So yes, passion projects are pretty amazing.  I hope you find your passion project this year, and that it sets your soul on fire.

So, my friends, as my last blog of the year comes to an end, I encourage you to reflect all that sparked joy in your life this year.  Try sitting in quietude and think about creating your own jar of “All Good Things”, or what you would want your word to be for the new year, or ideate on this new passion project of yours.  But above all, be good to yourself.  The “you”, right here and now, is perfect as is.  No ‘newness’ necessary.

Happy You Year!

JGsignature


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Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.

FOLLOW JANIS AND THE DAILY FEELS TRIBE @:  FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

My Christmas Wish…

BY: The Daily Feels’ Bloggers

On this Chrismas Eve, we here at The Daily Feels wanted to share our Christmas wishes.   

Never stop believing in the magic of Christmas.

 

“My wish is for my family to heal from the loss of my uncle as we reach the one year anniversary of his passing”.  
-Cherry-
“My holiday wish is for everyone to know that they are important to the world and the people around them, especially my loved ones. This wish comes from one of my favorite movies, It’s A Wonderful Life, which tells a story that shows how no one truly understands the impact they have on others. I think one of the greatest gifts someone can receive is to know they’re appreciated and they are loved. That is what I wish for everyone this holiday season”.
-Anastasia-

“My holiday wish is to see those I love and care about, including myself, find happiness in the small things in life, and take a moment to appreciate one another”.

-Deborah-

1. That the true meaning of Christmas becomes alive again

2.  Unity overtakes divisiveness 

3.  Trust and Faith lead all mankind forward

4.  All my loved ones find peace within themselves

5.  That I let go of all that prevents me from focusing on God’s Promise

-Debbie-

“My wish is for everyone near and far to feel absolute love and light on their Holiday”. 

-Dee-Dee-

My wish for Christmas has to do with family. I am back in Harrison for a couple weeks, and my life is in a transition stage. As much as I miss my fiancée, Lindsay, and our cat, Ziggy, it makes me incredibly happy to see my brother, Maximillian again. Also, it is wonderful that my sister, Victoria, is now available for instantaneous hugs! However, I am struggling to communicate with a third family member that I missed very much: my mom. My wish is for us to improve our communication, and to better understand our intentions, thoughts, and emotions. I know that we both want what’s best for each other. If my wish is granted (maybe by a magical goddess of spaghetti), I could talk to her more openly, honestly, and Demetriously! I could give her heaps of humongous hugs, just as I do with my other loved ones. I wish for us all to have a joyful holiday season”.

-Demetrious-

“David Beckham cloned, equality for all, a cure for cancer (and any other disease that takes our loved ones too soon), a snow-less winter, an end to the stigma against mental illness, more kindness and acceptance of all who are different, The Daily Feels to hit 1000 followers, and for my loved ones to experience great happiness, health, and prosperity”.

-Janis-

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“This is the same wish every year. I wish that you find peace within yourself this holiday season.  Look around you.  Find the good.  Spread it on anything you can reach.  Remember that life isn’t about how much is in your bank account or how many presents are under your tree.  It’s about how much love is in your heart. My wish is that we all get one moment this holiday season to pat ourselves on the back for making it through another year.  When you take that moment and feel the love, find someone who’s smile isn’t as bright as yours and hug them super tight. They may be completely confused, but I bet they smile”.

-JB-

“I was already gifted with the biggest gift- my youngest got a clean X-ray of no more Hip Dysplasia! Honestly, everything else is just gravy after your kid’s health. (But Santa, feel free to throw the new iWatch in if you are so inclined”.

-Jenn-

“My wish for this Christmas is for love to take precedence over hate in every person, in every situation.  There is so much hate in the world right now, and it is threatening to take over- but if more of us can act out of love first, then we can re-imagine the future”.

-Jennifer-

1 – Abundance all around with love, laughter, work/money, wine/whiskey

2 – Unexpected opportunities 

3 – Good health for all

4 – Traveling adventures

5 – A grand proposal (see #2)

-Julie-

“As I prepare for my 2018 Christmas…my wishes are for those whom I cherish and love all of them gold, new young and old. They are my gifts. They are my reminders of the three wise men; going out of their way for me”.

-Nancy-

“My Christmas wish can be summed up by Rodney King’s famous line. “Can we all just along?” Stop divisive politics, hatred, and for people to just come together”.

-Padraic-

“My wish for Christmas is that my mother’s health improves in 2019. She’s been very sick the majority of the year, to debilitating levels at times, and I just would like her to feel better, stronger and back to herself again. She deserves a break. I hate seeing bad things happen to good people, and I especially hate when that angel of a human being, is my mother”.

-Peter-

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“I wish for those who have lost a loved one to heal over the holidays”.  

-Liv-


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Merry Christmas from all of us here at The Daily Feels!