Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesdays Top Ten: The words in my heart

My blog, Confessions of a food lover started out as a place to share my ideas and thoughts about something I have known my whole life....

I love food!  
I love eating food.  
I love talking about food.  
I love making food.  
I love making food for others.  

My grandpa used to call me the "bottomless pit" when I was little and I remember thinking that was must be cool.  "Give me more" because I always had room for seconds at the dinner table.  My mom made really good dinners, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too.  I loved all of it, and wanted to try it all, eat it all, love it all.

My first real job I worked at an ice cream store where I first got the opportunity to play with food and eat all the mistakes " oh I'm sorry sir, you didn't want hot fudge on that, I will make you a new one". You can't save ice cream really or reserve it once it has been scooped so of course I ate those "mistakes" and enjoyed every bite.  This was the beginning of many adventures in exploring flavors and combinations to come.  I was the queen of making the most creative flurries and milkshakes back in my high school years.

About my writing: At the beginning I figured it would be fun and easy to write about all my kitchen adventures and my passion for eating.

I had no idea when I started putting my thoughts into words on a page that it would become a filing cabinet for my mind and experiences.  This place for my thoughts now has many more categories than just storylines for food loving. 

When I picked up my chefs knife for the first time and made the decision to devote my creativity to the endless possibilities that ingredients and practice could produce, I also learned I could relate the skills I was practicing to much more than a delicious dish.  My life and everything in it has become a lot like a kitchen, with ingredients, tools, decision making and choices- I can create whatever I want and with practice I can produce some pretty amazing things.

 I have related so many of these regular tasks of the kitchen to my life in general and found interesting and wonderful correlations between so many of the routine practices that a chef is required to know how to do in order to be successful.

In the process of writing my stories and sharing them I have seen how this place for all the words and thoughts in my head has become something even more than I ever realized it could be.  I am feeling inspired more than ever again to start writing my stories and sharing them.  I hope to continue making connections, not only with food, family, and life but also to understand better my experiences each day and in the process become more aware of just how great a gift this life is.

If you are reading, thank you for following along.  I hope that these stories and thoughts are fun and interesting but most of all that they add to you my community, a voice to relate to.

Happy Tuesday and in the spirit of my previous blogs here is a "Tuesday's Top Ten"

Tuesdays Top Ten Favorite Words right now that will give you insight to what i am thinking about most right now

1. Family
2. Community
3. Hygge
4. Thankful
5. Challenged
6. Listen
7. Patience
8. Support
9. Love
10. Brave

Do you have a top ten words you have noticed you have been using a lot more lately than any others?  What do those words tell you about where you focus is right now- how will they transition and change as you get ready to go into this next season?  I must confess, I am inspired by what my top ten are saying to me right now and excited about what lies ahead.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Return on investment: confessions of a food, family, career and life lover.

Finally discovering my place and its a beautiful community I live and share in.

Return on investment....

Am I happy with how I am investing my time? How do I measure if I am successful?  How do I do it all?

I am the president, the CEO of how my time gets invested. At the end of the day I am not allowed to point a finger at everything else out in the world and try to place blame if I am unhappy with the return on investment I perceive I am getting for all the time and energy I share, and expend.  (To illustrate, try this now: Think about a current roadblock you are facing, something that is getting in the way of your happiness or success.  Now, take your right hand, hold it up and out in front of you and use your pointer finger to point towards this roadblock you are feeling or experiencing.  Point at it as if it were standing in front of you right now ) Do you see what just happened when you tried to blame and point a finger at whatever is getting in your way?  Automatically three fingers are pointing right back at you showing clearly that the numbers are 3 to 1 - when I do this exercise regularly it always gives me clarity about what is really happening and here is how.   The three fingers pointed back at me could represent me being my own antagonist, enemy, opponent against myself.  When this is happening I realize it is time for a reset and a reminder to turn those adversarial thoughts into empowering thoughts like the following:

I have the control. 
I am capable of making the choices.  
I know better than anyone else if things are working or not in my daily life.  

For me, working on my own time management and figuring out how I'm going to invest my minutes and get stuff done every day is not always easy. I am by no means feeling like I've got my #@$! together. I still don't have an answer for the most common question I get every single day: "how do you do it all?" This comes from so many people in my life which see me taking on many many responsibilities and tasks.   I don't have an answer for this question, all I know is that I am doing the best I can.  However, each day I'm becoming more and more a master of my own life. I am better recognizing the things that do and don't work, and which things should be repeated and which should not be repeated. The optimist that I am has a hard time when things don't work out the way I expected because I've already invested so much time and energy into believing that it could be great. Accepting that certain choices I have made in my lifetime might not have been the right ones takes a lot of truthfulness and leveling with myself.  However, I find moving forward becomes much easier when I'm honest with myself about what's working and what's not.

I also know a little something about giving and getting that is the ultimate source of my daily ability to be happy. I know if I want to get happiness and smiles and love in my life I have to give out happiness, smiles, and love. If I want to get support and help in what I am doing, I have to give help and support. If want to get recognized for my hard work, I have to give my best in all that I work for and recognize the people around me who are putting in hard work too.  I have determined if I want to get more time in my life to be doing the things that I love, I need to give more time to those things in order to get them to happen. What I mean by this is whatever I choose to be applying my precious time to, I have realized I am actually getting the return I had hoped for.  I often need to take the time to stop and realize the return on my time investment is truly happening even when it is not completely obvious.  This phenomenon on getting what I want by giving is just one way I am achieving "doing it all" because most of what I am choosing to do each day are things that I want to be doing, and they make me happy.

This is the real talk that I have with myself every single day as a reminder that I am doing the right thing if I believe in my choices.  It also means I have to stay accountable to saying yes to the best and no to all of the rest. My mom said to me the other day "whatever you say yes to, means you're saying no to something else." What that means to me is I better be OK with the things I say yes to because if I'm not then maybe I'm not saying yes to the right things.  

How do you measure your return on the time you're investing everyday?  How do you know if you're getting back 10 times what you put into it and if it's fair to even expect that. My guide for knowing I have made the right choice is when I can identify that I got exactly what I wanted or needed. Happy, thankful, loving appreciation and support from the people who give me the affirmation I crave.  This is why I'm doing it all in the first place. It's a hug and "I love you" from my kids.  Its "you can do this" from Jonathan.  Its a "I'm so proud of you" from my mom.  It is clients and coworkers who say  "thank you, we really appreciate all that you did to make this successful."  The return is beyond all of my expectations and I know that what I put into it and what I got back from it is successful when the people in my life who support me recognize and tell me these things.  

I am not perfect, and I have made mistakes. I'm in tune and hypersensitive about my responsibility in my own life.  If I'm not happy with the way things are going it's up to me to figure out what needs to be done to make it better.  There are still things I have to accept daily that happen that I have no control over, that I can't change. For those moments I just work on adjusting my reaction. There are also things I must have the courage to change when I become aware of them and know that I can do something about it. God grant me the serenity and the wisdom to know the difference for what i can change and when I need to let go.

I attended a professional retreat this weekend called Hygge. When I left to go home after a very fulfilling weekend away, I started to analyze what I taking away from my weekend that would be meaningful moving forward in my life and career.  I couldn't get the words "return on investment" out of my head. Yes, I invested money to go to this retreat, but I also invested my precious time to be there. The kind of time I usually don't allow just for me.  I also was thinking how I found myself in a place that I don't believe I've ever been in before as I was the oldest woman in the group.  I know that my age doesn't really matter, however with each of the women I had the privilege to share my time with this weekend I saw a piece of my younger self and of my own life's experience. Listening to their stories I know without a doubt that each one of them is on a journey that's only going to get more and more amazing because I have been in their position before.  What I know is that they are going to have to pay attention to themselves and really intentionally go after their dreams and fully understand their role in achieving them too.  

I know I have a long ways to go but I do feel like I am living proof that you can have the things that you want in your life if you believe that you can have them. It's a messy and beautiful journey and not always easy but it's worth it because this is the one and only life that I get and all the time I choose to invest it's up to me to recognize if I'm getting the return I want or not. How I achieve this may not be the same way that you will do it.  I know if I am firm with my goals I will have a much easier time achieving them.  Knowing exactly what I want to result from all of my precious time investments I am going to make will help me stay positive and confidently focused on making them happen.

One last thought I would like to share is that after my retreat this weekend I made a big discovery during on of our sessions called "The Emo Stuff". I recognized that I am the largest investor in my own happiness and life's success but I have even more investors that I may not be recognizing enough every day.  When I review my best returns, I have such an enormous amount of thankfulness to discover that I am not a team of one.   I realize that my support system is a collection of some really amazing people in my life that I am forever grateful to know and call my team. They are my family, my friends, my co-workers, the people who tell me "you are doing a great job Stephanie" and I know they mean it.  I feel fortunate to have added 14 more amazing talented and lovely ladies to that team in less than two days at my retreat this past weekend.  I know without a doubt they will be behind me now to cheering me on all the way too and I will give them the same support.  The return on investment for a weekend I chose to attend for myself proved to be one of the best investments yet as I expect to see even more growth and happiness enter my daily approach.