2014’s “10” to “TEN.”

2017Dear readers, I put this story up again, because even though it is presently the new year of 2017, these ideas are just as winningly  encouraging today,  as they were 3 years ago. Happy 2017, may your year be felicitous , prosperous and BLESSED!


For last year’s words belong to last year’s language And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~T.S. Eliot ok


“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right. ” ~Oprah Winfrey

  “Every man should be born again on the first day of January.  Start with a fresh page.  Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary,SONY DSC or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front, and take no interest in the things that were and are past.”  ~Henry Ward Beecher

  “Be at War with your Vices, at Peace with your Neighbours, and let every New-Year find you a better Man.”  ~Quoted in Benjamin Franklin’s almanac.

“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day.”~Michael Josephson

“We will ofresh start1pen the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”  ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve.  Middle age is when you’re forced to.” ~Bill Vaughn


As I was leisurely enjoying a few moments of repose on this chilly January morning on our front porch, my steaming hot cup of HOLIDAY BLEND coffee in  hand,IMG_0445(I don’t want the holidays to come to an end,) a feeling of pure joy and abundant gratitude filled my  heart as I still can’t fully grasp the miraculous bestowal of a fresh snowfall, dressing the world outside in an unblemished, transcendent white!!   My mind was already brainstorming with thoughts of my new blog…  I have been thinking of the month of January and what it brings to our lives…my first thought…”its  a month, likened to a fresh, white, blank piece of paper… We have the choice to write or draw whatever our hearts desire, upon it”..new begiings.Its a time of NEW Beginnings… Brand new opportunities.lily4 I can’t help but think about the words…”New Years Resolutions.” I smile! There are so many years that have passed by…every year I make at least five resolutions…some of them have succeeded, yet so many have not! WHY? My belief?   I think that we  make our resolutions in a time where we have all been joyously reveling in one of the grandest seasons of our lives…Christmas. We  have  “thoroughly enjoyed” all the Christmas gatherings with festive confections, See’s candy, rich cuisine, an array of freshly baked breads and pies, (with real butter,) 🙂   decadent Prime Rib, an over abundance of flavored popcorn’s and all the extravagant goodies that arrived in festooned tins from our loved ones across the miles.Happy788 Our days have been unusually busy with the season’s buoyant fetes  and we go to bed exhausted every night… so instinctively, we want to ‘eat better,’ exercise more, plan more quality time with ourselves as well as family…Emotionally and physically, we are READY and  motivated with our ‘desires’ for change, and create our lists of the things we dynamically desire to modify as the New year arrives.  This year, will I succeed? Will I even make any resolutions, knowing they will probably be over by Valentines Day? Then I began thinking, (brainstorming with my husband…) how can this year be different? I came up with two parts to this blog… First off, I hope I can share some ideas and suggestions, perhaps solutions to go along side the ‘top ten new years resolutions,’ according to a professional survey, that will bring forth tips on easier ways to succeed with the most popular ‘decrees and mandates,’ but secondly,I would like to  share ‘Ten’ non-resolution ideas that are pleasurable as well as  A LOT OF FUN!!       Resolutions demand change, work, discipline…and are certainly worth the reward they bring, if carried out...smiley9but I also thought it would be stimulating as well as enjoyable, to come up with TEN new and innovative  ideas for things that you can add to your life, that are felicitous and gratifying, don’t require difficult  changes and hard work, (as you will be having so much fun,)  but will definitely enhance your life and bring it bliss, accomplishment as well as fulfillment. Who  knows…perhaps in adding a new thing or two into your year and life, you will, (“without even  trying,”) :),  change your life in a way, that many of your resolutions may “just naturally happen,” being an unexpected  gift on the side  that comes into fruition.  I am going to try it and will be sure to check back next year and tell you if the ‘TOP TEN,’ not the ‘top 10,’ fulfilled what I am aiming for in 2014!

Are you ready for this years “10” to “TEN?”

The First Top “10”  2014 is the new years resolutions (via the Professional survey,) along with a few helpful solutions, (from our brainstorming,)  that will perhaps be of help , enabling you to attain your goals!  Don’t forget to compare them to our TOP “TEN” 🙂

top10 26  #1 (I know you already are aware of what number one is…Its a chart topper every year…) LOSE WEIGHT and GET FIT! The number one answer is always; exercise, change your diet and drink plenty of water! But does that work for you? How about not exercising, instead, pick something you love to do, add music to it and MOVE? I don’t call it exercise, I call it my time of “letting loose.” 🙂   I love to crank up my R&B music, get out my hand weights and dance until my hearts content. (Singing, (which I can’t) top10 11 with my favorite artists, as I dance, burns up even more calories.)   ( I am so thankful that Graham doesn’t mind my sharp and flat notes as he truly loves me unconditionally.) 🙂

Get busy doing things that you love and enjoy! I find that whenever I am “thinking to much about losing weight,” I gain! 🙂

Self acceptance! Everyone has a different body shape and size…don’t compare yourself to your friend who is a size 2 or one of your work out partners who is a marathon runner as well. Set reasonable, realistic goals.

Don’t diet…change your way of eating...top10 28 Find a lifestyle of “cooking” that you really love! A male friend of mine is passionate about the Weight Watchers program…he chose ‘yoga,” as his exercise, (which he also  uses as his meditation-spiritual time,) and lost 40 pounds! To this day, he maintains his ideal weight and still stays on the program as he loves it… Its his way of life, not a diet.


top10 19This undoubtedly will take a monthly planner! 🙂 Become ‘The director of your  own social life.” Start planning parties, luncheons, dinners, a ladies day out, meeting the guys at the pub, ..”If you plan it..They will come!”

Choose spending time with  the ‘friends that add to your life,’ (not take away,)  bring joy, laughter and color.

Surprise a friend by taking them to lunch one day..and unexpected treat for them…(as well as you.)

Call at least one close, long distant friend per week..top10 18.If it is hard to fit that hour in, put them on speaker while you are cooking dinner…take your mobile phone with you as your enjoying your morning walk, or prepare dinner early and use that extra hour to ‘catch up.’


top10 45Get out your library card or start surfing-the net…read about what long term damage drinking or smoking does to your organs…education is a motivator!

Start weaning yourself off… If you smoke 7 packs a wetop10 49ek… try to switch to ultra lights and smoke 6… On week two, smoke 5 , etc… Same thing with alcohol… start drinking less, rewarding yourself with a delicious new non alcoholic drink.

Explore and understand the “WHYS.” Why do you like to drink or Smoke? What can you exchange them with? If they make you feel pampered,topten 90 or give you a place of repose, relaxation or get rid of stress, find new things to replace them with. What else brings you the same feelings?

Ask God for the grace to stop a bad habit you know isn’t good for you, but can’t seem to “let  go of.”  Been there, done it..actually, HE did it, I can take no credit.


Its no wonder this is such a desired change for us all. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol that effects our brains physiology, that can generate negative side effects with  our memory. It also interferes with our ability to learn,  weakens our bone density, increases weight gain, raises blood pressure and puts us at risk for heart problems.

 LaughFour main things you can do to release stress are exercise, laugh, think positive and re-evaluate your life, taking the things out of your life that cause you pressure, anxiety and worry.

Become aware , make a list of your ‘stress buttons.’

READ more! When your mind is activelytopten 200occupied, whether with challenging work , a hobby  that you enjoy doing or diving into a great novel, your body will begin reacting with its ‘happy hormones,’ creating less stress , and you will feel rejuvenated.

BREATHE!  CRY! When I was in my early 30’s, and lost my mom to cancer,  I  suffered from  an anxiety disorder. My husband would always know when an “attack” was coming on, and he would tell me, “Susan, you need to breathe…really breathe , from your stomach and allow yourself to cry…don’t hold back…So, I learned to start doing that and IT REALLY WORKED!

Incorporate in your life moresnowman “Make believe snow days.” (See my blog… Truly this antidote works! 🙂


top10 91Create your own style of a tangible piggy bank… a place to begin filling up with all the money you save,  and don’t allow yourself to look inside of it, (or borrow from it,) for one month. Take the money out of your bank and put it into   your savings account and start it all over again the following month.

Pick someone you trust and start being accountable to them with your spending.

consignmentBegin shopping at consignment shops  or thrift stores, instead of the malls…(you will be amazed, not only at the ‘deals you will find’ but the money you will save.)

Limit your meals out… order in something that will last for two nights instead of one.

Plan out a weekly menu  and shop for one week at a time…create your list within your budget. When you are finished writing it, challenge yourself to take off 5 things “you really do not need.”  (Thus, you end up saving money and adding it to paying off unwanted debts.)


It is not  an easy task to stop our activities in our day to calm our minds and bodies down to be still and “listen” to that inner voice within,topten 95 journal our emotions, pray, worship or read our bibles…so, again, PLAN a time  and goal that is realistic for your life and schedule…start with 30 minutes every other day, and increase that time as you feel you can…

Join a church that you really enjoy going to…not one that is an effort every Sunday.

Find God in everyday life… nature, an unexpected gift, a call from an old friend that warms your heart, read  a book or two by someone that you really respect and admire…  Perhaps a devotional book, autobiography, or an inspiring book about miracles…(always encouraging.) Two books I found uplifting and inspirational, “Heaven is for real,” and “To Heaven and back.” (Both true stories.)

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Again… I believe its all about exchange… change your “drink of choice” to delicious decaf coffees and teas, fruit smoothies,top10 61 ginger ale or flavored sparkling waters.

ENJOY the effects of less caffeine in your body…Your heart is not racing so fast anymore, your actually sleeping more hours,(no more  late nights up while your family is sleeping,) and revel in the feelings of being more relaxed and at peace. (Don’t forget  their are delicious fresh roasted decaffeinated coffee beans for that morning cup of Joe!) 🙂

If you ‘have to have a little bit of caffeine,’ perhaps a piece of chocolate, or a Pepsi…have it first thing in the morning as a treat…and fast caffeine the rest of your day! Feeling treated helps us feel like we are not deprived.

top10 16Occupy your mind with something rewarding and new! Distract yourself from your URGE! Every time you top10 15have the over powering desire to take in some caffeine, get out your ear phones and Cd player and put on an audio book from your favorite author… Pick a  place that you love, in front of the fire, atop your pillowy bed, a porch swing, and “engage” yourself in a story…take your mind to a new land…top10 65 If the urge won’t go away, make yourself a pot of delicious, fresh bean, decaf coffee in your favorite flavor.



top10 23You are the only one that can change this fate…I highly suggest creating or buying a monthly, daily and weekly organizer. You will discover a  new freedom as you begin capturing all your thoughts and “To Do Lists” on paper. It helps me tremendously every day.

Clean your house… A cleantop10 115 house, free of clutter, creates calmness and you will find your thoughts are free and you can think about a lot  more things…(chaos creates forgetfulness, thus disorganization and stress.)

Clean out your closets, hutches, desk drawers and dresser…I don’t know about you, but when all my drawers are organized,top10 112 my day goes by much smoother, I am more relaxed and my  tasks seem easy and light instead of burdensome.




Baby Steps. Begin with a day trip...Perhaps one Saturday, instead of working on your computer, take a drive to the wine country, a renowned museum ,eatery a favorite eatery in the country, go to Disneyland, San Diego Zoo or to your favorite seaport village,  treating yourself to a scrumptious seafood lunch!


Your next Trip, a weekend get away…a bed and breakfast in Maine, a weekend in Las Vegas, coronadoThe Coronado Hotel in San Diego or  rent a beach house, enjoying the  many gifts  of a maritime weekend.


Lastly…plan in  advance, a week  long trip , yes a real yearly vacation where you need a passport to enter into it’s chimerical borders. cabo Paris? Switzerland? Italy? Cabo San Lucas ?





Begin your day fresh, (thinking only about that day.) Go about yourtop10 98 routines, job and engagements,  concentrating on the task at hand and nothing else. I have alwaysprime-rib loved the challenging thought, “What would you do  for the day if  this was the last day of your life?” Sometimes I think about that and do somethings I normally would not do…call a friend or sibling I have not talked to in months, watch my favorite movie,west4 (that I  have seen 100 times already,) 🙂 …get fresh ingredients from the grocer and make  my husbands and my favorite meal, tell Kit and Grantham I love them 10 times that day… (They wonder what I am up to, but it feels good to say it and have the assurance that they know my hearts appreciation for them in my life.)

Read the book ‘The Precious Present’ by Spencer Johnson…it will be a ” delightful and eyeopening bestowal for your soul,” helping you to live within each minute you are given in a day.

Choose not to live in regret for the past or worry over the futureno regrets 1no regrets Reward yourself when you see a major change in your way of thinking and you are no longer allowing negative thoughts to steal your day. (A day that you can never have back.) If you are angry…ask yourself, is it worth losing the joy you are trading it in for ?




OKAY…Now lets look at an entirely different way tocoin bring  fulfilling changes to your life in this new year of  2014  with my ‘TOP TEN,’ pleasurable add-on ideas that are actually creative and FUN!

#1 Add one new recipe a week to your repertoire.

Many concur that being a good cook is all in your genetic makeup. I disagree… Practice makes perfect. (It also helps if you have  a passion for cooking as well as the extra time to prepare and CREATE.)  For our household, Kit and I began researching on the internet as well as looking through my relishable family cookbooks to find and create one new recipe each week.topten 1 I engage in this activity more often than Kit as he works longer hours. Our meal time has changed to a time of pampering, delicious new dishes and a satisfying event… (We actually hate for the dinner hour to come to an end.)  Kit is gourmet, I am more of a comfort food cook! A great combination!  Your newly acquired recipe can be for any meal you choose, a Sunday brunch, an early supper or a romantic, (after the kids go to bed) dinner or a luscious sublime dessert. Experiment and have FUN! All of these fabulous cuisines are a medley of both Gourmet and down home comfort food! 🙂PD 1 PD 2PD PD5PD4


#2 Choose one new hobby for the year that is just for YOU…

A wise person once told me that in our relationships with others, we are able to give so much more when we are strengthened in our own individualism…when we find something to do that we love and are good at it, it brings about depth, self confidence and plenty of things to share and converse with others… This is one of my favorite additions each year as I enjoy so many hobbies…

What do you absolutely love to do?

Perhaps designing and making creative crafts from the heart, write blogs, short stories or your own kaleidoscopic autobiography.

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Take a dancing class, meet the guys, (or girls) for a neighborhood game of Basketball? topten 15topten 8

Visit your library often and load up on audio books, CD’s, bestselling novels or perhaps  taking up a new sport, a cooking class, an hour of yoga or traveling abroad. topten 11topten 7

Painting ceramic plates or mugs! I have a friend who is quite the artist at this craft and her gifts to us have been so elegantly beautiful! What a great new hobby to invest in as well as creating many new welcomed  bestowals for your home, friends or family.

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How about joining a tennis league for men or women? (Enjoy yourself while giving your heart a little TLC.)  My husbands new hobby last year was learning how to brew his own beer. He and his friend, (teacher,) came up with some fascinating and unique flavors!

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Have you ever thought about starting up Ham Radio? Kits dad was a natural at it and loved communicating with people all over the world, from his snazzy ‘communication set up’ in his living room.

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I have always had a passion for Faux painting…. It truly is like magic, transforming an ordinary room into a stunning, classy and memorable work of art! A wondrous hobby that will not only bless you but all those who enter your home! ham radios 19ham radio 16ham radio 12

Learning to create stained glass designs for lamp shades, wall hangings, storm doors or windows would be a very rewarding new hobby as well as a lot of fun. How about becoming an expertise at monogramming! (My sister had this done professionally for me this Christmas…absolutely stunning! )

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#3 Pursue your “Hidden talent,” and add it’s glorious bestowal to your life.

Everyone is born with gifts and talents. (We usually have them ‘pointed out’ to us in elementary school by one of our teachers, our friends or family members… As we grow older, we either “use that skill” and become greater at it, or we place it away in a hidden place and avoid partaking in its challenging, yet felicific joy.  Why do you think that is? For me, it was because  I never felt I did it “well enough.” Fear crept in as I looked at others with the same gift and watched them flourish and receive praise. I then compared myself to them and came to the conclusion that I could never be as good. Criticism creates fear and fear stifles our creativity as well as motivation. My challenge and add on for you is to go back to that one gift you know is there and begin exercising it , until you become and expertise…  (And do not compare yourself to others.) I am sure there is more than one gift you’ve placed on the back burner in your life… IMG_0345 One fear I did conquer, pursued and now enjoy with all my heart is decorating… My early days were “hit and miss” but I worked so hard at , bringing forth my God given gift, then one day all the fear left and I began creating with abandon. Its not everyone’s ‘cup of tea,’ but its my developed signature style. I admire excelled dancers, musicians and singers who are enjoying success in their senior years as yes, they allowed their talent to be dormant for a season, but they went after their gifts and abilities in the latter part of their life and are so good at it!  How great and rewarding is that?

Deep within, have you always had a passion for dancing and were told you were a natural?  How about singing? (My husband was “quite the singer” when he was younger.) (Still is, but  now he only sings to us! 🙂 ) topten 29topten 28


We all hated piano lessons as a child, but now that we are older, what a beautiful gift to behold…music changes everything! How about your dream of becoming an inspiring painter?



Have you always wanted to make decorative topiary trees or seasonal wreaths for your cozy haven? Create personalized gifts for others, gracing your friends and family with style and elegance for their homes?  Do you absolutely love to entertain? (Its never to late to keep learning and stretching that creative muscle until your 100% satisfied with your creations.)



Are you a seafaring pirate deep within, wanting to be the master of your own ship? Traveling  the seas in your ” boat of choice,”  is definitely worth the wait and skills you need to be a “top notch” sailor. 🙂 How about your hidden talent of the classic sport of golf?

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#4 Start a new collection in your life, adding beauty, excitement and fun.

Collections shout out to our friends and family a part of who we are, what we love…a part of our personality that we may not show on the surface. Whenever I add to one of my collections, it is pure joy and excitement. Whenever a friend, my husband or a sibling adds to my collection, it touches me deeply, as they are taking special thought in choosing something I really love.  You can never have to many collections! Kit has begun to amass baronial and colorful nautical decor, Lighthouse photos, heartwarming poems and vignettes about one of life’s greatest gifts, “dogs,”  hunting guns and  fishing paraphernalia. It reveals parts of his heart that carry many special memories of his youth. My new collection this year is birds… I can remember when I was a small child, (as well as to this present day,)  how God has used birds of all kinds to teach me important nuggets of truth and speak to me of His faithfulness and love. On the east coast it has been bluejays, redbirds, (cardinals,)  finches and our delightful snow geese.  Last year , my new collections were colorful animated Chefs and stoic Roosters for my kitchen and dining room.


I adore my new dulcet and charming blue birds,  (the start of my collection 2014,)  a special gift  from my husband this Christmas! I also feel very blessed that one of Kits collections is also a treat for me…I love lighthouses with their enchanting beauty and summoning mystery! IMG_0491two lights


Frames make a wondrous collection, coming in all designs, shapes, motifs, colors and sizes! How about seasonal throws? (I have been collecting throws for over 20 years and they are great for a refreshing makeover when the house needs a “little pick me up.” (as well as serving as a warm blanket to cuddle up with in the winter, as we’re enjoying our nail-biting, suspenseful movies.)

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Begin a collection of the prestigious duo of “blue and white.” Your choices are wide open to not only dishes, tea cups and saucers, teapots, vases, but also pillows, linens, photo frames, throws and quilts.These vintage red crystal goblets go way back to my childhood as they were one of my moms collections! Talk about Nostalgia. 🙂 mens stuff 25mens stuff 24


One of my friends is an avid collector of sea shells… I love to visit her Maritime home, as there is always a new shell in her bethnic display…  Shells are so unique and intricate in their array of colors and shapes, always joyfully reminding us of the beach, its beautiful sandy shores and mysterious sea life.   How about beginning a collection of antique signs from old country stores hidden in the most enchanting places?mens stuff 21mens stuff 20


Motley, bright vintage pillows, Batten-burg and old English lace napkins, linens and tablecloths, antique plates as well as patchwork quilts…They are all so captivating, I would not know how to decide which collection to begin? 🙂 mens stuff 17mens stuff 15


When my older brother was involved in doing litigation work for Lamborghini, his home was filled with beautiful and august model cars…Every room gifting his guests with “eye candy” and wonder. What a baronial collection to have… not only did it enhance the style and allurement of his home, but I am sure it triggered many a happy memory of all the people he worked with. My husband collects fishing paraphernalia… Each treasured piece he adds, brings back a new memory of his glory days , fishing with  his father on beautiful placid lakes, sharing stories as well as their hopes and dreams, over a brown bag lunch on a sunny warm day.

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How about  baseball cards or historical , renowned sports memorabilia?  For many men, as they display their prized collections, they receive the same warm, cozy feeling others may feel when they purchase a new couch or leather chair for their office. Our collections are often times our decor as well…Decorative items are very personal, as it brings our rooms alive with what matters most in our lives..the things we love that make us happy.

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A collection of hatboxes is not only beautiful, but they are quite convenient for holding many things…letters, magazine clippings, old photos, bills, recipes, scarves, etc… How about getting involved in some family genealogy and collecting historic items that have been within your family lineage for many generations?

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Two of my favorite collections of all time…coffee table display cookbooks, (great conversation pieces as well as a resplendent ‘dictionary’ for  scrumptious recipes,) and Teddy Bears in all shapes and sizes… Whether we acquire them brand new, or we ‘rescue them from the storms,’ (in their vintage appeal,) they warm our hearts and bring a smile to our faces… These are two collections I highly recommend! topten 2abear1

#5 Add one hour, every few days of some form of mediation and spiritual nourishment  to your life.

Whenever I spend time writing in my journal, praying, worshiping and praising God for His wonderful love and grace in our lives, I feel 100% rejuvenated, full of energy and an over abundance of peace… I believe we are made up of many components…our body, mind, will and emotions, (our soul,) and our spirit…when we feed or tend to that area of our lives… a new part of us is awakened…there is new strength, power within and a serene  contentment. I don’t know what I’d do without that time in my life…Even if some days, it is only 15 minutes long… 🙂

Praying and  mediating on the beach while taking an early morning or late afternoon walk, is ideal for a quiet and serene get away!  The peaceful sounds of the oceans breezes, gulls cooing and waves  calmly rolling into shore,  is a perfect place to gather your thoughts!   top10 2

There is nothing like praising God! As we worship, our hearts fill with a beautiful gladness,  changing our perspectives. topten 101

Journaling is an excellent way to capture heart felt emotions and feelings that you can meditate upon at a later time…I think journaling is a wonderful way of  self expression and  though it takes stillness, time and true reflection, it is worth every bit of its challenge. journal 1

It is a true honor to be able to worship our maker! topten 100

Have you heard the sayings; “Prayer changes everything?” Or “Things go better with prayer?” I have found both to be genuinely true….and I am so thankful  for this spectacular gift we have been given.. prayer-conversations-with-god.


#6. Give yourself one hour of pure bliss a day…(Another one of my favorites.)

You know how you feel when the doorbell rings and there is a uniformed guy standing there with a huge bouquet of flowers? Or the UPS truck parks outside, (making your dog go crazy) and he leaves and unexpected box on your porch? For Christmas this year, two of my brothers in California, sent kit and I See’s candy…our very favorite chocolate in the world. Oh the joy, (and pounds) just joshing, their gifts brought… Well, I have found that by doing something that is “pure pleasure”  once a day…it is a replica of the feeling of pure joy we received from  the gifts they sent, only I do it for myself… In treating and pampering yourself, you create a “better YOU” to give to others… topten 150For Kit,  one of his his hours of bliss is his time at the gym with all of his work out buddies…its social, fun and he benefits greatly from it. It is his “Me time” and when he does not get that hour in, he feels a great void and difference in his day. For me, one of mine  is lighting candles, sitting on our  cozy couch with its ample pillows, reading my new Victoria magazine along with a piping, hot cup of decaf mocha java coffee with Pumpkin spice creamer, a piece of chocolate, (great chocolate,) and writing down new ideas for decorating our house for the upcoming season, then taking a hot bath top 10 12with luxurious lavender bubbles, Caswell and Massey Verbena soap, and talking to God…( I have the best conversations with Him in the tub…I think it is because I am finally still, my thoughts quieted, and I am ready to listen. ) 🙂

What  is your hour of bliss for just one day?


One pure hour of uninterrupted SEWING? Painting birdhouses with bright cheery colors, bringing new textures and life to your home?

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An hour of desk time to read, write, journal, plan, draw, think, read…that sounds like heaven! Surfing the net? My husband would definitely like and hour of this a day! topten 209topten 177

Writing real, authentic, (not computerized or typed,) letters to a friend or family member by a warm cozy fire! Definitely tempting to add to my list! mens stuff 29


Another hour of bliss for me….decorating…doesn’t matter if its a ‘glue gun fixer upper’ around the house for 60 minutes, changing our sheets on the bed to new colors and patterns, bringing about a new look or creating a beautiful garland for  a stairwell, adding flare, elegance and romance to our home. An hour of decorating is like going to a spa.

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OKAY, this choice of bliss, may have to go to overtime…watching your favorite movie…no guilt and no interruptions… ( a little popcorn on the side and your favorite candy.) Moderation is everything! 🙂 topten 178


Maybe your hour of bliss is sharing that 60 minutes with your mate…meeting for a glass of wine and some savory appetizers, or going for a massage together… Couple on date at restauranttopten 140


Sneaking away with  the guys, (or girls,) for a game of soccer….calling your best girlfriend to meet you on main street for lunch and and hour of blithesome shopping, catching that early morning hour of swimming before your day begins…(it makes the entire day different,) and lastly, hanging out at your favorite coffee bar with all your friends.  🙂 Whatever “floats your boat,” and rejuvenates you, add it each day for an hour or every other day if your life is exceedingly busy. Remember , it will take planning and time, but its worth it. (YOU ARE WORTH IT.) soccersoccer 3Daniel Bell (AUS) action reflections Swimming 2000 Sydney PGsoccer 1


#7 Volunteer a portion of your extra  time to a cause your heart is passionate about.

You have heard “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (And its true.) 🙂 Giving our time, our talents, our very selves, is more rewarding than we can imagine.Happy4 Giving, gets us out of our self…our problems, our ‘funk’ as they say, and brings rejuvenation, a new outlook and an overflow of  joy!

Whether a mentor to a young child, helping the elderly or volunteering your time in the pediatrics ward at your local hospital, the smiles you will see on the faces of those you are giving your skills and talents to, are worth more than money can buy.

How about volunteering at your vets office, a local pet store or kennel? (If you are a rescuer of animals, maybe help out at a soup kitchen.) 🙂 (I would be to tempted to bring all those adorable animals home.) 🙂

Oh for the love of a child! How could one not feel 100% better in their outlook on life when spending time with such purity and angelic love? Children are so blessed and  touched by being read to, sung to or just a listening ear and a little TLC as  they are healing.

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OK, this  is why I can’t volunteer at our vets office  or local  kennels…Kit would be “fit to be tied ,” if he walked through the door, (Graham too, the only child syndrome,)  and I had brought these little guys who need a warm home and some love to our house! But there are  those of you who are much more disciplined and would benefit greatly from giving your extra time helping with these adorable animals. topten 49


People everywhere today need volunteers…thrift stores, libraries, the elderly, churches, ….how about within your neighborhood or family…perhaps offer to have the next holiday meal at your home this year… topten 45


Volunteer your talent! If you have a church event coming up or a friend who is hosting a luncheon, offer to create the party favors or table-scape decor for them… Not only will it bless their socks off but your heart will feel so fulfilled inside that you were able to bring joy  and beauty to so many! topten 60


Volunteer to mow your neighbors lawn…for free. They may fall over and faint, but hey, what a great act of love and service! topten 59


How about going grocery shopping for an elderly person you know… It will feel like Christmas day for them…Your binging them a gift they can no longer do for themselves. topten 50


Without telling your friend, sibling, mom or dad, wash and wax their car for them… What a wonderful gift , especially for someone who is ill or has a schedule at work that is ‘beyond’ over-time.) top10 119


Volunteer your time as a mentor to a young child or perhaps a young adult in high school…many children, who do not have both parents at home, receive so much love , strength and blessings from someone who will take on that missing part, mentoring them in the many needed skills of life. FD-50


#8 Live well, laugh often and love much! I love this idea!

I have a beautiful little pillow on my  front porch chair that has this saying on it…It is a great reminder for me everyday! I think in this TOP TEN, ‘Live well’ and ‘Love Much’ are covered, but I love the encouragement to LAUGH OFTEN! What makes you laugh? Smile? Brings you an abundance of joy welling up within your soul until you break out into a chuckle?  It is no fable that laughter is medicine for the soul, but it is also one of the best antidotes for your body and overall health!

topten 125Choose to be around the people in your life that make you laugh! (I am eminently blessed to have exceedingly comedic brothers and my husband makes me laugh daily! )

Learn to laugh at YOURSELF…It’s freeing!

Kit and I love to play pranks on each other, (good pranks…) and always, when we reminisce over our years of mischievous antics or practical jokes, we laugh all over again.

When Kit and I play hide and seek with Graham, we have laughed so hard, (the kind of laughter that makes your jaws ache.) All I have to say to Graham is “Do you want to play hide and seek?”graham100 I have Kit keep him in a room until I am hiding and am ready, then Ibegin calling Grahams name. I always hide in a place that I can watch and see his efforts and captivating expressions as he “tries so vigorously” to find me. I totally give my hiding  place away as I can no longer contain my laughter…(he is so unbelievably cute!)  He wags his tale, kisses me 10 times and goes back to kit as He wants me to hide all over again. It’s  pure joy for all three of us. 🙂

A few more guarantees for a dose of hearty laughter…rent a few renowned, known to make you laugh til you cry, comedy movies, spend time with a baby or a toddler for the afternoon… Both will turn your world upside down and you will be laughing and smiling so much, you’ll forget what you were stressing out about! 🙂

Plan an evening at a comedy club.. or watch your favorite comedian on TV.


Just looking at these gentle giants makes me smile... I challenge you to spend some time playing hide and seek or any game  that your dog loves… see if it doesn’t bring you an abundance of joy and laughter. 🙂

I love you 6large B. Dog


Offer to babysit, take your niece, nephew or a friends baby for the afternoon…get lost in their world and allow yourself to feel their joy and laughter over the simplest of things.  I truly believe that babies are God’s gift of laughter to all of us adults… nicolesmiley7


The same is true of the adorable toddler stage…When I was going through a rough time, right out of high school, an 18 month old little girl came into my world and changed life as I knew it.  As we became friends, my days were filled with so much love, adventure , fun and pure laughter. Oh to be a child again! Try it, you may really like it! 🙂

girl with ice creamA villa 12


No kidding, Kit and I laughed so hard at Jimmy Fallon’s and Justin Timberlake’s take on the history of rap… I saved it on our DVR and every time we need to really “belly laugh,” I put it on…Same thing with Wayne Brady or any comedian you thoroughly enjoy…they will come up with words, ideas and phrases that will make you laugh ’til you cry’…oh how we need comedy and laughter in our lives! justinbridesmaid

Two guaranteed movies that we agree will make you “really” laugh…Bridesmaids and Dan in real life. Look for the bride attendants scene after a lunch they all attend with the bride,  and the dancing  bar scene in Dan in real life with Ruthy “Pig face”… Then tell me you did not laugh heartily. 🙂

bridesmaid 1topten 199


I find when I am working at home and The Ellen show comes on, I am laughing at something! She comes up with the most original pranks and jokes,(has some fabulous guests as well…) If you have never played a practical joke on someone safe, (like a spouse, good friend or sibling,) you have missed out on a lot of laughter… You gotta try it this year! (Just once, at least.)



#9 Express your emotions and heartfelt sentiments on a daily basis. (OK, this is, I think, my most favorite of all….)

I will never forget when I heard the shocking news that Paul Walker, (the race car driver and star of Fast and Furious) died suddenly in a car accident. When they interviewed his father on TV, his eyes welled up with tears as he spoke the word,s “There was never a day that we did not say the words to each other “I love you.” “I love you 3  Loosing a loved one is one of the hardest things we ever face in life...loosing someone unexpectedly is even harder. Just knowing and having the assurance that those most cherished in your life, TRULY KNOW how much you care for them and love them, makes all the difference in the world.

We all express our love in different ways…Here are a few demonstrative ideas to proclaim or declare your sentiments.

Always say “I love you” when ending a phone call with your friends and family.     Tell your spouse or  mate that you love them everyday.     Express love to your precious cargo daily, whether its a treat, hug, praise or a massage, (especially if they are getting up there in age.)     HALLMARK CARDS! They create and write the words perfectly  that are so hard for us to say!     If your gifted with words…write a tribute, a poem or a letter to someone you know who has changed your life and are always there for you, no matter what!     A REAL HUG GOES A LONG WAY!     Put a love note in your child’s lunchbox, or place a post it note telling them how proud you are of them, wrapped up in their lunch money!     For a GREAT and faithful neighbor, surprise them with a homemade spinach-bacon quiche or a warm plate of Toll house cookies, just to say “Thanks.”     Take your brother, sister, best friend, husband, child or parent out to lunch “just because” and say its your treat.       If you are not a person who likes to express with words how you feel, find a  creative way to SHOW those in your life just how much you love them and what your world would be like, if they were not there. (Maybe a bouquet of flowers, balloons and a singing telegram for no reason, buying them their favorite trilogy of movies, or a series of books, create an album of treasured photos of the memories you two have shared together over the years or give them a gift certificate to get a massage. )

Remind your little one often, of how very special they are and how much you love them. Be creative! note

I will never forget the day My husband and I moved from California…(the one place in all the world that held all of my childhood memories, nostalgic teenage years, every family member and my best friends in life.)  It was getting time for us to go and my younger brother Patrick and I waited forever to say Goodbye as it was so painfully hard…we were best buds as well as siblings!  We did not have to say any words…our hug, tears and embrace said EVERYTHING! Hugs go a long way! Pat and I


Find creative ways to say “I love you.” i love you


When the words and sentiments are hard to say, you can always trust Hallmark! I love you 4


Nothing says ‘lovin,’ like something scrumptious from your oven! 🙂 I love you 2I love you 1


Tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, mate, fiance, spouse and children that you love them, every morning and every night! myhunk


Say “I love you,”  with the aid of the Professionals… A singing telegram with balloons, flowers or a box of their favorite confections! singing T 50 singing T 1singing T 2


Say I love you by surprising a dear friend with a relaxing, delightful lunch at their favorite Bistro or a quaint, countryside  eatery. two


Sing a love song to your precious cargo…praise them with honoring, loving words, their favorite treat and lots of hugs! (Everyday!) punk2


#10  Lastly Learn something new this year in your life to broaden  and educate your mind, and enhance your social skills at the same time.

Do something innovative and completely different that you’ve never done before… topten 109You may feel a little awkward at first…but its like exercising a new muscle of the body…at first it is sore, then it is toned and profits your body with new strength…thus, a new skill will do the same. I still have not decided this years new venture…last year it was getting a camera and pretending I was a photographer for a day, looking for that perfect KODAK MOMENT! (Believe me, I deleted many a photo, but hey, some came out pretty good.)  Kits was learning and researching the world of stockbroking. (Wow, that is an intricate and complicated new skill to learn.) 🙂 He loved it and it  paid off…) (No pun intended.) 🙂

Some thoughts? How about becoming a Beekeeper? Taking a Hip Hop dance class?  Join a bowling league…. learn how to faux paint, pastamake homemade pasta, play an instrument, become your households ‘in home’ researcher…utilizing your local library and  the internet, (I think I just found mine for 2014.) 🙂 Take an elegant cake baking class, (learning how to create exquisite cakes that people only dream of,) learn how to create stain glass paintings, take a motorcycle course, get a bike and enjoy a new view of this beautiful world! Learn how to create your own website to share with  the world whats on your heart, learn a new language, join a Yoga class, try stenciling your bedroom wall, pick up a needlepoint kit and create a wall hanging or pillow with your creative skills  or knit a baby blanket for the new arrival within your family.   There are so many NEW adventures to take on to broaden our worlds, keeping our mind and bodies active… (two wondrous gifts that benefit our lives fabulously!)

I have never tried Calligraphy but I think it would be a wonderful class to take to enhance ones penmanship… How fun would it be, to be able to make your own invitations and stationary? mens stuff 18


There are some great “HOW TO,”  magazines and books on the market as well as classes, to learn how to decorate your home for the holidays! topten 205


How fun would it be to spend your summer days with children of all ages at the YMCA summer day camp program?  You will come through it with a new degree in Children’s behavior! (Make sure you wear plenty of sunscreen and keep a few Tylenol in your pocket.) 🙂 topten 126


Taking a class learning sign language…what a great new skill to be able to communicate with those who can’t hear… (Maybe Kit and I should take that course for when we grow old together in our autumn years.) 🙂 topten 108


Learn how to be your own photographer… topten 105


Blogging is a wondrous way to communicate your passions and heartfelt emotions on life! topten 102


Lately, I have been hearing more and more people say they want to train and run in a marathon before they ‘meet their maker’ 🙂  What a wonderful achievement. topten 10


OK, now we’re talking….dancing, letting loose… great exercise and is undoubtedly  an ideal place to meet new people and have a lot of fun. Take a dance class!Fitness dance


A “piece of cake?” I don’t think so. Learning the art of diving would be a wonderful new skill to embody…Just think of how many healthy hormones this sport releases to fight your bodies stress… top10 96


Have you ever had the desire to really learn about fine wines, take trips to renowned wineries and become knowledgeable on this subject? I know people who have done this and it fascinates me, as they know more about a bottle of wine than I had ever-imagined one could know or learn.  top10 79


Take your local bus or the metro line into the city a few times, stay the entire day and learn what it is like to live within a bustling city… Quite different than small town living for sure! top10 70

Learn Astronomy and become a star gazer… Invest in a telescope and learn all about this fascinating art of observing the sky. Keep studying and learning  further about all our planets,  (the universes stellar metropolises.) 🙂

ham radio 10ham radio 11

Have you always had a secret desire or dream to become a celebrity? How about taking a voice over class or an acting class? (You will be sure to meet an abundance of people, have lots of fun and it makes for a wonderful new hobby.)

ham radio8acting class

Make this the year you learn how to set boundaries in your relationships….Very hard in the beginning, but OH SO WORTH IT…It is wonderfully freeing and decreases  your bodies stress! Two gifts in one!   🙂 Another new behavior skill to learn, saying NO! So easy, yet so difficult… but again, fabulously rewarding when you get it down! 🙂 topten 31topten 30


Just being honest…this new skill is a little bit to much on the daring side for me, but we knew a bee keeper in South Carolina and he absolutely loved it! If you are a Thrill-seeker, perhaps this would be the perfect “new Skill” for you to learn in 2014! (If you do, write in and tell us about it! )  🙂 topten 103


Are these cakes par-excellent, five star or what?  What a wonderful, creative art to bless so many with.  (A blessing to both the eyes and palate.) 🙂 (I will add this to my list of “new skills” to learn!) 🙂

UPS1cake 3cake7


I don’t know about you , but I feel awesomely motivated and have great hopes for this new year of 2014.   I look forward to trying a few of these notions and making this year more colorful, creative as well as a fulfilling. I  hope that you have found one or two ideas  you like and will find new joy, strengths and happiness…  Its never to late to try new things… even if its within your safe haven and only you see the changes and experience the smiles it brings to your face and heart!



new year


PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

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