Keep Believing- 3 Day Quote Challenge (Day 2)

I would like to thank A Momma’s View for nominating me to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge.  I do not usually join in on many of the blogging challenges, but the theme of “Keep Believing” that A Momma’s View chose struck a chord with me.  At a time when I feel my motivation and creativity has been drained this challenge may provide a much needed spark.  As a believer in signs I will gladly accept this one!

Rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge:
1) Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2) Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  It can be your own or from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
3) Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

Here is my quote for Day 2 of the challenge:

“You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Here are the bloggers I’d like to nominate today (no obligation, folks):


fourth generation farmgirl

The Off Key of Life


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Keep Believing- 3 Day Quote Challenge (Day 1)

I would like to thank A Momma’s View for nominating me to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge.  I do not usually join in on many of the blogging challenges, but the theme of “Keep Believing” that  A Momma’s View chose struck a chord with me.  At a time when I feel my motivation and creativity has been drained this challenge may provide a much needed spark. As a believer in signs I will gladly accept this one!

Rules for the 3 Day Quote Challenge:
 1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2)  Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days on your blog.  It can be your own or from a book, movie, or from anyone who inspires you.
3)  Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavor.

Here is my quote for Day 1 of the challenge:

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one other thing.”  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Here are the bloggers I’d like to nominate today (no obligation, folks):


Edwina’s Episodes

The MomHood


Fill Your Own Glass Just Turned One!


It’s official!  Fill Your Own Glass is celebrating its first birthday today!

It has been a wonderful year full of growth, discovery, and revelations.  I look forward to continuing on this journey of change and self-improvement, and I am so happy to have you along for the ride.  Your encouragement and support drive me onward down the path that has been chosen for me.

I want to say a heartfelt “Thank you!” to all of you who have taken the time to visit this blog.  We are all given the same twenty-four hours each day, and the fact that you would choose to spend even a few moments of yours reading my words fills me with joy and a gratitude that I cannot adequately express.  Your friendship lifts me up, and your words teach me new lessons daily.

I cannot wait to see what the next year brings!



Graceful Exits (How to Walk Away)

In honor of my blog’s upcoming one year anniversary later this month I thought that I would share some of my most viewed posts from the past year, along with some of my personal favorites. This post is my ninth most viewed post, and it is one that I read on days like today when I need a reminder that I am doing the right thing in disengaging from an unhealthy, one-sided relationship. Thank you all for each and every visit you have made here!

Fill Your Own Glass

There are times when we need to walk away.  Different situations and relationships reach their inevitable conclusion, and we must determine the best way to extricate ourselves.  We need to keep in mind that how we choose to exit impacts both us and those we leave behind.

Make a graceful exit from the workplace.  Most of us will switch jobs at least once in our lifetime.  You may receive a better offer, you may find you can no longer tolerate the environment, or you may be seeking to find career alternatives.  No matter the reason, I advise you to proceed with caution in how you exit.  (Yes, this is the voice of experience speaking.)

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Beneath the Surface (Looking Beyond Appearances)

He sits on the barstool next to my husband.  He is half my age.  He is sporting a full beard and a ponytail.  He is dressed all in black with a band t-shirt that I will later learn via an internet search is for a death metal group.

We could not be more different.  We appear to have nothing in common.  Well, aside from the fact that I am an aging 80s headbanger, though mine was more power ballad hair bands instead of thrash music.

He orders a draft beer and strikes up a conversation with us.  It turns out we have a mutual affection for craft beers, in particular the Octoberfest varieties soon to hit the shelves (thank you beer gods).  Soon he is describing the foodie scene in his hometown of Portland, Maine.  He shows us pictures from his recent camping trip to the gorgeous Vermont mountains.  He tells us about his college days and his plans to attend a custom guitar building school after graduation.

He is smart, witty, and engaging.  The three of us talk for hours about a myriad of subjects.  He is an attentive listener and an interesting storyteller.  I find that I want to get to know him better.  By the end of the night we feel like fast friends.

The scene I just described played itself out one evening earlier this week.  The young man is our nephew on my husband’s side, and he was in town to visit family.  While he is not a stranger to me, he is someone who I had met only a handful of times.  It had been years since I had last seen him, so in some ways I was now “meeting” him as an adult.

I relay this story to you because it got me thinking about appearances and how we react to them.  I found myself wondering how often we miss out on meeting amazing people because we have knee-jerk reactions to the way they look.  If I had to guess I would say this automatic dismissal of people based on their outward representation of themselves happens far more often than we might care to admit.

As a people-watcher and an avid observer of human nature I see this sort of thing happen time and again.  We tend to gravitate toward people who are in our age range, dress like we do, and enjoy the same things that we do.  Imagine, though, if we all broadened our horizons and reached out to those who we might initially pass by.  I do not believe we do this with any malice or animosity, rather it is from a sense of hesitancy and apprehension of the unknown.

I would like to think that if the young man in the story had not been my nephew I would have engaged in that same conversation.  That I would have set aside my initial thoughts that I would have nothing in common with him, or that we would not be able to relate to one another.  However, I have been guilty of judging someone by appearance or by presumption, my own self-created version of a person based on a first glance or a brief meeting.  I almost missed out on a wonderful friendship with a woman I pre-judged, but thankfully life presented us with a second opportunity to connect.

I am learning to look beneath the surface.  I am open to finding out what it is that constitutes the “more than meets the eye” in people.  I want others to offer the same courtesy to me, and so I will gladly extend myself to them.

There are people who are unable to see past outward appearances.  If someone does not fit the homogeneous grouping they belong to then they are not willing to extend themselves.  I find that I feel sorry for these misguided souls, for with their reflexive actions they are depriving themselves of some great company.  They are missing out on possibly making cool new lifetime friends, like the one I made this week.

Do you have your own similar experience to share?  Do you step out of your “box” to meet others?  As always I welcome your comments and feedback.  Just for fun, and to prove I was an 80s headbanger girl, I am including a photo from my long ago high school days.  Try not to fall over laughing… Cheers! Karen

My 80s metal days...and yes, people did tend to avoid me at the mall!

My 80s metal days…and yes, people did tend to avoid me at the mall!

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Sunday Smiles- It Isn’t the Things

It’s the feel of the soft, purring vibration of a cat napping on your lap.

It’s the sound of your nephew’s laughter as he plays in the surf on a beach day.

It’s the ring of laughter as friends come together to celebrate a milestone birthday.

It’s the inhalation of crisp, clean air on a mountain hike.

It’s dancing around the living room with abandon to a favorite 80s tune.

It’s the sweaty satisfaction of giving your all during a tough workout.

It’s the joy of an unexpected phone call from a childhood friend.

It’s sending messages to your significant other across a crowded room with only a smile.

It’s getting caught in a warm summer rain shower and not running for cover.

It’s relaxing by the pool, forgetting about the workweek grind and enjoying the simple pleasure of watching the kids show off their cannonballs and dives.

It’s in making the time for your passions and pursuing them without reserve.

It’s the instant comfort issued by a hand placed on your back in silent support.

It’s in surveying the scene around you and exhaling slowly, knowing you are exactly where you want to be.

No, it isn’t the things that fill our lives and make us rich.  It’s the people who surround us and share our days.  It’s the sights and sounds that fill our ears and our eyes.  It’s the feeling of the “feels” that gives us a wealth that money never could.  It isn’t the things.  It’s everything but the things.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a full, happy week ahead!  Cheers! Karen

Look for the Love

Look to the expectant mother with her peaceful smile.  See the way her hand rests gently yet protectively on her stomach.  Hear her murmur promises to the heart that beats deep within her.

Look to the patient father as he kneels to a child’s eye level.  See how he holds his son’s shoulders as he calms a pending storm.  Hear him explain that sometimes life seems unfair, but we must accept defeat with grace and honor.

Look to the friends sharing coffee and conversation in a cafe.  See as one reaches to hold the hand of the other as she notices the tears welling up.  Hear her speak soft words of comfort and assurance.

Look to the nurse standing vigil beside a hospital bed.  See her fuss over pillows and blankets as she reads charts and adjusts medications.  Hear her offer encouragement and solace to a stranger as she would to one of her own.

Look to the young man as he volunteers at a homeless shelter.  See him serve meals with gratitude instead of with judgment.  Hear him offer idle chatter to the recipients with a smile, removing the discomfort of shame and embarrassment.

Look to the couple sitting in the waiting room at the veterinarian’s office.  See them unlatch the door to the carrier and stroke the fur of a fading beloved family member.  Hear them whisper good-byes and say thank you for the cherished years together.

Look to the police officer at the scene of a horrific car crash.  See him offer a stuffed animal to the numb child who clutches it to him, watching in blank incomprehension as his parents are wheeled into ambulances.  Hear him soothe and reassure the child, and then hear him as he steps away to call his own family, trying to keep his voice from cracking.

Look to the left and look to the right.  Look in front of you, and look behind.  See the love that surrounds you, and realize that it is everywhere.  Hear it in the voices that speak to you, and in your own voice as you speak to others.

Look for the love.  See the love.  Hear the love.  Live the love.  Be the love.

You can find Fill Your Own Glass on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

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A Reformed Pessimist

I often describe myself as a reformed pessimist.  If you have been here before you may know that I have been on a multi-year journey to change my outlook and by extension my life.  The tagline for this blog, “a realistic approach to an optimistic life”, best sums up my approach these days.

It has not been a simple process.  There have been twists and turns, bumps and bruises, and gigantic steps forward and backward.  It has been an exercise in patience, both mine with others and most certainly theirs with me.  It has been a fulfilling learning experience of trial and error.  While the ride is far from over, at five years in I can see definitive, measurable results from the efforts.

I can tell you that turning away from pessimism has allowed me to change the way I interact with the world and the people around me.  It has enabled me to unload the unnecessary, unwanted weight of negativity, thereby providing a new sense of lightness and freedom.  It has given me the opportunity to find a level of happiness that a half-decade ago I would not have thought possible.  I would like to share a few of the most noticeable differences that I can see.

I wake up each morning looking for possibilities instead of problems.  Where I used to begin the day with a mental rundown of all of the annoyances and roadblocks I was sure to face, I now start with a vision of the good things that may happen.  Yes, there are days that are stressful and taxing, but instead of talking myself into a doom-and-gloom mood I prep to take on the challenges by reminding myself that they are short-term and will not last forever.

I no longer anticipate the worst case scenario.  Even the most optimistic people know that bad things happen.  It is how we react when they do that makes the difference.  If we allow ourselves to be defeated by a setback or a complication we can create a rapid downward spiral.  This often leads to an accelerated deterioration of our viewpoint that can be hard to reverse.  If, however, we choose to look for solutions to the problems we face, then we can find the fortitude to work through the difficult times.  We can recognize and accept that tough times are inevitable, but we can opt to search for ways to pull ourselves out of them rather than letting them pull us under.

I have found my “walk away” point.  One trait that many pessimists have in common is their need to argue.  If they see something, anything, in a negative light, then they are not satisfied until they have made their best effort to make you see it in the same way.  If you bring up the pros of a situation you can bet your bottom dollar they will fire back with a ready list of cons.  One of the hardest parts of my journey has been the letting go of this need to argue, to be right, and to have the last word.  It has also been one of the most rewarding parts, as I have finally discovered that I can walk away, even if it means letting someone else “win” the debate.  I have realized that true victory comes not from getting the better of someone in an argument but from the peace of mind that walking away allows you to retain.

I welcome happiness and love into my life.  It has been surprising over these past five years to see just how far-reaching the impacts of a more positive perspective have been.  The swing from pessimism to a realistic optimism has turned me into a kinder person. It has made me approachable and open. Adopting a favorable viewpoint has granted me the ability to stop expending my energy on negative people and to start focusing on the positive ones.  It has enabled me to strike up new friendships, and it has freed me to both give and accept love.

I am not telling anyone that they need to change.  That is a decision that can only come from within.  I will tell you that it is not an endeavor that will be undertaken in vain. The benefits extend to your mind, your health, and even to your appearance.  Yes, it is true…a smile looks much better on you than a frown!  Cheers!  Karen


Turn Kindness Inward

During a recent conversation with a close friend I found myself listening as she beat herself up over a life choice and the amount of time it took for her to make corrections to head in a new direction.  It saddened me to hear that she was continuing to be so hard on herself about something that had happened years ago.  It hurt me to know that this wonderful, caring person was treating herself in a less than kind manner.  I waited for her to finish, and then I said, “You need to forgive yourself.  You need to be as gentle with yourself as you are with everyone else.  You have to be kind to yourself in the same way that you are kind to those around you.”

We often make a conscious effort to practice kindness toward others, be it through random or intentional acts.  We should take care to turn that same kindness inward.  We must remember to exercise on ourselves the tenderness and compassion that we show to others.

Forgive yourself.  You have made mistakes.  Perhaps you have even done things knowing they were not right.  Acknowledge your actions, and then forgive yourself.  As you make the decision to pardon others for their transgressions, so should you exonerate yourself for your own.  This does not mean you forget the lessons that you learn or give yourself leave to repeat bad behavior, but it does allow you to move forward in a positive direction.

Console yourself.  You are there to comfort a friend when he is feeling low.  You provide solace to a family member during difficult times.  You may even offer kind words to someone you do not know who is showing signs of distress.  You deserve the same alleviation of your own anguish or discomfort.  You might well find it at the hands of another, but you can also find it internally.  Let your inner voice speak words of comfort when you need to hear them.

Encourage yourself.  You offer words of motivation to the person struggling next to you at the gym.  You rally behind a co-worker who is struggling to complete a project.  You stand on the sidelines of a race or a sporting event cheering on complete strangers.  Give yourself the same uplifting support.  Stop knocking yourself down or berating your “failures”.  Instead, be your own cheerleader.

Love yourself.  Be nice to you.  Do it because you are worth loving.  Love yourself, and you will be free to share more love with the world.  Show yourself the affection and warmth that you give to those you hold dear.

Remind yourself that you deserve the gentleness that you bestow on others.  When you practice self-kindness you set in motion a force within you that radiates graciousness and goodness outward.  That alone is reason enough to turn kindness inward.

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My First Guest Blog Post!

Hi friends!  I am honored that Shawn over at Down Home Thoughts asked me to write my first ever guest post!  Here is the link to my post about aspiring to inspire others and the value of a compliment:

Please make sure to take a tour around Shawn’s blog for a good dose of wisdom, common sense, and character!

Let me know if you decide to participate in the “compliment crusade” and the results.  Together we can aspire to inspire!