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January 31, 2013

January Charity of the Month Wrap Up

January's Charity was First Book.  Their simple goal is to make sure children of need have the same access to book as any other child out there.  First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available.  

Having a little bear at home who is always asking to hear a story, I could not imagine how hard it would be if I had to tell him no simply because we did not have a book at home to read.

With the Charity of the Month Program, each month I will donate $1 for the first 25 new followers to my blog AND the first 25 new likes on my Facebook page to the current Charity of the Month.

This month I added 44 followers and 15 Facebook Likes.  That translates to a $50 donation for First BookThank you very much for your help and support.

Don't forget to check in tomorrow for February's Charity Feature.  

January 29, 2013

Thinking about adding Sponsor/PR space....

Hello Blog World!  I hope that everyone is having a wonderful day.  It is crazy warm here in Chicago-land today.  This winter cannot make up it's mind one bit:  something I can completely relate with.

I have had an ongoing debate in my head for a few weeks now.  Part of me is thinking that it may be time to add some sponsor spots on Not Done Growing.  The other part of my brain is wondering if the added work actually brings added value.  

It is not that I don't mind doing extra work, but my time is limited so I want to make sure I am making the most of my blog time and spending it on items that will grow my readership not just my follower counts.  

Since part of the reason why I started this blog is to give back, I am thinking that most of the income (if any) will be donated to charity. 

So, having said that, I'd love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, or advice on the subject. 

Do you advertize on other blogs, or do button swaps?  How does it effect your readership?  Do you find over all that sponsorship helps to build relationships with other bloggers, or is it more of a short term effect?  Would you be interested in being a sponsor or doing a button swap?

Any and all comments and thoughts will be greatly appreciated.  If easier, please feel free to email me as well.

January 28, 2013

Meditaion Monday

Welcome to a new week, my friends.  

A new chance to get closer to that picture of yourself that you have in your head.   

A new day to show kindness and share yourself.  

A new opportunity to make it be what ever YOU want it to be!

Happy, oh HAPPY Monday!  

January 25, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Week 4

Manic MotherHappy Friday Dear Friends!  This has been a long week for me of back pain and grumpiness.  I am so happy to welcome the weekend and look forward to hearing all the actions done in kindness! 

This week I focused on making sure to thank the people in my life who inspire me.  It is so easy to forget to pass on what you are feeling or to assume that the person already knows.  Even if they do know how much they help and inspire you, it still never hurts to tell them.  Everyone likes to hear it out loud every once in a while!  So I sent emails and left messages making sure friends and family all knew how much they mean to me.

I also shared the love with my readers by posting a Valentine's Day printable=)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend! 

January 24, 2013

Valentine's Day Free Printable

I had a bit of time on my hands today, so I thought I would play around with creating a quick and easy Valentine's Day card. 

Since I have a three year old and I am constantly reminding him that sharing is great; I thought I would share this printable with my friends too!  You can download the image here.  

I hope you enjoy!

January 22, 2013

Gaiam TV - Get 2nd Month Free

Have you heard of GaiamTVI don't know about you, but I have a very short attention span when it comes to exercising.  I tend to get bored after about a month and start to look for something else to do.  

This is why I love GaiamTV!  For $10 a month, I have a wealth of streaming videos to choose from.  The variety alone is worth it.  Rather than spending $20 on a DVD and not knowing if you are going to like it, or how long you will stay interested... you can sample over 400 yoga titles and another 400 plus fitness titles.  The diversity is amazing.

Plus most of the work outs are divided into chapters, basically giving you the flexibility to pick and choose any work out you want.  Do 15 minutes of yoga, a 20 minute dance workout, finished off with a 10 minuter mediation session... it is completely customizable and easy to use! 

GaiamTV also has a host of other inspirational films and documentaries.  I really only use the fitness aspect, so I cannot comment on this side of the site.  

With unlimited online access to yoga, fitness, wellness videos plus inspirational films, you can find great videos to nourish mind, body and soul. Sign up now for my friends-only deal and get your second month FREE!  Simply click on the link below for this great offer.

Holly's Friends Second Month FREE Offer

Please note, that when a friend signs up, I also get a month free.  I am gaining when a friend signs up, but I am not getting paid for this post.  All the words and thoughts are mine and honestly how I feel.

If you are not sure this is right for you, they are also offering a free 10 day trial.  You really have nothing to lose! 

January 21, 2013

Meditation Monday - MLK Day Edition

Since today is Martin Luther King, Jr day, I wanted to share a few of his quotes for Mediation Monday.  All of which are still as relevant today as they were then.

Please note, I created these collages, but I borrowed the background pictures.  The sources are family picture and portrait.

January 18, 2013

52 Weeks of Kindness - Week 3

Can it really be week 3 already?  Wasn't I just waiting impatiently for Christmas?  Why didn't time go this fast when I was a child counting down days until summer vacation?  =)

Any who, another week means it's time for 52 Weeks again.  This week one of my acts of kindness was to send my Great Aunt Rita a hand-written letter to tell her that I was thinking of her.  I even made sure to take my time and write neatly.  My fourth grade teacher would be so proud!  haha

I also supported my very good friend in her fundraising effort for Special Olympics, by making a donation.  If you would like to help out some great kids, you can do so here!
52 weeks of kindness

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  If you have some time, stop by My Three Bittles  and check out what others have been up to with their 52 Weeks project.  It is an inspiring read to hear all the happiness being shared!

January 17, 2013

Dreading Bath Time

The hubs and I have a pretty good bedtime routine worked out for the little bear:  bath, books, bed.  He's had the same routine since he was six months.  It works, so there has never been a need to change it.  

We take turns each day with the bath and books.  I read some where that if kids get used to the same parent always doing the bedtime stuff, then the parent is as built into the routine as much as anything else.  So if the right parent is not there... trouble.  So, to cover all the bases I read one night, and give the bath the next night.  

The odd thing is that I dread bath time when it is my turn.  I'm not sure what it is, but the idea of doing the bath just rubs me the wrong way.  I am constantly trying to rush it and even talk little bear into taking a shower; which for a three year old is like asking the sun not to shine.  I mean really, why would you give up splashing in bubbles for a shower?  

I have a feeling my sense of dread comes from the days that I do not have bath duties.  On those days when the boys head upstairs to the bath, I get to sit in peace and quiet.  I get to choose what is on TV, or to turn it off and read without distraction.  I get to surf my blogs or Pinterest without a little monkey hanging on my arm asking to see super heros on the Geek Board.  For thirty minutes it is just me.  Ahhhh... I suppose now that I think about it, that is a hard thing to give up every other day. 

The sad thing is that bath time in our house is easy.  There is no fighting or crying.  My little guy gladly runs up the stairs.  He is perfectly capable of undressing and loves putting his dirty clothes down the laundry chute.  All that I have to do is run the water, wash his hair, soap him up, and rinse.  

Then all that is left is to sit back and watch him play... and play he does.  Laughing, singing, and telling stories.  When I finally let go of my "dread" and focus on the moment, it is one of the best times of the day.  A time of love and laughter.

Sure my days off are wonderful and refreshing, but that does not mean the other days have to anything less.  Isn't hearing the peals of laughter from a perfectly happy child just as refreshing?  You bet your bottom it is!  By expecting the chore to be a hassle or a pain, I am practically guaranteeing that it turns out that way.  

Yet, when I accept my situation and drop my preconceived notions; it turns out to be not nearly as bad as I expected, and in most cases better!  It never ceases to amaze me how much influence our outlook and approach can have in our lives.  

Tonight is my bath night, and I am going to attack it with JOYWhen that negative voice starts up, I will answer it with a reminder of my little bear's laughter from the the last bath... already I cannot wait for the fun!           

January 15, 2013

Whole30 Week 2 - Failure!

Week two of my Whole30 attempt was not such a good week.  Basically, I have decided that the Whole30 approach is not right for me at this time.  

It's a bit too restricting, which I was determined to power through.  The real problem though is this constant pain in my side.  

You see, I have what I like to call a temperamental gallbladder.  I've had it tested multiple times, and every time the results are the same.  The Docs tell me that it is not bad enough to warrant surgery, and that I just need to watch what I eat.  

The pain started pretty much on the second day of the new eating plan.  I had hoped that it was an adjustment thing, and that it would go away.  No such luck.  I'm not sure what is making my gallbladder go haywire, but clearly what I have been eating is not working.

For the time being I am quitting the Whole30 program, but not my healthy eating goals.  I am going to keep focusing on whole foods, avoiding added chemicals and added sugars.  Hopefully that will clear up this pain in my side, as well as get my body running at it's best.

I never like quitting, but sometimes it really is the best option.  The goal is a happier and healthier me.  It is time to simply try a new path! 


January 14, 2013

Mediation Monday

Our image for meditation this week is a simple reminder that sometimes it is up to us to make a change in our enviroment.  We could sit around and wait for others to do it, but that could be a long wait.  Why wait, when already have all the tools and strength in you!

January 12, 2013

Tips for Finding Fulfillment in YOUR Life

The search for fulfillment in life is a universal human characteristic. Once our basic survival needs are met, we cannot help but to start searching for more in our lives. Some find that fulfillment through their religious beliefs. Others discover it by watching their children grow and learn. While some pour their energy and passion into a hobby or their jobs.

There are as many paths to fulfillment as there are grains of sand on a beach. The key is to recognize that your path will never be the same as someone else. Just because your neighbor, sister, boss, parent, or anyone else found their fulfillment on a certain path; it is not necessarily going to work for you.

The first step to achieving your own personal level of fulfillment is to be open and honest with yourself. Take responsibility for your life and your actions. If you are stuck and need a change, then be the vehicle to make that change happen, not the excuse to keep up the status quo.

Another tip is to think positively about your life and what you can achieve. Be realistic, but not limiting. As Sharon Firth says in her article on fulfillment,

“Positive thinking is the way to inner fulfillment. Pay attention to your thoughts for a little while. You might be amazed at how negative your inner voice really is. It is these thoughts that bring us down and don’t allow us to feel satisfied with our lives.”
If your inner voice is consistently negative, is it any wonder that you do not feel happy or satisfied with your life? By turning that inner voice into a positive influence, a mini cheerleader for yourself; you will start to see all of your interaction improve. Rather than walking around with a scowl, you will smile more and begin to become a joyful influence in the world around you.

Step three to inner fulfillment is to know what you are passionate about and make sure it is in your life in some form or the other. You do not need to make this passion your job, but you should find a way to enjoy it daily. If you love being around kids, then volunteer at the local school. If dance is your passion; then take a community class, go to a show, or simply turn up the music at home and DANCE. The key is to incorporate your passion into your life, so that you always have a joyful outlet.

The fourth step is to keep moving towards your final goal. When you want to throw a party for a loved one, how much time do you spend planning and mapping out a path? You research, you work, and you organize. Imagine what you could do if you spent the same amount of work and time planning out your fulfilled life. Do not take it for granted that one day you will just get there; put in the time and effort needed to actually achieving your vision.

The final step is to always make sure to take care of you, both physically and emotionally. This does not mean that you only take care of yourself. Shawn Shepheard illustrates this best in his article:

“Remember the lesson you’re taught every time you fly. Put an oxygen mask on yourself first. Otherwise you won’t be able to help anyone!”
Help others, but not at the cost of your own health and wellness. By taking care of your needs, as well as the needs of others; you will have more time and energy all around.

The path to inner fulfillment should be unique for each participant. Use these steps as a starting point, and see where your path takes you. Please remember though to be patient and give yourself room to take wrong turns once in a while. A straight line may be the shortest distance, but that does not mean it’s the most fulfilling!

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