Family living

A Dog Gone Good Life

Do you ever come home at the end of the day and your house just feels lonely? Do you miss having a special someone around? A dog makes the perfect best friend. They are always excited to see you, they never talk back, and they are as loyal as it gets. Some dogs are easier to house train and train in general, depending on the breed and how old the dog is when you adopt it, but the process itself can be a fun bonding time as well! 

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Do your research when considering a dog. Choose the one that fits your lifestyle and activity level.  Some dogs shed more than others, some require less maintenance and some are even hypoallergenic. Each dog, much like humans, has a unique personality. Visit the dog before deciding and be sure it is a good fit. Please commit to trying to keep this beautiful new companion and give it its FUR-ever home. Do not choose a dog based on the cuteness in a movie, for example there was a demand for Dalmatians after 101 Dalmatians, but that is not the dog for everyone. Do your research and avoid the hassle and sadness of returning a newly adopted dog when you suddenly realize that it does not have the right temperament for you. Also be sure that the dog is suitable for your kids and the other animals in your household if that is in your plan…

This is Luna, another one of my wonderful rescues. She is always happy to be with me on a hike, a drive, boating, or just laying around. Luna is an absolute great companion!

This is Luna, another one of my wonderful rescues. She is always happy to be with me on a hike, a drive, boating, or just laying around. Luna is an absolute great companion!

In addition, make sure that you stop at the pet store and get a few chew toys to avoid the loss of your favorite shoes and treasured belongings. Dogs love to chew on things and they are very content when they know what is theirs. Also try to give them a special space, perhaps a dog bed or a crate, in the room you most often hang out in where they feel a part of your family's life, but can comfortably retreat to while you are eating, watching tv and when the doorbell rings. In our house we named the dog bed “spot” and at first tethered our new dog to a leash in his “spot" with lots of treats and toys so he associated it as being a good place for him. Now he willingly goes there… at least sometimes, but he is still a puppy and training takes time. Just remember that YOU are the alpha.  

This is Tucker's "SPOT" as the trainer recommended and it has worked very well for us. He is happy there and we now have peace while we eat and when we answer the door.   

This is Tucker's "SPOT" as the trainer recommended and it has worked very well for us. He is happy there and we now have peace while we eat and when we answer the door.  

Your dog will provide you with great companionship. He or she will even hold you accountable for going on regular walks or runs, give you lots of snuggle time and will always be willing to protect you, yes even the little guys will do their best.

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Consider adopting a dog from the shelter. Mixed breed dogs need homes and are some of the very most grateful dogs that you can imagine. I have rescued many dogs and I can tell you they have all been very well trained, easy going, loyal and loving.

This is Bubba, the best Pitt we have ever owned. Morgan rescued Bubba a year ago and they bonded immediately. Bubba was incredibly gentle and responsive. He was smart and craved love. Unfortunately, he did bite a neighbor and we HAD to do the responsible thing and put Bubba down. It was one of the hardest things we have gone through as a family and Bubba will forever be missed and fondly remembered. WE had him cremated, just as you would a family member, so that we could keep him with us forever. We will never understand what happened that day, but we forgive him and love him anyway. 

This is Bubba, the best Pitt we have ever owned. Morgan rescued Bubba a year ago and they bonded immediately. Bubba was incredibly gentle and responsive. He was smart and craved love. Unfortunately, he did bite a neighbor and we HAD to do the responsible thing and put Bubba down. It was one of the hardest things we have gone through as a family and Bubba will forever be missed and fondly remembered. WE had him cremated, just as you would a family member, so that we could keep him with us forever. We will never understand what happened that day, but we forgive him and love him anyway. 

I now own my first full bred Bernese Mountain Dog and he is truly special in his own right. But, all dogs earn a special place in our hearts. They try so hard to earn our love when really maybe it should be the other way around? Maybe if humans were more like dogs the world would be a more loving, accepting and better place! 

Playfully Your Pet Lover,

Libby

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Thank you Bubba for a year of joy that will last a lifetime....

 

P.S. - Dogs are usually discounted for adoption for the holidays, so now is a great time to adopt a pet. It will be the gift that will continue to give love for many years to come! If you have any questions about adopting a dog, please feel free to reach out and message me! I would be happy to help!

Give Love for a REAL Holiday Treat

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The holidays can be joyous, but they can also be the cause of tremendous stress. This holiday season, put a little soul into your step. Too much time is spent shopping, fighting the crowds and suddenly our stress levels go up. There is a lot of pressure behind gift giving. Your kids want things that are often more than you can afford and yet you hate to disappoint them. In some instances we overextend our budgets, which creates unnecessary stress and resentment all for the latest toy or gaming system that will be quickly forgotten and replaced with a new version within months. We start buying things for people without putting much thought into it just for the sake of crossing it off our to do lists. It almost feels obligatory to give "Aunt Suzy" a gift, so we send a coffee cake. But maybe Suzy is on a diet or does not even want to eat the cake. Now she feels stressed because you sent a cake that she feels that she needs to eat out of guilt. Why do we do this? What is it all about? 

The real meaning behind this holiday is the miracle that a baby was born. It is indeed a birthday celebration, but the materialism and commercialism have gotten blown so far out of proportion that rather than it bringing us joy, they often cause us stress. Did we get the right thing? Will "Aunt Suzy" like it?  

We also blow through the opening of Christmas presents and then often face a period of feeling let down, after which leads to self pity…. Wondering why your loved one did not get you the gift that really would have meant a lot to you, or that one thing that you really wanted... Please, take a moment to pause and reflect this holiday season. Really think about the difference between giving from obligation and giving from your heart. When we give from a place of pure love and give only with purpose, the gift will always be well received.  It will be a gift of love and joy! 

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Consider surrendering from the attachment to things. The idea that less is more is very fulfilling.  When I find the perfect gift for someone that I know is just sooo exciting, it does not matter to me if it is just a three dollar pair of socks or a major gift. It is all about the true JOY of giving without a single thought of what I may or may not get in return.

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The older I get, the less I want and need.  I realize that things do not bring lasting happiness. What really brings me joy are the people I am surrounded with and the wonderful memories that we make together. It truly is more about who is around the tree than what is under the tree. Our worth is not based on THINGS, it is based on memories, love and gratitude.

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So, pause and slow down. Breathe deeply and think of the people who have absolutely nothing this Christmas. Perhaps the best gift of all is giving your time to help out at a shelter, or donating a warm coat to someone in need? Teach your children to appreciate the lights, the meals and the special times that we spend together. Appreciate the little things rather than always wanting more. This is not only a Christmas sentiment, but something that matters all year round. Practice gratitude for what you do have and for your love. It is also ok to change your holiday traditions. We often get stuck in our ways of celebrating, but as our children grow up, consider allowing your traditions to evolve. The truth is that the holiday atmosphere changes as our children grow into young adults and presents naturally become less of a focus. So take the pressure off of yourself and go back to enjoying life.

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Accept what is in each moment, be aware of your surroundings, as well as your words and actions.  Practice kindness and spread holiday cheer. After all, as long as you are on the “NICE” list… you have nothing to fret about.  

Do not get your tinsel in a tangle.  Enjoy the holiday season!  Winter is a time of restoration for our bodies and our souls before emerging stronger in the spring. Rest, enjoy a good book or good music, pull out some board games and enjoy what you have rather than wanting more. 

Peace & Joy,

Libby

P.S. - Also remember and hold space for the people whose hearts ache more than normal during the holidays. It can be an emotionally painful and sometimes lonely time. Consider reaching out and including friends and neighbors in your family celebrations throughout the season. Remember the saying, "it takes a village," well it truly does and tis the season to give, but the gift of love, not things. 

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Love takes Courage and a Box of Kleenex

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Have you ever been addicted to something? Have you ever suffered extreme loss? What about fears? Do you fear anything so much that it haunts you or shuts you down? There is a song on the radio that made me realize that love is just as powerful as any drug out there (watch the video below). Music is powerful. It can trigger memories, feelings and instincts. Love, however, takes you to your highest high and also your lowest low. You put your faith and trust in your significant other and sometimes with no warning you are left alone. This causes feelings of abandonment and insecurity. It causes us to close down and a little piece of us dies. Losing a loved one in a relationship is a huge cause of stress, whether it is a long term relationship or a marriage. You share memories, laughter, and intimacy with that person. Those memories are triggered for a long time to come and unfortunately cannot be turned off easily, which makes it difficult to move forward and to love again. But surrenduring to what is and knowing when to walk away is key! It allows you to open the door for what may be. 

Now, lets talk about the ego. It is extremely important to keep the ego in check when going through difficult times during a breakup. We go through every range of emotions from sadness to anger and everything in between. But, compassion is critical. Compassion is your desire to alleviate the suffering of others, or your feeling of sympathy toward others. In the case of a breakup, compassion toward your Ex can be difficult, but when we set the ego aside and realize why we loved that person to begin with it is a little easier. Try to maintain compassion. In the end you will feel better for it. Positivity attracts positivity. Your heart will heal faster as a result. Remember, always forgive and rise above. Holding grudges only hurts you more in the end.

 

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So, grab a spoon and a pint of ice cream. Binge watch your favorite Netflix shows for a day and then get outside and go for a hike. Reconnect with the things you love to do. Stay plugged into your friends and family. This might be hard if you shared mutual friends, but make the effort. If need be have open communication with your Ex about how and when you will see friends so that you do not awkwardly show up at the same place at the same time. Respect each other as you move on. Sometimes zero communication, at least for a brief period, is easier. Other times treating each other as business partners helps the transition. You will find what works best. Please just watch what you say because although words can be forgiven, they cannot be forgotten and it is easy to say things we do not mean when our emotions are elevated. 

You WILL be ok despite the fact that you don’t feel like it at the moment. Everything feels better when you are in love. Do not close down to the possibility of loving again. When we hit rock bottom, we bounce back up and sometimes twice as high, meaning we end up with a better ending. You are the author and the architect of your life. So, write a new chapter. Add new characters. Try new things. Remember, you have a purpose and you are worth it. Keep moving forward and don’t lose your way. All of our roadblocks, bumps and bruises make us stronger, build our character, and give depth to our soul. They help give meaning to our lives and help us to better understand others, which help us to connect. 

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F.L.Y. First love yourself. Spend some time alone. Prepare yourself for your next true love by fully loving yourself. Make as many self improvements as you can. Be very honest about what went wrong in your previous relationship ~ sometimes we can improve and sometimes we cannot, but it is always good to be aware. Accept the situation, forgive yourself and your EX, and when you are ready move forward with excitement and full compassion. The heart is resilient and will love again. It is the ego that will hold you back.

With love and acceptance,

Libby

5 Tips to Reduce Stress When Waves of Stress Knock You Down

Many times life throws us unexpected curve balls. And sometimes it can feel unbearable and overwhelming. I would love to say that yoga and meditation should be your go to fix for stress relief, but the reality is that when a crisis strikes there are times when the situation is so cumbersome that we barely have time to eat and sleep, let alone practice. So, what can you do?

Well, in my personal life I have experienced one of these waves of grief this week where I felt like I was going to go down at times. Fortunately I am still here so I would like to share with you not only how I am surviving, but also how I am thriving.

My dad has survived three kinds of cancers for years and was doing well until a little over a month ago when he was diagnosed with a rare debilitating lung disease, which is causing his one lung to scar gradually and his breathing to become more difficult. As hard as it is to watch a man who I love so dearly struggle, I can handle this knowing that he is 87 years old and has lived a full life. But then in the last month a waterfall of other problems have ensued. The father of my children was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that less than .06% of people suffer from and is still not getting relief. And now my mom, who has always been healthy as an Ox and the caregiver of the family, suddenly started having trouble recalling what she wanted to say and began losing some muscle control on the right side of her body. This led to multiple trips to doctors and hospitals for many tests. The days have slipped by as I helped my parents deal with this crisis where I have not had time to step onto my mat. My house was a disaster and I was exhausted, but I realized I was doing what really matters. I was spending time with my parents, delivering home cooked meals that I knew appealed to them, attending doctors visits and being present. Family will always come first to me. This is really my living yoga and sometimes we have to step away from the mat to realize this.

My brother, my sister and I are working lovingly together to help find answers to get to the bottom of my mom's health issues. Our coming together has brought us closer as a family and that is the gift that is coming out of this difficult time. My mom will see a neurologist next week. Meanwhile I am taking a day to PAUSE and catch up on life.

So, here are my Top Five Tips for Relieving Overwhelming Stress:

    1. Make lists! Separate your to do lists into priority categories so that you absolutely know what must get done each day, what is not so urgent, and what can be eliminated.

    2. Ask for help! Especially in a time of need never hesitate to let friends and family help. It makes them feel good and it lifts a weight from your shoulders, too!

    3. Seek counsel. Please do not hesitate to go to counseling or therapy, especially in heavy times. If time is short, often therapists will do a phone session.

    4. DO NOT ISOLATE. Surround yourself with those who love you when you go through difficult times. They will help carry your burdens, help you laugh and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    5. Take it one day at a time. Stay present, stay positive and always hope for the best. There is tremendous power in positivity!

I hope that these tips will bring you comfort in your times of high stress. Also, remember that we can slow our stress response by regulating our breathing. So, practice nice deep slow inhalations and nice deep slow exhalations. Breathe in love, breathe out love. 

Peace, Light and Love,

Libby

P.S. - Stress is a huge cause of health problems. Please try to manage your stress before it takes a toll on your health. We cannot avoid stress, but how we respond to it is really the key to living a Total Soulful Journey of Health & Wellness! <3

 

 

Reflection

We talk so much about being present and staying in the moment, and yes it is important, but it is also meaningful to reflect from time to time on your past... what worked and did not work. The truth is we learn a great deal from our mistakes as long as we do not repeat them.  

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Sometimes we just need a break from our daily routine. We tend to be creatures of habit who get  "stuck." When we are able to take time off, or if we are fortunate enough to get away for a few days, it allows us time to reset. Experiencing new things, new places and gaining new insights provides us with the inspiration that we need to move forward. We then become more present, more productive and more happy when we return.

&nbsp;  My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health set back. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. My sweet momma gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and go unite with friends in Chicago, indulge in great food and enjoy myself. &nbsp;"He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation! Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part, as a mom myself, was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities and to enjoy this time free from guilt! It did not take me long, however, a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around that delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired! Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines,&nbsp;I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home!&nbsp;     When we take a break break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into power of the mind and redirect into a positive mindset that will catipult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down.

My Dad, with whom I am extremely close, has recently suffered a health setback. He is nearly 87 years old and the thought of not having him here with me on earth is a big hard rock to swallow, and yet I know eventually it will come and he will go on to a more beautiful place. Yet, worrying about him has been stressful to say the least.

My sweet momma last week gave me the best gift in the world by encouraging me to get away for a long weekend and to go unite with friends in Chicago, to indulge in great food and to enjoy myself.  "He is not going anywhere this week," she said with confidence as she sent me off for a much needed trip of rest and relaxation. Moms always know best! So off I went. The hard part as a mom myself was to pull away from life, from my children, from my parents and from my responsibilities, and to enjoy this time free from guilt!

It did not take me long, however... a few bites into a delicious pecan pie, a glass of Cabernet, a few great meals and a ton of walking around the delightful city of Chicago and I truly began to feel refreshed and inspired!

Thanks to taking time out from my daily routines, I am sooo ready to move forward into bigger and better things. Vacation is great, but the best part is the renewed energy upon returing home! 

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When we take a break from life, even if it is a "staycation," we are able to tap into the power of the mind and redirect it into a positive mindset that will catapult us in the direction of our goals and dreams rather than keeping us stuck and weighed down. So consider taking a day or two to reflect, to connect and to rejuvenate. Love and accept yourself exactly where you are in life. Set goals for where you want to go, and then each day take baby steps toward those goals until you arrive. 

Remember, life is a great journey. Just like every road trip you take, you will encounter construction zones. You are the engineer of your life both in body and in mind, always improving, always  "under construction." Just remind yourself to keep it joyful and to chill out! Everything you feel is OK! You are a beautiful being.  

Happy Travels Peaceful Friends, 

Libby

 

Are You Working for the Weekend, or Living the Life You Love Every Day?

The phrase TGIF is commonly used to celebrate the beginning of the weekend where we drown our sorrows of the week and party until Monday when we fall back into the dreaded routine of the daily work grind. Sound familiar? This is not living! Wake up friends! Step off the hamster wheel and start to truly enjoy every day, not just the magic of  Fridays!  

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It is important to find simple pleasures and live with a grateful heart. The majority of our life takes place Monday through Friday so let's enjoy that time. Consider a job doing something that you love! And if that is not possible, schedule activities with friends and family during the week that allow you to truly connect and enjoy sharing positive energy. Try not to have these activities be anything draining. For example, if you are constantly running kids to athletic practices, schedule a night where they carpool and you do something relaxing and fun! Take it easy on yourself.  

I go back to my principal roots - practice AWARENESS: know when your stress levels are rising and take a break! Practice ACCEPTANCE: allow yourself to have fun and quiet time during the week. Practice FORGIVENESS: forgive yourself for working so much, or for whatever you need to personally forgive... this is a constant journey.  

Life is meant to be lived. Sometimes it is only through devastating events like death or divorce that we realize the things we missed out on. Please, do not wait until it is too late. Treasure each moment each day! You are so worth it! Honor your inner child at every age!

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Time is precious!  You can always make money, but you can never get time back. And remember that happiness is an inside job, In other words, it's an emotion that we chose to express. So make time and space to do things that truly make you happy! 

Wishing you an inspiring life and hoping that this inspiration carries you into a week that you look forward to living! Be it through music, food or a bouquet of flowers, simple little things each day can make a big difference. Live, love, laugh EVERY DAY like it was Friday!  

 

Live the Life you Love, Love the Life you Live,  

Libby

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