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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

{Wordless Wednesday} Beautiful Reflections

Last week, Zoey and I walked through the Ballard Locks and saw all kinds of beauty in nature. This picture surprised me with how well it came out. It was a gorgeous day and I am glad we got the chance to experience the most of it. The sun reflecting on the water was a beautiful sight, I'm glad it came out in the picture.

Now it is time to join in the Wordless Wednesday fun!
Link up and visit some others blogs too. 
Be sure to share some comment love along the way.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

7 Ways To Find Positive Inspiration Everyday

These are seven ways that I find I am more inspired, productive and able to find happiness in the every day. I hope at least one or or more of these ideas work for you. Remember that these things happen gradually, so don't try to do too much at once or they will seem impossible. They aren't. Simply focus on one thing at a time and improve yourself through new forming good habits that will leave you inspired and encouraged in your daily life.

1. Morning pages

This springboards off of The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, which suggests beginning the day with “Morning Pages.” I read this a while ago, and morning pages is what really resonated with me. By beginning my day with the act of writing and clearing my mind of all those errand thoughts, I am able to be more productive and creative throughout the day.

I have been doing this practice a long time now, and it really works, at least for me. By starting my day off active, at least in thought, I am able to create more throughout the day. I can tell if I missed my "Morning Pages" because I am more flustered and less coordinated all day. This is a way that I find positive inspiration because it makes room in my brain for the additional stimulus.

2. Exercise

For me exercise usually means yoga. It creates space for physical and mental activity However, anything that gets your body moving works. I also enjoy running, walking, Pilates and swimming if the opportunity arises. There are so many different way to get your body moving, keep looking, you will find a way that inspires you!

It is really the release of endorphins that helps you keep going. So no matter what form of exercise you choose from the easiest walk to the most strenuous bodybuilding, you are releasing hormones that help balance your nervous system. Ultimately that is what makes you feel happy and productive.

3. Embrace Your Hobby

Writing is my ultimate release. When I’m having a good day, I write. When I’m having a bad day, I write. I write to figure out what I’m feeling or a situation I’ve found myself in. The short and long of it is, for me, writing is how I express myself.

This activity is different for everyone. For my daughter it is drawing, for my husband it is building, for my friend it is cooking. The act will look a little differently for everyone, but the intent is the same. You may already know what that is for you. If you do, do that thing! If you are unsure what that expression is for you, think about it...what is the one thing that you do that makes you feel like it is the best way to spend your time. Whatever that is, do it! Always make time to do what makes you happy.

4. Observation

Observe the world around you as you pass through it. It is so easy to get so distracted by the when and the where's that you don’t actually even realize what is in between point A and point B. I am lucky because we live in a city and are able to walk a lot. I understand this is more difficult to notice when driving everywhere, but it is still worth observing. Even in your own home or work. There are things all around us that make life worth living.

Some days for me that is seeing a bird on my back porch or a flower bloom. I try to keep my senses open for things that are beautiful or funny. The sunrises, nature, billboard signs, people doing funny things, all of these are things that can bring about inspiration.

Really, inspiration is just something that warrants a response. That can be anything. Look around, it’s there, you just have to open your eyes, and your mind to see it. It will pull you through.

5. Connecting

During the winter months, this is harder for me. Connecting can be as much or little as you desire. You can invite friends over or simply check out a new blog and respond to it. It is fun to get together with friends and relax and enjoy time together. When that is not possible, you can still connect.

We are lucky to live in a world where the Internet connects us together. This is one reason I love blogging. I am able to share my thoughts and read how everyone else thinks. The days where I simply blog hop and read what everyone else is up to are some of my favorite times.

Connecting is also as simple as when you order your coffee from the shop, make eye contact and wish the person a happy day. It can be as simple as you want it to be, but just the act of doing it will make you feel more alive and bring meaning to your existence.

6. Meditation

This is a fairly new one to me. I love the idea of meditation, that empty feeling where everything is in its place and the world is whole. However, I only have to open my eyes to realize that is not the case.
I, personally, find meditation easier with movement, which again, is why I am so in love with yoga. It is a moving meditation. While I stretch and flow from pose to pose, I work out all those random thoughts that bounce around in my head. I’ve been trying to do more of the “Meditate Anywhere” kind of things, but it is a work in progress. Sometimes I can get there while I’m waiting and sometimes, I’m too distracted by what I am waiting for.

The point is, that I know adding this state of mental clarity into your routine will make a huge difference. I can see it, I just have to work on it more. Simply the act of stopping and focusing on responding versus reacting will help. To pause and consider what is happening on both sides of a situation before demanding judgment is a habit that will help you remain at peace and find inspiration from those around you.

7. Organizing

By this I really mean, putting things away when you are finished with them. It doesn’t mean a full Spring Cleaning or anything like that. Instead, it is simply the act of keeping your space clear of distractions.

For me this applies most in the kitchen and at my desk. These are the two places I accomplish the most. I write and network at my computer, so I want that to be a useful, clean work space. The same for the kitchen. I create meals and spend a lot of time in that space over the course of a week, I want it to stay clean and useful. I find inspiration while I cook and often elaborate on ideas as they mull over in my mind while I cook.

Keeping your space organized and clean will help your mind stay organized and clean. By finishing each project and having a home for all the materials and waste to go to, it will help keep you inspired and ready to do the next project.

Positive Inspiration Everyday

I hope this has helped, at least a little. I aim to do these things on a daily basis to keep my productive increased. By finding positive inspiration in the everyday, you can feel content and happy with life. That, in the grand scheme of things, is the goal.

Have an inspired day!

Monday, January 29, 2018

{Motivation Monday} January 29, 2018

We all need a little motivation sometimes. My favorite way is to read inspirational quotes. As a new endeavor, I've begun to make picture quotes on my Instagram account @positivepracticequotes. I have really enjoyed this project, so I would like to share my progress and motivation with you.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 26, 2018

{Friday Favorites Blog Hop} January 26, 2018

We made it to Friday once again! This is my favorite time of the week because we can relax and just appreciate the day and look forward to the weekend. Friday Favorites is a place where I can share things that inspired me this week. Also, it is a chance for you to link up your blog and share too!

A Few of My Favorites...

Charlie's Project: Leggings For A Cause

One of my favorite online shops to buy leggings is Charlie's Project. They are showcasing a Heart Collection right now, just in time for Valentine's Day next month. I have several pairs of these leggings and find they are soft, comfortable and expressive. Plus, 20% of profits go to charities supporting awareness for autism and down syndrome.

Oh My Heartsie Girl: Family Scrapbook

I always love this idea of doing a family scrapbook. I used to do a paper one when Zoey was little. But that quickly became difficult to keep up with as my baby turned into a rambunctious toddler. I tried to do through online scrapbooks and they work great. However, I still have trouble finding time to put it all together. Oh My Heartsie Girl inspired me to try again with the post: Three Reasons Why You Should Make A Family Yearbook.

Friday Features Linky Party

Cresting the Hill: The Art of Detachment

I really enjoyed reading Cresting the Hill's post: Discovering the Fine Art of Detachment. Instead of thinking of detachment as isolating, she offers the interpretation of self-care. I love this idea and am actively trying to put more focus on physical and mental well-being. 

Link Up with Friday Favorites!

Now it's your turn! Link up some of your recent post(s) to share. Now explore some others and give some comment love. The Friday Favorites Blog Hop welcomes all family-friendly themes and ideas.

Also, by adding a link, you give Positive Practice Living permission to feature your post as a Friday Favorite on my blog. I will always provide direct links back to your page.

Enjoy the blog hop and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

{Wordless Wednesday} Downward Facing Wolf

The highlight to our trip to the Woodland Park Zoo last week was seeing the Wolves so interactive. They were walking around and seemed to really enjoy the cool winter air. I love this pose, that looks like a good stretch. I call him, Downward Facing Wolf.

Link Up and Join in the Wordless Wednesday Fun!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

When Did I Become the Person with Self-control?

Photo by Ester Marie Doysabas on Unsplash

As little as two years ago, I was the person eating the last cupcake just because it was there. I was the one staying up late just because I could. I would buy that new shirt, not really because I wanted it, but just because it was there to buy. I was the one who couldn’t stop.

I’ve had trouble with self-control my entire life. Up until about two years ago, I also weighed about forty pounds heavier than I do now. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is the difference between a size 14 and size 4 jean size, and XL and a small and between feeling tired and anxious all the time and feeling calm and secure.

I wonder if there is a correlation? I believe there is, but not because I focused on losing weight. If I had focused on that, I would have never lost a pound. You see, my problem wasn’t about the weight per say, it was my lifestyle. I had no self control. Instead of saying no to things that were not good for me, I just took it all and then set it to the side. I had so much clutter surrounding me, I am amazed I could even move.

It’s the little things too, like that shirt in your closet that you never wear, but hang on just in case you might ever have a need for a plain green long sleeve shirt that has no identity.

I decided I want an identity.

I made small changes at first. I would intentionally put my food on smaller plates so there was not as much to entice me. To aid in this method, I began to buy better quality foods in less quantity. It worked out great because I didn’t consume as much as we could eat more diverse foods. I really like this style.

Another change that began small was to seek out somewhere I could be active. I tried the apartment and local gyms, but I was unmotivated. I was fine if I could get there, but any excuse would keep me away. I found a listing for yoga in the park. It was free and the summers are a beautiful time to be outside, so I decided to give it a shot.

Thankfully, that park was close to my house. It had to have been for me to start. I could even walk, it was the perfect outlet to get out of the house for an hour during the middle of summer.

I sat my mat down as far from the front as I could possibly get and still hope to hear the instructor cue the poses. Especially, since I had no idea what any of the poses were. But I tried, I listened to her cues and I observed the people around me. I could tell that some of these people knew exactly what was going to come next.

I remember thinking that it was like a dance.

I know I must have looked goofy during that first practice. I certainly felt silly trying to copy the people around me. Nonetheless, I was determined to do my best in downward dog and warrior two. They lost me at dancer’s pose, but I caught back on during tree pose because I remember really liking that one when I did the video in my college dorm room a couple times.

It was during half-pigeon that I realized I could do this. I leaned over by bent right leg and could feel my hip release. It felt amazing. I didn’t even realize there was so much pressure built up in my hips.

Next I leaned over my left leg and immediately second guessed every decision that brought me to this moment. This side hurt. I heard the instructor cue to roll onto your back for a modification if you feel any pain.

I did that immediately and felt a lot better.

It was that word, “modification” that really stuck with me. That if something is painful or too much for the moment, modify. You can reach the same result in different ways. I learned how to stretch my hip in a similar way that helped ease the pressure without the pain.

I did not know what the word savasana meant at the time, but when I laid down on my mat in the middle of the public park, I found bliss. I couldn’t think about anything other than the light way my body felt and the clearness of my mind. I wasn’t worried or stressed, I just felt happy and content in that moment.

I was only after being dismissed with a chorus of Namaste that I realized that a transformation just occurred in me on a Wednesday evening at the local park.

I didn’t talk to anyone that first class, but I walked away with a smile on my face. And the next week, I came back with my mat a little closer to the front of the practice space.

I had no idea what a huge difference yoga would make in my life. I couldn’t explain it at first, the difference I felt, but it was a moment where I felt calm and strong.

After those first weeks at the park, I joined the local studio. I began to go more and more. I gained confidence and lost weight, but most importantly, I began to feel this weight lifted off of me.

Yoga slowly began to change me. I learned how controlling my breathing helps to control my thinking. This concept changed everything. I learned how to listen to my body and realized I had a tendency to hold my breath. By learning how to slow down my breathing, I was also able to lessen my anxiety. After a while, I began to notice significant changes in my attitude and my ability to respond to my surroundings instead of react to it.

I began to do a deep clean of my space. I decluttered my things and let go of what no longer served me. Turns out I didn’t use half of what I had laying around anyway. I also spent time organizing my desk so I could work and increase my productivity. Overall, I started being more intentional about how I used my time and space.

I’ve changed greatly in the last couple years and it all started with yoga. Those great changes only came about my making those small adjustment in my daily life. Now, my attitude is better, my anxiety is a ghost, I’ve lost weight and gained flexibility. I feel joyful and content and have more motivation to finish things that I start.

I was always the girl with no self-control and now I have the power to hold my ground. I find joy in the richer value and more productivity my life carries now.

I am not perfect. I mess up all the time. This is where the practice comes in. Life will always bring ups and downs, but there is joy and contentment in the understanding of the balance between too much and not enough. There will be time for excess and time for leanness. In understanding this balance and modifying our routine we can change and grow as necessary without anxiety about the outcome.

This allows us to find contentment in our day and inner peace in ourselves. I found a glimpse of bliss in a park doing yoga over two years ago, and now, I find those glimpses everywhere.

When did I become the one with self-control? When I decided to. Everything is a choice. I set an intention for myself, though I did not call it that at first. I planted a seed of inner peace in my heart and I am really enjoying watching it grow.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Meditate Anywhere

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I find great joy in meditating. Nonetheless, it is sometimes, okay often, difficult to make time to find stillness during the hectic everyday. If you believe you don’t have time to meditate, you won’t. Even if you really want to, it won't happen until you decide you need it. It really comes down to a matter of choice and commitment, not time. 

Is peace worth the effort? Only you can answer that question.

I offer a compromise. Instead of waiting for a chunk of time to meditate, create mindful intentions. What I mean by this is that you can find stillness in those little free moments between one task and the next. Often times, while you wait.

You can meditate while you wait in the grocery store line. You can find stillness while you wait for a bus. You can relax while you wait to pick up your children. You can produce calm in your body and mind as you wait for an appointment or meeting to begin. You can find balance even as you wash dishes or fold laundry.

Everyday presents little opportunities to transform a moment into stillness. Setting this mindful intention will help keep you calmer, more able to respond and hold less stress in your body.

As you enter into these little meditative moments throughout the day, take a few minutes to check in with yourself. Notice if your back is straight. Are you slouching? Stand more firmly on your feet or settle squarely on your sit-bones if you are sitting. Make sure your hips are in line with your feet and breathe deeply.

Begin to soften the muscles of your face beginning with your forehead and then coming down to your eyes and mouth. Finally, relax your jaw muscles. Breathe freely here.
We tend to hold a lot of tension in our jaw, shoulders and lower back. Acknowledge each of these areas and consciously relax each of these parts of the body in turn. Now, rest your hands by your sides or place them gently in your lap. Breathe evenly.

Notice how it feels to be present with yourself, slowing down your breath and your mind while observing your body. These are the first steps to mediation, which you can enjoy anytime, anywhere.

Taking these few moments to simply check in with yourself will help you transition easier as you flow through your day. By slowing your breathing down, you can respond your surroundings instead of react. This mindful intention can help a day go from hurried to peaceful, give it a try!

Happy Meditating!

Friday, January 19, 2018

{Friday Feature Blog Hop} January 18, 2018

We made it to Friday! Hooray! To celebrate, I present "Friday Feature," a blog hop where you can link your favorite blog post(s) from the last week(s). This is an opportunity grab a cup of your favorite beverage and connect with others to wrap up the week.

I ask that you keep material family friendly and support each other by viewing a couple links and leaving some comment love. Enjoy this easy, fun blog hop and maybe even make a new friend.

Let the fun begin!

Friday Feature Blog Hop 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Importance of Purpose

Photo by Heidi Sandstrom. on Unsplash

The purpose of life is a life of purpose. ~Robert Byrne

Purpose is the reason for which something exists or is done. It is also your determination to reach an intended or desired result. We all need purpose in life. That is what fills us, what makes us happy and what keeps us going even when the going is not so good.

I’ve been thinking hard about my purpose lately. I know I want to share positive thoughts in a public way, but how to go about doing that is a large, open-ended question mark.

I just started this blog at the end of last year, so it’s been active less than three months. I really enjoy creating content and designing the layout. But still, I’ve been wondering, at least in this moment, what is its purpose?

There are lots of reasons why people blog. For some, it’s personal and for others it’s to promote a business. For me, it’s a little of both. I am currently working towards publishing my first novel. I’m really excited about it and also deathly afraid.

There is something terrifying about putting yourself out there. At least, that is my experience.

Anyway, once I publish my novel, I will love having an established platform to spread the news. However, in the meantime, my blog is simply a way for me to share some of the positive inspiration I seek out for myself.

That, in a nutshell, is the purpose for my blog and much of my life really. I read, write, do yoga and craft to express myself and find joy in the everyday. That is why I named my blog “Positive Practice Living;” it is the practice of living everyday with a positive purpose.

Though sometimes, even surrounded by positivity, it is hard to get through the day. That is why purpose is so important. When you have purpose, it makes it just a little easier, or at least worth it, to get through the natural undulations of life.

Today, I’m having trouble with the purpose. I feel like I’m going through the motions without ever getting anywhere.

I suppose it is natural, the peaks and valleys of life. Tomorrow, I may feel just right again. But I think it’s important to acknowledge the downs too. Not to dwell on or stress over them, simply to acknowledge that sometimes we need rest or a change. It’s during these moments when it is important to make sure your purpose is clear and present. Perhaps it is even a time to make sure it is still relevant.

These lows also helps us appreciate the highs of life. Purpose helps keeps us moving, in a productive and positive direction.

I am confident that I will continue to write and share positive inspiration with the world. I acknowledge the importance of purpose, and I'm thankful that it will help keep me going through it all.

What is your purpose? Have you thought about it lately? I'd love to here your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

{Wordless Wednesday} MLK Jr Weekend Run

This past weekend, I participated in the Magnuson Series Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Run, a 5k just for fun. It is part of my initiative to be more active. It was a beautiful day on Lake Washington and thankfully the ran held off. It was still plenty muddy on the trail parts though, which made for some fun slipping and sliding along the way. In the end, I had a personal best time and a great race. I am grateful that I signed up and followed through on this race, it was a great way to start off the year.

Join in the Blog Hop Fun! Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Yoga Is A Dance

Photo by Matthew Kane on Unsplash

“Yoga is a dance between control and surrender--between pushing and letting go--and when to push and when to let go becomes part of the creative process, part of the open-ended exploration of your being.” ~Joel Kramer, author of The Passionate Mind: A Manual for Living Creatively with one’s self

This quote describes yoga perfectly to me. The idea of the flow as a dance is a beautiful depiction. When you are secure in your ability to handle a situation, you begin to learn when to take action and when to continue with the flow. It’s about knowing when to turn it up and when to slow it down. This is the balance of life. We are constantly adjusting our sails.

Breathe. Balance. Adjust. Breathe.

This is the pattern of life. We must breathe to live. If we have control of that breath, we can use it as a power source and be able to determine our mood and response. Our breath is where our body and our mind meet. With that breath, we first acknowledge what is now and then where we want it to be and how to get there. By taking this inventory of self and surroundings we can determine what needs to be adjusted. Then do it by slowing your breath down or building it up. Then the whole process starts over again. Breathe, take inventory and then adapt. This is a dance between control and surrender. It is how you can be in control and adapt easily to what is around you.

I have never linked this idea to creativity before. I am most productive when I am constantly creating throughout the day and the week. By allowing ideas to flow freely without getting too attached to one of them, I find I am able to connect all new parts of myself. I’ve been doing this lately and it has made me feel alive. I have purpose and I am in the moment, enjoying what is happening right now. Knowing that everything will happen in its own time. We have to make the most of this moment and make it the best it can be. And then do it again in the next.

Breathe. Balance. Adjust. Breathe.

Yoga is a dance between control and surrender that will set your creative process free.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Beloved Community -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Photo by Jerónimo Bernot on Unsplash

"I have a dream..."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of Martin Luther King Jr. After a lifetime of nonviolence social reform, he was killed in Memphis, TN on April 4, 1968. King paved the way for civil rights reform, including winning the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance, leaving a legacy of hope and inspiration that continues today.

King avoided violence and reformed through peaceful protests. He also rallied with speeches, his most well known being at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963, where he stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

We’ve come a long way in half a century, but we still have a long way to go to eliminate poverty, racism and militarism. We, as a global society, still need King’s vision of love and engagement for all people, to help us overcome prejudice, which is still very much alive today.

King consistently spoke of love, a theme weaved through his speeches, writings and actions. He declared love and respect did not require absolute uniformity or watered-down viewpoints, but consideration for culture and views that are different. This belief that we can all live together in harmony was proclaimed “The Beloved Community.”

“The way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.” 

This term, Beloved Community, was first coined by philosopher Josiah Royce. King infused Royce’s concept with deeper meaning, and preached it to the world. 

In The Beloved Community, the international standards of human decency will not allow poverty, hunger or homelessness. Racism and all forms of discrimination will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. International disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” 

The Beloved Community is not this lofty Utopian ideal, but a realistic, achievable goal. When people commit to a philosophy of nonviolence, we can create a global community where all people can share in the wealth of the earth. Conflict is inevitable part of the human experience, but it can be resolved peacefully. Adversaries can be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence with a spirit of friendship and goodwill.

King’s principles of nonviolence begin by acknowledging the “triple evils,” poverty, racism and militarism. Poverty concerns our unemployment, homelessness, illiteracy, hunger and malnutrition. Racism includes prejudice, ethnic conflict, sexism, homophobia, discrimination against disabled and stereotyping. Militarism covers war, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, child abuse and violent crimes. These evils are the leading hindrances from developing The Beloved Community.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

King chose to reform by sending out a call to freedom and racial unity through love and engagement for all people. He believed in a nonviolent approach and termed Six Principles of Nonviolence described in his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom.” The six principles include:
  1. Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
  2. Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding
  3. Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice, not people.
  4. Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
  5. Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
  6. Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice. 
During the same year King died, his wife, Coretta Scott King, established the The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The center remains a global destination, resource center and community institution for nonviolent change. It is a living monument committed to the causes for which King lived and died, ensuring King’s legacy remains relevant and viable and leverages for positive social impact. The center is currently transitioning to meet the challenges and opportunities of today in hopes to inspire future generations to carry forward King’s unfinished work, empowering nonviolent social change moving forward.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a time to honor his memory and legacy through action. If the national pendulum is ever going to swing from hate to love, it will require role models in every community who don’t just call out for respectful engagement, but live it. It’s time to act by reaching out across the social and economical divisions and love your neighbor, even if he or she is different than you.

"Agape [love] is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people…Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community.”

It takes a community to embrace the conviction that the Beloved Community can be achieved through an unshakable commitment to nonviolence. It is not an easy or a fast process, but the rewards are amazing when we can live together in peace without fear. 

This is a movement that has strong foundations; however, the choice lies with you. By internalizing King’s principles of nonviolence and making them a way of life, you develop the ability to resolve social, economical and political conflicts, reconciling adversaries and advancing social change in your community, nation and world. Together we can create The Beloved Community.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Sunday, January 14, 2018

{Sunday Feature Blog Hop} January 13, 2018

Welcome to Sunday Feature! This is a blog hop with the purpose of connecting with others. I encourage you to share one or two of your favorite posts from the last week or so for us all to enjoy. Let's inspire, motivate and encourage each other as we start the week off with a Sunday Feature.

Now, Let's Hop! Have fun!

Friday, January 12, 2018

National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month

Photo thanks to Cancer Fighters Thrive

The pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. Its two main functions are digestion and blood sugar regulation. Pancreatic cancer begins when abnormal cells within the pancreas grow out of control and form a tumor.

Last year I became involved with Pancreatic Cancer Awareness while running a 5k called, PurpleStride Puget Sound 2017, in honor of a friend’s aunt’s struggle against the deadly disease. The overwhelming support and encouragement at that event propelled me to continue participating in awareness for pancreatic cancer.

I went on celebrate Pancreatic Cancer World Awareness Day last November 16 by wearing purple to support the cause. I continue to advocate with National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month.

One of the most challenging facets of this form of cancer is the difficulty to detect it early. The signs for pancreatic cancer include abdominal or mid-back pain, loss of appetite, jaundice, weight loss, nausea, low mood or depression and pain in eating. However, most of these vague symptoms can easily be explained away, until it is too late.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network works hard to increase the potential for earlier detection and better treatments for patients. One way they do this is through Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials.

January is National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month. 

Pancreatic cancer patients who participate in clinical research have better outcomes. Every treatment available today was approved through a clinical trial. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) strongly recommends clinical trials at diagnosis and during every treatment decision. 

Last year, PanCAN provided over 2,200 clinical trials in January. Thanks to the community’s participation, PanCAN was able to give valuable treatment information to patients and their families.

PanCAN encourages patients to understand treatment options, learn how to find the right clinical trial and prepare to talk to your healthcare team. Learn more about clinical trials through PanCAN.

Clinical trials often provide the best treatment options for patients, giving early access to leading-edge treatments that can mean progress in research, improved treatment options and better outcomes. PanCAN offers Patient Services to help navigate clinical trials and answer questions about healthcare options.

Six-year pancreatic cancer survivor, Matt Wilson, shares his perspective on the important role of patients play in discovering new and better treatment options, “Many advancements in the fight against pancreatic cancer are due to clinical trials. But trials are only successful when patients are willing to step out and investigate new treatment options. Their participation not only helps them, but it also helps future patients. Those who enroll in clinical trials are trailblazers for our cause!”

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) 2018 Cancer Facts & Figures, released on January 4, 55,440 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year with an estimation of 44,330 dying from the disease. This annual report analyzes cancer statistics and trends to provide predictions for the coming year.

PanCAN president and CEO, Julie Fleshman, JD, MBA, says “That’s 152 mother, daughters, fathers, sons, colleagues and friends who will hear the news every day in 2018, ‘You have pancreatic cancer.’ Our goal is that the doctor will then say, ‘And here are your options.’”

Pancreatic cancer remains at a 9 percent, five-year survival rate. This is a victory; however, in the previous three years, there was an increase. There is still much progress needed to improve outcomes for patients facing this daily disease.

Since pancreatic cancer remains on track to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States around 2020, there is an urgent need for additional funding and awareness to support and improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer research.

PanCAN aims to raise $200 million by 2020, which will ensure that they continue to accelerate progress to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. Of the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate.

The increase in funds will allow significant increase in research, development for early detection and better treatment options. Participation in clinical trials will greatly increase this progress as well.

PanCAN also supports year-round government advocacy efforts, improved patient services to improve the lives of those battling pancreatic cancer and raise awareness for community support to further Wage Hope and rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer.

The leading fundraiser to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network is PurpleStride, the walk to end pancreatic cancer. This 5k, hosted all over the United States, fuels progress and enables the continue of advanced research to serve more patients and families. 

“It’s so important to participate in PurpleStride. The funds raised go toward continuing research, educating the public and providing services that give current and future patients a chance for survival.” stated Francesca Kivitt, PurpleStride Fundraiser.

PurpleStride begins this year on February 10 in St. Petersburg and Miami, Florida. It then continues throughout the year in many major cities across the country.

I honor National Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Trials Awareness Month by sharing what I have learned about pancreatic cancer and to continue to support the people whose lives are impacted by this deadly disease. #WageHope #PANCan #PANCaware

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Better At Life

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

"You don't do yoga to get better at yoga. 
You do yoga to get better at life.” 

When people learn that I practice yoga, almost always the first question has to do with my ability to touch my toes. I always laugh a little on the inside because first of all, it depends on what day it is how deep my forward fold goes. More importantly, touching your toes is not really what yoga is all about. Not at its core.

Yoga will definitely help you gain strength and flexibility, no question. However, yoga also taught me humility and composure. It has reduced my anxiety and helped me improve my productivity. I have found a community of people who talk openly about kindness, self-care and gratitude.

I find the same efforts I use to steady my tree pose or lengthen my forward fold, I can use to solve a problem or finish a project. I can organize my kitchen to create simple but flavorful meals. I can write daily for introspection and then share my ideas with the world.

Yoga has taught me how to flow through my day and find small ways to make me smile and boost my mood. When things frustrate me, I pause and consider why I find it frustrating. Then I can deal with it. Often times I can act in a way that will fulfill the need or allow me to let it go.

This means if I start a project and realize I honestly have no interest in knitting or cycling, I can let it go. Though it was really fun to learn new and give it a try, I can go on to the next thing.

Just like some days I can fold down into a half pigeon no problem and others I'm on my back because my hips are so tight. There's no reason to beat myself up about something that will continue to change. We can be tired or stiff,  and it's really no different than being hungry. You fill the need and then move on.

I'll be right back into my deep stretch before I know it, as soon as I get the kink worked out. Sometimes it's getting sick or a special event. Sometimes it's just waking up tired or cold or hot and the whole day starts off. It all works out, you just have to keep going and give yourself plenty of grace along the way.

Yoga does challenge you to touch your toes, but it also challenges you to better your attitude, your relationships, and your effectiveness. The yoga philosophies of peace, competence and contentment have taught me how to create a better life. At the same time, I can now consistently touch my toes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Follow Positive Practice Living on Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I'm trying my hand at networking and this seems like a good place to start. Bloglovin' is a database of blogs featuring any topic you could imagine, and then some. I'm all set and ready to go. Join me on Bloglovin.

{Wordless Wednesday} Supermoon

I took these two pictures during the super moon last week. It was beautiful to see the full moon so bright in the sky. These pictures were taken in the morning at dawn, one hour apart.

Happy Wordless Wednesday! 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Every Day, In Every Way, I Am Getting Better

Photo by Garrett Anderson on Unsplash

Today I woke tired. You know the feeling, when you open your eyes and wonder how many times is safe to hit the snooze button.

Once I started to write, I found little motivation and fewer ideas to share.

I started to get so frustrated. My goal to be surrounded with inspiration has been such an enormous blessing, but here I sat disappointed in myself because I fear I’m not living up to my own potential.

I took a deep breath and decided I was being too hard on myself. These hard days come, more often than I’d like to admit. However, slow days provide a perfect example of why it is so important to surround yourself with positive thinking.

I’m starting to work with mantras in my practice. This one from my class last week really helped me today…

Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.

This mantra stood out to me because not every day is great or productive. There are many times where we are just trying to keep it all going. But everyday I get better. In some way I am better. I managed to find something special and positive despite my fatigued mind. Though a small matter, it is a huge victory.

Even on the days where we feel run down, there is still something beautiful to find. By having the positive practice of seeking out inspiration, I was able to turn my day around. Instead of staying weary, I was able to smile and remember to just keep moving forward.

A short nap, a quiet coffee break or a conversation with a friend would help turn the day around. Tomorrow is a brand new day and I get better and better every day, in every way.

Changing our attitude is all about the small things. Persevering when you just want to stop. Finding something positive among the unfavorable. Finding time to exercise even when the day seems full. Finishing a project that you’ve been putting off. Don’t worry about what’s happened so far, just keep moving forward.

Every day, in every way, you are getting better and better.

Believe it. Live it. Let it change you.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Laughter Brightens the Day

Photo by Elijah Hail on Unsplash

“Earth laughs in Flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I read this quote on the tea bag of my echinacea tea while trying not to get sick. It made me stop and consider what Emerson could have meant by this statement.

It is an interesting thought, this idea that laughing can produce a physical result. I mean we’ve all heard that rain is God’s tears or lightning is Zeus’ wrath. For a laugh to produce flowers makes my heart happy.

Laughing produces a physical response in our bodies. Our lips turn up, we release air from our lungs and the efforts even burn calories. But those manifestations are just within ourselves.

However, a laugh goes beyond ourselves. 

To stick with the metaphor, flowers are there for everyone to see. They will lift the mood of anyone who is near.

When we laugh, we too affect those around us. Laughter is contagious. It is hard to refrain from laughing when you hear it close to you. Laughing lifts our mood and that of those around us. It is also healing to those who are troubled. There’s truth in that old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

So don’t be afraid to laugh. Do it openly and without hesitation. It not only makes you feel better, but also those around you. Just like a flower can lift your spirit, a laugh can brighten your entire day.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Stay in the Flow of Positive Inspiration

Photo by Mike Lewis on Unsplash

I have spent most of my life being overwhelmed by my surroundings. I eventually realized that this was a form of anxiety. Now that I understand what I struggle with, I can begin to face it head on.

My remedy is to stay in the flow of positive thinking. I make it a personal goal to surround myself with inspiring ideas, quotes and motivation. I look to quotes, books and articles about yoga, creativity and productive living.

I’m a writer, so my natural direction to is cultivate these ideas into articles and share them. I figure I’m not the only one who struggles with the strife of life. Maybe, we can help each other through the hard days and celebrate the good ones together.

My intention is to read and write everyday. Some days I fall short, but the next day I just keep going. Surrounding myself with uplifting words helps me make sense of this crazy world we live in and focus on the good aspects.

Yoga has helped me greatly with this objective. My practice has inspired me to reflect daily on my life and the choices that I make. By slowing down my body as I learn poses and asanas, I also slow down my mind. That has made all the difference.

I learned that it was my tendency to race through life that caused much of my anxiety. Since I have challenged myself to be surrounded by positive quotes, stories and attitudes, I have been able more easily adapt to what is happening around me.

By digesting these little pieces of positive words each day, I discovered a brightness to my day that wasn’t there before. I continue to challenge myself to be a little better, a little strong and a little more resilient.

This is a journey I want to share. That is why I started this blog. I want to share those little pieces of positive inspirations so I can share the illumination I have found in my own life.

It won’t always be easy. Sometimes I don’t make any sense. Other times, I’m confident that I know what I’m talking about. We all have moments of clarity and seasons where we are just muddling through, my writing is susceptible to all of these ups and downs.

The important element to remember is that simply seeking out positive input will aid in attitude and perspective. The world often feels like it is falling apart. However, community and a daily practice of looking for the good in a sea of bad will make a difference in your day and your life.

I encourage you to journey with me as I flow through ideas, quotes and a daily positive practice that continues to make me stronger, more adaptable and able to find joy in the everyday.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

An Example of Kindness and a Good Attitude

Photo by Ariel Lustre on Unsplash

My eight year old daughter, Zoey, had an interesting dilemma on the playground the other day.

There was a little girl at least two years her junior that wanted to play with her and followed her around all day. Zoey asked me what to do about the little girl because she really wanted some time to herself. I completely understood.

However, her options were few. One, she could be mean and tell the girl off. But Zoey didn’t want to be unkind, this girl was nice, she just wanted her space. Two, she could politely ask for her own space, but would also have to accept the probability that the girl would not relent. The third and final option would be to leave. She would have her privacy, but would have to change her setting as well.

Zoey wasn’t sure what to do at first. She chose option two. She politely asked the girl to give her space. However, the girl continued to follow her wanting to play. Zoey came back to me and admitted her defeat. She wanted a way out of the situation, but all I could offer her is the realization that she had to make a choice.

My question to her was “Are you ready to leave?”

She replied after a moment’s thought, “No, I’m not ready yet.”

“Okay” I answered. “You have some time.”

Zoey walked away in contemplation. After a few minutes passed, I saw her across the playground talking with this girl and then running away laughing as they played. At one point, I even noticed she let the girl have a turn with her brand new toy. Not only did she step up and play with the girl even though she just wanted to be alone, she also shared her most precious item in that moment to someone who wanted to spend time with her, even if it were just for this moment.

As I watched my daughter’s response to this situation, my heart swelled with pride. She doesn’t realize it, but I gave her a good extra ten minutes at the playground than I would have otherwise. She was playing well and making good choices. I wanted her to enjoy the fruits of her efforts, even if for just this unknowing moment.

This situation really highlighted to me how the choices we make affect our day and our lives. When we invite positivity into our lives, we reap the benefits of receiving those same good vibes in return. There are so many times we take such small matters too personally.

Kindness is always the best option because we never know what someone else, even those close to us, are going through in any particular moment.

My daughter showed me the power of kindness and a good attitude. I am excited by her understanding and implementation of compassion. I believe it is important to point out these rewarding moments to continue to grow as a person and realize the benefits of compassion, even when we don't want to be. Because it is always worth it to show kindness, always.

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