The Power of Positive Words – My Scrapbook of Compliments

I do have one. A scrapbook of compliments that I’ve received over the years. But it’s virtual – it’s kept in my mind. You know how negative words stay with us and keep replaying in our minds? So do positive words and it’s important that we start replaying those instead!

compliments

I know how the cycle goes.

Maybe everything went wrong with the kids and the house today. Maybe you made a mistake at work and your boss was disappointed in you. Maybe a friend didn’t respond to you when you reached out. Maybe you were on Facebook and saw that 10 people you know are seemingly super-blessed right now and succeeding at life while your life feels like a failure. Maybe you fell short of reaching a goal that was really important to you. And then?

Then you feel like failure and a mess and all the negative words, sometimes from others, more often from yourself, come flooding back into your mind. I don’t need to repeat the negative words here – you know them and can probably give me at least 3 examples of your own negative-speak right off the top of your head. And the more you repeat it, the more you believe it. And the more you believe it, the more you live it.

The Power of Positive Words

I get it. I have my own negative words. But I choose to push them out again and again (and yes, I’m kind of an optimist) and choose the positive words instead. Some of my positive words are in the form of compliments I have received over the years. I keep them in my scrapbook. My imaginary scrapbook. As I flip through the pages in my mind, I read through my saved compliments. Words like:

You have a really great smile.
You have stage presence. Even if only a tree, everyone would know you were there.
You always lift my spirits.
You’re so laid back. I think God put you in my life to teach me patience.
You’re a good listener.
You’re beautiful.
You’re a great storyteller. You should write novels.
You are classy.
You are an encouragement to others.

Each of those compliments are a blessing. And I choose to believe them, no matter how long ago they were given! They help me when Life isn’t going quite the way I expect and the negative self-talk begins to creep in. If I need to repeat them over and over until they sink in, I’ll do that. No matter what happens, I choose the positive words and I choose to keep on flashing my really great smile and encouraging others. I KNOW that you have been given compliments in your lifetime. Stop and think back right now. What compliments have stayed with you through the years? What positive things have people said to you recently (whether you believed them or not)?

A Scrapbook of Compliments

I want you to gather up those positive words and compliments and make your own virtual scrapbook right now. It’s not necessary to remember who told you what or the exact words. But I want you to lock them in your mind right now. Better yet? Write them out, like I did. And read them. Again. And again. Let these words push out those negative ones you keep letting in and listening to. You are unique and wonderfully made. Nobody can be a better you than you.

If you are struggling to come up with the positive words because you have avoided them for too long or forgotten them, I’ll let you borrow some. Here’s your scrapbook to borrow until you are able to add your own pages. (Click the arrow underneath the image to see all the pages.)

Scrapbook of Compliments by From Lisa Marie

Once you realize how powerful these positive words can be for your own self, you’ll realize how much they can mean to someone else. Why do we hold ourselves back from giving compliments and expressing our positive thoughts about others? Be brave today and give your friends, family, or even strangers heartfelt, sincere compliments. Tell them in person, on the phone, or in writing, but do tell them. You might be helping them add a page to their own scrapbook of compliments so that they can stop focusing on the negative.

I hope you can make this shift and believe the compliments that have been given to you. I’d like to help you stand up a little straighter, hold your head up high, and find your smile. Prayers & virtual hugs from me today, friends.

If you want to be encouraged and want a little help finding your smile, let’s connect. Join me in my new Facebook Group, Find Your Smile (click on over and request to Join), and join my list by clicking here so you can stay connected.


In case you wonder how I can stay positive, and think that maybe my life must be so much better than yours – know that I’m just like you. I experienced childhood issues, divorced parents, mental illness in my family, infertility, deaths of loved ones, motherhood, etc. I have a heart filled with joy and optimism, even in sadness, mainly because I am a Christian. No matter how bad this life gets, I know how it all works out in the end (Jesus wins!) and I get to go to my real home – Heaven. That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle and need reminders to focus on the positive. But I know that there are blessings hidden in struggles and sunshine above the rain clouds. Love to you all!

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

I’ve had this recipe around for years – it was originally discovered through Weight Watchers. I posted it on an old blog, but realized that I have since made adjustments to it. It makes a nice side dish in the Fall & Winter, but you can make it any time of year by using frozen squash and canned pears. And the best part? This squash soup completely fits in with Whole 30, which was a win for us and we enjoyed some in our last round of Whole 30.

It really helps if you have an immersion blender so you can blend the soup (carefully, of course!) right in the pot. But if you don’t have one, then cool the soup slightly and use a blender, working in batches. Then pour the soup back into the pot and reheat.

squash soupButternut Squash and Pear Soup

1 bag/box frozen butternut squash (or 1 roasted butternut squash, with pulp scooped out)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 cups chicken broth (If doing Whole 30, make sure ingredients are compliant. Can also use vegetable broth.)
1 large, ripe pear, pared, cored, and diced (or 1 small can of pears, drained, and diced)
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, pear chunks, and squash pulp. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until pear is soft, about 5-10 minutes.

Turn heat off and carefully blend with immersion blender until soup is completely pureed (or use blender). Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve hot. Makes about 4 small servings.

squash soup

If you enjoy this squash soup and want more Whole 30-compliant recipes, check out some of my fave Whole 30 foods and recipes.

Do you have a fave side dish soup? Have you had squash soup before? Let me know in the comments!

Goal-Setting for 2017

We just started 2017 and it is not too late to do some goal-setting for the year. Let’s take a little time and plan out what we would like to achieve this year. We can’t make it happen unless we set the goals and plan them out first (also totally speaking to myself here)!

goal-setting

How to Set Goals

When we’re talking about goals, we’re talking about something different than your One Word for the year or your general New Year’s resolutions. These are specific goals that you want to achieve in 2017 and they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely). Your goals might tie into your one-word theme for the year and they might help you keep your resolutions. You can come up with big or little goals, depending on what is most important to you to make happen in 2017.

When you set goals, you’ve got to write them down. Writing them down is a big part of the road to success. It helps make the goal clear in your mind and it gives a sense of commitment. In fact, if you’ve been avoiding goal-setting, or just thinking of them in your mind, it may be because you don’t want to hold yourself accountable! Writing your goals down makes them real (yikes). Once you write them down, you can start to plan out how to reach those goals.

goal-setting

Goal-Setting in 5 Fives

As you think through some of your goals for 2017, I’ve got a tool for you to use. I call it 5 Fives ~ 2017 Goals. It’s a way to help you brainstorm, prioritize, and plan out your goals. It might seem overwhelming at first to come up with 5 goals in each of 5 different categories. But this is a great way to help you really think through what kind of goals you want to set and which ones are truly the most important to you at this time.

You’re not going to work on 25 goals at once! You’ll focus on your Top 5 first. As you accomplish one or two, you tackle the next ones on your list. You might only accomplish 3 of your Top 5 or you might knock out 15-20. Either way – you. accomplished. goals. Shoot for the moon, right? If you accomplish even some of your goals, then you’ve ended up in the stars. Accomplishing some goals is always better than never goal-setting and never reaching your goals.

goal-setting

Are you ready to do some goal-setting? Get your free 5 Fives ~ 2017 Goals by clicking below and let’s get going!

goal-setting

Do you already have some goals for the new year? What is your most exciting goal for 2017? What keeps you from setting goals? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Starting Another Whole 30

It’s true. I’m a Whole 30 survivor and I am choosing to do another one! Though there is nothing easy about it, it is only 30 days and the results are SO worth it! I’m talking healthier eating results rather than weight loss. Weight loss will usually occur if you are really following the program but it is never a guarantee and depends on what and how much you eat as well as other health issues you may have. Don’t do Whole 30 for weight loss – do it as a way to reset your diet with healthier habits and as a way to discover or rediscover food issues and allergies so you can avoid those foods in the future.

whole 30

Whole 30 Tips

When you are getting ready to start a Whole 30, it helps to do some research and make a plan, including a 1-week meaI plan before you start. It also helps to find some friends or family to be your supporters and encouragers through the process (keep reading for more info on a group I’m setting up). I recommend that you read my posts about the program if you haven’t already (listed below) and follow my Whole 30 ideas Pinterest Board for lots of yummy recipes. And stop by the Whole 30 website for lots of helpful info and resources. Follow me on Instagram as well – that’s where you’ll find me posting pics of meals and food as I go.

Intro to my Whole 30 Experience
My Whole 30 Experience and Results
My Whole 30 Experience – The Food
10 Tips for a Successful Whole 30
My Whole 30 Experience: Afterward
It’s Time for a Whole 15 (Includes a simple 2-day meal plan to get you started)
My Whole 15 Results

Whole 30

Join Me for Whole 30

My family will be starting Whole 30 officially on Monday, January 2 and finishing on January 31st. I have already set up a Facebook Group for this round. It’s called Whole 30 with Lisa Marie. Come check it out and click Join Group if you would like to be included!

Don’t feel like you have to do Whole 30 the exact same way or the exact same dates as me in order to join my group. The point of the group is to share recipes & tips as well as encouragement and to be able to vent or ask questions when needed. There might even be a few people joining who are not currently doing a Whole 30, but want to see how it goes for everybody else and start working some of the recipes into their meal planning. See you there!

Be sure to sign up here to keep up with all followup Whole 30 posts!

Have you done a Whole 30 before? What did you think? What kind of results did you have? If you haven’t done it, why not? Share your answers in the comments!

Offset the Holiday STUFF With a December Declutter

I did this a few years ago and it felt GOOD. So. much. STUFF comes into our homes during the month of December and it’s nice to get rid of a few things at the same time so we don’t get to January and feel overwhelmed by the clutter. This declutter challenge is enough to be effective but not enough to be an overwhelming task during the holidays.

declutter

The December Declutter

Just randomly trying to declutter through the month won’t help you be accountable, so we need a goal. The goal is to get rid of 100 items! That should be enough to offset all the extra holiday decorations, goodies, and gifts that are coming into the house this month. Don’t let 100 items scare you – it’s only 5 items or less a day for the rest of the month. And I’m super nice about what counts as items. A pen that has run out of ink totally counts as one item or even an old magazine can be one. Sounding simpler all the time, isn’t it? You can do this! We can do it together and offset all the STUFF.

So the December Declutter challenge is simple:

1 – Find about 5 items per day to either throw away or donate. Anything in your house, garage, shed, yard, purse, etc. counts.
2 – Items that are to be thrown away should be tossed out immediately. Items to be donated can be collected in boxes or bags.
3 – Share pics of your daily declutter finds and share on social media with #decemberdeclutter to help with accountabiity and making it fun!
4 – At the end of the month, zip on over to your favorite charity with your donation items and get a receipt for a tax write-off.

declutter

That’s it! Don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes a day to keep this from being too much to handle. This is not the time to completely reorganize the closet. Hit the easy spots to find your items to donate. Remember that the items don’t have to be large – any item heading out is offsetting something coming in. Here are a few declutter spots that always work for me to find items quickly:

  • Junk drawer
  • Silverware or utensil drawer
  • DVD, CD, or video game collections
  • My clothes closet
  • My purse

Start now! Take 5 minutes and find 5 things to get rid of. Who’s with me?!

declutter

The Thanksgiving Meal – Connecting Through Food

We know that Thanksgiving Day gives us an opportunity to connect with family and friends, and one of the biggest parts of the day is the food. Sharing food is another way that we connect with each other. It technically could fall under connecting through acts of service or connecting with family, but sharing a meal together is special in its own way. Food, and especially during the holidays, isn’t just about the taste and the presentation. It’s about so much more: memories, traditions, feelings, and ambience.

Thanksgiving meal

When you serve or are served a Thanksgiving meal, what kind of feelings and emotions do you have? What kind of memories do you experience during the meal? By serving certain types of foods at Thanksgiving, the feelings of warmth and tradition bring some level of comfort to us. Our world is ever-changing and feels a bit unstable, but the simple act of sitting down together for a Thanksgiving meal with our favorite dishes can help us to feel grounded again and experience a little of the stability that we crave. Because of this, we can connect more easily with our friends and family at our table and repair or strengthen neglected relationships. The foods we all enjoy can bring us together and begin a season of peace, charity, and grace.

What are your favorite foods to share and connect over during Thanksgiving? I’ll share my simple menu for this year’s Thanksgiving meal. I tried not to overdo it this time and am sticking mostly to tradition. Find my menu with links to recipes below.

Thanksgiving Meal Menu

Appetizers:
Pumpkin Bread
Sweet Spiced Nuts

Main Dish:
Brined, roasted turkey

Thanksgiving meal

Side Dishes:
Slow Cooker Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Colorful Roasted Vegetables
Cranberry-Apple Sauce
Rolls

Dessert:
German Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie (new dessert I’m adapting & attempting)

Thanksgiving meal


I hope you all have a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving meal, connecting over your very favorite foods. Tell me what one of your favorite Thanksgiving foods is – I’m all about mashed potatoes and gravy myself! By the way, there’s still time to sign up for my Thanksgiving PDF if you haven’t yet.

Thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving Grace

Thanksgiving Day is almost here! We know that Thanksgiving is about gratitude, but maybe this year we can make it about grace as well. If I asked for a show of hands of all those who are overly stressed out right now or who have had a difficult year, I wouldn’t be able to count them all. Let’s make this Thanksgiving less about ourselves being grateful for all our blessings and little joys (for which we ARE grateful) and more about extending a gentle grace to those around us. That includes grace for ourselves and making an effort to relax, enjoy, and not let stress overwhelm us.

Thanksgiving Grace

When I think of grace, I like to roll several parts of the definition into one. Grace is given to you and then you can share with others. And in another sense, it’s about treating others the way that you would hope others would treat you. While I talk about grace here, I mean something like this all combined into one:

Thanksgiving grace

But I also like another meaning of grace, the idea of a Grace Period – a postponement, delay, or pause. We can make Thanksgiving our Grace Period, a time set apart from the daily stresses and our issues with family and friends, and focus on how we can extend grace to those around us if even for a day or two before jumping back into the rat race with both feet.

Let’s start with giving ourselves grace! Stop setting the bar ridiculously high for yourself to have the “perfect” Thanksgiving. It’s about family, friends, food, and fun, not about fancy tablescapes, picture-perfect recipes, serving dinner on time, or acceptable behavior of children (and adults!). Learn to simplify, go with the flow, and appreciate the smaller victories of the day (like, hey I didn’t light a pie on fire this year!).

Thanksgiving

Give grace to those around you during this holiday. When we are stressed out, we are more irritable and far less tolerant of others. By making sure that we are in the right frame of mind first, we can love those around us this Thanksgiving no matter if they didn’t bring the food we asked for, showed up unexpectedly, started a political argument at the table, broke a dish, or had a bad attitude. Remember that we are all imperfect sinners. Take a deep breath, smile, and show love to your friends and family. There is beauty in the gift of grace.


I created a simple (not too fancy so I wouldn’t be too stressed out!) PDF with thoughts and tips for having a Thanksgiving with more grace and less stress. It includes thoughts on how to de-stress during Thanksgiving, 3 of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes, and tips for hosting. I wish all of you a blessed, happy, peaceful, grace-filled Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving

Keep Working on Connection

Glad to have you here for Day 31 of 31 Days of Connection! Yes, we made it to the end of the series! If you’ve missed anything, you can stop by Day 1 for links to all of the posts.

The Connection Series

Connection really is important for us human beings. The opposite is isolation and that leads to loneliness, a lack of ability to communicate effectively with family and close friends, and other issues. Some connection happens automatically because of circumstances or personality, but it usually requires being intentional. That’s why we’ve covered several different ways of connecting in this 31-day series. We’ve gone from connecting with self, family, and friends, to connecting at work, connecting through writing, and through various social media networks.

connection

If you haven’t had time to read through all of the posts (because sheesh – daily posts?!), this is your chance to take a breath and go back to catch up. Even if you don’t think some of the posts apply to you, check them out because you might pick up a few helpful tips that you weren’t aware of. Each post contains a daily challenge to help give you a nudge toward improving your skills. I included a handy daily connection challenge checklist for you on Day 3 to help with accountability. But lucky you – now that you made it this far I have an updated checklist for you!

Daily Connection Challenge Checklist

I’ve got the same Daily Connection Challenge Checklist, but now I have filled in all of the daily challenges for you. All you have to do is download, go through each day and mark off that you completed items or what you did to meet that challenge. The challenges listed on the checklist are shortened, simplified versions so I do recommend that you always read the full challenge on each post. Work through the challenges at your own pace, but do set a due date to give that sense of urgency to help you actually complete it.

Download the updated checklist here:

connection

Keep Working on Connection

You’ve completed the 31 Days of Connection and worked on the challenges, so all is well and you’re great at connecting now, right?! Probably not, but you’re certainly more aware of specific types of connection that are more difficult for you and hopefully you have connected with at least one new person or improved one relationship. So where do we go from here? Since connection requires being intentional, we need to continue to work on it and improve our relationships with others. As you find success in some forms of connection, find new ways to reach out, both personally and professionally. Our goal is never perfection, but always striving to do better than we did before and I know that if I can do it, you can too!

Day 31 Daily Connection Challenge:
Keep working on connection! After reading the series, brainstorm some additional ways that you can work on it in your own life. If you have already gone through all the daily challenges, figure out which ones were the most difficult for you and work through those again this month!


Thank you so much for being here with me to finish out Day 31 of 31 Days of Connection! What were your favorite ways to work on connection? What were the most difficult for you? Any questions or feedback? Let me know in the comments! I would love to stay connected with you – please take a moment to join my awesome group of subscribers.

Click here for links to all 31 posts of the series.

connect

Connect Through Public Speaking

Welcome to Day 30 of 31 Days of Connection! Find all the posts you may have missed linked up on Day 1.

connect

Connect Through Public Speaking

Well, if you thought putting yourself out there to connect through videos was intimidating, then public speaking may be your toughest connection challenge. Public speaking is many people’s biggest fear. There are a few oddballs like me who actually enjoy it (and yes, I lettered in Speech in high school). Whether or not you enjoy it, it’s an excellent way to connect with a group of people in a personal way. Of course, public speaking does not always have to be in front of a large group. There are plenty of opportunities to connect without it being such a formal event.

Public speaking can certainly be a planned event on a stage in front of hundreds of people, but it can take many other forms. It could happen in the form of teaching or training a smaller group of people, giving a presentation in a meeting at work, sharing your thoughts with the group in a Bible study, or something similar. You probably didn’t realize that you’ve already been doing public speaking in various forms. When you speak up in a group of people and share authentically or speak about a subject you’re passionate about, people will feel connected to you, leading to new and better relationships.

speaking

Public Speaking Tips

There are a few things to remember in order for your speaking to help you connect, no matter where you are:

Know your audience. Before you speak, it’s important to understand exactly who your audience is – age, gender, goals, why they are listening to you, etc. This will help you speak in a way that relates to your target audience and makes for a better sense of connection.

Be yourself. Don’t try to act like somebody else when you are speaking. If you are pretending or uncomfortable with what you are speaking about, that will come across to your audience. If you are thought of as phony or not credible, then you’ll turn off your audience and lose the chance to connect.

Make eye contact. Looking at the back of the room over the heads of who you are speaking might be a strategy to overcome fear, but it makes your speech less personal. Make eye contact directly with different members of your audience as you are speaking and it will feel like you are speaking to all audience members as well as the ones you’re looking at.

speaking

Smile. We’ve already talked about how a smile can bring connection. Sometimes when you’re speaking to a group, you forget to smile because you’re focused on your words. Smile before you start and remind yourself to smile a few times as you speak. It puts your audience at ease and gives them positive feelings when they smile back.

Speak confidently. Whether or not you are an expert on what you’re talking about, say it confidently. It helps you come across as more knowledgable, credible, and trustworthy. People are more likely to trust and connect with you when they feel you are comfortable with your subject matter.

No matter where you are speaking, you have an opportunity to reach out and share yourself with others. By doing this regularly, you can connect with more people and build more relationships.

Day 30 Daily Connection Challenge:
Don’t skip this one just because it’s public speaking! You don’t have to give a speech in front of a crowd, but bonus points for you if you set up a speaking opportunity for yourself. Find a way in the next 2 weeks to speak publicly in one of the many forms we talked about. Remember the tips from above and see if you can use that opportunity to make a new connection with somebody.


Thank you for being here with me on Day 30 of 31 Days of Connection! Do you have a fear of public speaking or do you enjoy it? Did you realize that there are other forms of it besides a speech in front of a crowd? Let me know in the comments! See you back here one more time for Day 31, friends!

Connecting Through Video

Welcome to Day 29 of 31 Days of Connection – almost through the series! Stop by Day 1 to find links to all the posts in the series.

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Connecting Through Video

Using video to connect with others is effective because it involves both sight and sound. Watching a video of someone speaking gives you the facial expressions, body language, voice tones, and accents that you are missing when reading text only. You can use video to connect with family, friends, and connect outside of your circle of known contacts. There are many different ways to share video online, but I’m only covering some of the main ones.

video

Connect Through Video Personally

You can connect on a more personal level in the following ways:

Use your smartphone and send video to family and friends. Our phone cameras do so much now – it’s simple to record a quick video with your phone and email or text it to a friend. It’s a way to send a message that’s a little more personal and special and doesn’t take much time or effort.

Communicate online through FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. Video chats and calls make it easy to meet with family and friends over the computer. Connecting live with somebody is even better than a phone call. It requires internet access on both/all ends, but other than that it’s free!

Use Facebook Live Video from your own profile to share with your Facebook friends. Facebook recently rolled out Live video on profiles – both on computers and phones. Just start a live video, record as long as you want, and it’s posted on your page. It’s only for your own Facebook friends to see and interact with. They can watch you live and comment or watch it after and comment then. It’s a fun way to share your day.

video

Connect Through Video Publicly

You can connect in a more public way using these methods:

YouTube. Record your videos with your computer or camera and then upload to your YouTube page. These are shared publicly. You can prepare, film, edit, and post the kind of videos you want, whether to build traffic, grow your brand, or just make a connection with new people through their comments and interactions online.

Video uploaded to a Facebook page. You can upload your videos to your Facebook page to share publicly. Share one that has been edited to near-perfection or share one with raw unedited everyday-life footage. Your fans can connect with you by commenting and sharing.

Facebook Live video on pages. When you do Facebook Live on your public page, it will show up on the live map as well as to all of your followers. They can interact right then by asking you questions and making comments that you can respond to while on camera. Your live video is automatically recorded and then can be seen on your Facebook page by your followers anytime and they can comment and share at that time.

Instagram Stories. Instagram stories are very short video clips that you do through your phone and post to Instagram. If your Instagram profile is set to public, then anybody who follows you will be able to see your story and comment to connect.

The more you share of yourself and your life through video, the more others feel they know about you and connect with you on a deeper level. It can be a little scary, but once you take the chance, you’ll find it easier to do the next time. Are you ready to reach out and connect today through video?

Day 29 Daily Connection Challenge:
Step out of your comfort zone and record either yourself or something happening during your day. Use whatever method of recording that’s easiest for you. Now post that video online somewhere! You could just message it to a couple of people or share it on your own Facebook profile so only your friends see it. If you’re feeling particularly brave, share your video publicly on YouTube, a Facebook page, or Instagram! Try video chatting with a friend or family member this week through a Google Hangout. If you don’t know how to use it, click here to find more info. Remember to arrange video calls ahead of time – most people don’t like to be caught off guard by having to show up live unexpectedly.


Thanks for being here with me for Day 29 of 31 Days of Connection! Have you tried connecting through video? Have you done any video calls or posted videos on Facebook? Do you have a YouTube channel? Let me know what fun you’ve had with videos or what fears might be keeping you from it – leave a comment! See you back here again for Day 30, friends!