Random Acts of Kindness: Start with Yourself

As we kickoff Random Acts of Kindness week, I want to start with one of the most special people on earth…you.

You can’t authentically share love or compassion with others if the inventory is low in the stock room of your heart. So…

Make time to be kind to yourself today.

Here are three ideas to get you started.

{ONE} Look in the mirror.

For real. Go stand in the bathroom and take a good look at yourself. Reintroduce yourself, if needed. And instead of looking directly at your wrinkles or whatever flaws you think you have, try to look at your whole face. Take notice of the person you are, and say something incredibly kind. Start with, “What I love most about you is…” And make it the kind of compliment that would make you cry if your best friend or husband said it to you. You deserve to truly love and accept yourself.

{TWO} Listen to your needs.

Ask yourself, as if you were talking to a good friend or your child, what do you need right now? Is it to slow down and take a deep breath within this quiet moment? Could you use a fresh manicure or a personal day off work? Would a hot bath make you feel better? What about a long run? Or jamming to your favorite song, being silly or playing outside with your dog? Whatever your heart is saying to you, listen. Then go do it. And make it an act of kindness to yourself.

{THREE} Put your heart on paper.

I recently spotted this amazing book series in Barnes & Noble. It’s essentially a dozen writing prompts that are held inside of envelopes. In this edition, you’re encouraged to write letters to your future self and stash them away for a later date. It’s a lovely way to get connected to what really matters in your life.

Enjoy the day being kind to yourself. As promised, I will share a special post each day that includes ideas and inspiration for spreading kindness with those around you. So be sure to stop by again tomorrow to see what great things we can do together!!

-Kate

PS. If you want to join the bigger RAK movement, go sign the kindness pledge!

Share

Inspiration from Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne Dyer was an inspirational author with one of the most calm, confident, and uplifting demeanors.

I was actually introduced to his books back when I was in high school. My dad was observant and caring enough to recognize I was searching for meaning, and he provided great books and support. I grew to love and read all of Dr. Dyer’s books over the years. Two of my favorites are Manifest Your Destiny and Wishes Fulfilled.

I still turn to them from time-to-time and am amazed at the coincidence that occurs. No matter what I’m going through, I happen to pick up JUST the right book and turn to JUST the right page for comfort or understanding.

My husband feels the same way (who is also hooked on these books.) We have since given I Am, and  Incredible You! to our kids.

Incredible You I Am

In memory of Dr. Dyer, who passed on to his next adventure on Sunday night, I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes with you.

I hope at least one of these messages finds a place in your heart.

Have a blessed day, and go do something amazing!

-Kate

Share

Back-to-School Worry Stones

Heading back to school was always full of mixed emotions for me. On one hand I was super excited to see friends whom I didn’t get to see over the summer, and on the other I was nervous about new teachers and harder classes. My kids are the same way. We start to have upset tummies and canker sores this time of year. Not fun.

I decided to look for some helpful tools.

I discovered the concept of worry stones, which gives kids something small and tangible to hold onto when they feel stressed. They can simply reach in their backpack, lunchbox, or pocket to pull out their stone and allow it to absorb their worries and help them feel grounded. Especially when it’s paired with a reassuring phrase they can say to themselves, like, “I am safe and calm.”

The idea reminds me of the Kissing Hand.

In this classic children’s book, a momma raccoon places as kiss in her baby’s hand before he goes away to school. He’s able to keep her kiss with him all day – or in this case all night, since raccoons are nocturnal.

In the spirit of Kissing Hand, I used to draw a heart in the palm of my kids’ hands and kiss the center before sending them off to Kindergarten. It worked wonders, and is definitely something to try if you have little ones. Now that my babies are entering 4th and 7th grades, they may have outgrown this tradition. For the girls, it would just depend on the day.

We’re giving worry stones a try.

We scouted the garden for pretty rocks, then my husband and I kissed each rock before slipping them into little travel bags for school.

IMG_6183

Hopefully these will help ease the stress a little. At the very least, the kids have some cool stones to show their friends.

Here’s to a stress-free, back-to-school week all around!

-Kate

PS. Email me if you’d like to purchase a special worry stone harvested from a natural river bank here in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. It will arrive in a little organza bag and have instructions on how to work the stone. Only $3 plus shipping. Email: katejandersen{at}gmail{dot}com

Share

Career Thoughts for Your Kids

While the twins and I were driving in the car yesterday, we somehow got on the topic of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Clara has such a tender heart and loves animals of all shapes and sizes. Avery is incredibly creative and loves painting, writing, singing, dancing…any activity that’s expressive.

My first instinct was to offer typical career choices.

I told Clara she’d be a great veterinarian; and I told Avery she’d make a tremendous art teacher. As the ideas came out of my mouth, though, I felt like I had closed them into such small boxes. Those don’t have to be their only choices, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to those ideas.

I tried to quickly recall my message – like you do with an email that’s sent to the wrong person – and told them that those were just a few ideas, and they could explore lots of options.

That’s when the exciting ideas came. Clara imagined she could have a dog-sitting service or train animals to help people in need. Avery decided she could own a craft store or become a famous singer that inspires people. The conversation was not only more productive, but also more joyful.

After this experience, I realized that instead of asking my kids what they want to be when they grow up, I should just ask what makes them happy.

Sounds simple enough. But once they’ve figured this out, it can then be my job to help them remember, help them hold on to this passion, and encourage them to explore ways to use their gifts to make the world a better place.

It’s totally okay if their personal mission doesn’t line up with existing jobs. Many jobs are becoming extinct – and new ones are being created every day.

If you need a boost in your own career choices or development, think back to when you were 10 years old. What did you love more than anything? Are you doing it today – if not in your career, at least in your hobbies? Figuring this out is a miraculous first step to being joyful – and feeling purposeful. 

If you need an even bigger boost, check out this inspirational presentation by Casey Gerald. My inspiring friend, Mary Eliff, recently shared this with me. It was part of a Creative Mornings lecture series, and has been one (if not the only) speech to receive a standing ovation with this group.

Hopefully it will make you feel inspired. If so, be sure to pass it on. The world needs more inspired people.

Have an incredibly productive day.

-Kate

Share

Color Your Stress Away

Not much could soothe my childhood soul more than a box of fresh crayons and the crisp pages of a new coloring book. I’d spend hours at a time in a zen-like state carefully decorating each section of my picture. There were no real pressures. I didn’t have to color by a specific deadline, within a particular budget – or even inside the thick, pre-planned lines. I could simply sit and enjoy the act of coloring.

What a joyful thing to experience.

It’s no wonder adult coloring books are a growing trend right now. Have you seen them? It’s really a thing – and some of the books are downright gorgeous. Frame-worthy, even.

I first stumbled upon one in Barnes & Noble. My little Avery wanted a new book and we spotted the Secret Garden by Johanna Basford.

secret garden

Come to find out, Johanna is the queen bee of adult coloring books. She has sold more than 1.4 million copies of her book so far, and she has composed a newer edition called Enchanted Forest. It looks equally as intriguing.

enchanted forest

I found myself scootching next to Avery whenever she pulled out the Secret Garden. We’d sit and color and chat about what seemed to be nothing. But whenever we finished, we felt much happier. And that’s definitely something.

I know it might seem too indulgent to sit and color. Sometimes I hear, “ain’t nobody got tiiime for that” in the back of my own mind. But if we reframe it as a time to relax and reconnect with ourselves (or even our children), it can be as important as any to-do on the list. And it can be as refreshing as meditation or a good glass of wine. #winning

So why not give it a spin? Pull out a new batch of colored pencils (the grownup version of crayons for these beautiful books), fire up your pencil sharpener and start creating.

To help get you started here are five pages from Secret Garden you can download and print right away.

When you’re ready to buy a full book, here are a few good options to consider:

Calming Colouring Patterns by Leslie McCallum (I bought this one at Hobby Lobby before our recent road trip!)

calming colouring patterns

Here are a few others on my fave list:

Color Me Calm by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter (Love the title.)

color me calm

Dream Catcher: A Soul Bird’s Journey by Christina Rose (This is more like Secret Garden with the botanical/nature patterns.)

dream catcher

The Mindfulness Colouring Book by Emma Farrarons (I feel calmer already just looking at the cover.)

mindfulness coloring book

Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta (Look at these gorgeous illustrations. These are wall-hanging worthy for sure.)

animal kingdom

Creative Coloring Inspirations by Valentina Harper (I love the inspiring messages that come along with each of these pages.)

coloring inspirationsYou’ll have to let me know if you have any of these books and which is your personal favorite.

I’d also love to see some of your pages. Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #CreativeTipTues or @KateJAndersen.

Happy coloring, my friends!

-Kate

Share

Friday Wrap

What’s better than a Friday? A Friday that leads into a three-day weekend. Can I get a woot, woot? The Andersen Party of Five is heading to my brother’s farm to campout and enjoy some fresh air. Rain or shine, we’re destined for a good time. What are you up to? You’ll have to give me a shout and let me know. In the meantime, here are five wishes I have for you this week.

Here’s hoping you can…

{ONE} Find Time for Fun

Our family headed to Lewis & Clark Outfitters this week to get my bike tire fixed. While we were there, the kids asked if they could climb the rock wall. We were already in a bit of a hurry, but B and I decided to slow down and let the kids have some fun. I’m grateful for the experience and hope you find opportunities to be spontaneous, as well. Go climb something. The view is amazing.

rock climbing

{TWO} Create a Solution to Clutter

I finally ordered this book based on multiple recommendations. It’s based on a Japanese approach to organizing called the KonMari Method. I fully expect my life to change from this read. I promise to let you know how it goes. Here’s hoping you find some sanity-creating solutions in your life, as well!

book

{THREE} Enjoy the Garden Goodness

Everyone needs a taste of fresh herbs in their life. The lemon thyme is going crazy in my garden at the moment, so I wanted to share a few yummy recipes with you – like Roasted Greek Potatoes with Feta Cheese and Lemon Thyme. Enjoy the tasty goodness!

lemon thyme

{FOUR} Light Up a Campfire

Campfires are the perfect way to spend an almost-summer-night. I hope you find time to sit by some cozy flames – maybe even this weekend? Be sure you have a few fresh mosquito-repellent fire starters handy, though. Mosquitos do not = a good time. All you need are sprigs of lavender, sage and mint. Wrap them in bundles and you’re good to go.

{FIVE} Always Feel Thankful

This Memorial Day, as you’re enjoying some time off from work and relaxing with friends and family, take a moment to remember all of those who travelled before us and helped provide the life we have today.

HomeOfTheFree_edited-2-240x300

Have a great (long) weekend. See you next week!

-Kate

Fiveonfriday

Share

Let Go & Grow

Today’s post is a bit of a confession. I was recently working on a creative project and was so focused on having it look and sound amazing, that it became harder than it needed to be. I stressed about it, procrastinated as long as I could, and eventually felt guilty – for all of it. Have you ever done that? Put unnecessary pressure on yourself?

I finally (and thankfully) realized I was making myself crazy. No one else had such high expectations of me than, well, me. I took a deep breath and put on my favorite jams (as in music, not my jammies. Although, those would have been good, too.) Then I sat at the computer and started putting one word in front of the other. The next thing I knew, I was enjoying myself and the project was coming together.

The moment I let go of the outcome, I was able to experience more joy and creative freedom than I had felt in quite some time.

As I reflected on this experience, I came to the conclusion that I should apply this lesson to more things in life – not just in my creative projects, but in the way I raise my kids, love my husband, serve as a friend, look at my body, or organize the house. The moment I white-knuckle the steering wheel and drive in the direction I think we all need to go is when stress kicks in. When I allow room for things to unfold, get messy, or feel uncertain, I can be certain I will learn from the experience. It will be a gift – even if I don’t recognize it at first.

This past week I watched Chef’s Table, which is an amazing documentary-style show on Netflix. Massimo, who is the Italian chef featured in the first episode, was presented with a challenge. A member of his staff dropped the last lemon tart, and it shattered all over the plate. Instead of feeling frustrated or defeated, Massimo embraced the mess. He splattered more lemon sauce around the plate and called it “Oops! I dropped the lemon tart.” It became one of the most famous dishes on his menu. This was such a beautiful example of how a “mistake” can turn into a blessing if we have gentle and accepting eyes to see them for what they really are.

If we surrender to the universe with abundant faith, all will be well.

No matter what each of us is going through, and I know everyone has something crappy going on, let’s have the courage to lean back and let go. Know that all will be well.

Kate

Share

Happy Easter!

Hello, dear friends. Today is a day to sing, celebrate, and rejoice in the fact that it’s Easter day!

I’ve always struggled with explaining the Easter bunny and baskets to my kids on such a holy day, and I recently found a great article on the topic. It helps us get creative and turn typical holiday symbols into tools that bring a greater understanding of the message of Easter. As one example, look at this darling illustration of the “real” Easter bunny…

To personalize this story, try drawing or printing your own bunny. Turn it into a coloring sheet for your kids. You can then explain the meaning as you color the sheet together.

Another fun activity to try today is a resurrection scavenger hunt. Kids of all ages should enjoy this one.

Here’s hoping you have a blessed day filled with love and hope!

-Kate and family

Share

Happiness Friday

Happy Friday, sweet friends! And I do mean happy. Today’s post is all about happiness. Here’s why…

{ONE} International Day of Happiness: It’s today! Go make a connection and brighten another person’s day! You can also visit the official site and download your free happiness pack.

{TWO} Instagram Feeds: This is a terrific list of 10 happy Instagram feeds. Follow them today and feel your happiness bloom.

{THREE} First Day of Spring: Welcome, sweet season of warmth, budding flowers, and well, allergies. Just as Olaf said in the movie Frozen, “Some people are worth melting for,” I think flowers are worth sneezing for. Fresh flowers make me happy. Just bring on the Zyrtec and we’re G-to-G. In celebration of the day, be sure to check out the Google doodle.

{FOUR} Bunnies!! You know I love me some cute bunnies. We’ve had two pet rabbits in our lives so far. Molly McBunny was our first, and we had her for close to 12 years! She was a dear. Now we have Rosie, and she’s just as loving and expressive. Rabbits are truly the best pets to have, IMO. Here’s a link to a great resource if you’re thinking of adopting a rabbit. In the meantime, here’s your daily dose of cuteness to bring a smile to your face.

{FIVE} Gratitude: I read that more than 11,000 scientific studies show that developing a gratitude habit helps you feel happier, sleep better, be more creative and feel less stressed. Um, sign me up. Let’s be thankful for the day – and each other. I am certainly grateful you’re here. To kick things off, try this 52-week gratitude challenge. It’s full of beautiful ideas.

Cheers to the happiest day, yet! Be sure to check out all of the wonderful blogs through Five on Friday.

Fiveonfriday

-Kate

Share

Trend Alert: SXSW 2015 Is in Full Swing

sxsw-interactive-logoIf you’re in the communications field, you’re probably well aware of the annual SXSW festival in Austin, TX. What started as a music festival in the 80s has grown to include wildly popular film and interactive sessions. In fact, SXSW Interactive has become a massive conference where the world watches to see what’s next in tech.

Companies like Twitter, Foursquare and Waze launched at SXSW Interactive.

Needless to say, there’s immense anticipation and a constant trend watch around this time of year. According to the official event site, “The 2015 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer.”

SXSW

Here’s a snapshot of the entrance to the tradeshow floor. Always tons of excitement and people from all over the world.

It’s all pretty fascinating. I love it because I work for a communications firm (and have a little blog). So I try to stay tuned in to what’s on the horizon for all of us in terms of the way we communicate. That’s really what’s at the core of all of this…communications.

Everyone is looking for the magic pill (or device) that fosters the most real and honest connections with a generation that’s mentally overloaded.

Ironically, the more tech that’s introduced to society, the more essential the need to simplify. We need gadgets to organize our gadgets. There’s no going back at this point, though. So onward we march, learn, play and create!

The 2015 SXSW Interactive festival began yesterday, and it goes through Monday. I had the pleasure of attending in person last year, which is where I met Mindy Kaling and Seth Meyers. #starstruck

Mindy Kaling

This was a super fun moment meeting Mindy – aka Kelly Kapoor or more recently Dr. Mindy Lahiri

This year I’ll be attending via my social channels – and notes from my colleagues who headed down yesterday. Twitter is already exploding with news about this year’s conference.

Follow #SXSW2015 on Twitter for more news as it happens this weekend into Monday.

Who knows, maybe you’ll catch and act on a trend that will land you a session in next year’s event?  Here’s to having a tech-savvy day no matter what field you’re in!

-Kate

Share