Christmas Craze!

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Can’t you just smell the gingerbread? My kids put that house together and we had a lot of fun doing it.
I love this season. Egg nog (lactose-free, of course), pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, chocolate, more chocolate. (Seriously, I got more chocolate as gifts from my students than any other year, but very little evidence made it back to the house…but I digress.)
Speaking of my students, I got so many Starbucks addiction perpetuators (aka gift cards) and gift cards to Target, Einstein’s bagels, Krispy Kreme, Panera and Jamba Juice. Sweet!
But one thing I look forward to every year is my mom’s Puerto Rican seasonal cooking.

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Mmmm! Yummy pasteles! Sweet rice! And, since I’m of legal drinking age, coquito. What is it about holidays and food?
Anyway, truly I want to share about how this Christmas sort of blindsided us this year. I guess, like many others, we just have been so busy with regular life. Or maybe the tragedies of this year just make it really hard to celebrate. I don’t know if you can relate, but this much I do know: we owe it to the loving people in our lives and the memory of those gone before us to make this one of the best Christmases ever. Not because of the stuff, but because of love.
The reason for the season may be Jesus, but what about him? Christmas is the miracle of a God, who in his infinite wisdom, gave us a living example of love, compassion, healing, overcoming obstacles, and forgiveness in a baby born in less than ideal circumstances who would eventually die in less than ideal circumstances. Why? Call me crazy, but I believe he did this because he knew that our hearts so easily turn dark, insecure and negative and he wanted to show us that it doesn’t matter where you come from, who your parents are (or aren’t), what you do or think. He gave us hope that you can always make a change in your life and you can always make a difference. This Christmas let this permeate your mind and every interaction. Let love, hope, kindness,forgiveness, and optimism be your Christmas craze.
And then make sure you pass the pumpkin pie, please. ;0)

Isaiah 9:6 NLT
“6 For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Happy holidays. And please, have a very merry Christmas.

Joyfully,
Joyful Pursuit

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2012 Recap: Apologies and Life Unedited

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I obviously must first start by apologizing for keeping my thoughts and lessons to myself. I apologize.

Whew! I feel much better. **Sigh**  I do promise not to make up for lost time with long-winded crazy details.  You’re too smart for that. ;0)

Well, much has happened since I last shared my toughts at the beginning of this year. While this page has been quiet, my life has been far from that.  This picture is of my now 6 year old daughter.  She is such an inspiration to me and yet can drive me CRAZY!!! Probably this happens because she reminds me so much of myself in many ways. Mirrors are often difficult to look into regularly.  This is especially true when they are haunting reminders of what you desparately want to change, but just haven’t made the valiant effort (yet) to follow through.

At the beginning of the year I was really excited about discovering what my true calling in life might be. My Joyful Pursuit. Little did I know that I needed only to look to my kids for the inspiration and motivation to do what I had already known in my heart I loved to do: share my voice.
I love to sing. I love music. I love teaching swim lessons. I love swimming. I love learning. I love coaching. I love solving problems. I love sharing what I’ve learned. I love people. I love to talk. I love to write. I LOVE TO EDIT. Huh? I know, I know: random, right? Well, it turns out this love to edit is not so random after all.  I do it every time I read a book, article, Facebook post (I know, sorry!), blog, or newsletter.  Now I know the purpose of this gift/thorn in my flesh:

My God-given calling is to help others find their voice…and use it to the best of their ability (or mine).

The reality is we don’t always know the best way to communicate our thoughts.  With technology and smart-everything we hardly have to think for ourselves.  Why remember when we can Google it or look it up on Wikipedia?  I love helping people figure out better ways to say what they are thinking without offending or confusing the other person. It’s like solving a riddle.

I had an amazing opportunity to work on a book project with a man who I met briefly in Los Angeles (through the network marketing business that I was in) and has become a friend, brother, and a mentor.  (He also happens to be a part of the entertainment ministry I was a part of while attending music school.  Small world right?) You have NO idea how much agonizing I went through just to even accpet the idea that I would be the final/main editor of his first, full-fledged book should I choose to accept this mission. At first, I assumed I would merely do a rough overview and just get it ready for a professional editor. No problem.  But after I kept saying, “until you send this to the editor”, he finally made it abundantly clear that he had no intentions of sending anywhere else afer I was done. What an honor. I thought I was going to throw up. But, you know, this strange thing happened: I gained confidence. I found a flow…momentum. I found my niche. Organic editing.

I’d like to think the way I work is very different than the big shots in that I like to go over the book live either over the phone or in person to get a real-time feel of what the person is wanting to convey to their audience and to get my questions about the text answered quickly.  The best part of this organic process is that the author has the authenticity of their voice without losing credibility, and I get to coach them through those moments when they either want to give up or hold back.  Their vision and dream of sharing the book within them comes alive! This is a win-win!

So now the question, “what does this have to do with your daughter?”  Great question. Do you see how free she looks jumping through the seaweed on the beach?  This girl is mostly fearless, extremely addicted to laughing and having fun and basically loves to enjoy life.  I was none of those things. Or was I? I watched her that day with a newfound respect for her freedom (which also happens to be what her name means).  Little did I know that by naming my children I was not only giving them a monniker to live up to, but that in those names I would find a reflection of a girl long ago enslaved by insecurity. A Dreamer. A Doer. A Bright Light. A Lioness of God. Freedom.

Ironically, through editing a book I learned to live my life unedited.

1st Guest Blog Post of 2012!!!!!

I am so honored to share this blog post with all of you!  A friend of mine from when I attended Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA, Jason Dombrow, is probably the most charismatic, funny, and lively person that I know.  Jason is an accomplished actor/comedian and professional organizer (NAPO member).  He has pursued EVERYTHING under the sun from music to finance (He was even a stock broker!)….seriously, I don’t think there is much this guy has not pursued. This is exactly why he is the perfect person to have as a guest blogger and I couldn’t have asked for a better person/blog post to start the year!!!!

Well, without further delay, here is his short, but sweet, thought for the day (or the year!) with quite the clever title, I must say!!!! Thanks again Jason!!!!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Start

——

Love

By Jason C. Dombrow

I seem to be forgetting a little too often these days. Who was I calling? Where was I going? What was I doing? What did I want to be when I grew up? When “reality” sets in, and I open my eyes to look at the circumstances of my life (at 35 years old), I’m left with two questions. “What happened? And, “How did I get here?”

I have spent years trying to figure it all out. To get it right. To find the one thing that will make me, well, “Happy.” Is living a life to pay bills the life I want? Highly Doubtful! However, as much as I struggle and fight for the life I want, I’m failing and falling behind.

Now, I know this may sound depressing. However, truth be told, what I’m forgetting here is that it’s perfectly okay to “Start Over Love!” (Clever title, huh?) After all, I’m the one in the driver’s seat! I’m the one who’s gotten distracted, who’s forgotten to follow my passion. I’m the one who’s stopped taking the needed actions to attain my goals. And even if life has found a comfy little groove, and another year is over, it’s not time to give up! It’s time to BEGIN! Now is the time to refocus – To find a way. The way! It’s NOT too late. I’m not too OLD. It’s time to LOVE MY LIFE again!

And if I forget, I know I can always “Start Over Love!”

Jason Dombrow lives in Los Angeles, CA and has a thriving professional organization business called  “Under the Clutter”. He also enjoys planning live comedy events in the Los Angeles Area as well as performing and posting hilarious and thought-provoking YouTube videos. If you are interested in contacting him, or learning more about him, you can go to Jason’s Facebook Page, or check out his organization website, Under The Clutter. ~NM

Happy November Everyone!!!

Ok, so life has been very distracting and very busy…but I am still on a very deliberate Pursuit.  I apologize for not keeping my end of the bargain to be consistent in my blog posts.  So, to help draw you back in, I thought I would ask YOU what you would Joyfully Pursue (or are already, if you are one of the lucky ones).  Please feel free to choose more than one option and also feel free to leave your choice in the comments if your choice is not listed (I needed to keep the poll fairly simple).

What is the Purpose- Of This Blog!?

So it became clear as this blog was being birthed, just how much I needed direction & relevancy.

When I first resolved to create this blog, there were so many thoughts & ideas running around in my mind. I was participating in a group coaching program with a mentor of mine (I can refer you; he’s great!), and he gave me some great input and advice.  I also sought the advice of other  dear friends who are traveling this journey on the “road” parallel to mine. I researched other blogging moms and mom-prenuers. I prayed. I wrestled. Then it happened: I made a plan. My heart got stirred to action and I set the next six months  (til October, 2011) into a skeletal outline of themes. I made a resolute decision to base my content on a monthly “theme”. One word to expound on weekly. Not bad right? Great, straightforward way to share the most powerful things I have been learning, as well as the most challenging.

May’s theme is PURPOSE which is how my first post was born (even though clearly it was February when I wrote it!). Seems an appropriate topic to begin with.

My goal is to stay on track with my monthly theme plan and get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. This is where YOU come in. My desire is that this will be a highly interactive place where we can meet up to share ideas, share what we are learning,  and ultimately share our lives to make this “pursuit” as enjoyable as possible…like an online drive-thru cafe. You don’t have to, but tips (verbal ones) are greatly appreciated. **wink** 

I am also going to be sharing the things that inspired me so far on this journey including the names of amazing success stories, titles of some great books I have read so far, artists &/or songs that helped motivate/inspire me, as well as quotes and advice relevant to the topic. I’m hoping it will spark for you to share as well, as I’m always looking for new ways to be motivated and inspired.

Another goal is to keep these posts short and easy to read. (These first two posts don’t count, okay?)

Seriously, I’m really excited for this journey and even more excited about the friends who have graciously accepted my request to have them here as guest bloggers. (Who knows! I might be tapping you on the shoulder as well!)
**Please be sure to leave me your info if you are interested in sharing your knowledge & experience with us!**

Thanks again for walking along with me…or even for just dropping in now & then.

Joyfully Posted from WordPress for Android

Hello world!

Purpose-

Man, does that word conjure up some tumultuous feelings for me! I’ve read so many books, watched so many videos, sat through so many sermons & seminars attempting to tackle this ominous subject. (I’ve found some pretty amazing material out there. I’ll be sure to drop names & titles in the future.)

Then I sit on a Sunday night & watch one of the most amazing reality shows on television (ABC’s Secret Millionaire) and watch that word in action…purpose.
I see posts on Facebook & twitter by friends & respected artists that are living their dreams because that word kept them going…purpose.
I speak for hours on the phone with friends trying to wrestle through life to find that word’s meaning on an individual basis. It’s so much easier to help someone else see WHAT we think they should be doing, but the reality is if you don’t find out for yourself, the reason WHY might not be so easy to see.

PURPOSE

Why do you do what you do? What do you love to do & why? Would it ever matter if you never got paid to do it?

These questions need to be asked regularly. Constantly seeking growth in your life & career is beyond imperative: it’s essential to the very pulse of your existence.

This year has already proven to be full of disaster & calamity. Egypt, Wisconsin, Japan, Libya… Additionally, there are so many people (and especially kids!) around the world & on our own US soil that are being devastated daily by their life circumstances, both unintentional & uncontrollable (sexual abuse, mental disorders, terminal health issues). What can you do right now to change your plot of ground in this life? How can you bring value to the people around you? You may not think you have much to offer, but this much I know: you were designed to bring something of value to this earth.

Let’s figure it out together & bring others along on our journey.

You can make a difference right now with what you currently have. What were you designed to do?

What is YOUR purpose?

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