Posts Tagged 'Life lessons'

What’s Ahead for You in 2013?

Living in AZ provides us with unlimited possibilities for hiking, an activity that Ed and I both enjoy.

My bottom line description of hiking is taking a walk on a trail.  That said, all hikes are not equal.  Three weeks ago we revisited a hike in the Superstition Mountains. On that first attempt in January, 2012, we started out mid-morning on the Garden Valley Loop Hike, an 8 mile, 5 hour hike.  We got back to our car as the sun was setting behind the mountains, and pulled away with our headlights on!  For more of the drama- and the lessons learned- read my previous blog post.

As we re-walked the trail we were impressed with the challenge of the terrain. We didn’t remember it being so difficult: bald rocks, washes to cross without markings, trail signs (cairns- piles of rocks), many, many natural steps both up and down, narrow passes, broad flat lands…and almost always, rocks of various sizes covering the trail.

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks


Garden Valley Trail- cairns

Garden Valley Trail- cairns

The variety in the trail prompted me to take a number of photos.  As I walked over and around the rocks,  I thought about what a picture this is of our lives- and at this point in the year, Dec. 22, not only reflective of 2012, but also a potential picture of 2013 that is unfolding.

If you are evaluating 2012 (as I am) and you are planning 2013 (as I am), perhaps these thoughts can encourage you and prepare you for what lies ahead.

On the trail, sometimes the rocks were quite large- and our pace and progress were definitely slowed.  Does that describe any part of 2012 for you?  How did you handle that? What were the lessons? As you are looking at 2013, and writing down Plan A, do you have a Plan B?

Garden Valley Trail

Garden Valley Trail- large rocks


Garden Valley Trail- small rocks

Garden Valley Trail- small rocks


Garden Valley trail-uphill

Garden Valley trail-uphill

The majority of the trail was strewn with many little rocks-slowing the pace only slightly, requiring adjustment of immediate attention, while continuing to move forward.  I thought of the many daily distractions that become momentum-busters, and the necessity to focus on the big picture of what needs to be accomplished for the day, the week, the month. I recently was reminded of this planning tip: Before the end of the day, take time to write down the 6 things you wnat to accomplish the following day.  On the new day, start with number one and pursue it until it is done.  Then start number two.  Whatever is not completed moves to the next day’s list.  Brian Tracy calls this technique “Eat That Frog” and further says that if there are two frogs that must be eaten, eat the ugliest one first!

Sometimes we were climbing up- and sometimes we were climbing down.  During those climbs I was very thankful for the walking pole that I had: it provided stability, so that I could keep my pace fairly consistently, and gave me confidence that I had help if I needed it.  What’s your tool?  Do you know how to use it?  Are you using it?

Because we were constantly navigating rocks of various sizes, we were immediately aware of  ‘smooth,’ no rocks.  We definitely took advantage of the change!  Whoever was leading shouted out, “No rocks- let’s make up some time,” and we immediately quickened our pace.  When the terrain changes in your life, when opportunity comes, are you ready to move forward quickly and gather momentum- or do you fail to notice the change and therefore lose the opportunity to gain ground?

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Hikers are typically a friendly lot: they’ll tell you how far it is to the next marker, share a sandwich, point out an unusual bird or other animal, or share a tale


about someone who got lost on this very trail!  Many of us are in a ‘people business,’ regardless of our industry.  Are you ready to talk to people you meet? I have found that it’s best to have a friendly attitude: ‘to have friends, show yourself friendly.’  It is difficult to maintain a friendly disposition if you are sick, not feeling well, or are ‘under the weather.’  Do your best to stay healthy: maintain (or gain) a strong immune system.  If you need some assistance in this area, please give me a call.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my business is knowing that I help others to be the best they can be on many different levels, including their health.

Hiking is a great metaphor for facing a new year.  Both are best done with a good measure of preparation: mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Both hiking and a new year have aspects of predictability and serendipity.  Be prepared for both and enjoy the ride!

What are you looking forward to in 2013? And how are you preparing for it? I’d be delighted if you would share your thoughts and plans below.

Have a blessed Christmas and may your 2013 be your best year ever!


Lessons from My Garden

The mere headline will undoubtedly get some raised eyebrows from those who know me best: my family! Mari has actually learned a lesson (or two) from that pitiful 6′ x 10′ area that she calls a garden, which is  next to the concrete slab that she calls a patio?! YES!

You see, my mom and my sister are master flower gardeners. My mom thoroughly enjoyed the spring, summer and fall of the Chicago area with the celebration of color in our annual and perennial flower garden (read my previous posts of ‘She’s Quite a Lady!’). My sister Debbie grabbed onto that interest and took classes at Morton Arboreteum, eventually starting her own landscape design business.

Meanwhile, I learned to clean. Somebody had to take care of the inside responsibilities! So cleaning details were my responsibility while Mom and Debbie were  outside, happily making the side yard beautiful.

Several years ago Ed (my husband) decided that he wanted to plant something in the small plot of dirt that we had. In consultation with Debbie, he amended the soil in the fall. He dug out the dirt to a depth of 18″ and mixed that pile with Debbie’s recommendation of xyz. He replaced it into the area, and the winter snow covered it nicely.

Ed planted sunflower seeds that first year, as well as several grasses,  black-eyed susan and daisy plants.

Flowers under the Sunflowers

Giant Sunflowers, June, 2006

Goldfinch snacking in our garden, 2006

Ed had amended the soil so well, the giant sunflowers catapulted to the window sill of our second floor office! The flowers were huge, drooped pretty quickly, but the birds and squirrels loved them! It was awesome to know that those plants actually were growing in our little garden!

Another year Ed sprinkled wildflower seeds- that was a wild year- and that brings us to this spring, 2010. We decided we weren’t going to plant anything specific, just let the garden grow on its own.

And it did!

By the end of July, it looked like a jungle! We were almost afraid to open the blinds in the morning to see the growth. Ed was headed out of town, so I determined to clean up the garden on Saturday morning.

Here’s a starting photo of the project. Yikes!

The Jungle

Our garden is a great object lesson that left to itself, matter does not rearrange itself into order! (Seems like that is a Law of Thermodynamics.) Chaos begets chaos! I had to not only make a decision to change the appearance- I had to take some action!

Is there a lesson here about my life, about the lifestyle that I would like to have?

I think so.

What are your thoughts?

Come back for part 2.