Spread Some Holiday Cheer in 5 Simple Ways

A little bit of holiday cheer spread by a small wide-eyed dog sitting on grey chair leaning against a festive red pillow

Spread Some Holiday Cheer in 5 Simple Ways

Small wide-eyed dog sitting on grey chair leaning against a festive red pillow
It’s the little things that matter most when spreading holiday cheer!

How is your December going? Are you feeling the joy? I sure hope so! If you are, I encourage you to spread the holiday cheer to others, because not everyone is feeling it right now. Here are some fun ways to pay it forward and brighten someone else’s day.

1. Play Ding-Dong Ditch with a purpose.

Did you ever play this game as a kid? I grew up in a neighborhood with a lot of other kids, and I think we played it every summer. Now that I’m a grown up I can see the downfalls to this obnoxious game, so I figure if the kids are going to do it anyway, let’s do it for a FUN reason! We like to make some chocolate covered pretzels, ring the doorbell of a friend or neighbor, and leave them these yummy treats behind. I’m not sure if this makes me an awesome mom, or a terrible one...

2. Share some hot chocolate.

We have had a nice big snow storm here the last few years, so going to the local hills for sledding is one of our top priorities. Last year there was a family that brought a bunch of thermoses to the snow park and shared hot chocolate with us. It was so thoughtful and generous. I don't normally encourage people to take sweets from strangers, but this would be one of those extenuating circumstances. It made our day even more memorable, and motivates me to find ways to do the same for others that cross my path during this hectic season.

3. Deliver coffee & snacks.

My first born nephew was born six weeks premature. He weighed 4 lbs and the smallest little peanut I had ever seen. Thanks to the amazing NICU nurses and doctors he pulled through, and he is now a strapping young teenager. Even though they had their own lives and holiday stresses, the NICU staff never stopped serving the families around them that needed some extra TLC. Over the years we have made it a point to drop off some extra special treats at the NICU for them on Christmas Eve, as a way to honor the ways they serve others even when it’s hard. Who in your world goes out of their way to help others, and might be deserving of a little TLC themselves? 

4. Hand Out Candy Canes.

This trick came from a young friend that had a very difficult lot in life. She told me that her favorite part of the holiday season was getting a candy cane—such a simple thing, that many of us take for granted. I just about cried my eyes out when she told me, but I could tell that she was genuinely grateful for that little gesture. And it’s so easy to do! Carry some candy canes, and hand them out randomly to people you see who may need just a touch of holiday cheer in their lives. Circumstances are hard for a lot of people, especially this time of year, but a moment of simple joy is contagious.

5. Spend Some Quality Time.

We all show and receive love in different ways. Two very important men in my life feel most loved by me when I carve out quality time with them for talking, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. Time is our most precious commodity. No matter how much money is in your bank account or what our job title is, we all get the same amount of time each day so we need to spend it wisely. Sharing it with those who matter is the best investment you can make with your time, am I right?!

I hope you found these fun little ideas inspiring, and that they spur you on to share some cheer.

Click the button below to download a free printable of this list to keep as a reminder!

All the best,

Want more holiday encouragement and ideas? Check out some recent posts below:

The Ultimate Christmas Checklist

A hand taking holding a cell phone up to take a picture of a christmas tree glowing with white lights, the person savoring the moment instead of adhering to a rigid Christmas checklist.

The Ultimate Christmas Checklist

We are T-minus 19 days until Christmas!

A hand taking holding a cell phone up to take a picture of a christmas tree glowing with white lights, the person savoring the moment instead of adhering to a rigid Christmas checklist.
Remember to take in the beauty of the season.

The holiday season is in full swing. Are you feeling the holiday joy? Or are you feeling bogged down by all of the tasks and to-do’s that come with this season, or with the sorrows and bittersweet memories of missed loved ones and years gone by? 

Well, I am here to help. 

Throw out your never ending lists of things to do, and take a deep breath: here is the only Christmas Checklist you actually need.

Poster Version Dec 6th 2019 Ultimate Christmas Checklist

Want to print this to display as a reminder to focus on what matters? Download it and share it, too!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out my recent post about finding holiday joy.

All the best,

5 Reminders to Find Joy in the Holidays

My son and Mrs. Claus at Disneyland feel the holiday joy!

5 Reminders to Find Joy in the Holiday Craziness

My son and Mrs. Claus at Disneyland feel the holiday joy!

Thanksgiving has just wrapped up, and I am looking at the calendar between now and the end of the year, and--wow.  There is so much going on! It’s hard to admit, but finding joy in the holidays can be hard.

Please note: this post may contain links or referrals.  I receive no compensation for these referrals. I simply enjoy the products/businesses, and I think you will, too.

All of end-of year tasks, celebrations and expectations can add so much pressure to our daily lives. 

On top of the general busyness, there is also all of the emotional juggling that comes with this season.  Complicated family relationships, missing loved ones we’ve lost, or learning to navigate how to be joyful when someone we care for is struggling...it can all seem like a lot, and it can start to suck away at our own joy.

So what do we do to ensure that this season of joy doesn’t become a season of stress, sadness, or tension?

Here are 5 things I try to remind myself about during the holiday season:

1. Every family member matters.

That includes you! What do YOU need this holiday season to stay sane and cheery? Speak up and share with your loved ones. They probably have the same goal of Joy for the holidays, but if you don’t communicate your needs, how will they know?

2. It’s about your presence, not the presents.

Gift giving is definitely one of my love languages, but I would never want someone to go into debt or stress about buying something. Time is our greatest commodity so being present for your loved ones is gift enough!

3. Communicate needs, expectations, and extend grace.

My husband, Josh, and I were raised very differently. When we first got married we saw just how differently we viewed Stuff, Money, and Time management. Over the years we have learned to communicate our needs and wants with each other, and we get more in sync every year. However, it has taken a LOT of grace on both our parts to find our middle ground. Extend grace to those around you this Holiday season. You’ll probably need to be given grace at some point so pay it forward friend.

My family’s holiday journey has evolved so much over the years, and just when we feel confident and grounded in our traditions, the ground shifts again and we need to readjust. Such is life.  Communication and Grace are how we move through these readjustment periods, holidays or not.

4. Leave White Space in your schedule.

Give yourself some space to breathe during this busy season. Learn how to decline events or activities. Schedule time for your priorities, so they actually happen. White Space--or time when nothing is scheduled--should absolutely be one of those priorities. Otherwise every second will be filled; that has proven to be very unhealthy for our family, so I now make it a point to block off times on our family calendar where we are “busy” being not busy. Make no apologies for doing this.

5. Serve a stranger or neighbor. 

This ties into the gift of time idea in #2. This time of year can be really hard for some people, so keep an eye out for a need, and fulfill it with no expectation of reciprocation. You may find more joy than you would expect.

Coming up with a game plan for our holidays has been instrumental in cultivating joy filled holidays for our family. As you work through the remainder of this season, remember that as long as people are involved there will always be punches to dodge, areas to be flexible, and soap boxes worth standing on. I think the key to keeping our joy is having the wisdom to know when to do what.

If you are looking for more resources on achieving a peaceful holiday season, I would highly suggest checking out Learn, Do, Becomes FREE Holiday Workshop. They have some amazing tools.

Please tell me I’m not alone! What are some steps you take during the holidays to cultivate joy?

All the best!

5 Important Questions

5 Important Questions

 

We have all had a friend or family member that wanted us to buy something from them. Makeup, clothes, furniture, and the list goes on. I personally love shopping local and love supporting my friends and family but what about that age old saying “don’t mix business with pleasure”?

After years of serving people, I’ve come up with a way to find out if working with someone will be a good fit, regardless of if they are a friend of family member. The first step is to visualize that person, then ask yourself…

 

Is this person an expert in their field?

Malcolm Gladwell discussed becoming an expert in his best-selling book, “Outliers”. He proposes that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at any given topic. That’s about 10 years. So it takes about 10 years of intentional, mindful studying and practice to finally be able to claim expert status. Look at any given field. Electrical, beautician, auto mechanic, clothing designer, ect. When considering an investment opportunity, I’m forced to ask myself “has this person done the work and put in the time to become an expert?”

Is this person trustworthy with personal information?

If someone gossips to me, then the chances are high that they are gossiping about me to someone else. Sharing stories to communicate a point can be done in a way that doesn’t violate someone’s trust. When I consider working with someone, I always take into consideration how they speak of past client relationships. I have decided that I only partner with people who are transparent and honest enough to give it to me straight, but not too boisterous or open mouthed about personal information… especially about an investment or big decision. A real estate agent should ONLY be speaking with you and their designated broker about your transactions. Period. No excuses.

Can I ask questions without being made to feel stupid?

Every profession has inside language. Heck, every FAMILY has inside language! If someone is specialized in a field, they should feel secure enough to explain it to me in a way I can understand. If they aren’t willing inform me or take the time to answer my questions, I probably don’t want to work with them. Especially if it’s a financial investment! A sure-fire sign of expert status is that they can clearly lay out the stages or process to their profession without inside language or jargon.

Can I accept constructive criticism from this person?

This goes hand in hand with being able to ask questions. If I am going to trust someone with my time and money, and they have the heart of a teach and want to help me, there are bound to be things that come up where I just don’t know what is best… typically it’s because I don’t do it full time! So if my electrician is able to explain the rationale behind a process, I’ll probably trust their experience enough and go with their opinion. This is only after I am secure that they have my best interest in mind, not their bank account.

Is this person level-headed in difficult situations?

Financial purchases can turn emotional real quick! I have found that a big portion of my job is to help keep people grounded and focus on the facts at hand. If someone folds under pressure
over small matters, it’s safe to presume they will fold under big matters too. Making sure you have a level-headed viewpoint is so important when it comes to negotiating repairs and closing terms. You need someone who can help find solutions.

If your answer was no to any of these questions, then it sounds like you probably need to have a conversation with this friend of family member. If it’s not a good fit, that is okay! Explaining to them ahead of time that you are concerned about the relationship being at risk is a totally valid. Any friend worth their weight will understand and may even have the same thoughts.

On the other hand, if you were able to say Yes about the person you were visualizing, then it is probably fine to work with them! Personally, I have found that friends and family members tend to do a BETTER job and care more about protecting me than someone that I don’t have a connection with.

Get the 7 secrets to a stress free transaction here! 

5 Things To Avoid When Selling

5 Things To Avoid When Selling

 

Put your bright yellow buyers cap on with me and imagine you’re searching for a new home. A place you can be comfortable inviting your friends over for a birthday party, or hosting the next family holiday. You’re scrolling through the different properties online and decide to go see a few in person… now ask yourself, what differentiates the properties to you? What helps you filter the properties you just want to see online and which you are compelled to see in person?

 

After decades of witnessing just about every listing faux pas, misstep, and bad marketing strategy out there, I’ve compiled the top 5 things to avoid when selling your property. Let’s get your listing from one they just want to see online, to one they are compelled to see in person!

1. Waiting to market

In today’s modern social media world, there are plenty of ways to create intrigue before your house actually goes live on the MLS. Preliminary marketing and preparation is just as important as the actual marketing itself! Make sure your property is marketed and targeted on social media platforms and to the right audiences.

2. Showing only by appointment

Having people coming in and out of your house all day long is not the only alternative to showing by appointment only. But I gotta’ tell you, the most common reasons a listing doesn’t get shown is because there is a “by appointment only” requirement for the listing. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to want by appointment only, but if there are only a few hours each day the house is accessible to be shown then the likelihood of the buyer viewing and making an offer on another home goes up dramatically. To ease the anxiety of showings, I’ve come up with a sellers care package, but just understand that if you require an appointment, there are some buyers that will never even get the chance to see your property in real life.

3. Bad photos

We all know that a picture says a thousand words. Having clear photos is critical to communicating a properties value to prospective buyers. Not only do you need clear, well cropped photos, but you need photos of the right areas! Places like kitchens, living rooms, and areas of the property that stand out should be the only photos listed. You want to encourage them to come and see more!! Not give it all up at first glance. Striking the right balance is extremely important.

4. Ignoring Curb Appeal

Thanks to shows like Fixer Upper, the DIY craze has inspired and empowered an entire generation to take on rehabbing their homes instead of buying brand new. What this means to existing properties is that they no longer need to take a shot in the dark and replace the floor coverings. Or remodel the kitchen before someone will want to buy. The one thing that people will notice right away, and draw them to come inside and see more is the first impression. The curb appeal! Add some cemetery to the front porch. Consider painting your door a bold, bright color. Clear out the dead plants, and maybe spread some grass seed. Remember… first impressions may be all you get when selling, so make it count!

5. Not working with a professional

Everyone knows someone who sells real estate. The threshold for entry is entirely to low. If you’re serious about selling your property for top dollar, work with someone who has a heart to serve, and the background to cover your ASSet 😉 If you have a friend that is a real estate agent, check out the 6 questions you should ask yourself before working with a friend or family member in the biz.  

Here’s the deal, if you want to sell your property for top dollar, you need to speak with someone who can help reduce your anxiety, help you take calculated risks, and bring you from just another property on the market to a property that will actually sell.

Get the 7 secrets to a stress free transaction here! 

Let’s get a little personal

Let’s Get a Little Personal


This post is a little personal.

Today, I am sharing about my dad’s journey with selling his house. How he came to live with my family, what brought him to the decision to sell his house in California, and what having a multi generation household looks like for us.

See! It’s a little personal! But I’m not all business… so here goes.

How my dad came to live with my family

In 2016 my dad’s wife passed away. After 23 years of marriage, 7 kids and 10 grandchildren, a child’s death, and beating a typically fatal illness together, my step mom went home. Her being gone left my dad heartbroken, which led to some difficult circumstances and decisions. They were best friends and overcame a lot together.

Why he chose to sell

On December 27th of 2017, my dad fell and hit his head on the concrete so hard that he had 7 brain bleeds. After months of praying and treatment, he eventually woke up. He was getting stronger every day and it seemed best for him to leave the hospital and move in with one of us kids, so I flew down to Sacramento and drove him back to Washington! I had flown down 12 times in a 5 month period so I was glad to start finding some stability again.

After a few months of healing, he decided to go back to down to his house in California and spend some time. While he was there, he realized that it was time to sell the house and find a new adventure.

Our new normal

When he arrived back in Washington and let me know that his house was for sale, the reality hit me hard. I reviewed his listing contract and helped him sort through the different phases of a real estate transaction. This past week was so serious. We flew down to his house on Tuesday, and within 5 days we cleared out the accumulation of 5 generations. We are so grateful to friends and family for helping out! Needless to say, it was emotionally and physically exhausting.

The house just closed yesterday, and we are finalizing the paperwork and figuring out what it looks like to live together as 3 generations under 1 roof. Truth be told, he is a great house guest. He and I did not have much of a relationship while I was growing up so we are getting to know each other in a unique way.

Takeaway

2018 has been a difficult year. I have been stretched and wrung out more than I have ever experienced before. Family is a strange thing – we all view it differently and the titles of the different people in our life can stir up all sorts of different emotions and memories. My personal and professional skills have been tried every step of the way this year and I can honestly say my compassion and humility have grown far greater than it ever could have without the trials we have gone through.  Maybe that’s the “take joy” part of Romans 5.

It seems like life is just that way – trials WILL come. Situations WILL go wrong. But how we react to those realities is what refines us.  I heard this phrase and just love it:

When you squeeze an orange, you get orange juice

When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemon juice

And when you squeeze a human – whatever is stored up inside comes out.

 

This life will never be perfect. We are guaranteed to have valleys and mountains… but the choices we make every day are what make up the stuff that comes out when we are under pressure & being squeezed.

My goal is for compassion and truth to come out when I’m squeezed. I have a LOOOONNNNGGG way to go, but I’m closer every day. What comes out when you’re under pressure and are required to perform?

Winter Tips

5 Easy Winter Tips

 

Winter can be a formidable foe, but these 5 tips will help you be ahead of the ball this winter… instead of behind it.

1. Store your outdoor tools

Detaching your hoses and storing them somewhere covered for the winter will extend their lifespan. It would also be wise to cover your spigots with a faucet cover so the winter cold doesn’t get into your pipes and cause unnecessary damage.

Read moreWinter Tips

Holiday Joy

Holiday Joy

 

 

The Holiday’s are such a loaded time of year. Our “To Do” list and priorities for the 4th quarter of every year add so much pressure to perform that it makes the Holidays extra emotionally confusing. While some of us are trying to lay aside our hoarder tendencies, others show love through gift giving. While some are warm and cozy at home, others are struggling just to put a roof over their head. Learning to balance it all can almost feel like learning to walk a tight rope… which would look like a joke for most of us. 

Read moreHoliday Joy