christmas

5 tools for happiness during the holidays

Holiday season is upon us. How did that happen so fast? Invitations to festivities are arriving, plans to be with friends and family are being made and happy times are being imagined by all … or are they?
Holiday season can bring with it a mixed bag of emotions. Yes, there is typically “one” in every family, company, event …  you name it …  who seems to ruin the good time. This holiday season I want to empower you to find your own personal happiness. No one can take your joy away from you. Only you can give it away.
 

Here are 5 tools to help you experience a happy holiday season

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1. Choose to go where you are celebrated!: There are over 7 billion people on this earth. I bet there are at least 100,000 who would celebrate you if they only knew you! Make a list of the people who boost your spirit when you are around them. Choose to spend time with those people and stay open to meet other amazing folks who will celebrate you too. Don’t get caught in the negative energy of those who complain, blame, and see through bitter lenses. Stay around upbeat people and you will experience more happiness yourself.

2. Set clear boundaries: Are you heading into a situation that you know may be a little sticky? Set a time boundary. Sometimes it is important to attend functions even if we aren’t exactly thrilled to go. Take care of yourself. Set a simple boundary of how long you can stay and then politely excuse yourself. You are responsible for your own well being. Take care of yourself as you would your best friend. Give yourself permission to do what makes you happy this holiday season!

3. Stay in the present moment: Looking back at holiday time can be a beautiful time of reminiscing. However, pay attention! When we are driving down the road, an occasional glance into the rear view mirror is a good thing, but what happens if you stare into that rear view mirror? You are going to crash! To experience the most joy this holiday season, enjoy each moment for the good that it contains. Don’t stare into the past. Glance backward at the beautiful moments and glance forward to the hope that is ahead of you, but stay in the present moment! This is where the peace is.

4. Brush up on your networking skills: Holiday season can bring new situations that feel rather awkward.  Brush up on your skills. Learn to introduce yourself appropriately and how to break into groups when networking. Invest in yourself and not just everyone else. Confidence brings great joy and a feeling of self-satisfaction. Take steps to boost your confidence and learn to mingle like a pro. Check out the free resources on my website, or contact me with a question. I am happy to help! 

5. Focus on bringing joy to others: When I was going through a particularly difficult holiday season, I decided to reach out to a cause my local church was involved in. It was not easy. I felt like I was dying inside, but I must admit, happiness came from reaching out to others even though I was experiencing great emotional pain. It helped me to get outside of myself and my own troubles. What you make happen for others will come back to you, so this Holiday season, spread a little joy to others and watch the magic happen in you!
 

Click below for another “Tool To Win”.
http://civilityconsulting.com/show-up-well/

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 Visit my webpageat www.jangossinternational.com  or email me atjan@jangossinternational.com . I would love to hear from you!

Was this helpful for you? Do you know someone who could benefit from these Tools to Win? Pass this information along and make their day!
Sending you many blessings this holiday season,

[title subtitle="Guest Contributor: Jan Goss-Gibson"][/title]

janJan Goss is one of those people you do not soon forget. She is a woman on a mission; a positive charge in a negative world, an agent of change. She has written numerous programs to help others live life to the fullest in their personal and professional lives. Tireless in pursuing avenues to communicate, she is also an accomplished singer / songwriter and award winning motivational speaker. Jan is a published author of two books, She Scriptures™, released in fall 2008 and her second book, Protocol Power, 21 Days to Professional Polish released in July 2010. She is a featured columnist and expert for various publications and is highly regarded for her First Impression Management and Business Etiquette expertise. Jan also blazed a trail as a consultant in the luxury real estate community in Austin, Texas for 13 years.

Born in Munich Germany, Jan was the daughter of a military officer. She and her four siblings traveled extensively in her early life (21 moves in 18 years!). As a result, a passion for people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds was born.

Executives, client facing professionals, and those in the public eye benefit greatly from Jan’s services. She is an expert in her field and provides a plethora of services for personal and professional growth.

Jan Goss founded the Austin School of Protocol, LLC in July 2007 and launched Civility Consulting in January 2011. She has been named America’s #1 Master Confidence Strategist. Jan studied International Business at American Intercontinental University and is a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington in Washington, D.C.

Jan resides in beautiful Austin, Texas with her husband, Richard Gibson.

The Journey: Life of a single girl

The Journey of singleness is a gift, an adventure, turbulent and chaotic at times, heartbreaking and rewarding all wrapped in one big bow.   Exploring who you are as an individual is really only possible to its fullest while single.  How amazing that is!  Of course, there were times when I felt like I was on the single journey way too long.  But as I look back on my journey, there isn’t one thing I would change….the good, the bad and the ugly!

Every season of our lives has a reason, a story to tell, a lesson to be learned, an adventure to be had, a heart to mend and learn from.  It’s life, and life is a continuous voyage into the next season.  Today, single women are finally getting noticed for more than just being single.  We’ve figured out that, although we are not married, we are strong and intelligent, make mistakes just like everyone else, date the wrong guys, own our very own companies, serve, are wonderful friends; we are on the journey just like the rest of the world.

Life goes by too fast and is too short to live in the future always thinking, “When this happens, life will be amazing.”  The journey of life is every season and creates us into the woman we were created to be.  Embrace it, love it, live it!  I embrace my past, the lessons I learned, the friends I made and the escapades I experienced.  There all “things” that made me who I am today…. they’re all a part of my journey.  The Journey of singleness helped me identify who I was as a woman and who my husband fell in love with.  It’s the journey that taught be how to be strong, confident, soft, loving, alive and worth the wait.

Today, as I reflect on the years past, I’m thankful for all that God has given, brought and loved me through.  It’s all set me on the journey to becoming the woman I was created to be and embracing who I am today.   Single ladies, you are worth the wait!  So embrace your journey, love it, live it!

Now, While You Are Single.

[title subtitle="Now, while you are single: Walking out your purpose before you say 'I do'"][/title]

Now, While You Are Single is a practical guide to help women discover and embrace their true identity in Christ through a journey of healing, ultimately revealing God’s purpose and plan for their life while they are single. 

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Purchase for you or as a gift here

[title subtitle="Design Labs"][/title]

Single ladies! We will be hosting Design Labs in the Austin area this summer featuring Heather’s book. Follow us on Facebook for dates & times.

Giving Birth to a Dream

And she gave birth to her first born, a son.  She wrapped Him in clothes and placed Him in a manager because there was no room for Him in the inn.  (Luke 2:7 NIV) Over 2, 000 years ago, Mary gave birth to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The salvation of mankind was dependent on Jesus coming to earth and living a perfect life, then dying as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

The divine nature of Jesus’ birth is, indeed, miraculous.  But, the human side of it is touching in itself.  Can you even fathom the thought of being a virgin and having an angel stand before you saying: “You will conceive and bring forth a son?”

Mary had thoughts, too, and asked, “How can this be, seeing I know not a man?”   No doubt, other thoughts raced through her mind, as the angel, Gabriel, stood before her.  “How will I ever tell my fiancée, Joseph?   How will I break the news to my parents?   What about the town people?  Everyone will look on me with shame and disgrace.”

Mary’s pondering thoughts vanished as Gabriel, said:  “With God, nothing shall be impossible.” She immediately answered with:  Be it unto me according to your word.” Nine months later, on the road to Bethlehem, Mary’s birth pains began and in a stable in Bethlehem, she pushed forth the Savior of the world.

Let’s take a look at women in our culture today, and see if we can relate to the same human reactions Mary might have had as she gave birth.

In 2009, Heather Frierson, gave birth to a dream God had placed inside of her.  That dream was the start-up of Created Woman Website, and then three years later she launched Created Woman Magazine.

The story goes that:

  1. She pondered,  “I’ve never done this before.  This is way out of my comfort zone.  It is risky and too huge of an undertaking for me.  I can’t do this.”   But, God calmed her fears with the words from Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
  2. She experienced pain as she went through months of planning and organizing the many details involved in launching a website and magazine.
  3. And then, with the help of so many people in the delivery room - - - writers, photographers, models, editors --- she pushed forth and gave birth to the dream God had placed on the inside of her.

Since that time three years ago, Created Woman has been a platform to encourage women to become all that God has created them to be.   You, our readers, have witnessed many dreams come to past.

You have read stories of:

  • women who became first-time authors
  • women branching into a new career field
  • women walking a courageous path when faced with breast cancer and other diseases.

Women, overcoming adversities in an effort to give birth to a dream and become all that God created them to be.

During this Christmas season may we remember the reason Mary gave birth to our Savior was so mankind would have a new beginning that would bring him into a relationship with Almighty God. But may we also remember that as part of that relationship, God puts a dream inside each of us He wants us to birth that will bring honor to Him.

Is there something that is just bouncing around inside of you longing to be birthed? Why not say as Mary said:  Be it unto me according to your word.”

Merry Christmas from all of us at Created Woman!

Two Kinds of Wisdom

  My family tells me I was born a 30 year old woman; that I've always been wise beyond my years.  When I was in grade school, my best friend wanted to sleep over for a third night in a row.  Most kids would jump at the idea!  I, on the other hand, told her that it would be best if didn't so that we wouldn't get sick of each other.  At the ripe age of 10 I told her that it had already happened to me before and I didn't want it to happen again.  That was the beginning of me trying to make well informed and wise decisions.

As adults we make hundreds of choices a week.  What kind of coffee am I having today?  Will I donate gifts or money this year?  Should I tell her that her eyeliner is smudged?  Choices are part of our daily routines.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.  James 3:13-18 (New International Version)

As the holiday season comes to a close, I encourage you speak in love and be humble about the choices you make. Even those of us with outgoing personalities do not need to broadcast every decision we make using every media forum available.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven, thank you for blessing me this holiday season.  Give me the opportunity to share your love and show your light through my words and daily choices.

What to Wear to: Weddings!

Tis the season, no, not Christmas, but wedding season! Every weekend is full of going to showers, engagement parties, and weddings. With all of these parties going on, how are you supposed to remember and coordinate what outfits you want to wear? Not to mention picking out shoes! Not to worry, we’re here to help make these decisions a little easier with these tips!

Wear something that’s colorful. It’s spring and a happy occasion so wearing something bright in the pastel family is sure to please.

J.Crew Lucille Dress in Cotton-Silk Faille

If you’re feeling really fashion forward, try a really nice wide leg jumper. It gives the look of a long maxi dress but you’ll certainly be unique in original look.

 Trina Turk Marianela Jersey Jumpsuit

Stick to the protocol. Check the invitation, if it says formal; opt for a long dress or a conservative cocktail dress. You can’t go wrong putting your hair up and wearing pearls, it will class up whatever you’re wearing.

Be sure to check the weather! Bringing a cardigan can always help in drafty churches and if it’s an outdoor wedding you’ll know to wear something light and breathable.

Time Saver- Invest in a pair of nude heels that look great with everything. Not only will this save you time but money, no more having to invest in new shoes with each dress! The below shoes I swear by!

Marc Fisher Joey Peep Toe Pumps

Giveaway

What you can win- A $25 gift card to Plain Ivey Jane's online site (valid only for clothing)

All entries must be received by Fri. May 18th, at 11:59PM PST. 2 winners will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, May 21st. Here's how to enter...

How To Enter (required):

  • Like Plain Ivey Jane on Facebook
  • Like Created Woman on Facebook
  • Leave a comment below and tell us which item off the Plain Ivey Jane site you’d purchase if you won.
For bonus entries please leave separate comments for each:

Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents 

Sarah Reeves- Originally from the suburbs of Atlanta, Sarah studied Apparel Merchandising and Entrepreneurship at Auburn University. After school she moved to New York and worked for J. Crew Corp for a few years before opening her own boutique in Austin, TX called Plain Ivey Jane (if you’re ever in Austin go say hello!). It's an overstock boutique that receives shipments of over 120 different brands and lines at a discounted price! Be sure to check them out online!

Preparing the Way for Christmas

“Black Friday!” The Thanksgiving turkey had not even had time to digest when Black Friday kicked off the season preparing the way for Christmas.  Shoppers lined up for hours outside stores that held the key to the best bargain.  Nobody seemed to care if they got trampled on - - -after all, a bargain is worth fighting for! Also in preparation for Christmas, the tree went up, the presents from Black Friday were wrapped and put under it, and the traditional holiday baking began.  Just like Santa, people were making their list and checking it twice in preparation for the big day. My question to you is:  “Have you made absolutely sure that your list is complete in preparing the way for Christmas?” As food for thought, allow me to set up an imaginary scene with you.

It is Christmas Day and you and all your invited guests sit down to eat the meal that has been carefully planned and cooked in preparation for this day. Suddenly the doorbell rings.  You open the door and there stood someone you didn’t know.  “Who are you?” you ask.   “I’m Jesus, the one whose birthday you have been preparing to celebrate today.  Don’t you recognize me?”  You quickly look at your guest list, and his name is not on it.  Suddenly you realize that in all the frenzy of preparing the way for Christmas, the honorable guest, “the birthday man,” if you please, has not been invited.

“How could we have missed sending Him an invitation,” we all ask ourselves. “Why, I even went to several Christmas plays at different churches.  I sent out cards with the message of the season:  “Unto you this day is born in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  [Luke 2:11]    “How could I have possibly not given Him a special invitation to His own birthday celebration at my house?”

The answer is simple:  We can know The Story of Jesus’ Birth, but not have Jesus living within our hearts. May I let you in on a little secret:  It is never too late to add Jesus’ name to your guest list and invite Him into your heart as your Savior.

Merry Christmas.

I pray you will have “the honorable birthday guest ” in your heart this year.

The Heart of the Matter

The stress of working in retail the last 15 years has given me somewhat of a Bah Humbug attitude during the holiday season.  In fact my holiday motto has been “We Work Because You Don’t Have To.”  Retail employees live and die by the Vacation Blackout Schedule; the schedule that has kept me working during the holidays these last 15 years and even dictated the date of my marriage.  But holiday stress doesn’t just fall on those of us in the Retail profession; it touches everyone. Take a moment and reflect on the true reason for the season.  Jesus.  We celebrate the GIFT of life.  The baby who would grow up and GIVE his life for us.  Strange that the topic of giving should create so much stress this time of year.

When we think of Christmas giving we automatically think of shopping, spending money, wrapping presents and giving sweaters, jewelry and knick-knacks.  But that is not the only way to give, nor is it the best decision for everyone.  If you’re shopping on credit cards to give gifts to everyone in the entire office or every member of your extended family you may want to rethink your giving technique.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.  Many rich people put in large sums.  And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.  And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.  For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41 – 44 (English Standard Version)

No, this verse is not telling you to spend your last penny on gifts when you need to pay rent!  It’s asking you to give with the heart of the widowed woman.  Giving is more than dealing with material possessions; it’s the heart of the matter.  Are you giving to suck up to the boss or because you truly want to bless him?

Baking cupcakes & cookies for the office, donating your hair, writing a poem, doing volunteer work or watching a friend’s child for an afternoon are all ways of giving and showing love to those we care about without breaking the bank.  Set budgets and guidelines for giving with your office pals, family & spouse then stick to them.  Money is tight for most people these days and with the rising costs of gas, milk and Starbucks discussing limits shouldn’t be considered taboo.

Stoplight Prayer:  Father in Heaven thank you for placing the desire to give in my heart.  Help me to understand how to bless people with gifts that show your love and mine without putting me / my family under financial strain.

Still Hungry?  Deuteronomy 15 instructs us to give cheerfully as does 2 Corinthians 9, which also reminds us that we reap what we sow (time, money, acts of kindness…).

Setting the Table

Preparing for the holidays thrills my soul.  The weather is cooler, well, it's supposed to be cooler.  We've had a few warm days, here in Texas.  I look forward to pulling out my boots and sweaters, and I think about decorating for the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas, in my world, mean lots of people. They mean tons of stories, games and laughter, music, great food and holiday decor.

One of my most-loved holiday customs is setting the table.  Preparing the table for Thanksgiving is no small thing in our home. It's a tradition that's been a part of our family for as long as I can remember.  Pulling out the china, cloth napkins and glassware is something I look forward to every year.  Once all the food is cooked and plated, everyone is seated around the table and ready to indulge in the much anticipated feast.  Then it begins; catching up with nieces and nephews, the retelling of hilarious events (often to someone's ultimate embarrassment), the loud belly laughs and the love that is not spoken of, but definitely felt.

As much as I appreciate a beautifully thought-out holiday table setting, creating atmosphere is of much higher value.  Now, don't get me wrong, I love the  dishes and decor this time of year brings. I do my share of decorating, but it's the spirit of the season that's most important to me.  Creating a culture of giving thanks is not only what this season is about, but also what life is about.  There's so much to be thankful.

Here are a few things I'm most thankful for:

  1. Family and friends. I have the most amazing and interesting individuals in my life. They're a variety of people who fill my life with laughter, challenge, hope, and even stress.  A little stress in our lives helps us appreciate the good times, right?
  2. Faith.  Bottom line:  This is my life-stabilizer.
  3. Future.  As important as it is to live in the moment, I believe we should plan for tomorrow.  I just met with my financial planner, Robby Shimanek ,and am more secure about my financial future today than I was yesterday.  Michael Hyatt has a great tool called Creating Your Personal Life Plan, a 5-step process to help you get from where you are now to where you want to be.  Everyone should take the time to plan for the future.

What are you thankful for?