A Thankful Season


“Offer grace for the bounty of goodness. Raise the song of harvest home, the glass of good cheer, the heart overflowing with joy. We have so much for which to be thankful. So much about which to smile, so much to share. So much, that in this season of plenty; we can embrace the season of relinquishment. All we have is all we need.”  

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach ~


30 Ways To Live A More Meaningful Life

Each day I rise with the intention of thinking positive thoughts and putting forth the effort to build deeper connections. That instant when my consciousness awakens and my eyes open, drawing in sunlight, I feel blessed to have another day of life. Today will be a great day!

Once my day progresses, however, constant road blocks – be them emotional, financial, mental or in my case physical – can bring me down. Although I find it irrational to let outside forces control my mentality, difficulty breathing can make mole hills seem like mountains. Patience gives way to frustration, causing me to become irrationally critical of my abilities. Then the worst outcome: Self-Doubt. (Cue dark music.)

Whenever you’re getting upset with life’s circumstances, stop! Realize negativity is a downward spiral so before things get worse, make the decision to take a time out and clear your mind. That might mean doing yoga, going on a run, gardening or playing your guitar. I, myself, enjoy cooking. There’s nothing more enjoyable to me than flipping through a “Cooking Light” magazine, with it’s enticing recipe articles, vibrant photos and creating a delicious meal. Once I’ve calmed down, or as yogi’s say, “Centered myself,” I’m eager to make the most the remaining daylight. But has wasted opportunities, laziness and poor decisions rendered my day useless? Shall I just chalk this one up as a loss? There is a great quote by Maria Robinson, stating:

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Nothing could be closer to the truth. There is something so powerful in the idea that any moment could change your destiny. So make the most of these moments and don’t squander them by being negative and lazy. A wise man, when asked how he is so productive, said he doesn’t sleep. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” He obviously took seriously the mentality of making every moment count! But before you can begin this process to achieve a meaningful life, you have to stop doing the things that have been holding you back.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you.  If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you.  You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot.  Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth.  And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.
  2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on.  No, it won’t be easy.  There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them.  We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems.  That’s not how we’re made.  In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.  Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time.  This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.
  3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself.  Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.  Yes, help others; but help yourself too.  If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now. 
  5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you.  Don’t change so people will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love the real you. 
  6. Stop trying to hold onto the past. – You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one.
  7. Stop being scared to make a mistake. – Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.  Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  8. Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – We may love the wrong person and cry about the wrong things, but no matter how things go wrong, one thing is for sure, mistakes help us find the person and things that are right for us.  We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past.  But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future.  Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
  9. Stop trying to buy happiness. – Many of the things we desire are expensive.  But the truth is, the things that really satisfy us are totally free – love, laughter and working on our passions.
  10. Stop exclusively looking to others for happiness. – If you’re not happy with who you are on the inside, you won’t be happy in a long-term relationship with anyone else either.  You have to create stability in your own life first before you can share it with someone else.  Read Stumbling on Happiness.
  11. Stop being idle. – Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t there in the beginning.  Evaluate situations and take decisive action.  You cannot change what you refuse to confront.  Making progress involves risk.  Period!  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  12. Stop thinking you’re not ready. – Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises.  Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first.
  13. Stop getting involved in relationships for the wrong reasons. – Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason. Fall in love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.
  14. Stop rejecting new relationships just because old ones didn’t work. – In life you’ll realize that there is a purpose for everyone you meet.  Some will test you, some will use you and some will teach you.  But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you.
  15. Stop trying to compete against everyone else. – Don’t worry about what others are doing better than you.  Concentrate on beating your own records every day.  Success is a battle between YOU and YOURSELF only.
  16. Stop being jealous of others. – Jealousy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own.  Ask yourself this: “What’s something I have that everyone wants?”
  17. Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Life’s curveballs are thrown for a reason – to shift your path in a direction that is meant for you.  You may not see or understand everything the moment it happens, and it may be tough.  But reflect back on those challenges. You’ll see that they eventually lead you to a better place, person, state of mind, or situation.  So smile! Let everyone know that today you are a lot stronger than you were yesterday.
  18. Stop holding grudges. – Don’t live your life with hate in your heart.  You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate.  Forgiveness is not saying, “What you did to me is okay.”  It is saying, “I’m not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness forever.”  Forgiveness is the answer…let go, find peace and liberate your self!  And remember, forgiveness is not just for other people, it’s for you too.  If you must, forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
  19. Stop letting others bring you down to their level. – Refuse to lower your standards to accommodate those who refuse to raise theirs.
  20. Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe it anyway.  Just do what you know in your heart is right.
  21. Stop doing the same things over and over without taking a break. – The time to take a deep breath is when you don’t have time for it. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.  Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly.
  22. Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
  23. Stop trying to make things perfect. –  From my experience, if you spend all your time perfecting something and never putting it out into the world, it’s just wasted time and talent. The real world doesn’t reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done.   Read Getting Things Done.
  24. Stop following the path of least resistance. – Life is not easy, especially when you plan on achieving something worthwhile.  Don’t take the easy way out.  Do something extraordinary.
  25. Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  26. Stop blaming others for your troubles. – The extent to which you can achieve your dreams depends on the extent to which you take responsibility for your life.  When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibility – you give others power over that part of your life.
  27. Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out.  But making one person smile CAN change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.  So narrow your focus.
  28. Stop worrying so much. – Worry will not strip tomorrow of its burdens, it will strip today of its joy.  One way to check if something is worth mulling over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter in one year’s time?  Three years?  Five years?”  If not, then it’s not worth worrying about.
  29. Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – Focus on what you do want to happen.  Positive thinking is at the forefront of every great success story.  If you awake every morning with the thought that something wonderful will happen in your life today, and you pay close attention, you’ll often find that you’re right.
  30. Stop being ungrateful. – No matter how good or bad you have it, wake up each day thankful for your life.  Someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.  Instead of thinking about what you’re missing, try thinking about what you have that everyone else is missing.

I’m all about personal growth but sometimes achieving goals can be overwhelming, especially when it means battling deep, psychological habits. I advise picking one goal each day and consciously applying all your thoughts and actions to improving. After a month, perhaps you will look back and see how your mind, spirit and relationships have changed for the better.

~ Breathe This Life ~


~Homemade Solo Sushi Party~


This past weekend I had a craving for sushi. Some people get a hankering for pizza, hamburgers, tacos, chocolate, ice-cream. All that stuff is delicious but sushi is where it’s at!

I’m not prejudice; I’m open-minded when it comes to stuffing my pie-hole with new creations or old favorites, in a restaurant or homemade. Yesterday I decided that enough was enough!  I HAD to quench my desire for quality hand rolls while practicing my japanese cooking technique. (Did I mention that I love to cook??)

I scanned my sushi book and decided on Inside-Out California and (cooked) Salmon rolls. While I’m definately getting better at layering the ingredients so the rolls come out even and pretty, i’m still on my feet the same length of time. Im passionate about cooking; the whole process of mixing, measuring and chopping puts my mind at ease. I get in the rolling groove and totally forget the intense strain on my leg and back from standing……until I’m finished. Then it hits me like a truck. Time to lie on my bed with my feet up, bi-pap on and electonic stimulants off……sleepy time.

***Totally worth it.***

1st night's plate of inside and outside rolls.  *Chopsticks are fun!*

1st night’s plate of inside and outside rolls.
*Chopsticks are fun!*

The next day I had some rice and toppings left over but no nori paper. Bahahaha…..like that will stop me?? Picked up some Nori and an extra avacado from the grocery store and got chopping. “Sushi Night: Part Deux.”

I was having so much fun and so suprized at how well the rolls came out that I had to document them in living color! (Speaking of “In Living Color”, I’m so excited about seeing Jim Carey’s new film, Dumb and Dumber To.)

Anywho, I hope you enjoy the photos and decide to try some sushi making yourself. It’s a blast! In addition, if you have any good sushi-related stories or questions, feel free to comment.

Alrighty Then……..


Rinse Sushi Rice, dump into automatic rice cooker, click “ON” button and presto! Perfect sushi rice! ** blend rice with ricewine/sugar mixture **

Mixing chopped crab meat, mayonnaise and a bit of paprika and pepper. Variation on the traditional crab stick used in a Cali-Roll.

Mixing chopped crab meat, mayonnaise and a bit of paprika and pepper. Variation on the traditional crab stick used in a Cali-Roll.


Tools used for Sushi Making: Cutting board, shashimi knife, bamboo mat, Nori, Mirin. Ingredients used: Imitation crab mixture, avacodo, cucumber, chopped bbq’d salmon, carrots and cream-cheese. Sesame seeds.


Half Nori sheet for a smaller (in diameter) roll. They look like baby rolls….(see following)

I call it "Mini-Roll." Yes, I know Sherlock, this is obviously from a different day. Only pic I had to show a size comarison.

I call it “Mini-Roll.”
This is not from today but it the only picture I had to show a size comarison.


Closer look at ingredients. Bamboo sheet is covered with plastic wrap for “inside out” rolls.


A Head-to-Roll comparison.


The Nori brand of choice and California Rolls (some with cream cheese.)


Close-Up view of Cali-roll serving platter.


Sushi Chef Tom, at your service 🙂

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

~ Joseph Addison

When the three essentials are the same “something,” you’ve found your passion!   Make it your purpose!

 ~ Breathe This Life ~