Making Time For Your Hobbies

Ice cream dish

Hello! I may be a bit more quiet than usual right now, as Canada prep is INTENSE, to say the least. But I am continuing to make time for work, for fun, and for my hobbies.

If you don’t know this about me, I am obsessed with ice cream. I’ve actually had an ice cream travel blog since 2014 called In Search of a Scoop.

Making time to eat ice cream and to appreciate it, and share that appreciation, is a part of what lights me up.

What are your hobbies? Are you finding time for what lights you up right now?

If you aren’t, here are three suggestions for this week:

  1. Carve out time for your hobby. Maybe it’s 15 minutes. Maybe it’s two hours. But put it on your calendar.
  2. Make sure you’re making time for your absolute favorite hobby.
  3. Make a plan to invest in your hobby in some way, even if it’s way in the future. (Investing time and energy is valid, but investing money is a great way to treat yourself!)

I recently shared a guest blog with The Virtual Campground about the top five ice cream spots across the U.S. Collaborating with other people is a great way to spread the word about your work or passion, and it was my response to one of their weekly posts that led them to ask me to blog.

Check it out if you’d like some ice cream spots for your bucket list, and leave a comment with a) your favorite flavor of ice cream or b) the hobby or hobbies that you love.

Have a great week, and take care.

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Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

The Three Things Keeping You From Your Dream Life

Take a moment. Breathe. Check in with yourself, right now.

Are you content? Are you happy with life as it is?

I know the world is a lot. A LOT. But when you look at your own life, day to day, if you don’t have a resounding “yes, I’m happy!” under it all, I’d like to challenge you to look deeper.

No, I’m not selling a miracle elixir. I’m not curing cancer or growing money on trees. But I am sharing a workshop where I’ll share the three elements that I believe are keeping you from your dream life. It’s based on my experience in setting goals, accomplishing them, and learning to make the deliberate shifts required to bring my dream life to fruition.

Intrigued? I’m presenting the workshop, The Three Things Keeping You From Your Dream Life (And What You Can Do About It) for FREE in my Facebook group at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT and on Instagram at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT. (Replays for both will be posted after the live events.)

And if you’re ready for more clarity and a support system to help you create the life of your dreams, use my code EARLYBIRD to save big on my course and group coaching program, Crafting Your Life Adventure.

P.S. I was recently interviewed for The No Frills VA Podcast! We talk all things full-time RV, adventuring, digital nomad life, how I built my VA business from scratch and why and how I’m focusing on a coaching business now. You can watch the interview here or listen here, or wherever you find your podcasts. Give it a listen and let me know what you think!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! 
  • Take Ross’ online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

How to Break Out of a Funk

Woman at table, looking out window, bored

Okay, I’ll just be honest. I’m sitting here, feeling bleh. I don’t want to write a blog, I don’t want to be creative, and I don’t want to work. I don’t know what I want, but I wouldn’t say no to junk food, hugs, or a warm bed right now. Motivation is far away right now, that’s for sure.

So what do you do when you aren’t motivated, but you have obligations to keep? What do you do when you know you should get some work done, but you’re just not feeling it?

It’s honestly an experiment. Different moods and different people will find different things help them to break out of the funk.

Here are a few ideas to try when you’re stuck:
Talk to an accountability buddy
Talk to a loved one
Journal about what’s going on
Meditate
Get outside
Take a walk/run
Dance to a favorite song
Take a nap
Splash your face with cold water
Have a cup of tea or coffee
Eat a comforting meal
Play with your pet
Turn on an inspiring podcast
Make some art
Color
Try some aromatherapy
Play an instrument
Sing
Try a couple of yoga postures
Talk to a cricket

Ha! Gotcha. Made up that last one. Just wanted to see if you were still reading.

Can you relate to this feeling? I feel like it’s such a pandemic thing. Stress is running HIGH and sometimes we just aren’t in a patient mood.

What do you recommend to break out of a funk?

P.S. To break my funk tonight, it took my husband talking to me, venting to each other, being mopey, and then seeing that he needed to get some work done. Ultimately it was the idea of sitting doing nothing by myself that made me get a little more work done. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what works for you!

P.P.S. The wait list for my new course is up. I can’t WAIT to tell you all about it. Get on the list and you’ll be the first to get the details when they’re announced!

Five Self-Care Tips For An Uncertain World

I’m honestly at a loss about where to start this post. All of the mindfulness practice in the world can’t change the fact that we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, an American crisis of democracy, and that we’re dealing with the effects of systemic racism, made more plain every day.

On a personal level, I’m finding that calming my mind for yoga or meditation is extremely difficult, walking, while therapeutic, doesn’t solve anything once the walk itself has ended, and talking to friends or family may fan the flames rather than put out the fire.

I’m torn between the desire to veg out on the couch with a movie and the desire to throw all of my energy into work.

If I’m feeling this way, I know you might be too. So here are my top five self-care tips for an uncertain world.

1 Ground Yourself

Feel your feet on the floor. Take very slow breaths, and focus on your breath going in, holding for a moment, and going back out. If you can’t get any alone time for this, do it on the toilet. Seriously. (I used to do that when I worked a corporate job in a cubicle!) The best grounding is done outside, with shoes off, but any of this work will give you major benefits.

2 Savor A Hot Beverage

If you can carve out 5-10 minutes to do this, it’s an easy way to give yourself alone time that is just for you. Each morning, part of my routine includes a cup of tea. You may go with an evening cup, or a cup of coffee, or some hot chocolate. The ritual and experience of a hot beverage is so satisfying, relatively easy and affordable, easy to include in a healthy diet if desired, and a moment to indulge yourself.

3 Take A Walk

My daily walks have been giving me life for years. They are absolutely essential when the world is, pardon my language, a shitshow. I highly recommend taking your walk outside if at all possible. Freezing temperatures? Bundle up, and keep it short if you don’t warm up within 10-15 minutes. (Personally, by that time I’m usually feeling a lot warmer.) And if quarantine or safety or timing etc. keep you from getting outside, my next best recommendation is walking indoors while looking outside. (If you don’t have a treadmill, walking in a room will do!) Science shows us that looking at nature is calming, Getting outside is calming. If you need extra support or motivation for your walks, come join my free More Steps! Challenge on Facebook.

4 Read A Relaxing Book

One of the wild outcomes of the state of the world right now has been the realization that even a book of fiction can stress me out right now. (Yes, seriously!) I just finished a fantastic book for my book club, but the stories were hitting too close to real life (the struggles of immigrants, of lower-income folks) and I found myself dreading turning the page.

Luckily, I’ve still got other books that calm and center me. I try to keep two other books going at any given moment – a sacred or reflective book, for my morning routine, and a more practical or strategic book for personal development. (And, of course, my third book is fiction or fun, but I think I’ll be sticking to more mindless books in that realm for a while!)

5 Journal

I journal each morning, as soon as I get up, as a way of getting the cobwebs out, as outlined in The Artist’s Way. Whatever thoughts and fears are rolling around in my head get let out and recognized immediately, allowing me to go about my day with clarity. I highly recommend it – it’s been my practice for a couple of years now.

If you found these tips helpful, you might also want to join my group or grab your copy of my free resource, The Four Steps To Your Dream Life Blueprint.

What did I miss? Which of these do you find most helpful?

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

The Four Steps To Your Dream Life

Happy New Year! I’m so glad you’re here. This year has been a lot.

Are you feeling tired? Frustrated? Eager for a clean slate and a chance to start again?

This year has been especially challenging. Exhausting, honestly. So many stresses, so much more to navigate than I think any of us anticipated, whether due to job losses, sickness and death, racial justice struggles and politics, and of course the isolation imposed by COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions to keep us safe.

If you’re feeling disappointed that this year wasn’t what you hoped it would be, I feel you. I’ve been there too. I’ve had many years when I didn’t hit my goals or when I didn’t bother making resolutions, because progress didn’t seem realistic.

Thankfully, I’m in a much better place now. I’ve spent many years of work to get me here. I’m living the dream life I’ve created for myself – and though it may not seem possible yet, I believe you can create and manifest your dream life too!

Whether you’d like to establish new habits or find a new career, take charge of your personal life or get financial security, there’s a way to achieve it.

If that feels daunting or impossible, I’d like to help you. I’ve documented my own process and created a blueprint with the four steps to your dream life. I’d be honored to support you along the way.

You can head here for your free copy of the blueprint. It’s the roadmap to get you to the life of your dreams.

If you’re ready for the next step in your journey, head here.

P.S. I’ve started a new Facebook group, and we’ll be doing monthly challenges in 2021 to help us achieve our goals. January will be a “More Steps” challenge, so if you’d like to get more walking/outdoor time in your schedule, this one is for you. If you’re ready to work on consistency, supported by me and others on a similar journey, come join us!

The Role of the Sacred In Crafting Your Dream Life

Do you consider yourself to be a religious person? Or a spiritual person?

It’s something that I’ve struggled with somewhat for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have faith, to have a certainty or sense of knowing or trust about what’s coming.

I grew up Episcopalian, aka mainline Protestant, aka Christian, in a fairly liberal, “low” church that saw more diverse families than I ever saw in my classes at school. It wasn’t unusual for our pastor (a woman) to have us dance around the church, singing a song that wasn’t in our hymnal, or have us engage in discussion groups during worship.

Nevertheless, even with her occasional elaborations and interpretations of the beautiful Episcopal prayer book, I still grew up with a fairly “by the book” religious education.

Going through confirmation classes, I did my fair share of questioning, but I’m also a rule follower, so it didn’t occur to me to do anything but complete the classes and get confirmed in the church.

When I went to college, for the first time I felt like I had a wide variety of options for where and how I would worship. Some of my friends became Pagan (intriguing, though it never occurred to me at the time to seek it out), but after trying out an Episcopal church service in town (nice, but nothing too memorable for me), I found my home at our college Protestant services.

These ecumenical services brought together students and staff from very diverse backgrounds, and they were designed to give everyone a little taste of the familiar. So we’d sing a “traditional” hymn or two that I might have sung growing up, and we’d have a praise and worship part of the service, led at the piano by our African-American pastor who had grown up Baptist and gotten his bachelor’s degree in music. For that section, there was no need to hold the hymn in our hand – the pastor would call out the lyrics and we’d follow him for the cues.

There might also be another hymn or two from a different hymnal, and perhaps we’d have a guest performer, and every other week, I’d sing with the gospel choir, where I was usually the only white singer and learned every song by ear – an incredible contrast with my strict, traditional, white, Western music education. It was a wonderful immersion in another culture and a new experience for me.

I’d stand on the stage with the choir, singing gorgeous music that filled and uplifted the space, and I’d be in my element. Afterwards, people would come up to me and say how transformed they were by my solo, or how much they enjoyed our performance, how moving it was.

I always wished it would move me that way. I felt like something was missing, something was wrong with me. To be fair, music did sometimes give me glimpses of God, just brief moments, when all the musical parts would come together perfectly. But otherwise, I’d always feel like there’s something wrong with me. Jason Robert Brown describes it well here when he requests, “Let the music begin.” and “Longing to feel what you feel…music of heaven to open some path to your soul and let something glorious in.”

After leaving the utopia that my bubble of a college experience was in many ways (definitely lots of privilege there), I spent the next year traveling the country with a children’s theatre, followed by a few additional years of searching when I settled down in New Hampshire. In weeks that I had some flexibility on a Sunday, I made a point of checking out a local church (in hopes of finding the connection I’d been seeking). I enjoyed the contemporary Christian experience from a music standpoint, but found it didn’t resonate with me in terms of beliefs. I found lots of mainline Protestant services that reminded me of home (similar, but different), and I got angry at the Catholic church a couple of times. I also had a couple of truly frightening interactions that I won’t get into here.

Later, I found a ton of satisfaction as the accompanist at churches I found a home in. I loved the communities I worked in, and in addition to those occasional transcendent music, I was delighted to help other people find those connections to God through my music.

In more recent years, I’ve loosened up my definition of spirituality. Maybe I’m never going to feel that clarity I’m seeking every Sunday. Maybe it’s more a question of creating a practice of contemplation, where I seek wisdom, get in touch with my inner knowledge and seek connection with the universe. I connect with nature. I read. I engage in challenging conversations. Creating sacred time for myself each morning has evolved into one of my favorite things about my day, and I’m so thankful to have a morning routine that truly lights me up and makes my day better.

Working with my clients, I’m finding it’s really important to encourage them to take time for themselves to check in and be still each day. We all need that time for ourselves, and the consistency of a morning (or evening) routine offers us so many benefits. For some it’s meditation, for others prayer or reading and journaling, but it is essential.

Do you aspire to have a consistent morning practice? If you’re working to create the life you want, it may feel daunting to acknowledge where you are now compared to where you want to be. I encourage you to take one small step today to get aligned with your dream life.

Does the dream version of you make time for a prayer each morning? Practice gratitude before bed? Take a walk outside? You may not have the car of your dreams, or the abundant bank account, or the dream schedule, but I’ll bet there are steps you can take today to make your present more like your future.

So while spirituality or religion isn’t a requirement as you create your dream life, it’s important for all of us to have some grounding practice that centers us each day. And honestly, sometimes even very religious people, on the outside, aren’t taking enough time to do the work on the inside.

If you’d like help with this, let’s get on a call to discuss how I can help you get there.

Do you have a sacred practice? Does it light you up? If not, what’s one change you can make this week to get you more aligned with your future and best self?

P.S. Ross’ new holiday ukulele album (it’s gorgeous!) is available now – what a perfect gift for a friend or yourself – and Ross’ online ukulele course is now available for purchase, less than half price until the end of the year. And my new Facebook group is a great place to chat about next steps in your life and career!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums! His latest is a holiday ukulele album, and pre-orders are half price!
  • Become a beta tester for Ross’ new online ukulele course!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Hello Childhood, My Old Friend

A mistake that I used to make, prior to my personal development journey and even early within it, was to think that I had a “normal”childhood, without much to complain about, so didn’t need to bother examining my childhood for “childhood wounds”, “limiting beliefs” or issues from my past that might explain my current struggles. (Quotes to note my discomfort with the idea.)

Oh my goodness – how wrong I was! SO MUCH of what I struggle with today is related to my childhood. Does that mean I had bad parents? Nope! On the contrary, I think I had great parents, and I’m super lucky for all of the blessings I had and have, and for how supportive and attentive they were while also fostering my independence.

But the deeper I go in my personal development, the more I see issues popping up that make MUCH more sense when I put them in the context of my childhood.

Issues around food insecurity, where I get oddly possessive about my food? The recipe was a passion for food + seeing emotional food eating modeled + a few episodes of a family member eating my leftovers. Hello, food obsession!

Over the top anger when someone doesn’t suffer the consequences of their actions? Oh, of course, I remember, that’s something I saw play out as a kid.

Some of my struggles and personality quirks can’t be as directly tied to one incident, but it’s easy to find examples of the behavior that contributed to my mindset on that issue.

It is 100% normal for our childhood experiences to shape how we interact with the world. And we can’t change the past. But it is our choice how we choose to move forward and act today.

Personal development is the super power that gives us the tools to act more deliberately.

Does this resonate for you? Join my new Facebook group or contact me for a free exploratory coaching session, and let’s dive more deeply into this!

P.S. Two HUGE things in our world this past week. Ross’ new holiday ukulele album (it’s gorgeous!) is available for pre-order (you’ll pay half price if you purchase before it drops on December 7th, and you get a few tunes on the spot), and Ross’ online ukulele course is now available for purchase! Both are just in time for the holidays, whether as a gift for a friend or yourself. Please take a look and consider purchasing and/or sharing with your friends and family!

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

Ross and Jamie Featured On Podcast – NH Unscripted

“We never wanted to take on something that we knew we wouldn’t be able to do, that was just a complete pipe dream, but we always wanted to challenge ourselves as well.” – Ross & Jamie on NH Unscripted

Last week Ross and I got to meet Ray Dudley, host of podcast NH Unscripted, over Zoom. We shared so many fun stories with him, including the origin story, about Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater, the company we founded in 2010 in New Hampshire.

If you enjoy theater and musical theater, it’s a must-listen, but if you’re not, it’s also got lots of inspiration and takeaways for people who are motivated to do their thing and craft the life of their dreams.

Give it a listen where podcasts are found, including here, or give it a watch below.

And if you do, please let us know what you think! Lots of humor, lessons, and inspiration.

“So we just found a piano and just went for it. And there was a restaurant across the street – they were our captive audience…..we’d finish a song, and they’d start cheering!” – Ross and Jamie on NH Unscripted

Have a wonderful week, and take care of yourselves and those around you – if you’re an American especially, they probably need it this week.

______________________________

Supporting Our Blog

We are so thankful for your support of our blog and our careers! You can help by doing any or all of the following:

  • Purchase one of Ross’ albums!
  • Become a patron of our work!
  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links. There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds can support our travels. Begin your Amazon search here.
  • Make other purchases using our affiliate links. Capital One 360 is one everyone can take advantage of to save money! Signing up with Dosh is a great way for everyone with a smartphone to support us, and we also have options for aspiring virtual assistants as well as occasional and full-time RVers to save money.
  • Listen to, subscribe and review our theater comedy podcast, Finishing The Season!
  • Subscribe to our blog, as well as perhaps InSearchOfAScoop.com, and recommend our work to your friends and family.
  • Take music or theater lessons (group or private) from us, either in person or via Skype at TinyVillageMusic.com. 

Top Tips For Facing Your Fear

What a wild time to be alive, friends! I hope you’re prioritizing your own health and well-being. There’s so much stress and vitriol in the world, and if we let it consume us, it really will.

I read this quote this week and it really resonated with me. It can be really helpful to stop and articulate, with words (out loud or in writing, or even with imagery) how we’re feeling and what we’re fearing. Putting a name to it can make it easier to face. 

Here are some of the things I’m fearing right now: 

  • I won’t build my business to the level I dream about
  • I won’t be able to visit family and friends for a long time
  • I won’t be able to attend my friend’s wedding
  • I won’t be able to safely share my views & background and be my authentic self under our next administration
  • I’m not doing enough to help the causes I care about
  • My BIPOC and LGBTQIAA+ friends and those with disabilities (basically anyone that isn’t a white male, TBH) won’t be safe in the near future

Putting it down makes it clear that that’s a lot to navigate! No wonder I feel stressed sometimes, despite my healthy habits. 

Here are some of the things I’m pursuing to clear my fears: 

  • Daily work on my business & accountability checks with my mastermind & mentors
  • Weekly calls and video calls with friends and family, plus emails and text check-ins
  • Daily and weekly work to encourage voting, educate those around me and assist anyone with questions
  • Supporting the causes I care about, financially and with my time and energy

It’s so, so important to not only articulate what’s on our minds, but, when we’re in the right headspace, make a plan with concrete steps to feel better. If we’re feeling scared of the unknown, what’s one thing that’s within our control that we can make progress on? If we’re frightened that x might happen, what’s one step we can take that will listen the blow if it comes true? 

For instance, if we’re afraid that a wildfire could burn our house down, we should pack an emergency bag & create a plan. 

If we’re afraid of the outcome of an election, we should vote and encourage our friends to do the same, and lend our support to the causes and people we care about if we’re able to do so. 

We can’t eliminate the possibility of the things we fear, in many cases, but we can eliminate the fear by tackling it head on with the pursuit of new things, as Susie Moore says. Taking concrete steps feels good, mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

Can you relate to any of these? What is one thing you can do today to face your fear?