A Second Look At January!

A Second Look At January! 

In between the glitter and gifts of December and the heart décor and pastel hues of February, sits poor January!  Yes, there’s the initial excitement of making goals and dreams for the new year, and my husband’s birthday is in January–but other than that, I tend to wish January and its winter drabness away!

Yes, I can be a January Grinch!

January Grinch!  www.mytributejournal.com

The view that typically greets me when I look out my window during the month of January is one of heavy, frosted air and snow encrusted scenery.

Winter in Utah!  www.mytributejournal.com

But as the sun peaked through the clouds the other day, I found myself reaching for my sunglasses–and in the spirit of being better at seeing the beautiful in the world around me, I decided to take a second look at January!

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My New January Perspective!

There is a unique peacefulness that comes during a January winter storm.  I have to admit that when my little corner of the world is covered with white, fluffy snow, it feels so calm and serene that for a brief time, all seems right with the world!

Enjoying winter weather  www.mytributejournal.com

Some of my favorite family memories are when we spent more time skiing and playing in the snow!

Beautiful winter weather  www.mytributejournal.com

If you look close, there really are beautiful pops of color amid the grayish tones of January!

♦ Cheers to healthy living in January!  Living healthier always seems to be a popular New Year’s resolution (or goal, if you prefer) made by most people every year.  After all the Christmas holiday indulgences, and before the Valentine’s Day chocolates and candies make their debut, I know that I am certainly more focused on exercising and eating better during the month of January than probably any other time of year! 

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With all the January clearance sales that are going on, you’re sure to find some great deals on new work-out clothes and equipment too.

Speaking of sales–you name it, and it’s usually on sale during January clearance deals!  We’re talking major mark-downs here–it’s the stuff that shopping dreams are made of!

January sales  www.mytributejournal.com

Bundling up for winter weather is always so much more fun when you feel stylish and you get it on sale…oh, and stocking up during January “white” sales is a must, don’t you think!   Some great deals I have come across this month are: fun scarves from Nordstrom, Steve Madden lace-up boots from Macy’s, a moto jacket from Forever 21, (yep, you read that right, and it’s so cute) and spring has sprung, at least in my bedroom, with new sheets from TJ Maxx!  I was also able to get a screamin’ deal last week on some new tools my husband wanted for his birthday.  I mean really, who knew tools went on sale!  Ha!

♦ The Sundance Film Festival begins in January!   A short drive from where I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, up beautiful Parley’s Canyon, the Sundance Film Festival kicks off in the quaint town of Park City during the third week of January.  Festival coordinators are good to make sure that a number of tickets are made available for local residents to attend this star-studded event–many at a discounted price.

Sundance Film Festival in Park city, Utah  www.mytributejournal.com

If there’s fresh snow, skiing is another great January option in Park City.  Usually Park City doesn’t get socked in with the bad air inversion like it does down in the valley, so that’s another reason to spend some time up there in January.

Enjoyring winter weather  www.mytributejournal.com

My cute granddaughters always inspire me to go out and enjoy the winter weather of January!

When all is said and done, there is nothing quite like coming in from the cold outdoors, putting on some warm pajamas and getting cozy in those brand new sheets you bought on sale while you read a good book!

January "white" sales  www.mytributejournal.com

What I’m learning now is…

I really am glad to live in an area where I can experience all four seasons, and I believe it’s always a good idea to gain better perspective on something that isn’t particularly your favorite–but to be perfectly honest, I will be glad when spring weather does finally come! 

What are some things you do to enjoy January and winter weather? 

–Mary

Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Living The Dream!

Healthy Wealthy And Wise!  Living The Dream!

I love a good party and making celebrations last as long as I can–so with the new year comes a new regular feature on Tribute Journal“Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!”

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!  www.mytributejournal.com

Every year, my husband strives to keep a good balance in his life and works hard to up his game in his ongoing pursuit to be healthier, wealthier and wiser!  I have to hand it to him, these are certainly worthwhile achievements–they’re why I’ve decided to devote a journal entry each month to exploring some good options in each of these categories.  While much of the information I will be posting won’t necessarily be new to you, I hope it serves as a friendly reminder to be proactive in your life and take action where needed.

Be Healthy!  www.mytributejournal.com

Being more healthy always seems to be at the top of everyone’s list of things to do for the new year!  I would imagine that it’s pretty fair to say that with all the information available to us on the topic of living a healthy lifestyle, that for the most part, we are all aware of what we should be doing.  Often it’s a matter of taking time to make a plan, then incorporating it into our daily lives that seems to stump us up!

As a nurse, I work with a lot of doctors who are qualified to offer fundamental advice for optimizing our overall wellbeing, but for this post, I asked my own personal physician for his input–without hesitation, he said that keeping track of our resting heart rate and blood pressure, along with other lab tests, such as blood glucose and cholesterol, was of utmost importance in order to establish a good medical care regimen.  By doing this, your values can then be compared to those recommended for people in your age group and treatment or medications ordered accordingly.  Obviously, these things can best be monitored by getting regular check-ups.

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Most pharmacies and drug stores have medical equipment for public use so you can tract your blood pressure.  Local hospitals also routinely conduct public health fairs where vital signs and other lab tests are done for free or at a minimal charge  

At these appointments, your health history can be reviewed and updated; any medications you are taking can be adjusted accordingly, as well.  Other tests that might need to be done can be scheduled at this time too.  My son-in-law is a doctor who is doing his residency in emergency medicine concurs with this wise counsel–he told me that it’s imperative to try and keep current on anything regarding your medical care…preventative medicine plays a substantial role in decreasing the likelihood of ever having to visit the emergency room!  Cole also said that too many people underestimate the havoc that smoking has on their bodies and the toll it takes on your overall health at a very early age!

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My husband is a financial planner, but if you were to ask him what it means to him to be wealthy, you just might be surprised by his answer: “Wealth isn’t always how much money you have.”  Often he will advise his clients to work hard to save and invest their money wisely so that they will have enough to live comfortably, as well as provide for a “wealth” of experiences to enhance the opportunities to live life more fully.

For our family, financial security has meant not taking on a lot of debt, with a few exceptions:  One being for schooling, which will ultimately help you be qualified for the best employment available to provide an adequate income.  A second one being for the purchase of a home.  Although my husband and I were in a position to help our children with most of their expenses when they were teenagers, they all worked part-time jobs while they were in school to help pay for some of their extracurricular expenses, by doing this they learned valuable budgeting lessons!

Saving money.  www.mytributejournal.com

Most money advisors will counsel that saving even a small amount, while you work towards investing as much as ten percent of your income in reliable investments, leads to better financial security.   

My husband also believes that it’s never too early to start saving your money and setting up a retirement account.  If your employer has a 401K retirement fund, if possible, he’ll usually encourage you to invest the maximum amount since the money set aside is on pre-taxed dollars and is automatically withdrawn from each paycheck, it provides a ready savings plan for those that have a hard time doing it on their own.

Using wisdom.  www.mytibutejournal.com

In his book, “Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter” Hal Urban states that we make two important choices regarding our minds:

1.  What we let into them.

2.  How we use them.

Mr. Urban says that we should be as selective about what goes into our minds as we are about what we put into our bodies.  “When we nourish our minds by observing, reading and studying, we can condition them to be more creative, to learn more quickly, to think more strategically, and problem solve better.”  Some people like to do Sudoku word games or solve cross-word puzzles to help their minds stay sharp and agile.  My husband and I have fun quizzing each other on current events or trivia questions like the names of groups singing certain songs on the radio.

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One of my favorite ways to give my mind a little mental gymnastics is to put technology aside for awhile each day and read at least one good book every few weeks.

Someone once said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste–and why would we want to…when used constructively, it can help us to both appreciate life and live it more fully!

       “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded in life lies in the difference of their habits!”  Og Mandino

I always have to chuckle whenever I ask my oldest daughter’s husband, Shane, how things are going for him and he replies…

“Just working hard at doing what I need to do and living the dream!”  

Here’s to our success as we continue to explore ways to strike a good balance in all we have to do as we live out our dreams–even those we didn’t know we had for ourselves!  Ha!

Finding balance in our lives.  www.mytributejournal.com

I’d love to know what health and money habits, or mind games you practice to help you keep plugging away at life.   

–Mary  

And So This Is Christmas…A Magical Time Of Year!

And So This Is Christmas…A Magical Time Of Year!

It is a delightful, but hectic time of year, and as mentioned in an earlier post, we all have to learn to “go with the crazy” a bit during the holiday season to help us better embrace the fast-paced fun.  However, when I entered my home one night last week after working and running errands, my pace slowed to a standstill–my husband had the Christmas tree lights on, he was fixing dinner, and music played softly in the background.  I remember taking a deep breath as I paused for a brief minute and looked over the scene at my doorway, I think I may have even sighed out loud, but I distinctly remember thinking …and so this is Christmas!

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As the holiday season evolves each year, I like to try and capture a small part of the “Norman Rockwell” feel that it seemed to have in my youth.  As I do, I can’t help but reflect on those things that truly are Christmas to me.

  • Christmas is festive trees and special decorations collected over the years.

West Elm ornaments  www.mytributejournal.com

These woodsy ornaments are a reminder of a neat holiday season our family spent with my daughter and her husband in New York City.

Olive Wood Nativity  www.mytributejournal.com

Nothings says “and so this is Christmas” more to me than this cherished olive wood nativity set I bought in Bethlehem several years ago on a trip with my parents.  

  • Christmas is wonderful music that sets the perfect holiday mood!

Christmas music  www.mytributejournal.comI love seeing my sweet granddaughter, Makena, play her little violin at various events throughout the holiday season.   

"Human Nature" Christmas program.  www.mytributejournal.com

Every year my husband and I pick a few special Christmas musical programs to attend.  This year he surprised me with tickets to the “Human Nature” concert in Las Vegas.  This show was amazing!  

  • Christmas is hearing the sacred story of Christ’s birth!

"The Nativity" book  www.mytributejournal.com

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One of my favorite renditions of the birth of Christ is the book, “The Nativity” by J. Kirk Richards.  The artwork is simple and beautiful! 

  • Christmas is loved ones…even if they are far away from home!

Christmas in Germany.  www.mytributejournal.com

My son and his wife are in Grafenwoeher, Germany, where he is a dentist for the Army.  Jake and Whitney won’t be home for Christmas this year, but they shared this picture of an enchanted holiday scene from a recent trip to Munich. 

  • Christmas is all those things that make it such a magical time of year!

The Magic of Christmas!  www.mytributejournal.com

I hope whatever Christmas is for you, that you will take the time to cherish all those things that make it such a magical season! 

I would love it if you’d share one or two things that gives Christmas special meaning to you!

Vintage Christmas card  www.mytributejournal.com –Mary