Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christine Kane's "Resolution Revolution"

Our dear singer-songwriter amazing friend Christine Kane has once again published her "Resolution Revolution" article to kick off the new year and has encouraged her fans to use it on their own blogs. I have tremendously benefitted from this approach to focusing on a word that helps me get through the year in a better way than I might have otherwise. Rather than try to put my own spin on her idea - this year I give you Christine Kane herself. Be sure to check out her blog. In the month of December she allowed guest bloggers, including yours truly, to talk about their words of 2008. I have been getting so much inspiration from these posts. Read, enjoy, and be inspired!! And set a great intention for's going to be a great year!!!

Resolution Revolution: A Better Way to Start Your Year
by Christine Kane

The regulars at the gym were joking about it early in December.

"Have a good workout now," they said. "Cuz you know what it's gonna be like in about three weeks!"

Word of the Year That's because all the folks who have - yet again - made their New Year's Resolutions will show up. They'll stick around for a while. Then, around Valentine's Day, the regulars get to have their old gym back.

Last week, I overheard a radio talk show. The hosts were discussing the most common New Year's Resolutions and the average success rate. Among the most common were Get Organized, Be More Spiritual, Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, and Spend More time with Family.

I don't know about you, but this kind of To-Do List approach to life transformation does little to inspire me. And it doesn't surprise me that the success rates were low.

Why Resolutions Don't Work

The reason most resolutions don't work is that they address only one level of your life.

The DO level.

It's the DO-HAVE-BE model.

It goes like this:

"I will DO this thing." (i.e., Lose weight) "So I can HAVE this other thing" (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)

The average New Year's Resolution doesn't address the core of the issue:

The "BE" level.

The best order for creating positive change in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

When you start only on the DO level, then the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can't overcome.

A Better New Year's Ritual

Several years ago, my friend Kathy and I decided that, instead of making resolutions, we would pick a word that would guide us throughout the year. It would be our touchstone. It would remind us of living our lives at the BE level.

This didn't mean that we didn't take action. It meant that our actions were inspired from the BE level. In fact, I took more action than ever with this new approach!

For two years, I've blogged about this inspiring way to begin the year. The response has been huge. So have the success rates! I regularly hear from people who have created big changes in their lives because they focused on one word.

How to Choose A Word

Look through the list below. Get quiet and listen to your Wise Self. Pick a word.

Then, hold that word in your mind throughout the year, and let your word guide you to take action.

Here's an example:

Let's say you're one of the many people who would normally choose "Get Organized." You're tired of chaos and clutter. So, you think, "I need to get organized. That'll be my Resolution."

But then you read this article. You decide to try this new approach.

You sit with your clutter. You spend a few days pondering words. You realize in an "Ah-Ha!" moment that you hold on to lots of things. You're scared to let go.

So you choose the word "Release" because it inspires you in a bigger way than "Get organized."

So, every time you approach your clutter you remind yourself of that word. "Release," you say softly. You start to let the clutter go.

Eventually, you realize that you're still holding on to lots more than just physical clutter. You realize that you hold onto resentment at old relationships. "Release," you remind yourself.

You realize that holding on is affecting your diet and health. "Release" applies to some of the extra weight you've gained as well. Throughout the year, you can see clearly how much you hold on. "Release" is your touchstone. It grows you throughout the year. It becomes your guiding force, not your harsh standard.

Your clutter became your teacher simply because you shifted your intent towards it. This wouldn't have happened if you'd opted only to "Get Organized."

What word to choose?

Many people know immediately which word resonates with them. For others, a little contemplation is required.

As you read through the list of words, see if one stands out. It's tempting to choose four or five, believing that you can do it all! (Or that you're so messed up, you can't possibly narrow the mess down to one!) I recommend that if you can't choose just one, choose no more than two.

One is ideal. It gives you focus. If you master that one word, you can choose another one in June.


































































Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I couldn't resist this one last post today. The glorious sunsets here always mellow me out, touch me deeply in a spiritual way, and make me feel so grateful for all we have been given. Abundance, the Lord's incredible abundance, showing itself to us again today in a spectacular way. Thanks to Christine Kane I no longer make resolutions for the New Year but instead choose a word to focus on for the year. Last year abundance was my word. It helped me relax through all the renovation financial issues at the end of the project as well as the troubling economic downturn, keeping my attention on what abundance there was instead of what was missing (i.e. cash!) And lo and behold our appraisal came in where we needed it and we will once again even have financial abundance. The sunset this evening locked in the word abundance for me again in 2009. May you all experience similar abundance. Happy New Year!!


Christmas just sort of snuck up on us this year. Between the power outage, the upper respiratory ailment, the two feet of snow, and the trips up and down to New York City for work I barely had time to decorate. We never did get a tree. And with the economy, it was a lean year on the gift front. But we did spend Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day up in Westford with my sisters and their families. And the day after Christmas we hosted the entree portion of our First Annual Fowler Laker Road progressive dinner. Peggy and Sarah hosted us for yummy appetizers, Loretta and Paul had us all for a divine salad, David made a spectacular Pork Crown Roast with my homemade applesauce and sides everyone contributed and Tovah and Alan outdid themselves hosting us for 14 different desserts. Eric and Alex brought wine to complement all the courses. None of us has felt this full in a long long time. It was deemed a success and we will definitely be making it an annual tradition.

Blizzard December 2008

We've truly arrived! This year, David has joined the ranks of the locals helping neighbors out after blizzards. Here you see him merrily trucking along the road on his John Deere to plow people out. I've never seen him so happy - except maybe when he was helping neighbors clear their driveways of fallen trees with his trusty chainsaw.

Yesterday we invested in a generator of our own so that we will be self sufficient in case of another extended power outage. This probably means we will not have a power outage for years - similar to what happens when you bring the umbrella and it never rains - but we still felt it was a great "piece of mind" investment. I will be sad not to have a concrete reason to go stay at the Mount Merino Manor again but we maybe we will book a weekend for our anniversary sometime just for the fun of it.

The winter has just been gorgeous around here! I couldn't resist taking more photos of the icicles that decorated the front of our home ... or the squirrel who has figured out how to get to the suet despite all our attempts to block him from it. One of our neighbors got a Red Rider double barrel beebee gun. Another has been greasing the pole with vaseline. And still another is using metal slinkies to slow their progress up the pole. David is considering getting a paint ball gun so we can all at least recognize repeat offenders. The hunter among us, well he's the only one effectively really doing anything to reduce the squirrel population.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's a veritable winter wonderland!! A truly Christmasey, Currier and Ives scene out there. And a cosy one in here snuggling up to the fire. Having our power restored after 6 days made us appreciate the little things so much more and even though we have around 2 feet of snow now, we are all happy it is not ice!!

The birds are grateful to David for dutifully filling their feeders and the squirrels are pysched that he got them a feed block. The nuthatches, cardinals, finches, bluejays, titmice, red bellied and downy woodpeckers and others are all out there merrily munching on seeds.

Weather like this brings out the best in people. We all banded together as neighbors and helped each other out - David took his chainsaw on the road to cut up trees that were blocking people's driveways and after he finished plowing us out he took a few swipes up and down the neighbors drives too. Neighbors responded with fresh baked cookies, invites over for home cooked meals, showers, and lots more. We stocked up on goodies at the store and expect to hole up here for a few days making soup, roasts, chili and other comfort foods to get us through this latest storm.

The fact that we don't have gutters is making the icicle experience one worthy of showing off. We are getting teased by David's sister in San Diego about our "enjoyment" of the four seasons ... but today reminds us why we do love it!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mother Nature reminds us again that she is such a tremendous force! We had a huge ice storm last week that blanketed everything and was so heavy it knocked down trees, limbs, power poles, etc. Lots of damage all over but luckily no trees through roofs or cars or anything. We've been out of power since about 1am Thursday and have been roughing it ever since. Well, roughing it is a bit of an exaggeration since we're now holed up at the luxurious Mt Merino Manor. The cold was one thing but not being able to use the toilet or take a shower, quite another. So about two nights into it, when we found out the power wasn't coming back until Tuesday, we rang up our friends Rita and Patrick at Mt Merino (it was wedding central in 2006) and they kindly took us in. Our neighbors are faring a bit better since their homes can be heated with wood stoves and propane fireplaces. Ours works for the living room but doesn't help with the rest of the house and the ceiling is so high that it takes a long time to heat even that room with just the fireplace. The Kosnicks next door hooked up a heavy duty generator so they can use the lights, toilets, and watch TV as of about 4pm today. Now we know to fill the bathtub with water before a storm like this and perhaps get a generator ourselves when they restock (currently a 200 person waiting list!) But you have to admit that it is beautiful out there, especially with the light twinkling through the ice coated branches. Check out these photos from our house. And stay warm!

Friday, December 05, 2008

I just had to share with you what I'm seeing out my new windows. Thanksgiving was a blast hosting everyone here and my next blog will be on that but this view deserved it's very own entry.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Appraisal done, mantel installed just in time

It's been a crazy morning .... well last few days actually. We furiously toted and unpacked and stuffed and cleaned and hung pictures and touched up paint and cleaned out mouse dropping out of sock drawers. All done just in time for Renee to come appraise the place for our refinance. She loved it, took pictures, looked at plans, and commented all the way through how beautiful it was. She even asked how much we paid for the renovation which hopefully will give her a context for where we need the appraisal to come in. Our cleaning lady comes this afternoon and she's going to faint to see how much we've gotten done since she was here two weeks ago. I told Jim this morning as he was installing the mantel (a piece of the tree we previously used as our old window ledge) and helping us hang the Avignon picture that the fireplace alone should bring at least 100K! More pictures later but enjoy what I'm looking at right now from my couch potato position. Judy made sure the mountains were visible too. There's something about that view that opens the soul....let's hope it did for Renee!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stone fireplace installed!

What a difference a day makes! Our mason got here today - yes on a saturday - to do in the inside masonry in time for our appraisal on Monday. Jim will come back and install the hearth stone tomorrow so we can put on the faceplate and cut the mantel piece (from the window ledge we had in the old front room which was a big piece of tree) but I couldn't wait to post the photos and turn the thing on!! It couldn't be better. Frank, the mason, continues to rave about our fieldstone. He loves working with it and the finished product is 100% better than any cultured stone can look. Our goal with the colors was to bring the outside in -- and now we have literally brought it in. Can't wait to have you all visit. See you soon!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Chimney done, Fireplace installed

The scaffolding for the second chimney was dismantled before I left on my trip to Florida last week. It looks as wonderful as the first one of course, also built from the stones on our own property. They still need to come inside to do the stone around the fireplace but at least the fireplace is installed and working now. After the scaffolding was gone, the trucks came in to regrade the ground, level the piles. They can't seed for grass until spring now but it looks much much better than it did when I left. David's been hard at work while I was gone last week moving and storing bins and boxes downstairs. We've got more to do before the appraiser comes (cross your fingers that it comes in where it needs to for our loan) on Monday but things are looking great in here! We've been privy to some spectacular sunsets and it always reminds us why we did all this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Punch list making me punchy

David comes home tomorrow after two weeks away. Thank god! I can't wait to give him back all the day to day stuff with the final renovation details. The fireplace is still not in - electric, gas, sheetrock, channels, all ready now and the masons have just about finished the chimney. But the fireplace installer keeps coming - pointing out something that is not right - and going away again. He's supposedly coming at 11am tomorrow now. That's his last chance as far as I'm concerned. I already called Amanda's to complain about the delay. The good news is that the downstairs bathroom is done now and the hardware for all the closet doors came in. So tomorrow we'll be just about done with everything (she says cautiously!) besides the rest of the unpacking as you can see from the library shot. But I know you are all dying for some more pictures so here you go! The killer sunset this evening from my beautiful living room reminded me how grateful I am for all of this despite unfinished punch lists :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

PODs and Fireplaces

The PODs are gone!! Loretta and Paul helped me clear them out yesterday and they have been returned as of about an hour ago. When David gets back we have lots of moving up to the attic to do but at least everything is now in the house. It's quite the process watching them load the empty containers back on the truck. It's such a pleasant way to move ... all on our own time on both ends (packing and unloading). I may never do a traditional move again. Actually, I hope never to move again period!!! The fireplace saga continues. Apparently the unit we got which is most efficient and puts out a lot of heat has a different spec for installing than others and the wall is too deep ... with not enough clearance or something. They're ordering a ceramic part and a template for the stone to go around the curve of the front to accomodate stone. Poor TJ now has to sit in the nook there and fix it all on a 27 degree day. All should be finished up next week.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

House warming Octovah fest!

Well we did it! What a difference a week makes! We got most of everything moved in and put away - lots up in the attic - in time to have 11 people over for a housewarming/"Octovah" Birthday fest. Christine Kane entertained us all and Tovah and Alan brought an amazing feast ... including a vegetarian delight of quinoa and squashes and a birthday cake for all the October birthday babies. We are an little October corner of the world here with an unbelievable 7 of 11 of us (including neighbors Tovah, David, Peggy, Alex, Eric and my friends Steve and Xiomara) celebrating. We had wonderful fellowship, laughter, sharing and feasting - it was a spectacular way to warm our home. So there's still a punch list going - but we're in and loving it. Unpacking will be happening for months. The PODS are supposed to be picked up Friday, second chimney work has started, front and side doors are getting finished, guest suite bathroom is still to be hooked up ..... we are still recovering from the long days and nights to get this far but we are thrilled to be back in and enjoying our dream home. Come visit!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Moving in....almost

We're exhausted! We moved in all weekend...... well most of our stuff anyway. We kicked the contactors outside and emptied the PODs. Sorry, no photos - too busy unpacking!! It is like Christmas seeing what's in those old boxes, finding Tupperware lids we thought we lost forever, etc. There will be a large yard sale in our future. I have to head out to NYC then Chicago this week and hopefully when I get back COO will be signed and our bed will have been moved in. Sunday Loretta and Paul came over to share a beer with us and we stayed to finish our first loads of laundry in the new house and enjoy the spectacular sunset.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Hand Railings to the guest suite

Railings to the guest suite are up and look beautiful. I got my first peek at the guest suite carpet too - needs to be vacuumed but the color works nicely. They've put finishing touches on - more trim around the doors, the range hood cover, and toe kicks in the kitchen. Tomorrow they'll cover the post in the living room and hang the track lighting there. Hopefully they'll also put up the screens since all the remaining living wasps in Columbia County came in today to get warm. My contribution today was to put my shoes in the shoe boxes - the wasps and ladybugs thankfully were not interested in the closet! We'll move furniture in tomorrow (maybe!) and over the weekend so our move in is truly within days. The COO is coming Tuesday but he said we could move in before that. Not sure I can do that until the bugs are gone and Barbara comes to clean on Tuesday but we'll see :-) Still need to get the guest suite bathroom installed but hot water is all hooked up. There is a spa bath in my very near future!!! And the laundry is piled up to capacity. How do you like my little laundry nook?

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Huge progress today! David finished up the closets and I moved most of my clothes in. And what's even more unbelievable is that there's plenty of room left!! David has become an expert Elfa Shelving installer after doing them for us in Dobbs Ferry and here. We moved in the red love seat so we could get at the bar stools and the drawer in the dresser that had the key to the other POD. I was able to open both PODs - especially that one that's been in storage for 2 years -and look inside today reminding me of what's actually in there! I wiped down the walls in the living room and hallway too and cleaned the dust out from all the drawers and cabinets. But best of all, I cleaned up our bedroom - threw all the construction mess out the door - and that will be our first place to make our own. They've got some more finishing work to do but they'll have to do it somewhere other than in our bedroom. Paul Trapanese will finish grouting the tile in the master bath and we think the shower doors should be coming this week too. So with any luck, when I get back from NYC on Wednesday I can sleep at the new house!!