One of the FAQ’s I’m being asked these days is about how to stay in balance. December is always intense for those of us who set ourselves up with endless expectations related to the holiday season. Confession: I am one of those. I do it out of ❤️ for my peeps and my own love of tradition, giving, and nurturing. Nothing wrong with that. But sometimes it comes at a cost to my own state of mind and sense of calm. ? 
Are you with me? 
During my FB Live on Thursday, a mom asked what my favorite holiday ?tradition is. My best, favorite tradition is pausing at the start of the holiday season to check in with myself about which traditions I WANT to do each year. I ask myself which ones I can do with joy and a full heart. It was a huge paradigm shift when I discovered that I don’t have to do every tradition every single year in order for it to be a great memory for my kids. Or for me. (Sometimes I have to remind myself that I matter, too.  BTW, please come join us on my next FB and IG Live!)
I’m stressed this year. COVID has impacted me in ways I didn’t see coming. I’m working a lot and I’m busy inside my head. That’s just the reality.  And now it’s December and I have a lot of stockings to fill and Christmas magic ? to whip up.
 Instead of aspiring for an overall sense of calm and balance, which honestly would be an unrealistic expectation for me this year…. I’m working to collect as many good MOMENTS as I can. No more searching for global internal calm given that I’m a real human living in the real world (which is facing a pandemic of all things!), with other real, perfectly imperfect humans. Perfect zen??‍♀️ at all times just isn’t in the cards.
 So it’s OUT with unreasonable expectations and IN with more reasonable expectations that I can find little snippets of joy, of grace, of calm. At the end of the day, if I’ve gathered a good number of joy points and “good mommy moments,” I’m calling the day a win. 
 Here are some examples of “joy points”:
 ? Sitting at my desk before I start to work and close my eyes and feel MY WHY. My “why” is about loving on parents, helping them heal, stretch and grow to create more loving, healthy, secure families for their children. Just a short meditation of feeling love for you, the readers of this email, for my clients, for class participants, for social media followers and for all parents… that is a huge joy point for me.
 ?‍♂️ Getting my inner-joy-seeker can override my internal-pusher and get outside for a bike ride. 
 ☕️ The first sip of coffee each morning. The first is the best and if I pause to be conscious and savor it, I get a “joy point.”
 ? Responding to my kids playfully instead of sternly. 
 ? Taking a minute to crouch behind the door and wait for my 18 year old son to walk through so I can jump out and startle him. When I “get” him, it makes me laugh that ridiculous gasping, crying, snorting sort of laugh!
 ? Sharing in a powerful therapy session with a beloved client.
 ? There are a hundred little ways to find “joy points” in each day, even when I feel busy and stressed: looking at the Rocky Mountains, stepping into a hot shower, smelling mulling spices simmer on my stove, pausing to just be present with my kids.
 It’s the little moments that can give us a sense of being “OK.” Celebrating our little joy points also helps us have grace for our less-than-wonderful moments because they, too, are just parts of our day and they do not define who we are.
 One of my favorite therapy homework assignments to give clients is to have them log as many “joy points” as they can on any given day.  I challenge them to find 50 each day, regardless of how small they are.  It can be transformative. 
I’m wishing you the grace to accept yourself even when you’re out of balance and stressed. And I’m wishing you the fun of seeking simple little joy points.
 With love and laughter,
P.S.  My book is here, available on Amazon and Kindle! It’s all about creating little bubbles of calm and joy in to the chaos of raising children. It’s super short because I think it’s immoral to expect mothers of young children to read long parenting books while they’re in the thick of motherhood. I’d prefer that you read one page a day and then weave some “joy points” and sanity-saving moments into your days.
 If you buy it and like it, would you please be so kind as to write a review
And….  I’m giving away 100 free copies via PDF.