Friday, January 25, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: Success!

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Greetings my fellow bee-peeps!

First of all, I want to thank all of you who reached out and congratulated me on positively b.e.e.’s Liebster Award. Whether you emailed, commented on social media, or commented on the blog, you all really made my week! =)

After all of that excitement, though, I am definitely ready for a fortune cookie, aren’t you?

(For those of you who are new here, welcome! I have a regular feature called Fortune Cookie Friday, where I use a fortune to kick off a topic. You can read more about how it started.)

Ready? Okay, let’s go:

For success today look first to yourself.

Pretty much does what it says on the tin, doesn’t it? 

When I look around me, I see a lot of blame-shifting in our culture and society, in general. I’m not pointing to specific people, but for instance, when we process the things or events in our lives that are going wrong, we have a natural tendency as human beings to “explain” why things went wrong or didn’t go our way, but what we’re really doing is “blaming” someone or something instead of taking responsibility. 

Yes, sometimes “stuff happens,” and it’s out of your control. But those events are few and far between; the majority of the time, it was in your control. (Generic "you" here, guys!)

That said, be honest with yourself: does this resemble you?

It sure resembled me, for a very, very long time. 

For me, it really took a swift self-kick in the tuckus to start disrupting those old patterns of blame in my life and shift my energy more towards: enlightenment, learning, self-awareness, responsibility, and ownership. 

I hope this inspires you to take a look at your patterns, too. Knowing that we are the key to our own success is an empowering thing! 

Have a great week, everyone! 

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Want to learn how to be successful having a proofreading income? 

Friday, January 18, 2019

100th Post Celebration - The 2019 Liebster Award!

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

I know you are probably expecting a Fortune Cookie today, but I had to diverge from the schedule for a very important reason:

This is my 100th post on positively b.e.e.! 🎉

And to celebrate, I’ve got a BIG announcement:

I’ve been nominated for a 2019 Liebster Award!

I was nominated by Lusine Gharibyan of My Blog, Coffee and Camera!  Lusine’s blog is a fun, insightful place with content that is sure to make you smile. Go check it out! You can read positively b.e.e.’s nomination here.

I’m very honored to be nominated. Thank you, Lusine! 🌹

Here is more information about the award: 

What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award (“Liebster” is a German word meaning “sweetest,” “kindest,” “nicest,” “dearest”) is basically a peer-reviewed blogging award. Bloggers are nominated by other bloggers. It promotes the discovery of new blogs and helps new bloggers grow their audience, plus, what a great way to connect with other bloggers!

What Makes Me Passionate About Blogging?

I started positively b.e.e. as a way to disrupt the negativity we see in daily life—from social media, news feeds, the t.v., radio, or more. It seems like every day we are assailed on all fronts with negativity in many forms, and I feel like through this blog, I can do my own small part to change the world. I’m really passionate about getting the message out that it is possible to be happy in this complicated world of ours, plus I really enjoy the writing process. This blog is a big part of who I am, and I can’t imagine it not being a part of my life.

I was asked the following questions: 

1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Do I have to choose just one? :) I wouldn’t mind living in Edinburgh. I got to visit Scotland once, and  just loved it! I’ve lived in the UK before (in Birmingham), so I’m partial to that part of the world, anyway.

2. What song is stuck in your head right now?
It’s grey and snowy out, so of course I have XTC’s Wrapped In Grey stuck in my head.

"Don't let the loveless ones sell you a world wrapped in grey..."

You can get the whole Nonsuch album (which is excellent, by the way) here:

3. What book will you recommend me to read?
Deneen Joyner’s Soul Wounds & Sacred Revelations. I had the pleasure of meeting Deneen at a holiday event at a local yoga studio last month, and I bought her book (the Kindle edition) after our conversation. I’m about halfway through it, now, and it’s excellent! Next month I’ll be attending a book club/luncheon where she is the featured author, and I can’t wait! Her story of how she healed her emotional pain is compelling, and she writes beautifully and in a way that you can relate with her.

4. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be?

It’s hard to choose just one, but I think I’d really like to pick Winston Churchill's brain about mindset and perseverance. Now there was a man who overcame many negative circumstances in life—he was challenged by his own party, unpopular in school, and neglected by his parents, for example—to become a strong leader who saved his country (and by extension, the world) by never giving in. His story is fascinating, from his early years to the end of his life, and I can make a couple of book recommendations about him if you're curious: The Last Lion trilogy by William Manchester (with Paul Reid on the final one), and God and Churchill, written by Churchill’s great-grandson, William Sandys.

5. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
I love either swimming in the ocean or hiking trails in parks. And even though I have a bit of a brown thumb,  I’m also a big fan of wandering around botanical gardens and fancy gardens at great houses (like at English country houses, etc.).

6. What would constitute the "perfect" day for you?
There is no one definition of the “perfect” day, for me. Whether I spend a day watching Netflix with my husband, or teaching a gratitude journaling workshop, or reading a book on the beach, every day has the opportunity to be the “perfect” day.

7. What is one item you cannot live without?
While I’m not sure there’s anything I can’t live without, I guess I’d be pretty bummed if I didn’t have my gratitude journal any more.

8. What is your favorite quote and why?
Pretty much anything by the 13th-century Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi. I think this quote is appropriate for this post and this blog:
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
9. City life or the countryside?
I love both, but I think I prefer the convenience of living in the city. That said, I love to get out to the countryside on weekends or vacations and have some quiet time.

10. Tea or coffee?
I love coffee, don’t get me wrong—but I quit it in April of 2018 for health reasons. Since then, I’m a tea-only gal. I prefer a sturdy breakfast tea (English, Irish or Scottish) in the morning, green in the afternoon, and herbal at night. Once in a very blue moon, I'll get a decaf cappuccino if I'm out.

My nominees: 

Novel Blondes — As a voracious reader who likes a lot of different genres, I really enjoy Novel Blondes. The book reviews are easily digestible but give you enough info to pique your interest, and I also love the overall look of the blog.

Who Do I Do — Lana and Ian inspire me to travel, and reading their blog makes me feel like I am living vicariously through them! Beautiful photos, detailed travel logs, and a fun atmosphere can be found here.

Victorious Living — In this faith-based blog, Shelly Langelaar writes in a way that makes me think, including topics such as how to stop having a victim mentality or how to walk in your purpose.

A Busy Bee’s Life — Sheri’s blog seems geared toward moms, but there's great info there for anyone, really. The blog is really nice visually and has topics about parenting, self-help, productivity, and travel. I found her blog through a Facebook group and added it to my list. 

Imperfectly Paige Wellness — Okay, I must disclose that I actually do know Paige in person. We used to work together, and we’d get coffee together every morning and talk about our goals and dreams. I used to talk about my dream of becoming a wordsmith who worked from home, and she used to talk about becoming a certified fitness and nutrition coach. We'd support each other in our goals. And she is CRUSHING hers! I love her practical, compassionate viewpoints on health, wellness, and having a healthy mindset about yourself. If you want yummy recipes, workout tips (yep, she did become a NASM-certified trainer!) or just to get to know a really cool human being doing her thing in this world, go check out her site! :)

Questions for my nominees:

  1. If you could spend a day with anyone (living or deceased), who would it be, and what would you do?
  2. Tell me about something on your bucket list.
  3. What was an influential song in your life?
  4. What does the ideal weekend look like?
  5. What should I binge-watch next on Netflix? 
  6. Can you recommend a good book for me to read next?
  7. Star Trek or Star Wars? (If any…)
  8. What’s your favorite way to start the day off on the right foot?
  9. Tell me about a hobby you have and how you got into it.
  10. Ocean or mountains?

10 random things about me:

  1. I’m an only child, but have a HUGE extended family. It’s the best of both worlds.
  2. I’m originally from Connecticut.
  3. I was a Russian major and lived in the Soviet Union briefly as part of an exchange program. 
  4. I used to be a DJ in a goth club.
  5. I’m crazy about cozy mysteries and hope to copy edit or proofread them someday. Do what you love, right?
  6. I love old-school British comedies such as Chef, Red Dwarf, Yes! Prime Minister, and The Vicar of Dibley.
  7. I’ve been married 3 times. (Third time’s the charm!)
  8. I have a complicated relationship with cheese. My husband jokes about “The Cheese Rules.” Even I’m not sure what they are. 🤷
  9.  Star Trek. Definitely Star Trek. Live long and prosper! :) 
  10.  I’m Beth, not Elizabeth. 

The Rules 

  • Thank the person who nominated you and put a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Display the award on your blog.
  • For the Liebster Award 2019, write a small post about what makes you passionate about blogging
  • Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional)
  • Nominate 5 - 11 blogs
  • List the rules in your post
  • Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post or The Global Aussie
  • Create new questions for your nominees to answer

So, in summary, this was a lot of fun to participate in, and Lusine's timing in nominating positively b.e.e. was perfect because she informed me right before I started writing my 100th post. Thanks again, Lusine, and to my nominees: congratulations!! Thanks for writing blogs I enjoy reading! :)

And thank you all for reading along with me for 100 posts. Here's to 100 more! Hope you all have a great week, and see you next week with a Fortune Cookie! 🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Science of Kindness

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve been having a wonderful week. 

Today I want to talk about kindness. I don’t know why this popped into my brain, but it did, so bear with me. 
“Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
We all know that it’s good to be kind. We’re taught as children to be kind to others, share our toys, be nice, say “please” and “thank you,” and help our friends. Some of us have done volunteer work throughout our lives, or at the very least, helped a neighbor bring in their groceries or shovel their walk.

I really like highlighting ways to be kind to each other here on this blog. I’ve recognized that not only does being kind to people make me feel good (indeed, it makes me feel good to write this blog every week), but I’ve noticed that when one person is kind, then there is a tendency for other people to be kind, as well. And it’s not because of some weird peer pressure thing, either; it really does seem to be, well… CONTAGIOUS.

So the other night, I was sitting here wondering what I was going to write about, when a thought popped into my brain: 

“I wonder if there’s any science behind kindness being contagious?” 

So I did some poking around, and found some interesting things that I will summarize at a very high level with proper attribution to original sources so you can deep-dive the topic. Please support these scientists and writers and go read their original work, okay? 

Okay. Here goes:

Scientific American conducted a study in which they added $1 extra onto the payment for participants in the study, then gave people the opportunity to donate any portion to any number of charities. They also let the study participants see a made-up list of others’ donations, and it turns out, when they thought others were being generous, they were generous, too. (And if they thought others were stingy, they were stingy.)

Next, Scientific American wanted to find out what the empathy factor would be in these acts of charity: were they simply acts of imitation, or did people who witnessed or performed an act of charity have more compassion and empathy overall? They gave participants a seemingly-unrelated “pen pal” task, in which they read a letter from someone describing the ups and downs of their life, and then were asked to write a letter back to that person. 

Turns out, after witnessing people donate money generously, participants were friendlier and more compassionate in their letter responses to their “pen pal.”

So what is the mechanism that is happening within us, either biologically or sociologically, when witnessing others being kind? Scientists don’t fully understand that, yet, but there are some theories.

According to this article on the Good News Network, it may actually be some kind of evolutionary holdover, and there was another source that may support that. In his paper, Darwin’s Compassionate View of Human Nature, Paul Ekman, Ph.D. discusses Darwin’s telling of a story in which a little monkey tried to protect his zookeeper from a vicious baboon attack, despite the fact that the monkey was, at all other times, terrified of the baboon. Darwin theorized that when we witness suffering, we also suffer, so that in order to stop our own suffering, we will try to stop others’ suffering, too. But how does that fit in with evolution? The idea is that in order for the species to survive, inevitably one member of the species may sacrifice themselves to protect those who have a better chance of surviving. 

Additionally, the Good News Network's article discusses something called the “Helper’s High”—certain parts of the brain are lit up by witnessing or participating in acts of kindness, and certain hormones are released, as well, such as oxytocin, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. To expand upon this, check out this cool infographic by Dartmouth summarizing the physiological and other effects of random acts of kindness. 

Anyway, this long summary of articles about the science of kindness is brought to you courtesy of my curious brain. 😄 I hope it was as enlightening to you as it was to me, and inspires you to do some more looking into the matter for yourself. Do go read the source material I provided, or do some Googling; there is a TON of info out there!

I wonder: does this discussion inspire you to do something kind for someone today? Let me know your thoughts, below. After all, when we are kind to others: 

...we can disrupt negativity like a boss!

base photo courtesy of Josh Appel on Unsplash

Have a great week, everyone! 🐝

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Friday, January 4, 2019

Fortune Cookie Friday: Small Steps

This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See Disclosures

Hello everyone! Welcome to the first post and first fortune cookie of 2019! I want to start by wishing you all a very happy new year! 

I hope it is everything you wish it to be! Which brings me to today's fortune: 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. 

This fortune is from a meal that Fred and I shared with my parents the other day.  

I decided to post this as the first fortune of the year because of its message. It's appropriate for the new year, don't you think? 

With each new year, we're culturally primed to do a bit of a "reset"—we set resolutions, start new projects, create new goals, or wipe the slate clean from the year before. So this seems like the perfect time to consider our journeys.

So what do I mean when I say "journey"?  Well, that really is up to you. We could be talking about your entire life, or we could be talking about one portion, like a dream you have, something you've always wanted to do with your life.

Big or small, every goal or dream is able to be broken down into actionable steps, and every step is worthwhile, no matter how small. And that's why this fortune really spoke to me.

Let me give you an example from my own life: I always felt like I'd want to start my own business, but I was a little wary of the steps involved. I didn't want to have to deal with paperwork and taxes and all that jazz.

And then I saw an online course that really spoke to me, so I took it.

Taking that course was only beginning of my journey to entrepreneurship. My business started with just one small, simple step:  I took a course to learn new skills.

Since then, there have been more steps, too: I built a website (something I'd never done before). I made business cards. I started telling people about my dreams. I joined professional societies. And I've taken many, many more steps since then.

And I'm happy! Life is good! Isn't that what our journey in life is about? To do the things that make us feel fulfilled?

Sometimes, things have been difficult, but it's WORTH IT. I just keep taking small steps forward on my bigger journey, and they are starting to pay off.

I hope this gives you some food for thought?

Tell me, what journey are you on? I'd love to hear about your small steps, too. And if you'd like to read more about my own business journey, you can read about it here. We can learn from and inspire each other!

Have a great week, and a wonderful journey!

 ~positively b.e.e. is on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Follow me there!~

Reflections on 2020

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, by which I may be financially compensated. See  Disclosures  for more info.  It’s finally...