Friday, January 2, 2015

Make 2015 your best year yet with a 'one word' resolution

A student at Hudsonville High School displays her one word resolution (photo courtesy of getoneword.com).

New Year’s resolutions could become a thing of the past. 

That is, if the 88 percent of Americans who failed to achieve their goals in 2014 find a better approach for 2015.

“This year, choose a single word that will give mean, focus, and purpose to your life,” said Dan Britton, coauthor along with Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon of the popular self-help book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life,” ($20, Wiley/getoneword.com). “No matter how busy or stressed you are, or how many distractions and obligations are fighting for your attention, it’s easy to remember one word. Believe it or not one word has the power to impact your life so much more than a laundry list of resolutions.”
The three authors have been practicing the “one word” strategy for almost 20 years and as motivational speakers have shared their process with numerous audiences, companies, professional sports teams and schools with great success. A visit to their website reveals numerous photos of sports teams and students expressing their one word resolution and success stories.

“Your one word represents the essence of what you want to accomplish during the year, but instead of burdening you with a list of tasks to do, it keeps you focused on an overarching concept of how to be,” said Jon Gordon. “No matter what slings and arrows life throws your way, your one word can endure and adapt.”
Gordon’s one word for 2014 for example was “serve.”

“(This) inspired him to approach his work and family with a servant’s heart and to put others’ needs before his own,” explained Britton. “And mine was ‘one.’ Unfortunately, leaders often focus on how many they are impacting instead of on how they are impacting each individual. My word reminded me that great leaders, care about each person and invest in one relationship at a time.”
A Hudsonville High School student (getoneword.com).
So what one word will you choose?

As Britton explained the key to picking the right word is to make time for reflection, introspection, meditation and prayer when considering what you want your one word to be. “Think about the positive changes you’d like to see in your life, bad habits you’d like to break, and goals you have for yourself. Look inward and ask important questions like, ‘What do I need? What do I want?’ Then see if any common values or themes or specific words bubble up.”

The authors also suggest listening to your intuition when picking your one word for 2015.

Sometimes we tend to overthink things. While it’s a serious commitment the point is not to make your “one word” impressive or extraordinary but rather influential and impactful for you.

“A few years ago, I absolutely couldn’t decide whether I wanted my one word to be ‘surrender' or 'enjoy'” said Gordon. “While jumping into the ocean on New Year’s Day, which I do every year, I felt a sharp pain in my knee and had trouble walking out of the surf. I thought to myself, not a great way to start the year – maybe I’m pushing myself too hard. As I reached the shore, I heard the word ‘surrender’ loud and clear. My intuition had spoken and I listened. I knew it was my word.

It’s also important to figure out what your one word looks like in real life. Think beyond the word’s obvious definition and what it might look like when applied to your life.

“While you may have intended your one word to apply to a specific area of your life, chances are, its sphere of positive influence is much wider,” explained Page. “For example if your one word is invest, it might prompt you not only to be a good steward of your money but to invest more emotional capital in your family and to invest some time in your professional growth.”

Your one word should be visible on a daily basis. Consider posting your one word on the refrigerator or a bedroom mirror. Your reminder could be as simple as a sticky note or as elaborate as a decorative poster.

“Over the years, my coauthors and I have seen people get really creative with depicting their one words,” said Britton. “Some people have depicted their word in jewelry. We know of corporate teams who each write their word on wooden spoons that they take back to their desks. And every New Year’s Eve, my family and I paint our words on small canvases and hang them on a wall of our home.”

A collection of one word examples from Hidden Lakes Elementary (photo courtesy getoneword.com).

Encourage others to join you.

“Imagine the impact if everyone in your family or team helped each other live their words,” Gordon said. “My wife, son, daughter and I share our words with each other every year. It’s inspiring to see the word everyone chooses and how it shapes their lives throughout the year.”

It’s not necessary but keeping a record or journal of your one word progress can be a great way to reflect back a few years from now. 

“At the end of the year it’s helpful to perform a one word review,” notes Page. “Consider the past 365 days and ask yourself, ‘How has my life changed because of my one word? What lessons did it teach me this year? What blessings did it bring to my life?’ Even though I’ve been living the one word process for almost two decades, I’m always surprised by how much my word has impacted my life when I look back on the previous year. And it’s nice to have a record of how my words have helped me grow, achieve and learn.”

“One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition” authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon offer the following list of potential “one words” to inspire you in 2015:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sing Your Way INTO THE WOODS: A musical contest

Hellooo! Arts Academy in the Woods and any other school with a musical program, choirs, choral companies, musical theater groups and others with a passion for singing.

Disney is inviting all of you to enter its online musical contest, “Sing Your Way Into the Woods.”

The contest kicks off Dec. 5. 

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Just in time for Disney’s promotion of, “Into the Woods,” opening in theaters Dec. 25.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The modern twist on several beloved fairy tales, “Into The Woods,” is a musical inspired by several beloved fairy tales and characters including Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and her prince (Chris Pine), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone) and Rapunzel (Mackenzie Mausy).
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

All of the characters and fables are intertwined into a story involving a baker and his wife, played by James Corden and Emily Blunt who wish to begin a family and their interaction with a witch who has cursed them. Meryl Streep stars as the witch in this humorous and heartfelt film directed by Rob Marshall. The film is based on the musical stage production by Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Soundheim and Tony winner James Lapine, both of whom will be judging the contest.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Participants who wish to enter are encouraged to watch the movie trailer at Sing Your Way Into the Woods Contest for inspiration. Then gather your team, download the official music and lyrics to the “Into the Woods” Prologue and then record your own version of the last two-minutes of the song. Rules, guidelines and regulations are posted on the site.

The contest runs from 2 p.m., Dec. 5 through 2 p.m., Dec. 12. The winner (s) chosen and announced on the site on or around Dec. 19 will receive a private advance screening of the film and the winning video and those of the three runner-ups will be featured on the film’s official Tumblr site.

How about it Michigan? Show them you have what it takes to “Sing Your Way Into the Woods!”

For more information visit Disney's 'Into The Woods' on Facebook   

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nature enthusiasts excited about Wild Birds Unlimited's new location in Macomb

They can survive on their own. Still, Michigan winters are tough on birds and at this time of year they will be looking for reliable sources of food, water and shelter. So, if you’ve ever thought about expanding your hobbies to include birding, now would be a good time.

“I’ve always liked nature, trees, flowers, animals, bird, I enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells,” said Pam Gors, co-owner of the newly opened Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop on Hall Road in Macomb Township.  “I’m a Master Gardener and I love growing anything that benefits the three-Bs: birds, butterflies and bees.” That’s how and why her garden grows, to fulfill a purpose either as food or shelter for at least one of them. Among the plants that fit the criteria: three different varieties of milkweed for monarchs; an assortment of shrubs and trees that produce fruit preferred by birds; and lots and lots of flowers for the bees and hummingbirds.

This passion is one of the reasons Pam was keen on becoming a Wild Birds franchise owner. For her husband and co-owner Bob, it was not so much his love for birds but a yearning to be his own boss that prompted his move. “After 35 years, I was just tired of the corporate business world,” said Bob, who quit his job in information technology to man the store during the week. On weekends it is Pam, who is still working full time as an IT person who manages the store.

“I grew up in the grocery store business and I have the retail background,” said Bob.  “With her love of birds and my business experience this just seemed like a natural progression for us. We also have 2 acres that attract what seems like hundreds of birds.”
Not only because of the property but because of the amenities that it offers including everything from bird feeders and houses to bird fountains – which is often the last thing people think about over winter.

“Bird baths are really important,” Bob said. “People think birds can eat the snow during the winter but a source of water is not the only reason for the fountains. They also bathe in the water to clean their feathers. The cleaner the feathers the better job they do in insulating the bird from the cold.”

People also need to provide shelter for the birds. In the summer and through late fall there are places that shield birds from the elements and their predators but once the leaves are gone it’s open season on birds. Bob said something as simple as piling up twigs in the yard can provide shelter for a small bird. Another thing Bob points out to beginner birders is that birds can change color. “Some people think Gold finches leave in the winter but they’re still here. They lose their gold color in the last summer and early fall.”

Providing people with the most accurate information available on backyard birds is just part of the mission statement created by Bob and Pam. They also hope to provide enthusiasts with all of the products they might need. Whether it’s a $15 starter kit or a $200 bird house with stand and $300 binoculars they’re determined to make a go of the family’s new business.

“It was very scary at first to make such a huge change in career direction but we couldn’t be happier with our choice,” said Pam, who along with Bob encourages people to stop by the new store and check out their holiday displays.

Tips for winter bird feeding

In case you happen to be among the more than 53 million Americans who enjoy the hobby of backyard bird feeding here are a few tips for the winter courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop:

Provide high energy foods

·        Birds will use more energy to keep warm so they need more feed with high fat content

·        Seeds that help provide the extra calories birds need at this time of year includes: peanuts, thistle and seed blends high in sunflower seeds.

·        If you have visiting Juncos and native sparrow consider using blends with some millet.

Provide a suet feeder

·        A great source of high energy for birds is suet, which is actually beef fat. 

·        Particularly fond of suet are woodpeckers, Chickadees and Nuthatches.

Provide cover, shelter and roosting space for birds

·        If you’ve got a nesting box clean it out and prepare it for a winter stay or add another one to the yard.

·        Brush piles created with tree limbs, twigs and other debris provides birds with a place to escape the wind, snow and rain.

·        Leave the plant skeletons in your yard or garden as they provide the birds with natural food and a protective covering.

Friday, November 14, 2014

An appetizing event offered to 'Hunger' fans on Nov. 17

Here’s a snack for “Hunger” fans, who can’t wait for the opening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Josh Hutcherson stars as “Peeta Mellark’ in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Photo Credit: Murray Close

On Monday, Nov. 17 there will be a series of social media events that will include live chats, Q&A’s, exclusive debuts featuring the cast and filmmakers including Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth and Donald Sutherland, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Willow Shields, Sam Claflin, Mahershala Ali and Natalie Dormer, along with director Francis Lawrence and producer, Nina Jacobson.

Woody Harrelson stars as ‘Haymitch Abernathy’. Photo by Murray Close

To join in the fun fans can submit questions on Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtag: #AskMockinjay.

1 p.m.: REDDIT AMA with Natalie Dormer

2 p.m.: TWITTER Chat with Francis Lawrence

7 p.m.: FACEBOOK Fan Even with the cast of Mockingjay including an exclusive new clip

9 p.m.: YAHOO and TUMBLR Live Stream from the LA Premiere with new footage from the film

Jennifer Lawrence stars as ‘Katniss Everdeen.’ Photo Credit: Murray Close
The film opens on November 21st, and also stars  Elizabeth BanksStanley TucciSam Claflin, and Jena Malone.