The Holidays Are For Family – book excerpt

Enjoy today’s excerpt from Connie’s new holiday book Simplify & Savor the Season: Organize and Re-energize Your Holidays!:
Christmas tree with presents and fireplace with stockings --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis
“The holidays are for family, so let them help. Let go of your inner controlling Mrs. Claus, and understand that even she uses elves (I have it on good authority). When everyone pitches in, each can enjoy the experience and you can let go of the Mom Show. Not only is that a gift here and now for you, but it is also a future gift for your children, because they will use those life skills year after year and be prepared them to be stellar adults (and relieve your holiday stress).”

(From Simplify & Savor the Season: Organize and Re-energize Your Holidays!, available on “Product” page).

P.S. Stay tuned for our exciting Black Friday specials!

"Dealing with Difficult Women"/Motherhood Matters article

Enjoy both Connie’s KSL segment and Motherhood Matters article today on “Dealing with Difficult Women.”
Studio_5_with_Connie
In daily interactions, we can all struggle with how to handle particularly strong personalities: What do I say? How do I respond? How do I not want to punch him or her in the nose? Thankfully, using a few tips can make those encounters a possibly positive experience.
Tip No. 1: Don’t take it personally.
Hands down, this is the No. 1 response to eliminate most offense. In the book “If Life Were Easy It Wouldn’t Be Hard”, Sheri Dew shares that during one meeting with a few close women, she felt some frustration and finally left in perhaps not the happiest of states.
Later, before she could apologize, these same ladies brought over a casserole with encouraging words of, “We knew you were under a lot of stress and weren’t like yourself – how can we help?”
Tip No. 2: Give it nowhere to go.
To read the rest of the article, go to KSL here.
To watch the video of Connie sharing her tips, on Studio 5 click here!
P.S. Stay tuned for our Black Friday screaming deals!
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“Dealing with Difficult Women”/Motherhood Matters article

Enjoy both Connie’s KSL segment and Motherhood Matters article today on “Dealing with Difficult Women.”
Studio_5_with_Connie

In daily interactions, we can all struggle with how to handle particularly strong personalities: What do I say? How do I respond? How do I not want to punch him or her in the nose? Thankfully, using a few tips can make those encounters a possibly positive experience.

Tip No. 1: Don’t take it personally.
Hands down, this is the No. 1 response to eliminate most offense. In the book “If Life Were Easy It Wouldn’t Be Hard”, Sheri Dew shares that during one meeting with a few close women, she felt some frustration and finally left in perhaps not the happiest of states.
Later, before she could apologize, these same ladies brought over a casserole with encouraging words of, “We knew you were under a lot of stress and weren’t like yourself – how can we help?”

Tip No. 2: Give it nowhere to go.
To read the rest of the article, go to KSL here.

To watch the video of Connie sharing her tips, on Studio 5 click here!

P.S. Stay tuned for our Black Friday screaming deals!

(more…)

He Sacrificed for Others – book excerpt

Enjoy today’s excerpt from Connie’s daily devotional book on Christ, 40 Days with the Savior.
40-DAYS-Front-Cover-for-Amazon-and-Smashwords

“Day 8: He Sacrificed for Others”

Jesus teaches us a core principle: sacrifice is a gift of joy. He suffered so that we don’t have to. When we’re sad, angry, or overwhelmed with the wrongness of our chocies, we don’t have to stay that way. He already bore those burdens. And because of this, we can be happier. As we meet others, we can pay it forward and follow His example by sacrificing our time and ability to share others’ burdens and lighten their load…

How can you sacrifice for someone else today?”

[Excerpt from 40 Days with the Savior: A Daily Devotional Book on Character Traits of Jesus Christ. Available on Amazon and www.conniesokol.com.]

List-making Good or Bad? / KSL post / Weekly Winner!

Last week I was invited to a holiday luncheon by a dear friend. She holds a traditional friend feast of close compadres to share food, fun, and thoughts on how to keep a Christ-centered season.

Wow. Wonderful women, delicious dishes, inspirational insights, and I even got to bring my beautiful baby. Aside from awesome alliteration, does it get any better than that?

The shared thoughts were so fantastic that, embarrassingly, I took notes, right on the back of the darling handout. One conversation thread that I especially enjoyed was on list-making — to do or not to do, and where is the balance?
ID-10094176 My take-away turned out to be a keeper. Truly, this question takes on a New Testament “Mary and Martha” kind of balance: we need to spiritually and emotionally focus on what matters most. Then we use lists to make those matter things happen.

What goes wrong is when our lists become the focus, and not the friendly helper. Sometimes our list must wait while we help a neighbor or a family member. Ironically, the same morning before the luncheon, I had gone out to my car a little early to find an item and instead found I had a dead car battery. Some helpful child, who will remain nameless, left the trunk door open after bringing in groceries. In a moment of panic, I called my sweet husband and asked the best solution. Not only did he come back home to help, but I was able to leave on time.

Afterward, I felt badly about how this may have affected his busy schedule. But it turned out that one of the places he needed to travel to didn’t need him after all. Problem solved. That’s so often what happens when we step away from the List Nazi that threatens to rise and instead attend to the List Samaritan that recognizes a new and higher errand—the Lord’s errand.

This week, I invite you to let go of the love-hate relationship with your lists. See their usefulness to fulfill your focus. And, let go of their rigidness when situations suggest it.

(And remember to email us one way you simplify the season to enter to win our Holiday Gift Set (this week’s winner below!) Email me@conniesokol.com. Enjoy!)
Best,

Connie

P.S. Our Weekly Deal! This week get a Book Bunch, 5 books for $25! Pick your title then receive 5 print books for $5 each. Choose from Simplify & Savor the Season or 40 Days with the Savior, or get a set of each! Perfect gifts for friends, family, or neighbors, receive in 3-5 business days when you purchase on our website.

P.P.S. Congratulations! This week’s Holiday Gift Set winner is Natalie Oldham who says, “One way that I try to simplify the season, is to get things done early. If the majority of things are ready, wrapped, and prepped early — the last minute things aren’t so stressful. The holidays are so much more fun that way!” She receives an ebook set of Simplify & Savor the Season, 40 Days with the Savior, and The Life is Too Short Collection. Enjoy!

Last P.S. Enjoy my Motherhood Matters KSL column on “3 Tips to Simplify & Savor the Season”

Spend more time with the Savior this holiday season and less time in the stores

Enjoy today’s Quotable from “40 Days With the Savior.”
40 Days with the Savior
A quick look at today’s top-selling books and magazines shows titles and headlines on how to make more money, be well liked, and live a glamorous life. One literary agent shared in her blog that she used read these kinds of magazines. But after a time, she felt unhappy and unfulfilled. Thinking through her life, she realized her feelings stemmed from reading about false images and fake lives. She tossed the magazines and her happiness increased.

More money, bigger homes, fancier cars. These mean nothing to the Savior. He knows the obvious truth that too many easily forget: we can’t take it with us. The constant focus on more keeps us distracted from true priorities in our lives. Instead of living generously, we focus on acquiring things. Instead of helping the needy, we believe the myth that more will make us happier.

It won’t.
Spend more time with the Savior this holiday season and less time in the stores.

Best,
Connie

40 Days with the Savior is available in ebook or print. Copyright 2013.

Find the Joy in the Moment! / Simplify $1.99!

For the past few days my sweet baby has been down with the croup (translate: first day of church nursery gift). Not only did I hate seeing my son sick and not his energetic self, but I also felt a bit sick and not my energetic self. But little did I know what a gift it would be.

After my initial response, my next thought on the situation was to lament what needed to be done and that I was in no mood to do it. And then, thankfully, a rapid-fire second thought came:
“Joy.”

And then I understood. The week before I had taught a class on several things including creating more joy in womanhood, motherhood, and daily life. When I considered my current situation from a “joyful” perspective, I realized I was missing the cream. Namely, because all my baby wanted to do was snuggle right next to me.
Absolute joy!

So we snuggled, watched “Thomas the Tank Engine” and napped. I even got to read books that had been sitting in a stack by my bedside: The Runaway King, Blackmoore, and On Writing Well. All of them were fantastic and fulfilling.
More joy!

What a fabulous few days it was. And how grateful I am for that wonderful feeling-thought that shifted my perspective. Because already life is back to a more normal schedule and those precious uninterrupted days of sweet snuggles are over. My baby is back to playing with toys and we’re back to running errands.

I encourage you this week that when life hands you an unexpected situation that initially seems not so fabulous, find the joy.
It’s in there.

Best,
Connie

P.S. If you missed last week’s one-day sale of Simplify & Savor the Season, you can join in the KSL Motherhood Matters blog post sale and get the e-book for $1.99 with freebies! Check out the blog post and how to get your freebies here.

P.P.S. For those wanting the paperback version, just in time for great gifts get:
5 books for $25 of Simplify & Savor the Season, or, 40 Days with the Savior. A great gift deal for friends, neighbors, and family!
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Another excerpt from Simplify and Savor the Season

I wanted to share another excerpt from my new book “Simplify and Savor the Season”:

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Seek service. As we age, Christmas can inadvertently lose some of its sparkle. Some feel awash with increased stimulation, high expectations, and bitter
disappointments. Others feel as if they’re on a holiday conveyor belt of singing the same old carols, eating the same old treats, and getting the same old gifts,
only now it’s on warp speed.

To recapture the magical feeling, seek spontaneous service. Create moments that not only bring joy at the time, but that you’ll also remember and feel warmed by for
years to come.

One of those moments happened for me at a post office. As I stood in line—miraculously sans children—I noticed an elderly man standing at a counter, looking dazed as
he stared at a mass of envelopes and papers before him. I approached him and asked if he needed help. He turned to me with a sort of lost expression and said, “My
wife just died, and she always did the Christmas cards.”

This sweet man was obviously hurting and overwhelmed. So I took a few minutes to help him get things sorted and prepared. It didn’t take that long and I didn’t do
anything particularly amazing, but I can still remember that warm, full feeling of helping this man in his need.

To learn more about how to purchase the ebook, paperback version, or book bundles of “Simplify and Savor the Season”, check out the products page on my web site.

Best,
Connie

Simplify and Savor the Season excerpt

Hi ladies!
Christmas people tree

Enjoy this fun excerpt from the new Simplify and Savor the Season</em> book:

“So the point here is, to keep it simple. Ask yourself:
Am I doing this to create family memories, or for show?
Am I making this because I love my family, or to check it off the list?
Am I being present in the moment and enjoying this event or am I thinking ahead to when it will be done, or planning the next thing?
Consider how much holiday stress you’ll eliminate by focusing on those who matter most and not on how someone might perceive you or your item, event, or decor.”

(From Simplify & Savor the Season: Organize and Re-energize Your Holidays!, available on “Product” page).

Let go of the Cookie-Cutter Christmas plans

Christmas cookies
It’s hard to say it, but sometimes we women are our own worst enemies during the holidays. Mostly because we want everything to be cozy, beautiful and, well, perfect.

It will be, if we let it be. As in, if we let the events and people unfold and enjoy without choreography, it will be perfectly imperfect. Mishaps and mayhem—these create the keeper moments that we’ll laugh and reminisce over. This is the unexpected magic that binds us together.

One year we were doing our Secret Santa, which involves leaving an anonymous money gift on a person’s porch. In stealth mode late at night, our family slowly drove in a mini-van around the cul-de-sac and dropped off the two “Helper Elves.” Then we drove down the street so as not to attract attention and, after enough time to ensure they made the drop, made our way back to pick them up. As we approached the house, we could hear our two kids crying incredibly loudly outside the family’s front door. After adjusting our eyes to the dark we realized what had happened—the family’s sprinklers had come on and soaked our already chilly boys (which begs the question, who has sprinklers on in December?) We still laugh about that experience. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a Currier and Ives picture to be a meaningful moment.

Best,

Connie

P.S. To order the on-sale 5 for $25 Simplify & Savor the Season PRINT books and receive 5 FREE professionally printed companion booklets, click here!

P.P.S. If you missed my KSL segment on “The Art of Being a Mom,” you can view it here.