The Difficulties of Ageing

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Hi guys....I'm writing this because I was in the nursing home this weekend with my husband, because his father who has started to get dementia and who was wearing a catheter, pulled it out and of course had difficulties urinating which could also cause infection. We had to rush him to the nursing home for his doctor to reinstall the catheter.

Ageing is so difficult when you've lived your life doing things for yourself, handled issues yourself and your memory wasn't an issue. I watch how both our parents are ageing and it has become such a sad and difficult period. My husband's mom has alzheimers and his father the first stages of dementia.

My mom has memory loss but it is mainly short term memory. You will tell her something now and a few minutes later she will ask the same question or she forgets what you told her and will again ask the same question a few minutes later. She also gets confused when we are at the supermarket and too many things are coming at her at the same time. Like looking for her linx card while the cashier is asking a question and not remembering where her card is.

But that's why parents have kids. We are there to guide them and support them through this difficult, confusing time of their life and I can only hope that my kids will do the same for us. I tell my mom you don't have to worry about things because me and my brother are here to deal with those things for her and with her but she still tends to worry.



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My feeling is that where my mom is on concerned she is bored. Being home doing nothing all day is boring and mind numbing. She has us to take her out and she sees me every Monday and sometimes Thursday. She sees my brother once or twice in the same week. She has friends who call her every day and all her neighbours know and look out for her. She goes to church and still serves as Lay Minister. She walks on mornings with her neighbours every morning, and she sees about her small garden⁸.

For me all she needs is some activity that will force her to use her brain a bit more. Her niece is staying with her while she studies at University and I take her prayer meetings on Thursdays plus at every opportunity I take her out or the kids go visit her. I took her to the Mall down south this weekend then the day before she went out with my brother to celebrate her grand daughters success at O'levels.

To me she has a fairly active life but she still harps on wishing that we lived with her or next door.She doesn't want to live with us because she finds it too boring where we live. It's hard to please them but you basically have to be patient and not get angry with them.

My friend has the same dementia issue with her mom but she has it even worse, as the dementia has her mother accusing her of having a boyfriend who she is bringing home at nights, in her house, which isn't the case at all. Her mother also accuses her of stealing her money and gets angry and combative, yet with her grandchildren she is cool and loving.

If my friend argues with her mom it gets worse but her patience ran out recently and she ended up shouting at her mother. She felt bad after but she just couldn't handle the accusations anymore. I understand because it can very frustrating repeating the same thing over and over or hearing things told to you that are incorrect but your parent is speaking as if it's true and they don't listen to any explanation and never change their attitude to haring the correct info. Frustrating is a mild way to describe it.


CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE STORE

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE STORE

With me it's taking the negative attitude and repeated negativity....the "poor me", "sorry for herself" attitude that drives me crazy. As a coach I can't handle negativity especially since I teach positivity and a "you can" attitude to all my clients. I encourage and guide them to achieve their life and professional goals.... so hearing the opposite from my mom is difficult.

I have to drum up the strength to ignore it and just redirect her to a more grateful way of thinking and to thank God for all that she has. She is lucky that with only 2 kids she got 8 grandkids. A friend of ours has 7 kids but only 5 grandchildren from all those kids she has. So one has to be grateful for all the blessings we get but at that age they wallow in repeated " I wish....." at least that's how it is with my mom.

My husband has it hard with dealing with the finances of his parents, handling the nurses and any emergencies that occurred this weekend and we don't live close to his parents so it's quite a drive to get to them or to meet them at the nursing home. But my husband is from a country area and country people stick to one another, look out for each other and are also very helpful for each other. He just has to make a few calls and he has someone to transport his father to the doctor where we met them and blessed for us, the doctor was there, the catheter was reinstalled and his father got a check up one time, which isn't normal. So everything worked put girl the best and his father is fine. God is in control you just need to ask him to help, which is what I did the minute we left home to come to the nursing home.

Like I mentioned, I hope me and my husband stay healthy for a long time....although with all these parental challenges my huzzy now has high blood pressure and has always suffered with sleep apnea. Me on the other hand, I only have the menopausal aggravations but I'm healthy otherwise. So people, make sure you have great family relationships, that you do all that's necessary to stay healthy because you do age and you could end up sickly with dementia or worse yet alzheimers, and you want to know that there is someone there you can rely on during that period when the memory fails, the body fails and you need support. Good luck guys....check you Thursday and think about what I said. Luv you guys.

A Day To Be Thankful.

A day to be THankful (g).png

Hi Guys....I had a great time with some old school girlfriends this weekend. We visited the beach house of one of the girls and it was wonderful. The house was in Mayaro. Mayaro, is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Trinidad and Tobago and is a large county in southeast Trinidad. The end of the word, 'ro' is the Arawak term meaning, "the place of," hence "the place of maya" or "Mayaro". The house was amazing and the it was soooo breezy and relaxing. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach was just soothing and peaceful.


Mayaro in Trinidad
The View from a Beach House in Mayaro

There were eleven of us and each person brought food and there were lots of drinks. We also had some wine and two friends went out to get more wine. Boy was there a lot of food!!!!

Potatoe Salad, Macaroni Pie, Bar B Que Chicken, Fried Chicken, Fresh Salad, Pelau and Vegetable Rice

We sat around and talked and had a great time. Later on, we went for a walk on the beach. I've put some of the shots I took. And even later we decided to take a dip in the water. The water was fantastic. It was warm and that is surprising sometimes because you normally expect the water to be a little cold but, OMG the water was sooooo warm and like a soothing fountain. The only negative is that the water is pretty rough, with waves coming in and really pushing you so you can't even go to much into the deep, but we sat in the shallow and just had a ball.

The drive to Mayaro is a long one it takes about 2 hours. Five of us were picked up in the town by a maxi we hired and the other four were picked up by one of the popular Malls. Then off we all went. We talked and laughed and watched the sceneray and i have to say, every time I do some type of trip in Trinidad I'm always surprsed by how great my country is and how many amazing places there are to visit and see. I've been to Mayaro but this trip was really cool. Mayaro has a lot of fishermen and we were going to buy fish from some of the fishermen who were going to return from the see at 3pm but unfortunately that crew didn't sail that day, so no fish for us. Maybe next time.



Mayaro Beach

Mayaro Beach

A River Joins the Sea

A River Joins the Sea

3 Fishing Boats on the beach

3 Fishing Boats on the beach

We also had the fortune to see our friends handy man come to cut down some coconuts for us to get fresh coconut water to drink. I'm going to try to place a video as it was something else to watch.......let's see how good I am.


Hopefully it came out alright for you to see how he did it.....climb a coconut tree . It's quite a treat and they are so dexterous. After the coconuts were picked we all had a drink straight from the coconut. Now please don't go all AWOW!! We drink coconut water all the time, any time because it's sold almost everywhere so i's no big thing over here, but drinking it from the trees that our friend planted herself and who is now reaping its fruits was something so alluring....that is what made it special.

Mayaro - Coconut Tree.jpg

The day passed quickly unfortunately, so that by the time we had taken a swim, we realised it was 3:00pm and we were carded to leave at 4:-00pm...OH! OH!! The Maxi driver stayed with us the entire day so we didn't want to keep him back too long. We decided we would have to take an additional hour to pack up, which we did, as well as take the final farewell photos. Trinis never stop chatting or taking pics even as they are leaving. Now for the trip back. As usual going back always seems to happen faster than going. Along the way one friend wanted a bottle of Honey....yes people sell honey, fruits, detergent, food almost anything t the side of the road, normally in little huts.

We saw a guy in one such hut with a few bottles of a dark substance which we thought was honey, so the maxi driver stopped reversed so we could make our purchase. But, it wasn't honey. he was selling home made rum punch, but hen we noticed a weird looking fruit. I didn't know but one friend did, she asked the driver to find out the price and then she bought 15 of the fruit. She said since we didn't know it that we should try it as it is quite sweet and quite a lovely fruit. I had my doubts as it was an ugly looking thing. It looked like an alien. She showed us how to open it and how to eat it. People, that was the most delicious fruit ever!!!! I've been thinking about it since. It's called Rambuten.

Rambuten

Rambuten

The Rambuten Fruit Inside

The Rambuten Fruit Inside

I fell in love with this fruit, ugly as it was, but on looking closer you realise that the egg like seed that is covered with delicious sweet flesh, has a perfect oval, compact, neat look. It was perfect, I had to get me some more. I ate 3 and wanted more, but they told me that outside of the countryside or areas like Mayaro, it was pretty expensive in town (the city) or around where I lived. Damn!!! I was also sure that a fruit like that was packed with health benefits. This is what I found out:

Health Benefits Of Rambutan

  • Decreases unwanted fat. The fruit can be effective in reducing the body's fat content because of its high fiber and water content and low calorie count.

  • Source of iron.

  • Skin and hair care.

  • Rich in Vitamin C.

  • Improves sperm quality.

  • Anti-Cancer.

rambutan is a tree from southeast Asia. The fruit that grows on the tree is also called rambutan. It is like Lychee. The name rambutan is an Indonesian word that means "hairy". Native to the Malay Archipelago, the name of this fruit is derived from the Malay word meaning "hairy," and you can see why. But once the hairy exterior of the rambutan is peeled away, the tender, fleshy, delicious fruit is revealed. Its taste is described as sweet and sour, much like a grape with a large, long inner seed.

So guys, i'm definitely going to buy me some more rambutan.

We made it back to town in no time and three of us waited for our husbands, who as usual didn't gage the time properly so they weren't waiting for us when we arrived at the pick up spot. I waited about 15-20 minutes then my husband arrived and the other two friends left a few minutes after me. A great end to a great day with wonderful weather. I need to do that again, it was truly refreshing. Wish i could buy me a house like that on such a perfect spot. Hearing the waves is so soothing and can you imagine waking up to that every day. What a life.

Hope you enjoyed my beach weekend post and I'll end with a selfie.

Hope you enjoyed Mayaro with me. Gafra.org

Hope you enjoyed Mayaro with me. Gafra.org

Bye for now until my next post. Hope you had a great weekend as well.











Disappointment

Disappointment www.gafra.org

Hi Guys.....after having a great birthday I'm then faced with a great disappointment. My daughter applied to do her Phd at South Florida University. She was accepted with a Fellowship and went through all the ups and downs to get vaccines, student visa, documentation, pay for this, pay for that, pay for apartment and more only to realise that because they were sending the information piece by piece that the number of credits she has to do, the fellowship only covers part and the remaining credits she has to pay for them and its quite a bit of money. Please note that USD$ is seven to one for us so the $7,000 extra she now has to find is equivalent to $49,000 to us. HOW DISAPPOINTING!!!!

She considered taking a student loan but again the conversion for us is major and she will probably have to borrow a lot to cover all her semesters for the next 5 years of the program....that's a lot of mula which I can't help with and taking a loan will mean she is stuck with that debt for years. And thus my conversation about disappointment. This child of mine is the most upbeat of all my 4 kids. The most positive and helpful and considerate but right now, she is very quiet. I can totally understand. I remember a time in my life where it seemed as if everything I wanted didn't work out. I did SATs because I wanted to study abroad only to be told by my parents that they couldn't afford me studying abroad and why do a degree anyway? Go find a job and work for 33 years and then get married and so on and so on, blah, blah, blah....the typical drab existence

NO, NO, NO!!!! That wasn't for me. Yes I couldn't go abroad but what was my other option? Study here, which I dd and I gained my degree right here at our University. But again I know that during that period of constant disappointment I changed. I no longer got excited about things and wanting things. My attitude was one of , OK if I got it fine if not whatever. This was my way of dealing with the pain of disappointment. We all deal with disappointments differently, some people become bitter, some become negative, some bounce back and look at the brighter side and some find other options to get what they want.

As I mentioned, I wasn't able to study abroad but I did gain my Degree and yes I worked for 10 years, but then I left the working world and instead of working for a company I started my own business, which is what I run today with my husband. It's through that business I was able to let 2 of my kids study abroad, so Life can take a different turn based on the attitude you take. I still feel disappointed that I never got to study abroad and I wonder sometimes how my life would have been if I had, but from the path I did take, I got an amazing husband, 4 amazing kids and 2 of them were able to do what I wasn't able to. They studied abroad and did extremely well. That is why I'm so disappointed for my daughter. Disappointed that I can't help her this time to go pursue her Phd. but everything happens for a reason. She will probably have to do her Masters here instead and that is an option I'm suggesting to her. She's a bit sad but her spirits lifted a bit when she realised that as she was saving so much money she can play Carnival next year....Kids!!! Always thinking of a party to chase away the blues.

Let's look at the clinical side of Disappointment. What is the definition of Disappointment? A sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one's hopes or expectations. Is it an emotion? The Psychology of Disappointment. The study of disappointment is just in its infancy, but there is a definite physiological aspect to what happens in the brain, when people experience the emotion we call “disappointment.” . But when things go wrong: You feel frustration, regret and yes..…often disappointment. Let's look at the clinical side of handling Disappointment.

How do you recover from disappointment?

  1. Face the truth of the situation.

  2. Allow yourself to mourn lost dreams.

  3. Don't get stuck feeling like a victim.

  4. Check if your expectations are realistic.

  5. Be kind to yourself.

  6. Look for the silver lining.

  7. Be willing to try a different approach.

  8. Find your grit.

How to Deal with Disappointment?

Adjust Your Mindset

  1. Let your feelings out; it's natural that you feel upset or even inconsolable.

  2. Put your problems in perspective.

  3. Be grateful.

  4. Take some time to heal.

  5. Take some time to reflect on what you can learn from your situation.

  6. Adjust your expectations.

  7. Strain to see the silver lining.

So far what I've seen my daughter do is try to find other options, weigh the ones she has and make a decision, because she has a lot of changes to suddenly make due to this drastic change in plans. She might still take the trip to South Florida since she has the ticket and a paid for apartment. Just stay for a week as a vacation, then come back home. She resigned from her job so now she has to see if she can rescind that and keep her job. Check for other fellowships or scholarships that can finance the entire program she wants to complete rather than just part of it. Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

I'm very sad for her because I was looking forward to her new adventure in life and it's very disappointing for me, but seeing her disappointed is far worse. Why? Why do these things happen, and to the best people? Only God knows, maybe it's not the right time for her, but to go through all that organising and to have this happen when you're supposed to leave in 2 weeks, that's the part that upsets me. I'm sorry guys...I'm ranting but I"m just sad, mad and upset, but life goes on. Let's see how this works out and time will tell what was the benefits of this disappointment.

See you guys later, love you all.

PS. - UPDATE:

3 Days later after my daughter tried contacting the University to verify the info, she got one person who said she doesn't really know but that is what the email says. then my daughter was able to get in touch with the person in charge and, to make a long story short, the email doesn't apply to her so PEOPLE!!!!.....SHE IS GOING TO DO HER Phd!!!!! YES!!!! God is always so good. Amen and Amen.

Referrences:

  • The Psychology of Disappointment

  • 8 Ways to Bounce back after a disappointment | Psychology Today

  • How To deal with Disappointment | Wikihow

The Economic Downturn

The Economic Downturn (g).png

Hi guys....yes I'm actually going to go into a topic like this because this is the reality we are facing in my country. Things are not as they used to be. We no longer have oil to give us the billions that we used to receive and we never too the time, after all these years, to develop our tourism to the point where we can compete with Islands like Barbados or St Thomas.

Our former President did have a vision. Mr. Manjing was striving to make Trinidad the New York of the Caribbean. The Industrial giant if the Caribbean. The business hub of the Islands but that dream died with him and with the next Government things went from bad to worse and now they are taking every attempt to build back the country and pay off all the debt we were drowning in.

It's a hard road but the bright spot is that with every negative there is a positive. The way the economy is forced people to become innovatively creative. To find businesses they can earn some extra cash and that to me brings out the creative side of people. We have local crafts people selling their items in up markets.



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The upmarket themselves are money makers for those who organize them and we see the millenials are becoming entrepreneurs and not just workers. The one black spot right now though is the high criminal activities between rival gangs and sometimes the innocent bystander get hurt.

The government is making every attempt to stall the crime but that is difficult and will take a lot of organising and structure and will entail also weeding out the criminals within the police force itself. This is what they are trying to do right now, not sure how successful they will be but at least they're making an attempt. Don't get me wrong, we are listed really highly. Trinidad and Tobago is the wealthiest country in the Caribbean as well as the third richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas after the United States and Canada.

Energy production and downstream industrial use dominate the economy. Oil and gas typically account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports but less than 5% of employment. Trinidad and Tobago is home to one of the largest natural gas liquefaction facilities in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011, the OECD removed the Caribbean nation from its list of developing countries and upgraded the islands to the status of developed. ... The poverty level in Trinidad and Tobago is actually lower than Israel - which is a fully-developed, OECD country.

GET ARTWORK ON THESE ITEMS RIGHT HERE

GET ARTWORK ON THESE ITEMS RIGHT HERE


However, theft and violent crimes remain prevalent to this date, while crime and the perception of crime continues to hamper the economic prospects of the city. Laventille has some of the highest crime rates inTrinidad and Tobago, with drugs, gangs, and murders being the main problem in this community. There is a gap between the rich and poor in Trinidad and Tobago, and theft is common on the island of Trinidad, but Tobago is more traditionally touristy and has many beach resorts that are generally considered safe, but as with all countries, caution is still recommended, especially after dark.

So what do we have now, a country that is an amazing place to live with it's gorgeous terrain, friendly people, lovely climate and fabulous food but it's being messed up be a minority that are greedy and want power, a few who use Trinidad & Tobago as a transfer point for guns due to our location and lastly we are affected by those who look for justice and fairness but go about it the wrong way. Again it is unfortunate.

But one great thing about Trinidad & Tobago is that it is filled with praying people and the islands are named after the Holy Trinity, the father, son and Holy Spirit, so there is always hope and we have faith that Our Country will be made better at some point. The world is going crazy, there are things happening in other countries that baffle the mind and there are things going on we can't even begin to comprehend. I for one prefer to stay in my little Island and enjoy my people and my simple life and pray that God looks after the innocent.

I hope you all are not going through difficult times in your country and if you are find a way to stay hopeful and happy. Later people and see you later.

The Story of an Art Piece

Read my story of one of my art pieces. gafra.org

Hi Guys..... this is one of my pieces. I wanted to give you an idea of the story behind some of my pieces, if you happened to take the time to visit my Art sites at www.gafra.org or www.gafra-art.com, you will see this piece. So what's the story behind this piece called "Gran Couva Huts"? Well, ever so often my husband and I go for a drive into a semi country area where there is this Estate or garden center that sells plants called La Vega. On the way you pass these huts that once formed part of an old plantation. The people who worked on this plantation lived in these huts. Even today there are still a few families that live in one or two of them.



I wanted to give you a preview into my art and what types of stories come along with them. For this piece, the huts themselves and how they looked captured my attention. They had a sense of history about them seeing as they are in Gran Couva, a place known for having the finest cocoa in the world. This is due to the soil type and the climate, converging to create a cocoa that makes the best chocolate ever! Trinidad is known for its amazing cocoa, whose quality is exquisite.



I work in Watercolour mainly but branched out into acrylic abstracts later in my painting journey. After taking the photo, I then rendered it  and maybe a few days later I start painting. I leave it to look at it for a few days to decide if it needs to be tweaked, then I'm done. I really enjoyed painting these huts as they are a part of Trinidad's history. We once had cocoa estates run by plantation owners and the workers lived in huts like these.

This is my watercolour painting representing those huts and how they appear to me, how I see them through my art eye. My method is a simple of of seeing something that is painterly, taking a photo at the angle I feel most comfortable with, doing a sketch back home, then start the process of painting. I may take a few days to paint one piece or complete in immediately, it depends on how i'm feeling at the time as well as what is happening at home. My studio...if you can call it that is a small space in the corner of a room we call the library and that is where i create.

Gran couvaHuts.jpg

Gran Couve Hut

Watercolour Piece

gran couva huts

I know most of you who follow me aren't artist or may not even be creative but I believe we all have that ability but we may be afraid or just judgemental of ourselves so we don't try at all. You never know what you're capable until you try only then can you say...."OK I suck at this..."

 Art is a means to de-stress for me as well its one of my creative outlets. I need ways to cleanse me from the negative energies in my system as a result of coaching and hearing a lot of peoples' problems, hurts, insecurities, anger, challenges and more. Art is what I use to cleanse myself. Everyone has to find that activity that helps them clean up their aura or energy and re-energise them. Find what works for you as I did.

 

This piece is a watercolour painting of an abandoned hut  saw while spending a weekend at a place called Pawee. My Art class spent the weekend there and we did some hiking and painting. While tracking through what used to be a nutmeg and coffee estate we crossed rivers and streams and climbed some steep hills, at one such hill this hut appeared and we were told by our guide that is was once used to store the nutmeg when the estate was a thriving. What history and to me it stood out and I knew I had to take that photo and capture it via a painting.

hut.jpg

Abandoned Hut

A Watercolour Art Piece

Abandoned Hut

 

This piece is a watercolour painting of an Abandoned Pawee Hut in the Pawee Estate in Toco. I visited an Old Nutmeg Estate that also has some Cocoa plants, a Cocoa hut and a nutmeg storage hut and a hiking path. This is the nutmeg storage hut we saw as we hiked through the Estate. There was a lovely shallow river and so much more. We had a wonderful time there. I saw this old hut and it called to me and I did my usual. Took a photo, then a few days later rendered it and started painting and this is the end result. hope you like it, a piece of Trinidad, a piece of History.



So people put a hand to trying something creative that you feel comfortable with. You won't know how good you are until you try. So whether you're an Art Lover or not bye for now, we will chat again soon. OH !!! Also check out my Printable planners that I create, I think they are great but I made them . let me know what you think.

 

Visit my etsy shop teaprint. gafra.org

Product Discover - Products I Use

Products I use, gafra.org

Hi guys...I wanted to talk about my everyday life and some of the products I've discovered or heard about as I go through my daily life and as I work at developing my Online business. I already have a great Coaching and Development business but the products I use there aren't as interesting as what I encounter for the online business or for Life in general.

Items In My General Life

My routine is pretty simple. I get up around 4 am , prepare for work, I drop m daughter first but if we have time to kill we would go to Starbucks until its time for her to get to work. Once I’ve dropped her to work then I head off to facilitate a coaching session with a client or I head to the office. If I have a session or two then I would return to the office for lunch then it’s out again for the after lunch coaching sessions with more clients. At the end of the day I pick up my daughter and we either go exercise then go home or we go straight home. So the items I value are:

My Fossil Watch - it counts my steps and I feel really proud of myself when I’m able to do 10,000 steps in a day.

  1. My MacBook Pro – I do everything on my Mac – my blogs, my reports, designing my websites, my research, my everything, so I keep that very close to me and I recently bought a cover to protect it.

  2. Other items I tend to purchase from Amazon are the PCA Skin Products, Dresses on Amazon e,g, ROOSEY Women's Floral Printed - I tend to buy a lot of my clothes abroad. I started doing that when I travelled for conferences and if I’m not traveling then I go on amazon to find dresses that I love. Yes it’ cost less to buy and ship them here versus getting hem here. What tends to happen is, the stores and boutiques sometimes sell q few of one style and you could sometimes end up somewhere , where another person has on the same dress…yeah I know if that could happen to the stars then who am I but It’s not nice and it can be embarrassing, so to prevent that I get my stuff abroad, although lately I have been seeing women with dresses I almost bought online myself.

  3. Other items I tend to purchase from Amazon are the PCA Skin Products, Dresses on Amazon e,g, ROOSEY Women's Floral Printed - I tend to buy a lot of my clothes abroad. I started doing that when I travelled for conferences and if I’m not traveling then I go on amazon to find dresses that I love. Yes it’ cost less to buy and ship them here versus getting hem here. What tends to happen is, the stores and boutiques sometimes sell q few of one style and you could sometimes end up somewhere , where another person has on the same dress…yeah I know if that could happen to the stars then who am I but It’s not nice and it can be embarrassing, so to prevent that I get my stuff abroad, although lately I have been seeing women with dresses I almost bought online myself.

 
Get your printable planner pages gafra.org
Time Management Planner Pages right HERE . gafra,org

PCA Skin is a beauty product to prevent wrinkles and to deal with stretching the skin. I found out about it when I visited a dermatologist because I was having some very bad pimple problems and she recommnded this product. I must say it is amazing and it really keeps mu skin smooh and fairly wrinkle free but it isn’t cheap so I have to do with the small sample packs and make it stretch for as long as possible. But excllent product.

At one point my husband and I decided to cut down on expenses as our bills were too high. One of the things we stopped paying for was Cable so we only paid for internet connection as without that my entire household would be in an uproar as everyone in this house lives on their Laptop. But Then I found the  Amazon Fire Stick. This replaced cable and we were still able to see all the show that we loved and enjoyed and we still had access to Netflix, plus most of all it wasn’t a continuous monthly expense. So when I’m at home this provides the entertainment and the relaxation.

Recently, I’ve ventured into Bullet Journaling and I, as usual went a bit overboard. I purchased the notebook, Dotted Grid Journal for Bullet Journalling , pens, Washi Tape, my Lamy pens and more. I love bullet journalling because I get to do the thing I enjoy and that’’s planning but with a difference. Now I can plan , journal, make notes, doodle, be creative and decorative with the different stickers available and I have other trackers and info all in one journal versus the basic diary whose layout is very limited and restricted. With the Bullet Journal I can design my own layout as I go along through the days, weeks and months. I JUST LOVE IT. I also love to write so my Lamy pens….yes I have two and I wish I had more, each has a different sized nib. I love how they write and I kinda like calligraphy, even though I’m not great at it. With my bullet Journalling I went got all I needed so I had to get a Container to organise and display all of my Washi tape.

I enjoyed buying the different Washi tapes, something I know nothing about.They are so much fun to use and they can also be used for other craft creations that you can never not use them.i had to thus buy a container to house all of my tape and even getting that was fun. Shopping online as we all know can be very addictive and because its so easy and convenient to do you do it easily but always monitor your spending. Don't let it get beyond you or else you could end up spending unncessarily, so check your priorities.

GET ARTWORK ON THE ITEMS YOU LOVE. choose the art you love and have it placed on your favourite item. @gafra.org

My other main use for the products I purchase online are gifts, gifts for christmas, birthdays and more. Some of the items I've bought as gifts were:

  1. Jewellery - for my daughters for Christmas

  2. Phone case - strong case for my husband who destroys phones quickly

  3. Phone

  4. Shoes

  5. Clothes - Quick Dry Golf Shirt and Golf pants for my husband

  6. Laptop Covers

Online Items

With my Online Business, lets start with all the different tools and platforms I've stumbled upon as I went along growing my knowledge about blogging and what to do to develop my blog and my website. With the website I started off with:

  1. Wordpress. This is a great platform but can be a bit less user friendly, so I have this blog on Wordpress and one art site on Wordpress. To set up a shop on wordpress or to do any additional features one needs to buy plugins and that was a problem for me. As an international user we a restricted from some plugins and that started being very annoying for me so I stick to the simple features provided by Wordpress.

  2. I discovered Squarespace - A much more user friendly and easy platform to use to not only design your website but also to set up a shop. It ghas been the easiest platform to use, it’s so user friendly and I love being able to crate all the different blogs and website interfaces myself.

  3. Mailchimp – again a very easy to use and inexpensive platform that manages your emails and allows you to offer freebies and collect email addresses so you can offer more and develop a community.

  4. Pinterest – this is my go to for fesearch as I love to read and you can find articles or blogs on any topic you need. I also use it as my art inspiration. If I need an idea for a painting, as Pinterest is like the visual version of Google I go there for my ideas.

  5. Instagram – now getting into this app as I’m not really the selfie type but it is great to show your work and share your blogs so I’m slowly understanding it’s importance.




Amazon - A bit About It

So Amazon is my main means of getting what I want without having to travel. This is so different from long ago when you couldn’t get anything unless you had a shipper and it took 6-8 weeks to arrive and the cost was ridiculous. Now you can get an item the next day if you’re willing to pay the extra. Technology and innovation sure has changed our way of life. How much does Amazon sell?

How Many Products Does Amazon Sell Worldwide – January 2018. Amazon lists more than 3 billion products across 11 marketplaces worldwide. We took a look at the number of products Amazon lists online for more than its 300 million customers. Today Amazon sells over 480 million products in the USA. Amazon's product selection has expanded by 235 million in the past 16 months. That an extraordinary average of 485 thousand new products per day. Amazon's catalogue is grouped into dozens of departments. Prime memberships are currently available in 17 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US.

INNOVATION. Amazon's success largely stems from its innovative technologies and practices, many of which were championed by its CEO, Jeff Bezos. ... This innovative technology was a huge investment for the e-commerce giant—one that fostered exceptional results. Over 22 million Echo units were sold in 2017 alone

Who are Amazon's closest competitors?

Top Amazon Competitors

  • The following are the top Amazon Competitors.

  • Amazon Competitors In E-commerce Segment.

  • 1) Alibaba.

  • 2) Walmart.

  • 3) Otto.

  • 4) JD.

  • 5) Priceline.

  • 6) eBay.

A Few alternatives for cheap online shopping versus Amazon

  1. eBay. Amazon's biggest competition: the bidding website for discount shopping.

  2. Overstock. Overloaded ecommerce stock meets handcrafting artisans with unique products.

  3. Newegg. Leading the tech world in ecommerce.

  4. Zappos.

  5. AliExpress.

  6. Jet.com.

  7. Barnes & Noble.

  8. Rakuten.

The Close

I love Amazon as they allow me to buy for me and my family items that would normally not be easily available to us. I really love Amazon and I hope they continue in existence for a while but as we all know nothing lasts forever but there are alternatives , but lets hope they stay around for a long time. Please be advised that I am using VigLink to shorten my links and I also have some affiliate products on my site from which I may gain a small commission if you purchase the product. This has no effect on the cost to you and the commission helps me maintain the cost of continuing my blog.

 
 
Gail Shadow Circular.jpeg





How to Coach: An Easy Method

How to Coach: An easy method…gafra.org

Hi guys....as you know I've started a series on helping you know how to do certain business activities, such as being better at planning and today I'm looking at coaching, how to coach someone, especially if they are a team member and you want them to develop.

Coaching is a process and it also takes certain characteristics within the person/coach to be able to guide others. I feel that first and foremost you must like or even love people to be able to care enough to want to coach or guide them. Lets get into this activity called coaching.

What is coaching?

Coaching is a form of development in which a person called a coach supports a learner or client in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee.

What are some of the benefits of Coaching?

Benefits to coaching an individual include:

  • improvement in individual's performance, targets and goals.

  • increased openness to personal learning and development.

  • increased ability to identify solutions to specific work-related issues.

  • greater ownership and responsibility.

  • development of self-awareness.

get printable coaching planner pages at gafra.org

GET YOUR PRINTABLE COACHING PLANNER HERE

What are the Key Skills Needed?

Key Coaching Skills

  • Goal-setting. Coaching is a goal-focused (or solution-focused) approach, so the ability to elicit clear, well-defined and emotionally engaging goals from a coachee is one of the most important skills for a coach to possess. ...

  • Looking. ...

  • Listening. ...

  • Empathising. ...

  • Questioning. ...

  • Giving feedback. ...

  • Intuiting. ...

  • Checking.

I depend mainly on my intuition, experience from doing this for so many years and I built my Listening, Empathising Observation and Questioning skills. These were key for me, then came giving the feedback based on the responses given. Most people have the answer within them but they are either blocking it themselves, afraid to face it, doubt their own answers or simply want someone else to verify their answer. So communication is vital and proper communication, because we communicate with our words (verbal), tone, and our expression or body language

Why is Coaching Necessary?

When organizations coach employees, benefits to the company include: Overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems. Strengthen employees' skills so you can delegate more tasks to them and focus on more important managerial responsibilities—such as planning.

The purpose of coaching is to improve the individual's performance on the job. This involves either enhancing current skills or acquiring new skills. Once the coachee successfully acquires the skills, the coach is no longer needed.

Below is a list of principles that can be effectively used for coaching success.

  • The Coaching Spirit.

  • Relationship and Trust.

  • Asking Questions and Curiosity.

  • Listening and Intuition.

  • Feedback and Awareness.

  • Suggestions and Simplification.

  • Goals and Action Plans.

  • Accountability and Accomplishments.

GET ALL OF YOUR BUSINESS PRINTABLE PLANNER PAGES HERE

How To Coach?

  1. First you need to determine with the coachee (and if necessary their Boss) what needs to improve. Explain and clearly describe why something needs to change

  2. Ensure the coachee understands and agrees with the necessary change. Ask.

  3. Determine what behaviours need to change to be able to achieve the end results. Set the goal.

  4. Develop an action plan or process to achieve the change in behaviour that will allow the relevant improvement. Involve the coachee. Discuss ideas for potential solutions and approaches

  5. Be there at every checkpoint of expected change to give feedback, or simply give feedback as the coachee goes along. Get to the core of what they are feeling as they start to practice different behaviours and what is their attitude?

  6. Show appreciation. Recognize positive movement or effort in order to encourage continued progress toward the agreed-upon goal

Ways To Deal With Difficult Employees

  1. Listen. Often, when an employee is difficult we stop paying attention to what's actually going on. ...

  2. Give clear, behavioural feedback. ...

  3. Document. ...

  4. Be consistent. ...

  5. Set consequences if things don't change. ...

  6. Work through the company's processes. ...

  7. Don't poison the well. ...

  8. Manage your self-talk.

How to Coach: The Easy Method

So you have an idea about coaching, but let me give you an even easier way to coach. It's via my Coaching planner. This has all the relevant sheets for you to follow the coaching process in a few easy steps, simply follow the flow of the pages and all the tracking and documentation you need is already done up for you, simply fill them in.

GET YOUR PRINTABLE COACHING PLANNERS HERE

These are the pages you will receive in this printable planner:

  1. Year to date Calendar

  2. Coaching list Plan - who needs coaching, in what and the benefits

  3. Individual Coaching Plan - the plan for each person

  4. Weekly Goals Setting Sheet

  5. Coaching for the Week - The coaching ideas for the week

  6. Daily Coaching Schedule Page - the activity, Dates, status

  7. Daily Planner

  8. Daily Schedule

  9. Coaching Follow-up Tracker

  10. Coaching notes pages

  11. Coaching Planning guide

Follow the guide and it will help you easily flow through the coaching process, what could be easier. I hope this was of great help to you and try out the printable coaching planner and let me know what you think.

Later guys and I apologise for the late posting.

Subscribe and join my family. Look below, type your email right there

I am gafra.org

References:

  1. Forbes.com

  2. Inc.com

  3. Workplacepsychology.net

 

How to Solve Problems: An Easy method

How to Solve Problems_ An Easy Method (g).png

Hi everyone…as you see so far I’ve started on a series dealing with how to do different things via some easy methods, such as Plan, solve problems, delegate, coach, manage your time and manage/organise your life.

The last post dealt with how to plan using an easy method, today I’m looking at how you can have a simple process to be able to solve any personal or business problem. These are some of the things I deal with on a daily basis with my clients…….for those of you who are new to my blog, I am a Leadership coach here in Trinidad as well as an Artist, Blogger and mother of 4 millenials. I plan to do a blog post on Millennials soon as they are quite interesting and living with 4 kids with different personalities was an experience. Their ages range from 28 to 24.

My blog is a lifestyle blog, it’s my outlet to discuss/talk about anything and everything I see as interesting and which touches me. I am also an artist so my Art blog is www.gafra.org or www.gafra-art.com. If you want to view my work check out my Art site. Today I’m dealing with problem solving, so lets get started.

Problem Solving

Definition: the process of finding solutions to difficult or complex issues.

People face problems every day—usually, multiple problems throughout the day. Sometimes these problems are straightforward: To decide what to cook with thw ingredients you have. Sometimes, however, the problems we encounter are more complex.

For example, say you have a work deadline, and you must mail a printed copy of a report to your supervisor by the end of the business day. The report is time-sensitive and must be sent overnight. You finished the report last night, but your printer will not work today. What should you do? First, you need to identify the problem and then apply a strategy for solving the problem.

Solve your problems, use this method, check me at gafra.org

GET YOUR PRINTABLE PLANNER HERE

Problem-solving strategies

When you are presented with a problem—whether it is a complex problem or a problem as simple as a printer whose toner has run out, how do you solve it? Before finding a solution to the problem, the problem must first be clearly identified. After that, one of many problem solving strategies can be applied, hopefully resulting in a solution.

They say that the steps to take to solve a problem are  - define, measure, analyze, improve and control. The first two steps define and measure the problem. The third step is the analysis. And the fourth and fifth steps, improve and control, are about solutions.

After that, one of many problem solving strategies devised can be applied, hopefully resulting in a solution. So basically a problem-solving strategy is a plan of action used to find a solution. Different strategies have different action plans associated with them. For example, a well-known strategy is trial and error another is working backwards.

Examples: Working Backwards: in which you begin solving the problem by focusing on the end result. Consider this example: You live in Washington, D.C. and have been invited to a wedding at 4 PM on Saturday in Philadelphia. Knowing that Interstate 95 tends to back up any day of the week, you need to plan your route and time your departure accordingly. If you want to be at the wedding service by 3:30 PM, and it takes 2.5 hours to get to Philadelphia without traffic, what time should you leave your house?

You use the working backwards heuristic to plan the events of your day on a regular basis, probably without even thinking about it. This is my main method if I know I going somewhere for a certain time. I hate being late and this backwards method works beautifully for me, in fact, I tend to add a few more minutes as a contingency, you never know what can happen on the way.

Trial and Error: In terms of your printer without toner, you could try checking the ink levels, and if that doesn’t work, you could check to make sure you don’t have another toner stashed somewhere. Or maybe the printer is actually broken. When using trial and error, you continue to try different solutions until you solved your problem. Although trial and error is not typically one of the most time-efficient strategies, it is a commonly used one.

This is a strategy most people use and yes it can take time until you pick or find the right solution but problem solving is normally needed in the blink of an eye so who can say if a method took too long or not, it will always take some time to solve any problem.

Creative problem solving (CPS): is a method of problem solving in which you approach a problem or challenge in an imaginative, innovative way. The goal of CPS is to come up with innovative solutions, make a decision, and take action quickly.

The Basic Steps to Problem Solving

The Six Steps

  1. Define the Problem.

  2. Determine the Root Cause(s) of the Problem.

  3. Develop Alternative Solutions.

  4. Select a Solution.

  5. Implement the Solution.

  6. Evaluate the Outcome.

Steps to Solving Problems in a Business environment

Dealing with a Difficult Problem

  1. Always try to solve a problem informally first. ...

  2. Focus on the problem, not the person. ...

  3. Be assertive, but be courteous. ...

  4. Focus on the immediate problem. ...

  5. Prepare for your meeting. ...

  6. If you are uncomfortable meeting alone, invite a third party to join you. ...

  7. Put yourself in the other person's shoes.

Problem-Solving: Your Next Steps and Skills

Now that you've brainstormed a list of potential problems, your next step is to think up effective solutions for these issues, noting the skills you will need to resolve them. 

Visit my Etsy shop today at www.etsy.com/shop/teaprint

VISIST MY ETSY SHOP FOR YOUR PRINTABLE PROBLEM SOLVER PLANNER HERE

From A Business Perspective

Once you’ve determined what is causing a problem, it’s time to come up with possible alternative solutions. Sometimes this involves teamwork, since two (or more) minds are often better than one. It’s rare that a single strategy is the obvious route to solving a complex problem; devising a set of alternatives helps you to cover your bases and reduce your risk exposure should the first strategy you implement fail.

Evaluating the best solutions

Depending upon the nature of the problem and your chain of command, evaluating the best solutions may be performed by assigned teams, team leads, or forwarded upward to major corporate decision makers. Whoever makes the decision must evaluate potential costs, required resources, and possible barriers to successful solution implementation.

Implementing a plan

Once a course of action has been decided upon, it must be implemented, along with benchmarks that can quickly and accurately determine whether it’s working to solve a problem. Plan implementation also typically involves alerting personnel to changes in their standard operating procedures

Assessing the effectiveness of your interventions

Once a solution is implemented, the best problem-solvers have systems in place to ascertain if and how quickly it’s working. This way, they know as soon as possible whether the issue has been resolved or, alternatively, whether they’ll have to change their response to the problem mid-stream.

Summary

You now have the process to follow to solve a problem, but there is an even easier way. I created a planner to help you, do all the steps above thereby making the process much easier. You get the forms to answer all the relevant questions and the planner forms follow the process to problem solving.

These are the forms available in the Printable Problem Solver planner:

  1. Calendar

  2. List of Problem Page

  3. Problem Symptoms Page

  4. Root Cause Listing Page

  5. Additional Information Collection Page

  6. Problem Solver Page (list all possible solutions)

  7. Problem Solver Tracker Page (Track which solution worked for future use)

  8. Problem Solver Summary Page

  9. Meeting Agenda Page (for all meetings required with the team or any relevant individual(s))

  10. Meeting Planner

  11. Things to Remember Page

  12. Daily Goal Planning Page (set the goals for the different tasks needed to solve the problem)

  13. Weekly Goal Planning Page

  14. Monthly Goal Planning Page

  15. Notes Pages

I created 2 styles for this planner, for those who are minimalist, there is the Elegant Problem Solver Printable Planner and for those who like a bit of colour, there is the Red Problem Solver Printable Planner. Make life easier don’t reinvent the wheel, simply print theses pages and get to work. They are easily available HERE.

Get Your Printable Problem Solving Planner

GET YOUR PROBLEM SOLVER PRINTABLE PLANNERS HERE

I hope I’ve helped you make solving problems much easier, I tried to take away the frustration of deciding where to start and what to do first, like I said simply follow the flow of the forms and WALLA!!!!

I’LL SEE YOU GUYS LATER, LUV YOU ALL.




Referrals

  1. IPSY102 – COURSE.CERU.ORG

  2. The Balance Careers

How to Plan: An Easy Method

Having problems planning? Use this very easy method, simply visit my blog and get your answer.

Hi everyone…..as you know I am a Leadership Coach and one of the areas I coach or assist leaders to be more organized or to be better planners. I want to share a bit of what I know with you my followers. Most people don’t take the time to plan and simply keep everything in their heads. They also move to complete tasks as they remember, or they write down to-do lists, then wonder why at the end of the day they didn’t seem to complete anything of worth.

To-do lists are simple and what most people do to start their day and they think this is planning but it’s not. With a to-do list you tend to write down first whatever comes to your mind then the rest flows, but are they in order of priority? Are you doing the task that is important and urgent or as your list indicates, whatever is first. We tend to do the tasks on our list that are easy, quick to do, tasks we like or the tasks that was simply first.

Lets start at the beginning, to understand what is the best process to be a better planner:

Manage your time with this easy method, simply follow the flow of this method.
Time management made easy with this method

How to Create an Action Plan to Achieve Your Goals

  1. Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART.

  2. Work Backwards to Set Milestones.

  3. Determine What Needs to Happen to Reach Your Goals.

  4. Decide What Actions Are Required to Reach Your Goals, be very specific.

  5. Break up large tasks into smaller tasks

  6. Put Your Actions Into a Plan, that is in order of priority

  7. Set a Schedule for each task.

  8. Follow Through.

  9. Set a Deadline for achievement.

  10. Monitor/Track your progress, keep a record of all your activities

What is a Goal?

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.

After you’ve determined what your goal is (start with something small and simple), then develop an Action Plan. An action plan is a plan that contains enough detail to achieve an objective or goal. This typically includes an outline of goals, objectives, measurements, action steps and responsibilities for each step. In some cases, dates and budget are also included.

The Steps Required to Achieve Your Goals are:

  1. Set the Goal (s), with target dates and completion dates

  2. Break down within a Month what you need to complete or do to be able to accomplish the Long Term Goals

  3. Break the goals into specific tasks required to achieve the goal(s)

  4. Determine weekly what tasks you have to achieve for each goal

  5. Determine Daily what are the tasks required for completion, for each big goal

  6. Once you know all the very important tasks that must be completed to achieve the goals then set dates when each task can or should be completed. Scheduling is what happens now. Block the times to do specific tasks

  7. All other secondary tasks that follow must also be listed and dates set for their completion

  8. Schedule all of these tasks into your calendar and any appointments that must occur

Visit my Etsy Shop at www.gafra.org

VISIT MY ETSY SHOP HERE. GET  YOUR PLANNER

REMEMBER: EVERYTHING MUST BE DOCUMENTED. WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

ADDITIONAL STEPS IN THE BUSINESS AREA:

  1. From the business perspective, set all the relevant meetings that are needed to help you achieve the tasks listed.

  2. Develop a delegation list listing who you will delegate which task to for completion

  3. Track the performance of all your team members you have delegated to, to ensure they stay on track and within the timeline.

  4. Track all the tasks delegated and their status.

Items Needed:

  1. Paper to write all your goals (you can use a printable planner)

  2. A planner journal or Diary/Calendar

  3. Pen, pencil, eraser, highlighter

Additional Requirements:

  1. Have a positive attitude

  2. Stay determined despite any obstacles or distractions (your plan can be flexible so changes can be made and times rescheduled)

  3. Have someone who can support you or give encouragement when needed

  4. Take some downtime if necessary

  5. Visualise the end result (you can even do a vision board as part of your planning process, so you see what the outcome will look like)

How To Plan: The Easy Method, Right Here

I hope you enjoyed what I shared on how to plan as this is part of what I do for my clients, helping them to be better planners. If you need additional help let me know and we can always connect for you to get further coaching or guidance.

Later people. Look out for the other parts of this series, where I talk about Easy methods to handle other business and personal tasks, such as, delegate, solve problems, manage your time and more.

gafra.org, a site by a Caribbean woman,

gafra.org, a site by a Caribbean woman,

The Joys of Selling Ones Art

The joy of selling your art, read more at gafra.org

Hi everyone, ....it's been a hectic week and month and I guess it will be a hectic year, with me helping my daughter with her fitness, with me going walking with her every afternoon. Yes, I know...I'm gaining from this via good health through exercising daily.  I am also helping my mom with her doctor visits, paying bills, visiting friends and much more. I make sure to spend one day a week with my Mother helping her do whatever she may need to get accomplished.  I am also organising for all the upmarkets to come and those already done and I'm also painting, creating printable planners for my Etsy shop and dealing with my normal business clients that I coach. I guess that's why I feel a bit tired but as I always say the bit of exercise I do always helps.   

I did my first upmarket since last year, a few weekends ago, where I sold three art pieces . Upmarkets are great because you meet really great people and you get to be seen, but I learnt that people don't buy original art as its a bit pricey and they want bargain gift items for Mothers' day, Fathers' day, Christmas, Birthdays and any other special occasion. So I know now that the smaller less expensive art pieces are what I need to carry. I started painting pieces that fall between the sizes 9ins x 12ins or 10ins x 10ins and more. Sizes that are easy to transport or pack and more affordable for the customers who visit the upmarkets.  

 Its a shame Trinidad doesn't have a craft village like I saw in San Diego. There were separate cottages with cobblestoned pathways between them and each cottage housed a different artisan. There were eating stalls and benches to sit and watch the trees, it was beautiful. One could spend the entire day there moving from cottage to cottage, checking out all the different products being produced by the different artisans, from paintings, jewelry, blown glass bottles, and painted fabrics and much more.


Maybe one day Trinidad will have something like that. We do have some things that someone tries to provide a way for the many vendors in Trinidad to show and sell their wares.   There is the Green Market where, in a very local, natural environment vendors sell local foods, organically made dishes, organically grown produce and other items, such as jewellery, creams, wooden wares, copper items and more. But this is nowhere near as nice as what I saw in San Diego, so we still have a ways to go to have something that nice. Ohhhhh!!!! And I must let you know that I sold 2 pieces at the upmarket.




I am very thankful about this as I don't always sell enough to pay back for the table cost, so I am always grateful and thankful to God when I've sold to cover that expense at least. I also look forward to selling my pieces because I know it will now adorn someone's wall and I will bring satisfaction to their senses. It also means that I can paint more. Another way vendors are able to sell their products is via all the different Upmarkets that different organiser arrange. There is one in the South Land and e few in the East as well as a few in the North. I registered for a few in the East last year but my sales were very low so I haven't booked any tables there this year.




South was OK but again coming down to the end of the year my sales were low and that was a bit disappointing as you normally see great sales close to Christmas. This year I've limited my bookings to the North as the Economy is a bit strained so spending on too many tables and not making back those costs isn't something I can handle right now. I have to choose wisely. Let me show you what I sold. I sold an abstract on canvas panels and two watercolor pieces.  

Green Valley  watermark.png

 

The smaller pieces are my favourite. I love doing those. I must say my Watercolor paintings have taken a backseat but I will have to return to it soon to replace the pieces I sold. This is one of the three sold and I really enjoyed painting this.   


Vase of Flowers.jpg

AN ABSTRACT BOUQUET OF FLOWERS

AVAILABLE AS A PRINT

    So that's all for this week. Chat next week Monday and don't forget, Go Check My site and Buy what you love here or visit my second art site at www.gafra.org . Love you guys!!! :  ) 

CHECK OUT MY ARTWORK -Watercolors & ACRYLIC ABSTRACTS 

My First Blog Post

My First Blog Post written September 14, 2017

My First Blog Post written September 14, 2017

Hi guys, had a hectic weekend, with fathers' day on Sunday and me visiting family on the Saturday, so i really didn't get a chance to write anything. I'm posting something I wrote the first time I started blogging. Reading it now, it's pretty funny. It's amazing how your thoughts flow when you first start writing but I must say, it wasn't bad, short and sweet with a dot of info about my country. I'll provide something more substantial on Thursday

SEPTEMBER 14, 2017

I'm finally starting up a blogggg!!!. Why? Because everyone's doing it...HaHa... no that's not why. I've finally found a way to share my thoughts with others and to talk about my country and share that with you out there. My home country of Trinidad and Tobago is an amazing place with amazing people. We're a twin Island off the north east tip of Venezula. No we're not part of Venezula. Please don't get confused, google us.

I also wanted a medium to share my art which depicts the different things about Trinidad that captures my attention. From the simple things like traffic jams to the nicer things like our beautiful vegetation, such as bamboo, that surrounds me. I'll mention our food and events of course but my art will be my introduction into the story or blog for that day. So thanks a lot Wordpress and all you wonderful people who take an interest in my blog. I say welcome!!! And Later!!!!

Like i said it was short and sweet but I would now like to add that, for those who follow my blog....thank you and I hope you send me your email so I can send some of my freebies to you. As I mentioned above, I'm an Artist as well as a Leadership Coach. I have two Art sites at www.gafra.org and www.gafra-art.com. there I sell my art prints, printable planners and you can get wall art there as well. If you want my freebies check there as well. I love creating, I'm a leo and a right brain so creativity is my thing. I started off doing watercolours, then branched into acrylics....now I design digital printable planners and I've recently discovered the Bullet Journals (Bujo)....I call my an Art Bullet Journal/Planner (ABUJO), as I do all my scheduling, goal planning, reminders, doodles, drawings, collages, quotes and saying all in this one journal. I simply love it and discovering Washi tapes has been a real joy. They are so much fun and so relaxing to play around with. Google these things or check out more about them on Pinterest.

RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS

Running your own business (g).png

 

Hi everyone....so last time I talked about how I started my business and as you saw it was a little different from the norm, but in this posts I want to talk about some of the Difficulties you can or might encounter once you do have your own business, and this is strictly from my experience. The main thing that was difficult with having your own business is:

  1. More Effort is Required. Yes, it belongs to you so you better have the passion and enthusiasm and energy to do whatever is required to build your business so that it can sustain itself at some point. I love what I do so that was easy, in the beginning but as you get established and you get older putting out that amount of energy and zest to keep your business is no longer a case of the energy but one of necessity as this is what sustains your life and the life f your family.

  2. Your Time Belongs to the Business. Yes, at first you have to spend most of your time building the business, so you schedule things tightly because you want to deal with as many clients as possible. You spend hours doing all that is needed for the business, organising the website, hiring staff, organising your office, scheduling appointments and meetings and much more.

  3. Ensuring Financial Stability can be Stressful. Yes, you are constantly having to deal with ensuring the income comes in on time or early so that all your expenses can be paid, the main ones being, salaries, material costs, overdrafts etc. This can be a bit stressful when based on how the economy is going, clients hold back on paying or they delay payments, or they take a while to approve proposals etc, and this affects the company's cash flow with which all bills are paid.

  4. Success is not Around the Corner. Though I might post the positive news about my business on social media, the negative parts of running a business are sometimes hidden. From dealing with slow cash flow to product mishaps, I've spent many unglamorous nights lying in bed wondering how I was going to make my company work or handle the issue at that point.

  5. Irritating Government Regulations. When you have your own business you have so many Government regulations to deal with, such as VAT, other taxes, Audits, and any other you aren't familiar with you have to find out about them so that you don't have to pay penalties. You have to be very tax compliant or as mentioned pay the penalties.

  6. Continuous Strategising for Growth. As a Small business owner if you haven’t planned for this increase in customers and product/service production, the business is liable to fall by the wayside. As demand for your business increases, without the proper systems in place, you’re more likely to come up short and fall short of those demands. Planning for the future is a must and if you do nothing you can make some major mistakes.

  7. Hiring Staff is A Chore. I had to go through quite a process to find the right person to hire as my assistant and I'm very intuitive and I saw a few individuals before I hired the 2 who stayed with me, except one, to this day. One or two who were hired left for better salaries but in the end I found an amazing assistant but it is a process and you meet some really weird people.

  8. Loving your Clients. Yes, it isn't always possible to love your clients, not even to like them, but personally I love them. My clients don't stay my clients, they become my friends, partners and my family. I work to be there for them to the best of my abilities and I do have clients who are now my very good friends and I hope they stay that way for years.

  9. Handling the Many No's. Yes, you get a lot of "no's" , or better yet you have to deal with disappointments when you vie for a contract and you lose. You may have to handle the no's that you get when clients try to put you off, or say no to a job they initially agreed to. This a part of business life, the constant fighting for work, trying to beat out the competition, trying to convince clients that what you are selling is something they want and constantly staying in touch with they many potential clients so that you can gain new business.

Generally, business is not always stable, there are good times and really difficult times but you eventually learn how to get better with each passing month, year. In the fifteen years I've run my business, there have been all types of situations that will occur that you have to deal with. When I first started off, on my own, I felt discouraged during times of instability and would often feel stressed, but I've since learned that business will always have it's peaks and valleys. We now try to embrace slower months and use them as an opportunity to recharge and focus on generating new ideas. We work hard to get out of the valleys and the peaks will be even sweeter. We also strongly believe in God, so our faith falls on him to help us deal with the difficult times.


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Business owners are people too and sometimes we get our feelings hurt, not just from the no's but also when clients avoid our appointments or tell us they will do business with us another time. I care about my clients and I will bend over backwards to ensure that they have a good experience, but ever so often, we do encounter a level of rudeness that can sour you but you have to brush it off and tackle that customer at another time. It's all about timing. We sometimes take an entire year before we get a deal with a client and sometimes its instantaneous, but interacting with a business, big or small, you're usually dealing with one person and each client is a living person, they also go through bad days and maybe we caught them at that time, so ignore it and move on, approach them another day.

 

 

Well Somebody Has To Say It....GOT

My Thoughts on the Game of Thrones Series - www.gafra.org

Hi guys…..What am I talking about? Well, I recently completed watching Game of Thrones (GOT)…..GASP!!! Yes. For those of you who are GOT fans and followers, I don’t follow the general bandwagon and rush off like everyone else to watch a movie or read a certain book. I wait to see what happens, I observe, I take my time then if curiosity gets the better of me I might check it out, if not then years later I may stumble upon the said book or movie or show and watch it but NO, I don’t rush to follow the crowd…not with styles, shows, movies or anything else unless it really draws me. And this show pulled a lot of media coverage, fans, popularity, people identifying with certain houses and much more.


So I decided to watch it, to see what all the hype was about, so mainly out of curiosity…. and I have to say I was appalled…yes APPALLED, HORRIFIED, A LEVEL OF DISTASTE, CONCERNED, SAD!!! First of all, to me this series was ridiculous, it was like a reflection of all that is bad in the world rolled into one and placed in a TV series…..Most of the time for me a show either has no storyline so it was a waste of time and money, or despite no storyline it was funny or emotional, or it has a storyline and is all of the above or it’s just to give your mind a rest or to make you think, but this series for me encapsulated all measure of human failings in one show. These are all the hateful things I saw in this series:

  1. Treachery

  2. Lies

  3. Deceit

  4. Dishonesty

  5. Stabbing in the back

  6. Bacchanal

  7. Gossiping

  8. Incest

  9. More incest

  10. Every type of violence

  11. More violence – every way to kill a person

  12. Debauchery

  13. Oppression

  14. Witchcraft

  15. Narcissistic leaders

  16. Oppressive leaders

  17. Leaders with good intentions that turn fanatical

  18. Leaders with good intentions that become egotistical

  19. Serial Killers

  20. Sex

  21. Disrespect for the old or those in authority

  22. Killing of babies

  23. Child assassins

  24. Zombies

  25. Lack of respect for the dead and dying

  26. Magic

  27. Cowardice

What got to me is the fact that people all over the country, the world, love this series so much that they were identifying with the different houses…. I’m the house of the wolf, no I’m in the house of the dragon, etc, etc.. What are we saying? I’m no saint, far from it but to me, we are moving away from a mindset of caring to one of treachery, violence and a lack of value for human life. What is this saying for our humanness?

 
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I remember watching a documentary a long time ago on the film industry and the rules they had about movie making…they indicated that there was a rule that they wouldn’t have any killing of babies or at least not show the act, just imply that it happened….well that has gone straight out the door. Now we see straight out babies being knifed, young kids, killing each other or killing adults, not just in this series but in others and movies. It’s a shame. Does this indicate where man is moving? Kill each other and feel no guilt, or feel nothing at all?



My concern is that there are many people looking for something to connect to or something to identify with and they sometimes use these shows/movies to build an identity. They become fanatical fans….I call them undercover stalkers who try to become some of the characters in the shows. Long ago when I was younger and I went to the cinema to watch a movie…say a Bruce Lee movie….when you left the cinema, you felt like you could fight like Bruce, sometimes outside of the cinema, you even saw young boys or men leave the cinema and start kicking up a lamp post as if it were an opposing enemy come to battle…I laughed then because I understood how they felt, I to felt like I could fight like Bruce and wanted to test my skills on someone or something, but the reality was and is that I can’t, but there are many who believe they can, they fail to face reality, they work had to become like the characters they saw. That is the frightening part, so we end up with stalkers, serial killers, people who harm others because they live in that fantasy world.



I didn’t enjoy this series. I looked at its entirety because I wanted to see the ending and that is what TV series do…they draw you in, hold on to your curiously so that you need to know what happens next and they provide a state where you can escape from reality and life for a few hours. That is fine, and I know many won’t be affected by this show because they may have seen worse but I see different. I see a series that to some extent reflects our humanity or inhumanity and the direction we appear to be heading. The only good aspect of this show was that the “good” family ended up in charge…. thank goodness…but at the expense of the death of many through a series of events which to my mind was nonsensical, and a waste of human life.

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To me this show tried to put every evil, bad, wicked thing in one show to draw peoples attention, keep them involved and then to be honest…the end was a bit flat for me. I felt like it was all a waste of time, energy, waste of people’s lives and mind power. It worked for the filmmakers because they had a humongous splash of fame and interest built up about this show, which was their objective. But I guess such is life and the direction we may be heading in reality - People killing each other, lying to each other, trying to grab power…maybe not in as violent and horrifying a way as depicted in this show but a fight, all the same, to grab power and hold it.



Now I guess, it wouldn’t be fair to say only negatives about the program; there were aspects of some good things. Many times, the good was offset by some level of badness, but there were moments where a few good things shone through for me, now that I think about it:

  1. Human courage

  2. Human faith and determination

  3. Love of family, friends, comrades

  4. Good intentions

  5. Hope

  6. Loyalty

  7. Going after your dream

  8. The Human ability to survive

  9. The power of the tongue

  10. The human ability to strategize

  11. Making Sacrifices for the good of all

  12. Honesty

 
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I’m sure you realize that this show affected me greatly….not in the way most would be affected but for me, it was deeper and more concerning in light of man’s humanity. The only other show/movie that affected me this deeply but on the opposite spectrum was “The Matrix”…yes that movie to me reflected a state on consciousness and spirituality that we don’t understand see or realize. For me, that was a spiritual movie but maybe I’ll share my thoughts on that one another time. So I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone who was a real GOT fan and still love it….Nuff Respect…I’m not criticizing your taste, far from it, too many it was great and I respect their opinion, all I’m saying is that for me it was an awful show, targeting and touching on a lot of the bad in people that can and does exist. And a sad thing that…but life is what it is and what we make of it…



Lastly, be careful what you watch, it sinks into the subconscious and then becomes a behavior…. as a coach I deal with people every day and I see and observe a lot of behaviors developed based on conditioning…ask yourself what conditioned you to develop the behavior you have?



Later people, check you soon

How I Started My Business

Read my story at www.gafra.org

Hi guys…. I wanted to share my story on how I started my business. You can find a lot of youtube videos explaining how to start a business….I have to say that’s not how I started my first business which isn’t an online business. I do leadership development and I’ve been a Facilitator for the past 26 years. I started off in the banking system where I was in the HR department and I was a part of the training team, so we did all the training for the bank staff in bank processes. Then the bank expanded its training arm to companies outside of the bank, so I started designing and delivering different programs to these external clients. Some of the areas I facilitated were: - strategic planning, customer service, business planning, time management and more.


So I didn’t get into business the usual way. I resigned from the bank and met the sister of a friend, who was involved in her own business that was linked or licensed by a company in the US. She met with me and I loved the process and I did a program myself and that was it. I became her associate then after attending a conference in California, I loved all that I heard so much that when I returned to Trinidad, I left her, bought my own License to the business and opened my own office.

 
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After setting up my office, some of the clients I worked with followed me and I continued to grow slowly. I made my husband do the program and he also fell in love with the process and the program because we saw how it changed peoples’ lives and he too left the company he was working for at the time, to join me. His boss asked him if he was sure he wanted to go into business with his wife and he said yes because we balance one another so it would definitely work… and thirteen years later, it did. My husband is a beast when it comes to selling a product or service. I was OK, not as great as him but good enough. He is amazing at it. So with his selling ability, my great administrative skills and with both of our amazing facilitation abilities, our business has done well to date. At least we continue to do well enough to take care of our bills and four children.



So starting a business was different for me. While working at the Bank I always felt that something was missing, that I wasn’t working at my greatest capacity. I knew I could do more, and having my own business was the key. It allowed me to drive my business in the direction I wanted, it allowed me to use my creativity and abilities, it built my confidence and it greatest of all I was playing my part in contributing to the family finances and I was around for my kids. I could schedule my appointments around what was happening with the kids and that was major, no more 9 to 5.



With running a business there are areas that will pull a lot from you. It’s yours so you have to put in more energy into it to ensure it runs properly and efficiently. Which we did. You have to sacrifice time until the business has built its credibility to your clients, then your time is yours to schedule as you see fit. You also need to organize your pensions and financial retirement funds yourself, as you don’t have a company doing this for you. This we also did and we can organize it to ensure we have the quantity we think is important when we retire. The difficult side of a business is the difficult decisions you sometimes have to make due to low funds in difficult times. I’ve had to let go of my assistant and do everything myself….no we had two assistants, but we kept my husband’s. He can’t function without her and I can’t give him the type of attention she does. You are constantly watching and monitoring your finances to ensure you can make it through the month…that’s his job…thank God because it can be stressful when you have to follow up with clients to make their payments, or you have to ensure you have your tax payments g=for the year and oh so many more decisions, but I wouldn’t change my decision to open my own business. The freedom is amazing and you feel very empowered. Plus the way companies are going based on our economy, corporate life can be very difficult if you don’t have a strong constitution.


So what do you need to start your business?

Guts – you need to be courageous enough to take risks, despite what others will say to you. I go a lot of negative comments even from my husband, but I was determined to do it in spite of all the cons listed out to me. That takes us to the second area…

Determination – you will need this to fight off all the negative comments from family, friends, peers even kids. Ignore it and think about this next point…

The Plan/Refine your idea. – what is the plan because you must have one. If you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. I knew that I needed to know more about this business and so I went out and learned by becoming an associate. So I was still getting paid and learning the business at the same time. This always reminds me of a guy I knew who worked for a furniture store. He was the manager. He learned everything, from how to place orders, who were the vendors, the whole shebang. Then he resigned and opened his own store and factor where he realized instead of importing the furniture it was easier to get artisans here to make similar pieces at a lower cost…..

Know what you’re Selling. Write a Business Plan – are you selling something you’re great at, something you love and are good at, something you have great connections for? What and why doe you want to sell this item or service and how much do you know about it and will you gain customers…Once you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who is going to buy your product or service? If you can't find evidence that there's a demand for your idea, then what would be the point?

Assess your finances - Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you're planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you start making a profit?

Register your business – Sole trader, Limited liability, unlimited liability, investigate the pros and cons of each.

How do you plan to gain your customers? In my business I listed everyone I knew and would approach and they referred me to others and that is how I got my first clients.

Brand yourself and advertise.Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and get a following of people ready to jump when you open your literal or figurative doors for business.Create a logo that can help people easily identify your brand, and be consistent in using it across all of your platforms, including your all-important company website. Use social media to spread the word about your new business, perhaps as a promotional tool to offer coupons and discounts to followers once you launch. Be sure to also keep these digital assets up to date with relevant, interesting content about your business and industry.

Grow your business - Your launch and first sales are only the beginning of your task as an entrepreneur. In order to make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to be growing your business. It's going to take time and effort, but you'll get out of your business what you put into it.

Running a business has been fun for me and also a lot of work but fulfilling work because it's all mine. If you decide to start your own business, check the pros and the cons and see which works best for you and GO FOR IT!! Check you soon.

What they don't prepare you for when you have a Family

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Hey guys....having spent this last weekend with my husband's parents, his siblings and our kids, it made me think about family and some of the things we don't think about when we first meet our partner to be. Whether we're young or old, we meet this person, really get into them, then BAM!!! we're married and along come the kids. That's how it was for me. Met my husband at University, he was my liming buddy and best friend, then later on things changed, I knew would be a great husband the marriage talk came up and BAM!!! I was married but I never really considered children. Marriage seemed like you were hanging out with your best friend all the time but now they didn't have to go home.

Like I said kids weren't in my mind, then BAM!!! I got pregnant on the honeymoon and the kids kept coming. One a year for four years....what a shocker. At first, to be honest, it didn't really register that I had kids, I was so active and running around doing all that was necessary to ensure the family was fine. It's only after the last child that it registered that I had just had a baby and I kinda started to enjoy a baby......crazy huh?


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Yes...I was what is known as very fertile and I didn' get fat ankles or nose or anything. I was even playing cricket and running between wickets with my first baby...I was crazy active for most of them except number four, I guess I was burnt out by then, but I knew it was possible to get pregnant again so I retired the baby maker. So the part no one warns you about is the amount of work we women have to do, taking care if the kids, the husband, the home and the job. Yes, ladies, we are FRIGGING MULTI-TASKERS!!!

I didn't even realise the pace I moved at when the kids were babies when they were 6,5,3 and 2. There was a time we moved from Trinidad to Curacao, we lived there for 2.5 years and my mom and some friends came to visit. My friend who was also my daughter's Godfather was an avid cameraman and video buff so he took videos of everything. 3 or 4 years later after we had returned to Trinidad, we were all together with that same friend (Godfather) and we decided to watch the videos he had taken while visiting us in Curacao and OMG!!! in all of them I was running around like a crazy person, dealing with meals, cleaning up messes, preparing the kids, running around clearing and cleaning. I never rested or sat down once....good God I definitely can't do that now and thank God my kids are big....28, 27, 25 and 24.

Yes, kids are a lot of work but I always say that with every child you are given a blessing, you are given something. I know exactly what I got with each child - a job for my husband with one, a house with the next, a new car with the third and better finances with the last. Children are a blessing and I know in this century this generation is very much into not having as many kids as the former generation. My great grandmother had 6 kids and my aunts all had at least 3-4 kids. These days everyone only wants one or two.

So enjoy your kids and your family because even though no one prepares you for the amount of work it entails, and how it tests your patience, it builds your ability to love unconditionally. Check you soon.

Health, Wellness, and Self-Discipline

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Hi everyone….I’ve been working hard at staying healthy because as I get older I have to keep active so that when I get even older I can have a bearable life. I’ve been seeing recently many friends and family and the way they have changed from robust, strong energetic people to individuals who suffer from all sorts of ailments, from Alzheimer’s to dementia and prostate issues. We all have to consider early o’clock how important it is to do all that will allow you to stay healthy.


To do this takes self-discipline, but even before that, you need to want to stay healthy. You have to want to stay fit and be willing to do what you need to to be healthy. You then have to know what you are willing to do to have the right diet/nutrition, the right weight you should be and the best exercises required to keep you either toned bodily or lose any extra weight that will cause you to be unfit. I started off simply eating right…doing the salads, eating on time, watching the carbs, watching the portions. Now I think I eat properly, so then came exercising, the thing I hate the most. I exercise because I know it’s good for me and as one trainer told me once if you build muscle then when you fall you won’t break a hip or any bones because the muscle helps to cushion the fall.


HEALTH

Let look at what health means. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth. This is what most people strive towards but a lot fail to achieve, why? We will look at that later on, for now, let's look at the other aspects of health and Wellness.


WELLNESS

Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to living a higher quality of life. Wellness matters. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.


PHYSICAL

Physical wellness promotes proper care of our bodies for optimal health and functioning. There are many elements of physical wellness that all must be cared for together. Overall physical wellness encourages the balance of physical activity, nutrition, and mental well-being to keep your body in top condition. Obtaining an optimal level of physical wellness allows you to nurture personal responsibility for your own health. As you become conscious of your physical health, you are able to identify elements you are successful in as well as elements you would like to improve.

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Understanding the relationship between your body’s physical health and mental health is crucial in order to develop balanced physical wellness. When you take the route to physical wellness you will learn to understand how your body performs physically and be able to connect it to how you feel mentally. Physical wellness encourages the principles of good health and knowledge, which affect behavior patterns that lead to a healthy lifestyle. I have always realized that no matter how tired I am if I take the time to do at least 30 minutes of exercise it gives me a boost so that I have energy the next day.

Below are a few suggestions for you to practice to maintain an optimal level of physical wellness.

  1. Engage in physical activity every day for 30 minutes. You may break up your daily 30 minutes into 10 minutes bouts.

  2. Use stairs instead of the elevator or escalator and walk whenever possible.

  3. Learn to recognize warning signs when your body begins feeling ill.

  4. Eat a variety of healthy foods and control your meal portions.

  5. Maintain a regular sleep schedule and get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

  6. Practice safe sex.


EMOTIONAL WELLNESS

Emotional wellness inspires self-care, relaxation, stress reduction and the development of inner strength. It is important to be attentive to both positive and negative feelings and be able to understand how to handle these emotions. Emotional wellness also includes the ability to learn and grow from experiences. Emotional well-being encourages autonomy and proper decision-making skills. It is an important part of overall wellness.


In order to begin the route to emotional wellness, you must always remember to be optimistic. Optimism allows you to greet all emotions—both positive and negative—with a confident attitude that allows you to learn from your mistakes. Once you have mastered emotional wellness, you will experience life a little differently. Your life will be more balanced and you will develop a deep sense of awareness. Below are some strategies for you to practice in order to boost your emotional wellness.

  • Remind yourself to stay positive, always.

  • Seek or accept help and support from others when needed.

  • Employ gratitude to your life in order to strengthen relationships with family and friends.

  • Practice being mindful and increase your awareness. This can be done through various forms of meditation.

  • Accept mistakes and learn from them for next time. Mistakes are not terrible experiences; they are learning experiences.

  • Balance your other dimensions of Wellness.



OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS

Occupational wellness inspires us to prepare for work in which we will gain personal satisfaction and find enrichment in our lives. Your attitude about work is a crucial influence on occupational development. Occupational wellness allows you to explore various career options and encourages you to pursue the opportunities you enjoy the most. This dimension of wellness recognizes the importance of satisfaction, enrichment, and meaning through work.

When you embark on the route to occupational wellness, you will discover what occupational opportunities are out there and which opportunities suit you best. Maintaining occupational wellness allows you to develop unique skills and talents that are both personally and professionally rewarding. Below are some suggestions to begin your journey to occupational wellness.

  1. Reflect on yourself and your occupational needs. What occupational tasks do you enjoy? What occupational tasks do you find burdensome?

  2. Explore both paid and unpaid work and volunteer opportunities that interest you.

  3. Practice open communication and proper conflict management with your colleagues.

  4. Set realistic career goals for yourself and constantly work towards accomplishing these goals.

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS

Spiritual wellness allows us to be in tune with our spiritual selves. This realm of wellness lets us find meaning in life events and define our individual purpose. Spiritual wellness can be defined through various factors including religious faith, values, ethics, and morals. Regardless of whether you believe in a particular religious faith, there is always something to be learned about how you see yourself in the world.

The way to spiritual wellness is something you must learn to master on your own. Spiritual wellness strongly emphasizes the importance of building inner resources and inner thoughts in order to give meaning to experience. It is also important to know that spiritual wellness does not mandate you to pick up a religious practice. However, religion may be one route you may take to boost your spiritual wellness. I believe in God seeing as I am a Catholic, so Jesus is the core of my life and the rock upon which I live my life. God is good to me and he blesses me in every way so I give my thanks and praise to him. You need to find what you believe in and what drives your spirituality.

Below are some recommendations for you to practice in order to maintain an optimal level of spiritual wellness.

  1. Explore your inner self. Take time to think about who you are.

  2. If you experience a life-changing event, take a few minutes to think about what series of events led to this.

  3. Spend time meditating or practicing mindful relaxation.

  4. Practice acceptance.

  5. Be curious. If something happens that makes you even the slightest bit curious, take a moment to explore the experience a little deeper.

  6. Look for a religious faith that you agree with.

SOCIAL WELLNESS

Social wellness refers to the relationships we have and how we interact with others. Our relationships can offer support during difficult times. Social wellness involves building healthy, nurturing and supportive relationships as well as fostering a genuine connection with those around you. Conscious actions are important in learning how to balance your social life with your academic and professional lives. Social wellness also includes balancing the unique needs of romantic relationships with other parts of your life.

As you begin your route to social wellness, you will discover that you have the power to enhance your personal relationships. Maintaining social wellness allows you to practice empathy and active listening. There are many ways you can begin your journey on the route to social wellness. Below are some suggestions on how to enhance your social wellness.

  • Reflect on yourself and your social needs. What aspects of your social life do you enjoy? What parts would you like to improve?

  • Make an effort to keep in touch with supportive friends and family.

  • Practice self-disclosure.

  • Participate in group discussions and practice active listening.

  • Join a club or organization.

When we have all of these areas decided we still have to look at ourselves and be open and honest with ourselves about our level of self-discipline. Self-discipline is what drives us to stay focused on achieving our wellness. One needs to be consistent and not be distracted by any obstacles that stand in our way. We should have the discipline to continue, have a plan, be determined to achieve our wellness goals and thereby stay healthy.

SELF-DISCIPLINE

At the heart of any successful person and a person's achievement of their goals, is self-discipline. Whether it’s success in their personal lives or their professional lives, it all starts with an inherent ability for self-control through discipline. Your thoughts. Your emotions. Your behaviors. And your habits. All of them must be kept in check. To develop discipline they needed to understand what are the habits they have that prevent them from being more disciplined.

Despite what many may think, self-discipline is a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition in your day-to-day life. To improve your own self-discipline, test out these 5 proven methods for gaining better control.

Habits: The Pathway to Self-Discipline

Considering that so much of what we do on a daily basis is habit-driven, developing the right habits will help to instill the right amount of discipline into our lives. But where do habits come from and how are they developed? And why is that when we try to change our habits by either breaking bad habits or building good habits, we only follow through for so long before we give up and revert to our old ways?

You, therefore, need to change those bad habits that aren’t working for you. How do you start? This regimen will help you to establish good habits, break bad ones, and improve your control by making simple changes to your everyday routine.

  • 1 - Start Small

  • 2 - Identify What You Want to Do Differently

  • 3 – Meditation

  • 4 – Active Goal Setting

  • 5 - Remove temptations

  • 6 - Eat regularly. Eat Healthily

  • 7 - Don’t wait for it to “feel right.”

  • 8 - Schedule breaks, treats, and rewards for yourself

  • 9 - Forgive yourself and move forward

  • 10 – Persistence

  • 11 - Make Use of Technology

If your goal is a fit lifestyle with a healthy weight, regular exercise, serious walking, and restful sleep each night, trackers exist to help you. Track all that you do, via using wellness apps like Fitbit which connects with other devices to automatically capture your health data.

Reference:

  • UCDavis – Student Health & Counseling Services

Who Are The People Around Me?

Who Are the people around me (g).png

Hi everyone....check this out....

WYF Upmarket May 2019

WYF Upmarket May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

My Artwork on display at the WYF Upmarket in Trinidad May 2019

Hi everyone, this weekend I was at an Upmarket, better known as a Fleamarket, but here we pay for a table and you're able to sell your products, whatever they may be. I set up my table to sell my artwork. I had done quite a few landscapes, in a challenge I gave myself. They were painted quickly to ensure the easy flow of the watercolor.

I did fairly well in that I sold 3 pieces. This post though is about the people I was surrounded by. At this market, we greet each other with hugs and glee especially if we haven't seen each other in a whole or if you haven't been to the upmarket in months. I realized that I really liked most of the vendors at this market, some more than others. We are people of like objectives.

We all create something we love, enjoy or are passionate about. Some of us do this on the side, for some this is our only means of making a living and for some this our second business. We talk shop, we share information, we share goods, and we help each other. I got help to sell one of my pieces. A woman showed interest in one of my pieces, she asked if I had a credit card machine but I didn't so she left. I asked one of the other vendors if there was anyone who had a machine that I could use and they indicated Johan.

I know Johan and I liked him, he was really cool and very hip. So I asked him if he would let me use his machine to sell my art and he said no problem, so I looked for the woman, went up to her and told her that if she was still interested, then i had a credit card machine.

She was still interested, so we went to Johan to do the transaction. While he did the transaction I conversed with the woman, she was very nice and we talked about the daughter she planned to surprise with the art piece.

After the sale, Johan gave me the cash and I had to go to home for my second sale, and again he was most accommodating. You have to understand that these transactions cost, then you have to get the money to the person. Johan takes 5% but he is right to do this as he has to pay a fee for every transaction. This is just one example of the connection between everyone we are a family in this upmarket and although we don't know each other intimately, we are still close.


We are all in this to get our products to the customer, to make money to live or to make money to give us the acknowledgment that what we have created is worth something. There are vendors who create their own soaps, creams, artwork, gluten-free food, clothes, woodwork, jewelry, and more. It's an amazing thing to see, all these creatives in one place all in one accord. I love it, it's very inspiring and fun.

There is one downsize sometimes. You get a little jealous when you see others making sales and you aren't, yet on the other side, you are very glad that they're getting some sales as we all want the other to do well. What you learn from this short burst of jealousy and even a level of demotivation is that you have to build a high level of faith. In yourself, your work, your determination and your persistence in getting your work/product out there.

Faith in your product and hope that customers will get to know you, love your work and then buy from you. I grew to realise that although I don't make a sale that day, I will make a sale at another time. During one period I wasn't making sales for quite a while and it was tough to stay positive and I almost stopped painting, then God stepped in and I was invited to an event at my old school and there I made enough to make up for the 3 other Upmarkets where I didn't make any money, not even my table cost. You have to be strong, determined and love what you do so that despite the down times you keep going because you're determined to share your product/artwork with those who love it (when they realise that they do) , that's why I keep doing this.

So who are the people around me?...Family who encourages me to keep painting, my husband who is my biggest fan, my friends who buy my work and support me, my fellow artisans who encourage, motivate, are your fans and also buy your work...yes we tend to buy from each other not just for support, or because we want to encourage buying local but because we truly love each others' products. I buy my herbal tea from a friend, perfumed oils from another who makes it herself, gluten free food and deserts from one and jewellry from another. I get everything I want and really like that is of quality at these markets. That is why they are valuable and I surround myself with these people. I hope you surround yourself with people who build you up, support you, encourages you and is your biggest fan. Check youlater,

Luv you all

 Gafra