It’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts! I put a few of my adventure must-haves on this list. Happy Shopping!
Pack it Down Coat: This particular coat is my favorite and I’ve blogged about it before. This coat keeps me warm all winter long and is versatile for all of my different adventures. It packs down small and is lightweight making it the perfect adventure coat. Another perk is the fact that Lululemon guarentees their coats. My zipper broke last year and they repaired it at no cost, even though I’ve had the coat for three years.
Garmin GPS Mini: This garmin trackes your miles, allows you to send text messages and location to your contacts even when you don’t have service. This garmin also has a SOS feature where if you ever get into trouble you can send out a message and the authorities will be notified. This is the biggest security tool you can bring along on adventures.
Columbia Packable Rain Jacket: I never hike without this jacket. It’s waterproof, warm, and lightweight design packs into the hand pocket for convenience and it is the perfect jacket when a coat is too much. I use mine ALL the time! Mountains require you to be prepared for anything. Even on a summer day.
Backpacking Sleeping Bag: This is my favorite sleeping bag. It is ultra-lightweight, sized for women, and keeps me extremely warm. With a temperature rating that goes down to 15-degrees I found myself warm each night only sleeping in my sports bra and shorts.
LuLuLemon Beanie: This is the warmest beanie I have ever felt. I will never live another winter without it. It is absolutely amazing and worth every penny! Don’t talk yourself out of this one. You need it!
Jet Boil: A jet boil is defiantly something to save up for and purchase if you like to spend significant time outside. It boils water in one minute and is perfect for meals, hot chocolate, etc. Light and small this is a necessary backpacking item. Also, a great emergency prepardness item to keep at home.
I am so excited to write about Validation. I am passionate about validation and want to teach it from the rooftops. I believe it is a basic human need. We all need to be validated. We can validate those around us as well as ourselves. The information in this post came from Michael S. Sorensen’s book “I Hear You” I highly recommend it.
Validation is the quickest, simplest and most powerful way to improve a relationship. Any relationship. Romantic or platonic. With children, siblings, parents, friends, co-workers or your spouse. And most importantly the relationship with yourself. Validation is key!
Here are some things that validation helps with:
Calms (and sometimes even eliminate) the concerns, fears, or uncertainties of others. This is especially helpful if your significant other is upset, if you’re dealing with irate customers or coworkers, or if you’re trying to reason with young children.
Adds a boost to others’ excitement and happiness. This is an obvious gift to the other person, but studies have also shown that validating the positive experiences of others can drastically improve connection and satisfaction in a relationship.
Provides support and encouragement to others, even when you don’t know how to fix the problem. There is great confidence in knowing you can help someone in any situation, regardless of your own experience or expertise.
More easily show love, understanding, and compassion in your intimate relationships. Research (and common sense) show that this skill is critical to lasting, happy relationships.
Help others feel safe and comfortable confiding in you. This promotes deeper, more meaningful connection and increases others’ affinity toward you.
Avoid or quickly resolve arguments. Instead of butting heads and going in circles, you’ll save time, frustration, and headache by knowing how to calm the other party and make your point heard.
Give advice that sticks. When you understand and validate others, they become significantly more open to your advice, feedback, and/or assurance.
Improves your negotiations. Whether in business or any other area of life, validation helps you disarm your counterpart and more quickly reach a deal that you both feel great about.
The change when you are validated is almost tangible. It’s amazing the shift that takes place mentally and emotionally when we are validated. Here are 4 steps to validate.
Validate the Emotion
Offer Advice or Encouragement (if appropriate)
Validate the Emotion Again
Step 1: Listen Empathically
Give your full attention. If you’re distracted, let the other person know and ask to talk at a later time. When you are available to talk, close your laptop, turn off the TV, and keep your attention on the conversation at hand.
This situation comes up with my kids a lot. I will be in the middle of a young women’s meeting or cooking dinner and instead of just blowing them off I let them know that I want to listen to them but I’m busy and we can talk later. The key is not forgetting later!
Invite them to open up. If you suspect someone wants to talk about something but isn’t comfortable initiating the conversation, try asking a simple question like, “You seem upset. What’s up?” “Oh man that would be so hard. Want to talk about it?”
Be observant. As much as 70 percent of our communication is nonverbal. Pay close attention to the other person’s tone of voice and body language to better understand them.
Match their energy. If the other person is happy or excited, then smile, laugh, and share in the thrill. If they are discouraged or sad, then be respectful and speak in a softer, more compassionate manner.
Offer micro validation. Offer short comments such as “no way!”, “Seriously?”, or “I’d feel that way too” to help the other person feel comfortable sharing. This lets them know that you are listening, withholding judgment, and seeing things from their perspective.
Don’t try to fix it. Refrain from offering advice, feedback, or assurance until step 3. Avoid comments such as “at least . . . ”, “you should . . . ”, or “that’s not true.”
In a situation where a friend (or daughter) tells you that she’s fat it’s tempting to say “That’s not true!” and dismiss the conversation because you don’t want her to entertain that thought. But you didn’t uncover why they think they are fat and you didn’t change their mind with that one statement. The truth is they are going to keep thinking they are fat after you claim “that’s not true” and what’s worse is they won’t view you as someone they can open up to. What would be better is to let them know you heard them and then ask questions to get to know what is making them feel that way. From there you can validate.
Step 2: Validate the Emotion
Validate their emotion. Once there’s a pause in the conversation or the other person is done sharing, validate them more fully. This is best done by 1) acknowledging the emotions they’ve expressed, and 2) offering justification for feeling those emotions.
Validate, even if you disagree. Not only is it possible to validate someone you disagree with, it’s advantageous to do so. When you validate the other person, they become significantly more likely to listen to a differing opinion or advice. Once you show that you truly hear them, they will be much more likely to hear you.
Studies have shown that people don’t move on until they feel heard. If a person doesn’t feel heard they won’t move on and hear a different opinion because they are stuck on the fact that no one heard theirs. Think about it. Have you ever seen this happen in an argument?
Not sure what the other person is feeling? Ask. A simple question such as “How are you feeling about all this?” or “I imagine you’re pretty upset?” is often enough to get the clarity you need to validate.
If you can relate, consider letting them know. Use phrases such as “I can relate” or “I had a similar experience” instead of “I know exactly how you feel.” Be sure to turn the focus back to them after sharing your experience.
If you can’t relate, let them know. Acknowledging that you haven’t been in someone else’s shoes and don’t know exactly how they feel can be incredibly validating.
Tell the truth. Resist the urge to lie to make someone feel better. Instead, acknowledge the truth, validate their emotions, then provide comfort and assurance in step 3.
Step 3: Offer Advice or Encouragement (if Appropriate)
Offering feedback or advice is entirely optional. Perhaps someone has shared an exciting or proud moment, or perhaps you simply have no advice to give. Validation is healing in and of itself. It is not always necessary or appropriate to give advice.
Avoid giving unsolicited feedback. Just because someone is sharing a difficult experience doesn’t mean they are looking for advice. Determine whether they are open to receiving feedback by either 1) asking what they are expecting from you (e.g., “How can I help?”), or 2) asking permission to give advice (e.g., “I have a few thoughts on the matter. May I share?”).
If you do give feedback, lead with a validating statement. Even though you just offered validation in step 2, prefacing your feedback with one more validating statement will reiterate the fact that you’ve heard them and are connected with their experience.
Use “and” instead of “but.” Doing so will help you avoid inadvertently negating your validation, comments, etc.
Listen to the difference: “The sleep deprivation that comes with a new baby is hard, but you will get through it.” vs. “The sleep deprivation that comes with a new baby is so hard and I know that you will get through it.”
Avoid Absolutes. When giving difficult feedback, replace absolute terms such as “always” and “never” with softer (and often more accurate) alternatives such as “often” or “rarely.” If you do choose to use an absolute term, lead with “I think,” “I feel,” etc. instead of “you.”
Step 4: Validate Again
Re-validate the emotion. Whether you’ve given advice in step 3 or not, work in one final bit of validation at the end of the conversation. Doing so reiterates the fact that you hear and understand the other person and ends the conversation on a positive, emotionally uplifting note.
Validate the vulnerability. Sharing personal thoughts, experiences, or emotions can be difficult, uncomfortable, and even scary. If someone opens up to you, thank them for it and validate the fact that doing so can be quite difficult.
In certain situations, steps 1 and 2 (Listening Empathically and Validating the Emotion) may be enough. At other times, you may go through the whole set multiple times. Every situation will be different. You’ll know what feels natural and genuine in the moment and, with practice, you’ll find that validation becomes second nature.
A huge part of Self-Compassion is validating yourself. Not only do you see yourself in a clear light but you are able to validate yourself. In my self compassion workbook you go through the process of uncovering the reason you are critical of yourself and you learn how to soften that inner voice. On day 6 in particular you learn to reframe and validate.
I hope you pay attention to the validation that happens or doesn’t happen around you. I hope you are able to validate yourself and those around you. I promise it will change your relationship with yourself and all your other relationships.
Check out Michael S. Sorensen’s book, blog and podcast for great information on validation. Michaelssorensen.com
When I first learned about Self-Compassion I thought it was just making excuses. I hated excuses! I was one that wanted results and wanted accountability when results didn’t happen. I was hard on myself and those around me. I held everyone to a high standard and when I was disappointed I would always think “Well, I better do it myself.” When I fell short I would criticize myself and vow to do better.
Then Self-Compassion entered my life and I gave it a try. I was blown away at how compassion motivated me and put things into perspective for me. It wasn’t making excuses. It was far from it actually. Let me explain.
Self-compassion takes responsibility and requires accountability. You are mindful of your actions and you own up to them. You can accept that your behavior was bad without thinking that you are bad.
Excuses are when we blame another person or a circumstance for our behavior. It’s the opposite of taking accountability for our actions. We feel shame and dismiss our behavior based on our excuse.
Excuses never lead to true change. Excuses lead to a cycle of shame and co-dependency based on outside circumstances.
Self-compassion on the other hand does lead to true change because motivation comes naturally when you are kind and compassionate to yourself. You view yourself as an imperfect human being who makes mistakes and can acknowledge them and also correct them. Self-compassion allows you to be objective and honest with yourself because you know you are good and your worth doesn’t change.
I urge you to try Self-Compassion. Give it a shot. You will immediately reap the benefits of being kind to yourself and so will the people around you.
This time of year gives me all the feels. I love the unity that I feel as part of a community and the attitude of gratitude that is in everyone’s hearts. I love the spirit of giving and the sense that the world is bigger than what we see day to day. We look beyond our own needs to see what good can be done in the world. It’s magical and I cherish it.
Each year our family tries to give back in meaningful ways. I feel like I need to preface that with the fact that we are far from perfect, but we try and be proactive about serving. Each year my kids ask about serving and get excited for the opportunities. It makes my mom heart happy. I wanted to share some of the simple things we do each year to help give back. I would love if you shared some of the things you do with me in the comments that way I can grow our possibilities.
Make bags for the homeless and leave them in your car. We often see people standing outside grocery stores etc with signs asking for help. When we see someone like that we give them a bag and wish them a Merry Christmas. My kids love it! Here is what we put in our bags: *Gloves *Fleece Blanket *Beanie *Socks *Food *Water bottle *McDonalds Gift cards *Notecard that we wrote a message on. I got everything on Amazon and spent about $160 for 12 bags
2. Volunteer at a local Food Pantry. Tabitha’s Way and the Food and Care Coalition are two food pantries close to my house. A simple google search would direct you to one close to you. Food Pantry’s need a variety of items as well as cash and volunteers to pack and hand out food. Grab some girlfriends and make an afternoon of it or bring your kids. Most pantries have an age requirement for kids, but it is worth looking into. I’m bringing my 10 and 12-year-old next time I go. Visit their website and schedule a time to go help. You won’t regret it.
3. Sub for Santa. There are so many families that are barely able to make ends meet, especially this year with covid. I have worked with the United Way in Utah for the past several years and I am always impressed with how well organized it is. When you sign up you can decide if you want to sponsor an individual or a family. If you choose a family you can even specify how many children. Once you are assigned a family you receive their contact information and can contact them about the ages of children and needs etc. United Way gives you a gift shopping outline that keeps things within a budget and fair across all families. It is so helpful. They suggest about $125 per person to spend on gifts and necessities.
4. Angel Tree. This is a great option if sponsoring an individual or a family is overwhelming for you. An angel tree gives you the option to buy one item for someone and drop it off at a neutral location. I know many churches do giving trees as well as grocery stores and department stores. Keep your eyes peeled I guarantee you will see one this holiday season.
5. Draw pictures and write notes for the elderly and drop off at an assisted living center. I can’t even imagine how lonely the elderly are right now being cut off from visiting and hugging their family. They could use some cheering up and cards/notes/pictures is a great covid friendly way to brighten their day.
I know there are a million other ways to serve. Will you share with me what you do in the comments? I would love to add to my list.
Fit is different than skinny. Fit is an ability. Skinny is an appearance. I’ve always dreamed of being skinny. Growing up I was sure that if I became skinny I would have more friends and my life would be better. When I became an adult I found working out to be fun. I enjoyed the endorphins that came when I would sweat. I fell in love with running in particular. I found that I had a strong body. I’ve often teased that I have a horse for a body because it’s so healthy and strong. It took me a long time to realize my body was one of my talents. I can’t sing or do anything musical but physically I’ve got it. For so long I overlooked that fact because I had my eye on skinny. In my pursuit of skinny, I kept failing. I could lose weight but it wasn’t sustainable. As soon as I would loosen up on my diet I would make it back to the weight my body was comfortable at. I spent so much time wishing my body looked different when really I should have been celebrating what it was capable of.
Just last week when I was hiking the Tetons I found myself looking at pictures thinking “how can my body be this big? I eat healthy and I am in fabulous shape. I workout 6 days a week and feel great, why doesn’t my body look great?” (Some lessons you have to learn over and over again!🤦) The truth of the matter was that I was out having an adventure of a lifetime and Satan was sowing thoughts of doubt in my mind. Why was I spending energy on what my body looked like instead of using that energy to climb the mountains that were in front of me? I stopped myself, gave myself some self-compassion, and started noticing all of my body’s capabilities. My body was allowing me to hike 40 miles in the Tetons. It never failed me. In fact, I came home without sore muscles and went right back to my exercise routine when I got home. I love my body. It allows me to live the life I want. I never have to turn things down because my body can’t keep up. It’s a talent that I recognize and spend time improving. My body is a gift that has nothing to do with what it looks like. I’m fit, not skinny and I’ve learned the difference. Skinny isn’t the goal anymore.
Here is everything that I brought with me on my epic 4 day backpacking trip in the Tetons. (Minus food)
1. Beanie. I have this cute Carhartt one from Amazon.
2. Sunscreen. Travel size and on a carabiner is the best. Everyone used my sunscreen because it was clipped on the outside of my backpack and was always accessible.
3. Outfit #1. Athleta t-shirt with sleeves. Sleeves were really nice because they saved my shoulders from the backpack rubbing on my skin. Columbia zip-off pants/shorts. I bought my pants from Amazon. I’ve been avoiding the zip-off pants/shorts for years but finally gave in and bought a pair. I’m so glad I did. Pants and shorts in one was very convenient. I highly recommend them for camping/backpacking.
4. Wilderness Wash. Laundry soap, dish soap, body wash, and shampoo all in one. I never washed my clothes or my hair during this particular Teton trip but I used this to wash my dishes and it worked great. I ended up putting a small amount in a different container to save space and weight. This bottle will last several adventures.
5. Pistil hat. This is my favorite hat. Cute and comfortable. I hung this on the outside of my bag.
6. First Aid kit. I got this small and portable first aid kit on Amazon. I added some Tylenol and ibuprofen to the kit.
7. Outfit #2. Athleta t-shirt with sleeves. Nike spandex shorts.
11. Water Filter. I carried 2 liters of water each day. Each night I would have to filter water from a stream for cooking and for my water the next day. It would be impossible to do a backpacking trip without a water filter.
12. Jet Boil. A jet boil is defiantly something to save up for and purchase. It boils water in one minute and is perfect for meals, hot chocolate, etc. Light and small this is a necessary backpacking item.
13. Goal Zero solar panel. This is how I charged my phone and Garmin GPS. I hooked it onto the outside of my pack and it charged while I hiked. It was awesome!
14. Garmin GPS mini. This garmin tracked my miles, allowed me to send text messages and my location to my husband each day even when I didn’t have service. This garmin also has a SOS feature where if I ever get into trouble I can send out a message and the authorities will be notified.
15. Down Coat. This particular coat is my favorite and I’ve blogged about it before. This coat keeps me warm all winter long and is versatile for all of my different adventures. It packs down small and is lightweight making it the perfect backpacking coat.
20. Rain Fly: This is something you hope you don’t need to use but always want to have. This will keep your pack and everything inside it dry if it rains.
21. Rope: This is important to hang your food in a tree to keep animals at a distance. I brought a small 30 foot paracord. I never used it because I had a bear canister the entire trip. If you are going somewhere that requires a bear canister I would leave the rope at home.
22. Camelbak Water Bladder: I chose to go with a 3 liter bladder but I found that I only drank 2 liters each day.
23. Backpacking Sleeping Bag: This is my favorite sleeping bag. It is ultra-lightweight, sized for women, and keeps me extremely warm. With a temperature rating that goes down to 15-degrees I found myself warm each night only sleeping in my sports bra and shorts.
24. Multi Tool: I used this tool several times during my trip. You never know when you will need a knife, pliers or any of the other tools this set includes. Always a good idea to bring tool along.
25. Columbia Pack-able Rain Jacket: I forgot to take a picture of my jacket but if you follow me on social media at all you know I never hike with out this jacket. It’s waterproof, lightweight design packs into your hand pocket for convenience and it is the perfect jacket when a coat is too much. I use mine ALL the time!
26. Hiking Poles: I also forgot to take a picture of my hiking poles. These are the poles I have. They are perfect for summer hiking and winter skiing. (Comes with attachments for both.)
27. Osprey Women’s Aerial AG 55 Backpack: This is the backpack I have. It is a 55-liter backpack and comes with a convertible top lid day pack which is a feature I have used on each of my backpacking trips. It’s nice to have a day pack to explore without the weight and bulk of the big pack. This pack is designed for women and has waist straps to keep the weight off your shoulders. It has pockets galore and easy access to your phone or snacks on your waist. One of my favorite things about this Osprey pack is that it comes with a lifetime warranty. That means if anything breaks on it they will repair it or replace it! And right now it is $100 off!
These are great items to save up for and ask for gifts.