21 Positive Quotes To Brighten Your Cold Winter Day

Winter can be depressing. It’s dark, cold and you might be missing the sun! I felt like this years ago with a baby and 3 years old. I was depressed during winter years ago and couldn’t wait for spring. Then one year I hit rock bottom and I decided to love winter.

I knew I had to change my negative thinking. We had a bad case of cabin fever and it turned out that getting outside was the perfect medicine. We dressed correctly for a start. Warm sweaters, thick socks, scarves and comfortable boots seemed to take hours to put on! Then we headed outside to see the beautiful world of snow and icicles. Delicious soup and hot chocolate were waiting when we came back in. We were cold and refreshed. That’s how it all began. Over the years we added many more winter activites into our life.

I also began to love the indoors. Dark, cold winter is a great time to Hygge (hooga) with friends or by yourself (see my last post here), read a book, watch movies, do something creative or just get organized.

Another way to help you change the way you think is through quotes. I love quotes! Quotes are like poetry to me. I’ve gathered together some of my very favorites on positive thought to help you change your negative thinking. Hope you enjoy them, too. They might help to brighten up your cold winter day.

21 Of My Favorite Positive Thought Quotes:

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
~Wayne Dyer

Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
~ Albert Schweitzer

Everything Happens For A Reason

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
~Henry David Thoreau

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.
~ Eckhart Tolle

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
~Abraham Lincoln

Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?
~Dennis and Wendy Mannering

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
The mind is everything. What we think we become.


I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street,
I met a man who had no feet.

~Ancient Persian Saying

In the depth of winter I finally learned that
there was in me an invincible summer.

~Albert Camus

Zentips Invinceble Winter Camus

Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.

~Fyodor Dostoevsky

Joy is a flower that blooms when you do.
~Author Unknown

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones,
you’ll start having positive results.

~Willie Nelson

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Since the house is on fire let us warm ourselves.
~Italian Proverb

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.
~Rabbi Harold Kushner

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
~Marcus Aurelius

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

~Winston Churchill

He who possesses the source of enthusiasm will achieve
great things. Doubt not. You will gather friends around you
as a hair clasp gathers the hair

~ I Ching

The more man meditates upon good thoughts,
the better will be his world and the world at large.


When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive –
to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love – then make that day count!

~Steve Maraboli

I’m choosing happiness over suffering.
I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life
with yet-to-come surprises.

~Elizabeth Gilbert

ZenTips Choosing Happiness Gilbert

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Do You Hygge? The Happiest Country Does!

“Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.”
~ToveMaren Stakkestad

For many years, Denmark has been named one of the happiest countries in the world. In fact I recently read this quote, “We should look to countries like Denmark” if we wanted the US to become a happier place.

Many people in Denmark attribute this to “Hygge” pronounced “Hooga”.

What is Hygge? Simply put, it’s about living in the moment. It’s one of those perfect days, usually indoors during the short winter days of Northern Europe, where you’re relaxed, cozy, maybe with a fire, definitely with candles and a hot drink. You might be alone or maybe with friends and family. Time will stand still. There is no agenda, everyone is happy, lights are dimmed an atmosphere that you create. There is no drama by the way. No upsetting discussions. Just interesting conversation. The planning is not very organized. More spontaneous. Hygge is a mental state that you’re in and is very good for the soul. It can be your coziest sweatshirt. A hot cocoa on a cold day with a good book. It’s tea served in a china teapot. You can be by yourself or with others.

When I’ve experienced Hygge most it hasn’t been planned. I even wrote about in a post called A Dark And Stormy Night Miracle. The electricity went out and our family spent the evening by the fire, listening to music. A month ago we had a fun hygge party with some French friends who lit up their table in honor of the Festival of Lights in the city of Lyon.

A table just ready for Hygge!

A table just ready for Hygge!

Remember, just as you create your crazy, complicated life, you can also simplify and make a Hygge night which will unwind a little of the complications.

So here’s the recipe for Hygge:

humor and good conversation
comfy clothes
comfort food that’s easy to put together
warm drinks
a cozy spot
an interesting topic for conversation


1. Pick the perfect location/homey surroundings and add the candles.

2. Gather some people together. They may be your favorite people or ones you’ve just met.

3. Everyone can contribute to the food and drinks. Make it uncomplicated. A great rule when you Hygge is to just bring whatever is in your refrigerator.

4. Everyone, come as you are. No fancy clothes. Remember no controversary or arguments. No snide remarks allowed. Come with interesting conversation. And no judging as well. Bring some humor.

5. Don’t think too much about the time or your schedule while you’re hyggling. Time stands still when you Hyggle. It’s time to live in the moment. The world and your problems will still be there when you go back outside.

6. Feel my favorite form of happiness, contentment, when the evening is over. You should come away from the evening feeling warm, fuzzy and content. A great sleep is often the result.

Candles that are perfect for Hyggling!

Candles that are perfect for Hyggling!

We recently spent a week in Amsterdam and guess what? They have their own word for Hygge, it’s Gezillig, pronounced “heh-SELL-ick”. We experienced Gezillig in a wonderful bar/café just when the sun went down around 4:45 pm. Café de Sluyswacht was built in 1695 and is surrounded by canals. Inside the place was lit with beautiful candles. I had a delicious coffee and the Zen Papa a wonderful Dutch beer. We had nowhere to go and just enjoyed the scenery, the moment and all the happy conversation around us.

Hygge cafe

Hygge cafe

Hygge Cafe

The dark, winter season is the prefect time to discover Hygge or Gezillig. I’m going to incorporate these ideas into my life and get togethers! Happy Hyggling!

Need more information?

• Check out the Hello Hygge Blog

• Here’s a link to an article about the world’s happiest countries. This year Denmark was actually 3rd. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/23/travel/feat-world-happiest-countries-2015/

• My research was done watching some videos on youtube (google Hygge if you want) and an article at the Greater Good written by Jessica Alexander author of The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide To Raising The Happiest Kids in the World.

• I’m going to do a little more research more with this book, The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russel!!

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Surround Yourself With What You Love In 2016 !

“This year believe that anything is possible. Start each day with goals. Eat more real food. Buy good books and make time to read them. Drink water. Exercise daily even when it sounds like a terrible idea. Shop for quality not quantity. Purge the unnecessary and decrease clutter. Hug the ones I love. Find the best in others. Show others the best in me.”
~ Unknown

I love the New Year! All the stresses of the old year gone. A chance to wipe the slate clean. I love to write resolutions and make them fun things that will make my life happier. The new year is like a book, just waiting to be written!

This year, surround yourself with the things you want in your life. Want to learn something new? Surround yourself with books. Want to be more creative? Surround yourself with art supplies. Surround yourself with an appreciation of the little things we take for granted. Surround yourself with music, real food and have real conversation. Want to lose weight? Surround yourself with healthy food, a garden and walks. Let go of the old and surround yourself with what you want in the new year. Enjoy it and don’t look for perfection. Instead, believe anything is possible!

Here are my resolutions for 2016! What would you add? Please let us all know in the comments below.

10 Resolutions to practice in 2016

10 Resolutions to practice in 2016

Thank you Zen Mama Readers for your inspiration, comments and support! I wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to traveling the journey of life with you during 2016!


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Give The Best Gift This Holiday Season… Unconditional Love

Conditional Love - the best holiday gift“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ~Dr. Seuss

So what’s the gift you should give your child (or spouse, parents, in-laws, co-workers) this year? The gift I’m thinking of won’t cost you a dime. It’s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE! What is unconditional love? It’s accepting a person, faults and accomplishments, no matter what they do. Pure and Simple. Unconditional Love is the greatest gift you can give your children or other loved ones this Christmas.

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11 Ways To Slow Down Over The Holiday Season

“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I think I hear it and say it everyday:
“I don’t have enough time! I’m too busy!”

And now the Christmas Season is on it’s way…it’s overwhelming!

And quite honestly it’s true! You have kids, sports, groceries, laundry, cooking and often a job. Throw in a holiday party and you may come undone! When your children are young, they need your attention all the time. You often need to be with them where ever they’re playing.

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Embrace Gratitude and Watch Life Change



“You simply will not be the same person two months from now… after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance

I love November! It’s the month I renew my gratitude practice. From the beginning of the month all the way to our great American gratitude holiday of Thanksgiving, I try to remember the ways be grateful. A gratitude practice can start out slowly but it becomes a habit as we flow into the hectic month of December.

What is gratitude?

Gratitude is much more than being thankful.

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Look For The Good and You Will Find It

Paris, Je t'aime!

Paris, Je t’aime!

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
~Fred Roers

For those of you who don’t know, my husband and I are taking a little time off and spending the fall in Paris. We are having the time of our lives here in Paris. We are wandering the many districts, going to art museums, buying scarves, eating at great restaurants, trying out the language, taking cooking classes and meeting up with old friends and new ones. The French/Parisians are friendly, helpful and kind. Many take the time to talk to us in shops or stop and give us directions. I’m even working on Zen Mama book #4 hopefully to be ready sometime in the near future.

So, as you can imagine, it’s kind of crazy being in a place where a terrorism attack has actually taken place. I am sitting in our rented Paris apartment tonight at about 2 am after the attacks have taken place, saddened by all I’m hearing… helicopters and sirens, reading reports on google of death and terrorism. It’s horrifying. The images are heart wrenching. I am heart broken. Facebook was asking me to confirm my safety.

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21 Ways To Let Go of Anger

Save yourself from sorrow!

Save yourself from sorrow!

Kids change your life. We all know that! Before I had kids I imagined all the ways. Was I ever surprised that I often found myself getting angry! I thought of myself as a very calm person. I was never really angry before I had kids but suddenly something would just begin to bubble inside and I’d erupt. Not exactly the best thing for a mother to do to her children. Then I came across this Khalil Gibran quote:

“If your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?”

I knew I needed to change. That’s when I decided to become a “Zen Mama”.

What’s the motivation to stop being angry? It’s one of the best ways to happiness for you and the people in your life.

Anger puts others on the defense.
It shames and humiliates them.
It can lead to anxiety.
Anger can give you health problems.
Anger causes guilt.

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Life is Fragile

(Found at Pinterest/http://observando.net/page/2)

(Found at Pinterest/http://observando.net/page/2)

I often find myself outside contemplating how amazing life is! I feel very lucky and filled with gratitude. How well life is turning out!

However, as we all know, life can change on a dime. A healthy, happy person can be in life one minute and the next she’s gone. I recently heard that a very close friend of mine had died suddenly. We had recently been making plans to see each other soon, writing emails back and forth. And now that opportunity will never happen.

“Life is Fragile” is the title of the first post I ever wrote. I was making a website for my fledging book, How To Be A Zen Mama. It was September 2009. I saw the word “blog” and clicked on it out of curiosity and have been writing ever since. Thus the first blog post was born. My dear friend was one of my biggest supporters. She would often send comments and ideas for blog posts. She loved life, her children and husband. She loved her many friends from all walks of life. She loved to travel and cook. We had a lot in common!

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Five Videos for the Mindfulness Beginner

Mindfulness“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
~Sharon Salzberg –

“In today’s rush, we all think too much — seek too much — want too much — and forget about the joy of just being.”
~Eckhart Tolle

I’m getting ready to teach a Mindfulness Workshop with my good friend Tricia Gast. (It’s not too late to join us…see below!)

Mindfulness is being in the moment, being aware, without judgment. All worries and distractions seem to fall away when you practice mindfulness.

This is the simplicity of mindfulness. You are fully present in the now. You are engaged in whatever you are doing. You are no longer dwelling in the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness ends suffering, because the present moment is perfect.

Yet, while simple, it is often difficult to practice.

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