It’s March, my busiest month. I know when I get busy I get narrowly focused on my tasks and goals at hand. I try to spend my time as efficiently as possible keeping my eye on the prize. I’m busy because it’s all about the Juneau Home Show. I spend a lot of time preparing and putting together marketing material and ordering customized goodies to hand out to attendees. This year I’ve ordered stylus pens, fish shaped bottle openers, and silicone wrist bands. Every year I also give away a half page ad in the April edition so be sure to stop by my booth and enter to win! Yes, I said booth! I upgraded my space from a table top. I bought some beautiful sitting chairs from Southeast Furniture Warehouse to create an inviting atmosphere. I am excited to have some helpers this year manning the booth, please stop by and say hello, grab a pen, bracket or bottle opener and of course the latest copy of Southeast Living Magazine. Through the busyness blur and sleep deprivation I sometimes will have a moment that hits me, and I realize the world is still turning and life is happening around me. It could be the glorious weather, a nice gesture from a stranger or seeing my seven month old daughter get excited over something like a piece of tissue paper or a balloon. It reminded me that even when life is busy, I still need to look up and out, and open my eyes. There are a few simple ways that I do this.

Pay it forward. There is nothing quite like the feeling of helping someone out. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or even be monetary. On an exceptionally busy day while wheeling my cart to my car with my little one strapped into her carrier, I had a fellow shopper who was also on the way to her car ask if she could take my cart back for me. It really made my day and helped tremendously. I typically find myself donating goods or clothing but taking someone’s cart for them or even holding a door can change someone’s day or week.

Paying it forward can also allow you to look at life or the world through someone else’s eyes. I am very lucky to have the luxury to buy nice things, live in a nice warm house and eat good healthy food. Some do not have those luxuries. No matter what position in life you are, take a moment and really think deeply about being in someone else’s shoes, and take a step in them. Imagine someone without something that you rely on and then picture their life and how they must have to struggle for the simple things you take for granted. 

Another way  to see the marvel of life is experiencing things through a child’s eye. I absolutely love watching my seven month old daughter discover things for the first time, and then for a second time, and so on. Her face tells a story of wonder and excitement of this new world around her and it’s a blessing to stop the busyness of life and experience it with her.

If all else fails and you can’t seem to open up for whatever reason, close your eyes and imagine. After an exceptionally long day I often will find a space, even in the shower and close my eyes and imagine my favorite hike or beach. I will examine the rocks or the sand or the blue sky and try to smell the breeze. I will do anything to take my mind away from the running and racing that it does when I am busy.

Whatever it is that helps open your eyes and see the beauty and the pain of the world, it’s important. It’s important to have an appreciate for what you have and a compassion to help others that are less fortunate or may be struggling. I hope that you have a wonderful March!

Anna Hoke is the graphic designer and owner of Southeast Living Magazine. She can be reached at