Resilience and Amazing Women

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I want to talk about resilience tonight.

There are so many women that I admire for their resilience and ability to bounce back and rise up and to claim their second chance.

Life happens.

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It doesn’t always go the way we plan. And when life changes, we get to choose how to accept and react to the circumstances we are presented. We are survivors and not victims and I celebrate all those who rise up.

T s graduating with her RN degree next month and I am so proud of her. She always wanted to be a stay at home mom, and when her situation changed, she redefined herself and chose a new dream to become a nurse. And next month, her dream is coming true. Way to go, sister!

K also planned to stay home with her kids until her plans changed. She needed to redefine herself and decided to become a teacher. She’s been working so hard to pursue her dream to become a teacher and next month she receives her credential. Her students adore her and are going to be so lucky if she chooses to teach in their school. I am so proud of your sweet soul.

A developed a program that has been recognized by Michelle Obama to help students fight obesity and to be ready to learn every day through physical fitness before school, as a parent volunteer. She’s developing her program to help other schools across America and hopefully one day across the world. She’s developing her platform to reach and support others and to build a business for herself. Your passion shines!

S is teaching her girls about resilience and love and starting over and I admire her strength and courage to support and love her family as she transitions through life’s changes. You are a great role model.

Some of my friends are in the middle of their struggles and they are walking through the pain and creating joy despite their challenges, and are surrounded by love. They too will rise up in time, when they are ready.

These women are some of my super heroes. They didn’t have to move to Italy or India to discover themselves or to discover their epic quests. They have risen above their challenges and struggles and have persevered and are strong warriors whom I admire. They are providing for their families and loving themselves on a new frontier.

Life isn’t easy. Life doesn’t go as planned. And that’s ok. It’s a new reality. It’s a new story and they are creating history. One woman at a time.

Resiliently.

I am proud of who they are.

We all can have a second chance, if we are willing and able to do the workable maintain our self confidence. Rock on sisters!  You’ve got this!

xo

Gravitational Pull to the Center of the Earth

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Do you ever think about your weight and wish it was higher or lower than it actually is? Ok, let’s be honest – most people don’t really think about wishing they weighed more unless they are actually trying to qualify for a weight class in a sport such as wrestling.

But how many of us are always battling the bulge? How many of us are actually satisfied with our weight?

So many of us spend so much time and energy thinking about, reading about, talking about, wishing about, comparing and dreading and losing and gaining and weighing and tracking and oh my what a waste.

What if we just considered our gravitational pull towards the center of the earth and were thankful for our mass as it is, just being? This topic would quickly become boring and we could then spend more time being happy and enjoying what is versus fretting over a mass index.

This was how the dinner conversation with my daughter turned tonight on our date as we discussed body image, body expectations and body acceptance. How cool is that? She was the one that came up with the brilliant gravitational pull connection and then proceeded to talk about body mass index and muscles weighing more than fat and you can see where this conversation went from here.

She didn’t care about the number of pounds reported on any given day when she stood on the scale. She did care about being healthy, muscular, strong and fit. I have a lot to learn!!

I like how this girl thinks. Smart, confident girls rule! Rock your body, ladies and live it up. xo

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I am proud.

Gift of Words

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I Love You.

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How often do you hear those words?

I think those are the best words on the planet and I never tire of hearing them or saying them. I love you.

Some cultures don’t use those words. They are never spoken. I have a hard time imagining that. I have a friend whose family never says these words and I like saying them to her just to see her reaction and to see if I can get her to say them back. This makes us both laugh. Ha! Laughing over love. I love it. And I do accept her culture and don’t really expect her to say I love you, even though I know she does love me.

Do you know there is a woman in Oregon who just opened up a Cuddle Shop where you can go to be platonically touched and hugged and have your hand held and your hair rubbed? Samantha Hess offers 15 minute sessions at a $1 per minute or $60 per hour. She had 10,000 requests within the first week of business and if you try to access her website right now, it just keeps spinning because of the overuse. She has also written a book called “Touch. The Power of Human Connection.” I think she’s onto something. Her website says,”Touch has the power to comfort us when we are sad, heal us when we are sick, encourage us when we feel lost, and above all else allow us to accept that we are not alone. When we experience touch it gives us physical, mental, and emotional well being. It lets us know that everything is alright. For one reason or another many of us do not get the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves. I would like to help bring this into your life. When you have what you need life is amazing!”

I know that touch is different than words, but both are gifts of human connection and I think both have serious power.

We can use our words to connect with others and be loving and accepting and we can use our words to create space and separation. I like to think about and practice using my words to make connections and to be aware of how my words affect others, not that I’m always good at it, but I am practicing daily. :-)  Just keeping things real. Perfectly imperfect, right?

I just listened to and watched this youtube video of Us the Duo singing Shake it Off. In the video, they have kids holding up signs with the mean words they hear from their peers with their sad faces showing and then they “shake it off” and hold up new signs with empowering words and smiles on their faces.

We can create our realities by thinking and choosing what we believe to be true. We can shake off the ugliness and embrace what we believe to be true about ourselves and not let in the ugly words projected at us. We can choose to use kind words in response to hate and change the conversation. And we can choose to say “I forgive you.” or “Bless your heart. You don’t know any better.” That last one is one of my favorites.

We have power. We get to choose which gifts we give and I choose to give love and positivity through my words and conversation as often as possible and as often as I remember to choose the high road. This feels right to me.  We can choose to reject words too by ignoring them, letting them bounce off us, saying no, and changing the conversation by walking away, asking a question, or just ignoring the negativity. We do not have to engage because we have a choice.  Isn’t that powerful?

Namaste.

Falling Leaves

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I love fall and watching and feeling the seasons change.

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I’ve changed out of flip flops and bare feet and am covered in socks and boots now.

The scarves and sweaters are out and the corduroy pants are on.

There is a chill in the air. The bed warmer is on and the heater hums and warms our house.

The trees have changed colors and the leaves are starting to fall. I love this time of the year.

Today I came home and Charlie was busy sweeping up the leaves and making his first pile of the year. He’s hoping the leaves will last until Christmas. Colorful leaves provide so many hours of free and joyful entertainment! I can’t wait for Sydney and Jessie to come over to build the biggest piles ever!

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I am thankful for the changing seasons and time to bundle up and drink warm drinks and enjoy the earlier nights.

Life is good.

What do you like about the fall?

Giving Thanks

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I just got the Thanksgiving box down on Monday. In the box, I found some of our Thanksgiving thankfulness projects. We haven’t done something every year, but I do have a few mementos. In 2003, we made foam trees. I must have been inspired by a preschool project.

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In 2004, we were thankful that Charlie survived and didn’t take the time to create another project.

In 2005, we made placemats with each of our homemade trees of thanks. They are sitting around our table now and we are all getting a kick out of what we were thankful for back then.

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In 2006, we made bookmarks. I have these hanging on a mirror in another hallway.

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We must have been really busy living and were not that creative in the past 8 years!!  This year we are settling again and are ready for another thankfulness project.

We looked on Pinterest, and both Juliana and I gravitated independently toward the same 3D tree idea. This morning the aha light went on, and after yoga I went to the craft store to get supplies and came home and began building our Thankful Tree to surprise the kids before they came home.

Later while I was out running errands, Charlie decided to adopt the tree and made it his own. He decided our tree needed birds, and proceeded to find the ones he liked, printed them, cut them out and attached them to our tree before asking what anyone thought of his idea. I loved his creativity and independence, even though this idea was NOT on pinterest and was NOT mine! Juliana was clearly bothered by his creative freedom and wanted them removed. Even though I preferred our simple tree idea, I loved his personal touch and ownership of our family project and I didn’t want to take away from his creativity. The birds stayed.  

We are creating our leaves of thanks and adding them as we think of ideas. I can’t wait to see how our tree grows.

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We have so much to be thankful for. I hope the tree is overflowing in abundance and I wish you happiness, good health and peace.

What are you thankful for this year?

xo Happy Thanksgiving next week!  xo

Meeting People Where They Are At

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I learned this lesson today at Charlie’s drum lesson and final recital.

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There was this super annoying, smart, loquacious child who kept interrupting the lessons every week to ask questions, give commentary and issue commands. Literally. He used this word, command.

The teacher asked if the class had any questions before they began and he replied that he didn’t have any questions, but he did have a command. What? Who says that? And the teacher calmly replied with a question, “You have a command?”  And the boy, proceeded with his command:  “Yes. I have a command that you play the electric guitar a little bit more quietly because it’s too loud.”  He wasn’t trying to be bossy. He just wanted control of his environment and was uncomfortable with the loudness of the guitar playing without the accompaniment of the drum banging little angels.

I thought I was coming to observe and enjoy Charlie’s last drum lesson today. I wasn’t planning on learning a life lesson by watching the instructor react to this student. This teacher never showed any negative emotion to the constant questioning and planning and interruptions that this little boy offered.  Instead, the instructor met him where he was at. He replied with kindness and explained why the guitar sounded louder than usual and reassured him that if after the drums joined in and he still felt it was too loud, that he would adjust the sound of the amplifier. He then showed by example how the two groups worked together and helped the boy to be comfortable.

When the boy was leading in and playing ahead, he gently explained that this might be confusing to the other players as to when to begin and that it actually confused him too. He explained how the boys behavior affected the group and never passed judgement. When the boy would ask to ad-lib, he would gently tell him that eventually that might be a good idea, but for now they were probably good working on the standard piece and that one day they would learn that skill.

When the kid started talking and thinking about other things they should try, the teacher just gently reminded him that they were there to drum and that he could think a little less right now and just drum. The kid always responded in a positive way and did what was expected of him. There wasn’t ever a power struggle. This instructor was amazing and patient and loving and kind and talented.

Tonight I was thankful that he chose to teach in so many ways and I’m going to miss drum lessons!

Last One of the Oprah Highlights

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So Jen asked me to share the questions that were presented in our workbooks at the Oprah Conference this weekend. Here they are:

“Part 1 – Awakening to the The Life You Want

Your beliefs.

Your heart’s desire.

Who you are meant to be.

Close your eyes. Picture someone you love. See their face. What do you wish for them?”

We were asked to dream of someone we really truly love. We were asked to envision their life and all that we wish for their happiness. Oprah walked us through the visualization of all the things we could imagine for this person and we were asked to write everything down in our workbook.  She wanted us to see where they lived, what they did, what kind of car they drove, what kind of house they would live in. She wanted us to see goodness for this person.

After we wrote for awhile, she walked around the stadium looking over shoulders and invited a couple people up on stage to share their story. As people shared their hopes and dreams for their loved ones, she asked us what we thought the intention was. She revealed that what we wished for our loved one was what we wished for ourselves.  She wants us to think highly of ourselves and to dream BIG!

Part 2 was designed to see our life today.  There was an A, B, and C part to this exercise.

In part a, we were asked to think about all the areas of our life today and she presented us a list. We were to circle the ones that were the most important ingredients for the life we want and there were spaces to add our own ideas. Her list included friendship, body/health/well-being, Occupation – inside or outside the home, hobbies and passion, financial situation, home, spouse/mate/partner, family/children/grandchildren/parents, contribution to the world, and spirituality/faith/beliefs.

There was then a circle in the middle of the page that represented our life circle. We were to divide it into slices based on the areas we chose from the list above. Big slices meant that they were very important to us. Small slices were less important.

My circle had “Here I Am” in the center circle and all the areas of my life that were important, spiraled around my heart center. I didn’t quite follow directions as this depicted my reality more than the slices.

After we divided up the pie, we were to mark each slice based on how we felt about that area with a happy face, representing good feelings, a straight face which represented so-so feelings, and a sad face that represented bad feelings.  This represented our life circle.

There was a quote on the side of the page that said:

“Having the best things is no substitute for having the best life.

When you can let go of the desire to acquire, you know you are really on your way.” – Oprah

The last part was about creating a new vision. In this section was a checkerboard with images and phrases. Step 1 in creating a new vision was to choose the language we choose to speak to ourselves. If we say, “I’m tired.”, we will be tired. If we choose, “I choose happiness.”. then we are on our way to experience happiness.  To tell a new story starts with changing our language and she wanted us to be aware of the words we choose to describe how we feel about ourselves. We were to cross out the language we wanted to stop using and to circle the words and ideas we wanted to use more often.

We didn’t finish step 2, but that part was to help us capture our new vision. We were to think about what we wished for originally in our life in Part 1 and then reflect on the life circle we want to build. And finally we were to use our new language to write down a vision for ourself living the life we want.  What life do you envision for yourself? I hope your dreams come true.

“With every experience, you alone are painting your own canvas – thought by thought, choice by choice.” – Oprah

Together we rise.

xo