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Sunday, December 9, 2012

See Yourself CLEARLY

Mirror Mirror on the Wall Fine Art Print - Jeff Kolker
I love the innocent thought-processes of children.

My 2-yr-old, who had just finished getting her hair done, ran downstairs and said, "Look, Daddy!" Daddy told her that she was the most beautiful little girl in the whole world! My 4-yr-old said, "But Daddy, I thought I was the most beautiful!"

My husband explained that just because her sister was beautiful too didn't make her any LESS beautiful, and that she was his VERY SPECIAL girl.

She said, "But Daddy - sometimes you get mad at me, like yesterday, and give me spankings." He said that sometimes she makes bad choices, so she does get in trouble.

She looked at him and said, "But I thought I was your special girl." He said she was. She said, "But Daddy! That just doesn't make any sense!"

I love how confident she is, that she expects everyone else to see her as only the best, the greatest, and to treat her that way ALWAYS!  Sometimes I don't love it so much - but mostly I wouldn't change it for anything in the world!


I remember when she was born, looking at her and wondering how in the world anyone in her life could ever look at her and see anything BUT beauty and goodness.  I thought about the hard times she would face growing up, the cruel jokes and comments kids make, the struggles and challenges of mortality.  And I shuddered at the thought that she would EVER buy into any of the lies and believe she was anything less than the VERY best, the MOST beautiful.

In some ways, that may reflect more on my struggles than hers - and me wanting to protect her from them.  But somehow we have managed, up to this point at least, to flood her with confidence - which, to her credit, she has received with elegance and grace.

What do you see in yourself?  What comes to mind when you envision YOU?

I am reminded of a scripture passage in 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 ---
"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a [wo]man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

See yourself CLEARLY today!  Not through a glass, darkly, but in full light!  See yourself as the amazing, beautiful, special, talented, dynamic person that you are! As you move towards making resolutions for the next year, include a tradition of making resolutions of CELEBRATION and GRATITUDE. Truly you deserve NOTHING less!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sleep? What's the BIG DEAL, Anyway?

We have all heard that sleep is important to our health - whatever our goals.  But do you know WHY it is so important/what essential things happen when you sleep?  I didn't!  I just heard an interview with Dr. Paul Anderson - a medical doctor in both Canada and the U.S. who specializes in natural remedies/cures to ailments instead of medical ones.  All I can say is - I DEFINITELY need to work on the sleep factor! :-)  Now if someone could give me the magic pills to make my KIDS perfect the sleep factor . . . .
 
10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Sleep But Need To:
1) A good night's sleep means you don't wake up more than once during the night.
2) A good night's sleep is at least 7 hours of natural, deep sleep.
3) During deep sleep, you release your growth hormone (fat-burning hormone).
4) Deep sleep between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. gives you maximum hormone production, rebuilds neurotransmitters in your brain, and turns off body inflammation. SO GET TO BED EARLY, in other words!
5) Sleeping pills don't allow you to get to deep sleep. They are unnatural. So, though you are technically sleeping, you are never really rested and don't reap the benefits of deep sleep.
6) Not sleeping enough can make you GAIN WEIGHT. The University of Washington took identical twins - one they let sleep more than 7 hours, the other less than 7 hours. The one that didn't get enough sleep put on 5 lbs of FAT (not water retention or inflammation - FAT) in four weeks.
7) If you get adequate sleep, you can reduce your body fat by 33%.
8) Neurotransmitters are our anti-stress system in our brain - they are enhanced/rebuilt when we sleep. So sleep reduces stress/cortisol levels from our brains to our entire system.
9) You can't make up sleep. No sleeping 5 hours one night and 10 hours another and reaping the same benefits. You need 7-12 hours every single night.
10) Increased stress, unhealthy weight gain, disconnected neurotransmitters, etc. all shorten our DNA.  Shortened DNA=Shortened Lifespan.  So getting adequate sleep actually increases your lifespan!

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."

Maybe there's more truth to that than I realized! :-)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The "Munchies" Strike

Especially this time of year, we all have those darn munchies hit! So what do you do? What do you reach for? Might I suggest: NOTHING? (Food-related, that is.)





The munchies aren't generally a sign of lack of nutrition or some physical need your body is trying to fill. If you haven't nourished it properly and have them, choose your next "healthy" meal of veggies, protein, etc. Cutting corners on "junk" isn't going to satisfy it physically any more than it will really make you feel better emotionally.  

However, if you HAVE nourished it properly, the munchies are probably just a reaction to you being bored, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, etc.


So I would really suggest that, instead of scouring your cupboard for the least-offensive thing you can munch on, you re-train your body to react to non-food effects with non-food answers. Maybe you should pick up a holiday craft to work on, a hobby, a good book you can read when you get the munchies. Or if you can/need to, get away from temptation all together and go for a walk or go visit someone (preferably someone who won't have a ton of food laying around for you to grab and mindlessly eat). ;-)


If you physically HAVE to have something, munch on some crushed, softened ice -- and drink lots of water. But try to redirect what you are feeling and get away from the need to solve it/respond to it with food.


That will be one of the best gifts you can give yourself - this Holiday Season and always!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Choose

There is a lesson that my husband has tried to teach me several times since we got married. Eleanore Roosevelt said it best:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." In fact, no one can make you anything without your permission.

When I read this "I Choose" quote on Pinterest, it really summed that powerful lesson up for me.

Our lives are the product of our choices.  And NO ONE dictates those to us.  Not your boss, not your kids, not your spouse, not your family/friends, not your enemies. Other people may apply significant pressure, may cause you to feel you don't have a choice; but that lie will never lead you to happiness.  Your choice is to follow them, to give into the pressure, or to choose you. It is not always easy, but it doesn't change the fact that YOUR LIFE IS YOURS ALONE.  And you only get one.

Some of the most inspirational, motivational, life-changing people in history got backed into a corner by family, work, friends, society . . . and CHOSE a different path. It was a harder path.  But our lives are better for it, and because of that choice to choose a harder road, we actually know who they are today and have benefited from them!

Your life is yours alone. And you only get one.

What do YOU CHOOSE today?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Think I Can . . . And Do!

One of the things I do NOT like to hear my children say is, "Mommy - I CA-AN'T!!!" (Insert whiny-voice-you-know-all-too-well here).

To counter that (and get rid of the whine), I started to cut them off as soon as/just after they said it and say, "Uh-uh. No cant's! Say, 'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can' . . . and DO!"

The other day, and on a few other occasions, I heard my 4-year-old trying something new and saying softly under her breath, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . . and DO!" over and over again.  There was probably some soft singing mixed in there as well -- she's cute like that!

It really hit me how powerful our thoughts are!  How powerful the voices in your head that teach you something over and over again.  I have seen the sign all over Pinterest that your voice becomes the voice in your children's heads, so you must watch what you are telling them.  It reminds me of a song in the musical Into the Woods: "Careful the things you say, children will listen!"
I have always loved this saying:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Our thoughts are shaped by so many things - what we read, what we hear, what we listen to, who we surround ourselves with, what we say, what others say.

Control your mind . . . control your future!

Teach your children empowering thoughts!  Teach them to say, "I can! I do! I am! I will!"  Teach them to say, "I am strong! I am beautiful! I am smart! I am talented! I am fun!" and other things that affirm all they are instead of what they are not!

How will you do that?

You'll start with YOU!  You'll start by weeding your garden of all the negative, degrading, self-doubting, self-depricating thoughts that may exist in your head.  You'll start by turning, 'I can't!' into 'I think I can . . . and DO!'  You'll start by weeding your garden of any weeds that are already planted there, no matter how deep the roots.
  1. Get a notebook or a piece of paper to carry around with you/have near you for a few days to a few weeks.  
  2. Pay attention to your thoughts.  
  3. Every time a negative thought enters your head, write it down on that paper/in that notebook.  Then write down anything associated with it - anything that led up to it, any negative memory surrounding it. How you reacted to it/projected it.
  4. After a week or two of doing this - write yourself a letter of all the negatives you need to remove from your life.  Tell yourself that they have no power over you any more, that you refuse to listen to them anymore.  Tell yourself why they were there to begin with and that you are ready to be done with them.  One of my professors would call this the "Blood Essay" because it allows you to bleed out all the negative on paper - and often times it allows you to look pain square in the face and not run from it.
  5. Once you have written yourself a letter, share it with someone you love/trust!  It's so important to validate - to yourself and someone important to you/trustworthy - that you have had these thoughts and feelings, that they have been very real to you in your life.  BUT that you are also DONE with them!  Choose someone constant, someone you know will never use it against you or even try to give you advice about/talk you out of feeling it.  Just someone who will let you share your emotional vomit for a minute and be done with it forever!
  6. After you've validated, BURN it!  Burn that letter!  Or tear it up into a million pieces and flush it down the toilet.  Whatever it takes to permanently get rid of it as a symbol of your readiness to move forward from it.
  7. Start to dream up and re-think all the wonderful things that are going to replace those thoughts in your life!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Broken Piggy Bank?

I wrote a few days ago about choosing the top 10 things you want to teach your children - focusing in on 10 in order to ensure that you SUCCEED because your thoughts and intentions are not scattered all over the place.  You have a focus.  You can create a plan.  You can deliberately CREATE and TAKE ADVANTAGE OF moments to teach your 10 Things.

After I realized the power in focusing my Vision for my family, my thoughts immediately turned to our Finances.  One of the things I want my children to learn is Financial Self Reliance and Freedom. 

But so many times, in spite of my VERY detailed-and-verified-daily Budget Sheet, I do not see an end to all the things that are pressing on us. From mortgage payments to student loans to much-desired hobbies/extras for ourselves and our children, we seem to be "always moving but going nowhere."  Like there's a crack in our piggy bank and the money that is supposed to be accumulating keeps falling out somehow! Can you relate?


After I focused in on my Family Vision, I went to my Budget Vision.  Where I had been spending SO MUCH TIME AND ENERGY trying to budget in money in so many different areas - refinancing, downpayment on a new home, money towards student loans, extra payments if we don't sell or refinance to cut the term of the loan, etc. - I decided to follow Dave Ramsey's advice and focus in on just ONE, the one with the highest interest rate and the one I had the most control over. 

When I took the money I was trying to allocate to so many different "What If's/Needs/Debts" and channeled it to ONE place, it was like magic on paper!  Suddenly I saw an end to one thing that was in our control, in spite of all of the things that were not.  Suddenly I saw and felt success instead of continual despair.  Suddenly the end of ONE MAJOR WEIGHT was a LOT closer than any of my previous calculations had ever deemed possible.

THAT IS A GOOD FEELING!  That is an EMPOWERING feeling!  That is a FOCUSED, DELIBERATE feeling!

Within a week of me making this "plan", we had some big financial things break down, fall apart, and come up.  But they didn't phase us!  They didn't get in the way of the PLAN, of the VISION, of the FOCUS, because we were committed to it.  We were committed to sacrifice in order to realize it.  We were committed to let the broken stay broken, the fallen apart go to the garbage without being replaced, the coming up come and go without us being a part of it this ONE time.  We could see the fruits of doing so, and they meant more to us than the temporary sacrifices we would be making.

I invite you to do the same.  Go to your finances and decide ONE THING that you can WIPE OFF your list.  Just one thing that is IN your control.  Get rid of it, re-channel the money and energy in order to be done with it, and when you hit that point, see what the next thing is that is in your control and weighing the heaviest on your mind and budget and get rid of it!  This is the way of success.  The other - the constant worrying and relocating and replanning and revisiting without ever actually progressing - is just the way of madness! :-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Tree

My friend Peni posted a picture of this - her favorite tree in her yard - yesterday.  She said it is the most beautiful green in the Summer and produces the most beautiful colors in the Fall.  I asked her what kind of tree it was, and she said she can't remember.  They got it about 5 years ago - the nursery said it was a "dead tree" and gave it to them for free.  They took it home, planted it, nourished it, and this is what it became.

What lessons for life that tree represents!

I read a book by Jordan Adler a few days ago.  In it, he talks about how many times in his life he "failed" at something simply because he listened to those who said it wasn't possible, it was a bad idea, it would never take him anywhere, he was dumb for even trying it.  And he said that he allowed those thoughts to take root and - pretty soon - started to believe them so much that he quit.

Not only did he believe them, but he fed them.  He started looking for failure in his life - bought into the label that he was unlucky. And where he looked for evidence of that, he found it!  He failed at everything he tried, never got a lucky break from anything in his life.

Until one day . . . someone told him he was lucky!  Someone told him he was good at something, had the magic touch!  And from then on, that little seed of belief and faith planted in his heart and mind and started to grow . . . and grow . . . and grow.

He learned that the difference in his life up to that point was not that he had been unlucky and was suddenly a changed person, but that he planted unlucky in his mind and allowed it to kill all "luck" in his path.  Whenever a situation presented itself, he saw obstacles as evidence it was destined to fail instead of simply obstacles with solutions, that could be overcome.

A Nursery's dead tree - one they had nurtured from a seed and intended to sell to gain a profit; one they gave away because it would never grow or amount to anything - is now a family's favorite!  It brings them joy in multiple seasons.  It is thriving, flourishing, and beautiful to ANYONE who sees it!

What made the difference?  What is making the difference in how YOU live and what YOU expect to get from YOUR life? Think about that - dig deep into your heart and listen to what answers it gives you.

And for today . . . enjoy this beautiful tree!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If You Could Teach Your Children 10 Things

I know we have all heard that a goal not written down doesn't exist.  I'm sure you have also heard that if you try to chase too many things at once, you end up losing them all. 

I am a list writer because it's the only way I can keep my thoughts organized and keep it together - make sure I actually get things done that I need to get done.

So when I heard this advice from Jack Canfield at a recent conference I attended, it really struck a cord in my heart.  Of all the things in the world that I could be - of all the things I would or might even want to teach my children, if I had to FOCUS in on just 10, nothing more, no cheating, no combining, just the 10 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS . . . what would they be?

At first I thought about this in terms of identifying the 10 most important things.  But lately, as I've tried to focus in on the most important things in my own life and make sure that they get done, I realized that this invitation is about more than IDENTIFYING.  It's also about ACCOMPLISHING!

You see, if I have a never-ending list of things I am always working on, I am probably never getting anything done.  When I have a focused list of a few things I am intentionally . . . deliberately . . . working on, I am CERTAIN to succeed in doing them.

Take to heart this invitation.  My husband pointed out on my twins' 4th birthday that we had already gone through about 1/5 of our time WITH them.  And our time with them only amounts to about 1/5 of their entire lives.  But what we accomplish during that 1/5 of their lives will shape them for the rest of it.  We have no time to waste with our precious charge to teach our children.

So if you get just 10 things that they will remember FOREVER and NO MATTER WHAT, what do you choose?  Write them down.  Then make them happen! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tackling the Laundry

Do you sometimes feel like your life is one . . . long . . . workday?  Like you know you need a break, but every day comes and goes without you getting one?  I often feel like the sink is an endless fountain of dirty dishes and the laundry room an endless fountain of dirty laundry . . . no matter how many times I do them, there's always more to be done.

So today, I thought it would be fun to share some tips for keeping up on the laundry . . . so you can find time to do the really important things, like lie down for a few minutes a day to recuperate!
  1. Keep separate baskets in your laundry room for darks, lights, whites, linens, and "clothes with stains".
  2. At the end of each day, make part of your bedtime routine having everyone put their clothes/linens in the corresponding basket before they brush their teeth/go to bed.
  3. Decide HOW you want to "do the laundry."  Some people pick one day a week - a Monday or Saturday - and make it laundry day.  That day, they wash, dry, fold, iron, and put away all of the laundry for the week.  Some people don't like to have it take an entire day and choose instead to do a load as they have a full load to do - to stay on top of it, start to finish, a little bit at a time.  Some people get energy discounts from their power company for doing laundry at night and on weekends, so they take advantage of that.  Whatever your preferred method, MAKE IT A METHOD!  Make it consistent!  Make it something that your family can count on and help make happen.
  4. Have a basket for each person in the family . . . OR . . . have one basket for the parents, one for the children, and one for everything else. Then you aren't making multiple trips to each room in the house to put things away.  
  5. Make it a family affair - teach your children responsibility from the beginning.  My toddlers - age 2+ - can put away their clothes.  My Pre-Schoolers are learning to fold their own clothes.  As your children get older, have them pick up their basket of clothes when they get home from school (better still - have them fold/iron AND put away their clothes themselves - so Mom is just sorting and distributing clean clothes in baskets; children are learning to work and take care of them).
What other tips have you found for/used in making the endless laundry piles a lot more manageable? 

Of course, there is always the question of how to make LESS laundry.  But that's another topic! :-)

Friday, November 2, 2012

I Like to Ride My Bicycle

Okay - this is NOT a picture of my family on a bike ride today.  In order to BE a picture of my family on a bike ride today, the man and woman would have to switch places, the woman in front would have to be 8 months pregnant, and the trailer behind would have to hold two.  THEN you would have our beautiful family bike ride today! :-)  But since I have NO WAY of capturing that on film, this is the next best thing.

We rode for probably 8 miles today.  I was SO PROUD of my twins as they took turns on the tandem bike.  Almost from the moment we left our house, my 4-y-o daughter was telling her twin brother, "Guess what?  Me and Mommy are going to BEAT you on our bike ride today!"  And that was the theme of our ride - with my 2-year-old chiming in with whomever was loudest and/or riding in the bike trailer with her when Daddy occasionally passed Mommy.

But what stood out to me the most was how GOOD it felt to be OUT together!  We weren't spending money, we weren't doing things that took a lot of prep work.  We were just out in nature, riding over the fallen Autumn leaves, past the smelly cows and beautiful horses and fields, over the bumpy bridges, down the hills, up the hills, having the BEST time together!  We laughed and reminisced.  We talked about the future and baby names.  We dreamed about living in the houses in our favorite neighborhoods along the route.  The kids chimed in and added that we were going to have horses and chickens and . . . . We just truly ENJOYED each other!

So many people are intent on giving their kids what they never had.  My husband and I realized today that we are no different . . . and today, we gave our children something we didn't have much growing up and would have LOVED more of.  Then I started to think about ALL the things we gave them today:
  • We gave them a family outing that got us all some GREAT exercise (without the word exercise ever coming up in our minds or theirs)!  
  • We gave them a family tradition of spending time together that doesn't cost money.  
  • We passed onto them our family value of appreciating,enjoying, and meditating in nature. 
  • We left our cell phones home and gave them the example of getting unplugged for family - that THEY are absolutely the MOST important things to us.  
  • We gave them a MEMORY that they will never forget . . . and will be such a part of them that they really won't remember when it started.
Some things really are - above everything else - simply about TIME!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Book Fairy

Picture This: Halloween is over.  Your kids have GOBS of candy from the neighborhood and other parties you visited while Trick-or-Treating.  You don't want them to EAT all of it (horrible for them - and the sugar high? UGH!).  So you give them a few pieces and then put the rest away - for "them" to have later.

Next thing you know, you have joined the throngs of closet moms/dad . . . hiding in the closet, sneaking a bite of this, a handful of that, the last Reese's peanut butter cup, the only Almond Joy.

Can you relate?  Of course YOU'VE never been there, right?  Neither have I! :-)

So when I read my good friend Amanda's family tradition for that Halloween candy that comes into THEIR house each year, I had to share!

Each year, each child is given a Ziploc bag to put their FAVORITE pieces of candy into.  And they can eat that bag of candy whenever they want - it's theirs!  But the rest of the candy is left out the evening of November 1.  And the Halloween Book Fairy comes that night, takes their candy, leaves them a book, and returns the candy in December - just in time to decorate gingerbread houses over Thanksgiving Break. (If you're wondering where she takes it - GRANDMA'S HOUSE!)

Isn't that FANTASTIC?!?!?!  We LOVE books around here - and some Halloween/Thanksgiving books would be so fun to make part of our yearly tradition of giving the kids a book for Christmas every year.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trust Your Heart


Sometimes I look in my children's eyes and I wonder if I am doing it right.

Am I teaching them the essential things?  Am I giving them enough attention and time?  Am I creating within them a desire to rely on and love each other, to want to be a part of each others lives?  Do they know I love them most, even when I struggle to find the energy, power, and light in myself and my own motherhood?

If you are like me, you have - at least once in your life - been on the receiving end of untimely criticism.  Perhaps you have even been on the receiving end of harsh judgments passed by other people - or even society at large - that left you wondering what you were doing, about the choices you were making, and if you were giving the best to the things that matter most.

Perhaps you have even fallen into the comparison trap at times - looking through rose-colored glasses at the "does everything perfectly" family/marriage/home/parent/child.  And in the face of that perfection, you have felt even more keenly your imperfection.  You have tried to implement all of the good advice, duplicate all of the great traditions, discipline like all of the great parents, make your children follow the perfect goal chart, stick to the perfect housekeeping plan, practice all of the perfect relationship counsels, and in the end felt completely overwhelmed by it all and even more like a failure than you ever felt before.

That is why I love this advice from Onyx Coale: "Trust your heart and what is right for YOU.  And when it all looks like a mess, and nothing makes ANY sense, keep your eye fixed on the GOAL . . . and just keep going!"

There are a lot of people who have learned great things while walking a road similar to yours. And learning those things can definitely empower and be a beautiful help in becoming better.

HOWEVER, no one - no matter how long they have lived or what experiences they have had - has walked YOUR road!  No one has ever raised YOUR children.  No one has ever been in YOUR marriage.  No one has ever organized YOUR home.  No one has ever lived in YOUR head and heart.  No one has ever had your delicate balance of challenges, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, talents, abilities, fears, struggles, experiences, failures, and successes.  Only YOUR HEART knows what is best for YOU.  Only YOUR HEART knows how to delicately maneuver - and at times even just survive - YOUR life!  And for the moments when you feel even you don't know, no one else has the stewardship or right to receive answers and find out like YOU do.

So take a minute - or a few every day - to sift through all the voices in your head, to find YOUR voice - your TRUE voice!  Determine your top goals in each aspect of your life.  Jack Canfield said, "If you could teach your children just 10 things - no more - what would they be?"  Identify what the MOST important things are in each area of your life.  And then CREATE the life of YOUR dreams, within the context of YOUR reality. 

Identifying will empower you to make it through the voices of others.  You won't rely on THEIR approval or experience with THEIR lives and goals.  Nor will you judge them for what they have done differently than you choose to.  And it won't destroy you if they don't give that approval to you for yours.  You will be able to take the BEST of what they offer and leave the rest behind because you will know WHERE you are going and WHY.  You will know WHO and WHAT are leading you, and you will get strength in knowing you are following YOUR compass and YOUR path. And that knowledge will give you confidence and empowerment to get through the hard times.

When things get hard, when it all looks like a mess and makes NO SENSE AT ALL - even to you, let alone to anyone else - go back to that list, go back to the Source, keep your eye fixed on what matters the most to you and where you are headed, and block out all the other voices until only YOURS is guiding you how to just . . . keep . . . going.

Will you make mistakes?  Definitely.  But they will be YOUR mistakes; and when you look back on your life, they will dim in the face of the JOY you feel at having realized YOUR goals.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Healthy Halloween Treats

I thought it would be fun to feature a few "healthy" choices to put out for Halloween parties!

Like these scary deviled spiders:

Or check out this tutorial for making some pretty frightening Monster Teeth:



Or some Pizza Mummies (you could also use cream cheese and berries for the eyes to make a "breakfast" mummy instead):


What about this healthy sweet alternative - an orange cut into a jack-o-lantern and stuffed with diced fruit (I also saw it with a really yummy looking shredded salad that kind of looked like the pumpkin had been planted and grown through for a while.):

And last but not least, this happy, healthy skeleton (with some hummus - YUMMY!):
What are you making for your kids for Halloween to balance out the sugar-high? :-)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Everyone Knows Something

I recently attended a meeting with some pretty amazing, inspirational women presenting on how to succeed in achieving your goals.  One lady - a woman from Florida named Onyx Coale - blew me away!  She got up on stage and shared a few nuggets I will share with you in future posts - mostly about life and happiness and success.

She then picked up this huge box from Amazon and took out 5 copies of a book.  She told us what it was that she had gleaned from it, why it was so important, and then asked who wanted a copy.  Bummed that I didn't get one, I was surprised to see her run up to the box and take out 10 copies of another book.  She told us what it was about, what she had learned from it, and asked who wanted a copy.  She continued to repeat this process six or seven times, with different books each time.

Then she told us her secret to success: LEARN all you can!  Every time she meets someone who impacts her in some way -- or even has a chance to sit and visit with someone new for an extended period of time -- she always asks them what book has had the greatest influence on them in their lives.  Or what book has shaped them in some way.  And whatever their answer, she writes it down and buys the book.  She has, in her office, an entire shelf of the books that have been suggested to her - some she has read already and passed along to us, some she has yet to read.

This experience reminded me of something my mom once wrote me. "Everyone you meet today knows something you do not, but need to."

You are surrounded by opportunities to learn and grow!  From each of your children - yes, they really do teach you the biggest lessons, don't they? - to your spouse to your neighbors to your coworkers to the lady ringing you up in the checkout line at the grocery store.  Each one of them can TEACH you something!

You don't have to step out of your world OR your comfort zone to expand your mind and learn something new.  You just need to have "ears to hear."  So go do it!  Do it TODAY!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Waiting for PERFECT?

What do you WANT from your life?  Have you sat down and created a VISION for where you are headed, what you want to have, what you want to do, what you want to create?  Do you have a savings plan, a retirement plan, a budget to pay off your debt?  Do you have family vacations you are definitely going to take, physical aspirations you are definitely going to accomplish, or maybe even on a smaller note you have a room in the house you are going to reorganize or paint or decorate a certain way?  Are you stuck in today . . . waiting for PERFECT?

Guess what?  PERFECT is probably not coming the way you think.

I know for me, there are so many things that I DON'T DO because I want them to be PERFECT!  I'm the "all or nothing", "success or bust" girl.  The QUEEN of it, actually!  For example:
  • I miss dating my husband!  I know it would be SO GOOD for us to get out once a week and have a fantastic date night.  But it's so hard (and so expensive) to plan something every week.  And then we have to find a babysitter, and make sure the kids are in bed.  And then I have to think of something besides dinner and a movie that I can afford.  Hmmm . . . maybe this is why we don't date?  Perfect is Good; But DONE is Better!
  • I have a friend who sent me an e-mail weeks ago.  I keep meaning to reply to her - because she is SUCH a great friend that I don't want her to think I don't have time for her.  But I don't ever have time to write ALL that I want to write - or all that she asked me about - so instead of "jipping" her on a so-so reply, I wait until I can write the reply she deserves . . . . until it drifts to the bottom of my e-mail list and I forget it's even there.  Perfect is Good; But DONE is Better!
  • I want to eat organically across the board!  I want the BEST nutrition for me and for my kids!  I want to get a PERFECT workout in every single day - exercise 45 minutes, make sure I have the right mix of cardio and weights in my week.  I want to be sure I incorporate ALL of Bob Harper's rules . . . and everyone else's who has had success, for that matter.  And today - I just don't have the energy for a 45 minute workout, so I'll be sure to wake up tomorrow and get that workout in.  Because I really want it - I KNOW it matters!  Tomorrow . . . I'll eat better, follow all the rules, have the PERFECT exercise routine . . . order ALL of the supplements I need to enjoy optimal health and make sure I am going to be healthy and happy for years to come . . . tomorrow . . . . Perfect is Good; But DONE is Better!
  • I want to keep a family journal.  The kids say so many cute things every day.  They are growing so fast!  I don't want to miss ONE THING while we are living it.  And pictures - you HAVE to have pictures to go with it.  I need to be better about taking pictures and posting them on my blog and sharing them with other people.  I am going to do ALL of that . . . for each child . . . . PERFECT is Good; But DONE is Better!
What PERFECT are you waiting for?  Stop waiting.  And LIVE whatever part of your dream/desire you can TODAY!  Start where you are and DO SOMETHING.  Then tomorrow, do something more.  Then the next day, a little bit more.  Because as AMAZING as perfect is . . . DONE, even a fraction of done, really IS perfect!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Peanut Butter made with Coconut Oil?

I don't know about you, but I have heard and read and seen ALL OVER THE INTERNET that people are using COCONUT OIL now in place of other oils because of its amazing nutritional benefits (and it helps with weight loss - so even if it wasn't more nutritious, lets be honest, MORE PEOPLE would still be using it! LOL!)

So I got curious about what it does for the body.  I found an article on the benefits of using coconut oil on Dr. Oz's website (DrOz.com).  According to that article, Coconut Oil helps regulate blood sugar, thus lessening the effects of diabetes. It assists the body in losing weight. And it improves calcium and magnesium absorption in the body, which benefits dental and bone health. AWESOME, right?

Then my friend Carrie - from All That is Sweet in Life - shared her recipe with me for making PEANUT BUTTER with Coconut Oil!  Today I am so excited to share that with you (and even more excited to try it).  She says that her kids even love the taste of it so much that they can't eat regular peanut butter any more!  Healthy AND so delicious that kids LOVE it?  Double/triple/quadruple WINNER!  (Maybe next week I can get her to share some of her secret facial masks!  Thanks, Carrie!)

Homemade Peanut Butter Using Coconut Oil
So here's how I make homemade peanut butter if you love having 1-2 Tbsp as a snack with celery like I do! Made with coconut oil, this is so dang delish and healthy. You will need a high powered blender (we have a Blendtec).

Ingredients:
Dry roasted/non-salted peanuts
Unrefined/cold pressed coconut oil

How to Make:
Melt about 1/2 cup of coconut oil in the microwave and pour a tiny bit into the blender. Add about 1 cup of peanuts and gradually go back and forth with small amounts of coconut oil/1 cup peanuts until a smooth consistency. Don't pour tons of peanuts in there at once because it won't blend! You can add salt in the end, but we like it without since it has such a nice flavor. I use about 4-5 cups peanuts to 1/2 cup coconut oil--it just depends, so go with the flow! :-)

P.S. - I also asked her to share with me the best places to get Coconut Oil, because I am CERTAIN that not all Coconut Oils are created equal. She isn't getting paid to share and neither am I - this is just some expert advice from the source to make our lives easier!  She says that she usually buys a gallon of it, which lasts their family of four about a year. Make sure you buy UNREFINED!

1) Nutiva (Her local Costco is also carrying this brand - so price it and check it out!)
2) Tropical Traditions
3) Mountain Rose Herbs
   

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Help with the Dishes?

My sister tells me all the time that her kitchen in the heart of her home.  If it is clean, she has peace and balance. If it is messy, she can't focus or get anything else done - it drives her CRAZY!

I think I've become a bit desensitized over the years.  Sometimes you get to a point where you are just TIRED of cleaning.  It's SO MUCH work and lasts such a short time when you have small children.  But then I dig up pictures of the ONE HOME I have loved more than any other - and the cleanliness and order and peace I feel when I just LOOK AT and remember through pictures reminds me that I really FEEL better and function better when my home is, in fact, clean and organized.  The rest is just me being lazy!  LOL! (And, seriously, it really DOES last only a FEW minutes most days, right?)

How do you do it without going crazy? What can you do to keep it where it needs to be for there to be peace and balance in your home?  Today I am going to pass along ONE idea I received from my good friend Jade: How to keep up with the dishes!

Jade shared a few years ago that every night after dinner, she would clean the kitchen, load the dishwasher, and then go on with their family's nightly routine.  Then she would turn the dishwasher on as they went to bed and start the next day with clean dishes. 

But every morning, she felt like she was starting the day behind already!  And she couldn't figure out why, with all the preparation she had put into the night before.

Want to know how she fixed it?  She started the dishwasher after she loaded it, went about her nightly routine, and then EMPTIED the dishwasher BEFORE she went to bed!

BAM!  Just like that, it was ready to load with the breakfast dishes and she stayed ON TOP of the workload day after day after day.

Now isn't that too easy for words?  I LOVE it!  I haven't done it for a while, but I am going to start again! 

What do YOU do to keep on top of the messes and keep the balance and peace of a clean/organized home?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RAID the Clutter Bug

I HATE SPIDERS.  Bugs of all types, really.  We used to live in sunny southern California -- with cockroaches and fairly large black widow spiders.  Not even exaggerating, I didn't sleep with the lights off for the first few months we lived there! LOL!  You cannot imagine how draining it was for me to live - essentially for two years - looking at the floor every time I stepped out into my garage, having a cockroach fall off the door frame onto my hand or into my laundry basket, walking around my car before I let my kids go out there to make sure there wasn't a black widow spider they were going to find intriguing and try to grab.  Seriously - my kids went through a stage of swatting bugs with their hands and thinking it was pretty darn cool!

What a draining time!  Imagine how much energy that took from me, living in that kind of fear at every turn, waking up before my kids to make sure I killed or got rid of any roaches that had found their way into our house in the middle of the night.  Wow is right!

But here's the "So What" and how that almost therapy-inducing irrationality can benefit BOTH of us now that I'm no longer living there.  WHAT IS YOUR BUG?  What is your cockroach, your black widow spider? 

Is there a corner (or a table) that you walk past every single day that drives you CRAZY every time you do?  How much time, energy, and thoughts do you give to that silly table/corner?  CLEAN it and be done with it. Redirect that energy to something that is going to DO something for you and HELP you create the life of your dreams.

Is there a person in your life who always drains you and pulls you down? That person that every time they come over or call, you just get tied in knots inside and then feel all sorts of guilty afterwards?  Take care of that. Take control of that relationship and fix whatever is off . . . or simply get rid of it all together . . . so you can give all that NEGATIVE energy to yourself, your children, your spouse, your home, etc.

Is there one thing you think every single day, "Oh, man! I still didn't get around to _______ today"? Do it FIRST today!  If it's exercising, calling someone you have been thinking about, taking time out for yourself to build your relationship with your Maker, or even just sit down on the sofa and do nothing with your spouse after a busy week.  DO IT today!  Don't let it be your negative energy any longer.  When you end a day strong, you start the next day even stronger.


Today is about YOU!  It's about deliberately CREATING the life and the person and the family of your dreams.  Get rid of the CLUTTER BUGS of your life, and fill your life with the positive energy that you'll have when you feel EMPOWERED by the control you have over them!!! And then turn around and use that energy to CREATE something WORTH holding a place in your life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Have You REALLY Got a Dream?

I just had the amazing opportunity of attending a weekend conference that was ALL ABOUT empowering the Woman Entrepreneur.  There were so many amazingly inspirational people there - people who were donating their precious time and talents to devote themselves to us - women with a dream that this world can be a better place for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors, for everyone.  And women who turn that dream into a passion with a plan of action. Well, spending a lot of time with such women is a very moving, very powerful thing!

But as the event drew to a close, I suddenly had that feeling that I had about two seconds before I was going to burst into tears and had better head for a sanctuary FAST!  So I did - I hid myself in a bathroom stall and cried silently for quite some time.  Then I left the room, fully composed (or so I thought), walked right up to a presenter's table, and broke down again!  It was a GREAT first impression moment, let me tell you! LOL! :-)

But really, it wasn't.  It made me feel so uncomfortable to be the center of attention in a moment of weakness and vulnerability; a moment when - to this particular person - I would have defined myself as confident, composed, a leader, even an equal; a moment that was so full of so many thoughts and feelings that I couldn't even identify or articulate what was going on with me.  Can you relate?  Have you ever been there?

As I have taken time to reflect on that these last few hours, I have realized a few things:
1) Nothing happened at that Conference to CREATE those feelings that moved me to tears.  It was all stuff I was already carrying around inside of me, things that I had not had enough exclusive time by myself to think about or even realize were lurking in the shadows. We NEED that reflection time on a consistent basis!  It's how we are wired, really, as women!  And it isn't something that anyone is going to GIVE us - we literally have to CREATE it for ourselves.

2) I. Am. Vulnerable.  And I do not like to be vulnerable.  But as I learned from Tiffany Peterson (The Lighthouse Principles) this weekend, being vulnerable - being UNCOMFORTABLE - in the pursuit of your dreams is part of the process that will lead you to be unstoppable and successful!  I need to be okay with uncomfortable to get to MY real power!  Vulnerable is not always bad.

3) I still don't know exactly what was wrong with me, but I do know that it left me feeling this overwhelming sense of being incredibly directed and incredibly lost at the same time. And now I need to clear the lost and get to the directed to find what God was trying to teach me with it all.

"So, what?" you might ask yourself if you were me and were the kind that believed all lessons are only as valuable as the action they move you to make.  "So, what?"  To be honest, I don't know yet.  But I DO know that this is a step that is going to have a very real role in helping me define, create, and LIVE my dreams!  And whatever it is that is pulling my heartstrings is a very REAL and POWERFUL part of that.  Definitely a step to lead me to defining, internalizing, and creating those dreams.

What do I hope YOU will take from this? As Rapunzel said, "Haven't any of you ever had a dream?"  I think at times as mothers, the answer is "No" far too often.  The dream is lost in the process of living -- even living IT through motherhood.  But you have to HAVE the dream before you can go and LIVE the dream!  You have to DEFINE the dream before you can go and CREATE the dream.  And you have to EMBRACE the struggles that lead up to you having it before you can go and OVERCOME the struggles and turn them to empowerment in your pursuit.  Even if your dream IS motherhood and you are already LIVING it, you have to KNOW that it is your dream to fully LIVE it as such.

Go. DEFINE your dreams!  And then definitely, definitely - Go. Live (create) your dreams!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Embracing The University of Life

I remember attending a devotional my first year of college.  I don't remember who the Keynote speaker was, but I do remember that they invited his wife to speak right before him.
She was a tall, thin, very elegant, well-put-together lady.  As she spoke, she shared what she had studied in college, how they had met, that she had stayed home with their children, and then moved onto things she admired and appreciated in the man we were about to hear from.

One thing really impressed me . . . and stayed with me for years.  She said that she appreciated that "Bob" would come home at night and take the time to sit and visit with her about the news, what was happening in the world, what he had seen or learned that day, etc.  Because in her world, she had one channel and one language: Kid Speak.  She didn't have time to open the paper or turn on the news.  And she hated not being informed and having more intelligent thoughts and conversations each day that revolved around topics other than laundry, meals, daily arguments and disagreements, and whether or not her child would allow her to change his diaper.  I took a mental note that I would marry a man who would do the same for me. 

HOWEVER, I have since learned that it isn't enough for me to rely on what he brings home to me.  Our interests are so different that we both grow so much when we are both "bringing home" something interesting to talk about.  And no matter how hard he tries, I will never be interested in the intricacies of electronic warfare.  And no matter how hard I try, he will never embrace with childish delight any and all information on nutrition and health that I try to get him excited about.

But I also get that it isn't easy!  My life really does revolve in so many ways around "Kid Speak."  I served a mission in Chile. For years after I came home, I often spoke and interacted with Spanish-speakers and even taught in the Spanish language.  Then I had my twins.  And people with whom I had previously been able to converse with ease in the Spanish language started to tell me that I needed to keep up with it.  I needed to do this or say this or try to practice in this way.  And though I graciously thanked them, what I was really thinking inside was, "Friend - I appreciate the suggestion. But today I am feeling lucky to think and speak coherent thoughts in ENGLISH.  Keeping up my Spanish is the LEAST of my worries!"  And since I have an M.A. in English, that realization alone is also a punch in the stomach at times!  LOL!

Still, we HAVE to remember that our minds are incredible things!  But they are not stagnant things and can so easily turn to mush if we let them.  We CANNOT let them.

A great man once said that he would rather educate a daughter than a son.  Women, mothers, are the heart of the home, the Angels of the Hearth.  And what we have within us is what our children will glean from us.  We may get Kid Speak from them, but they are getting the words, the ideas, the attitudes, and the character BEHIND that Kid Speak from US!

My challenge to us all this week is to tap into that intelligence that is uniquely ours - to wake up our perhaps mushy brains and find something we are passionate about, something that puts the sparkle back in our eyes to talk about, and learn something about it that we didn't know before (or knew and have since forgotten).

In college, we were blessed to have a focused topic, degree, course of study, etc.  But this - THIS more important and much larger university we are studying in now - is the University of Life.  And it holds no bounds on us to restrict what we can learn, study, perfect, perform, and achieve!

So let's embrace and celebrate the revised school of learning ahead of us!  And lets make it a focused part of our lives TODAY!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

STRESSED Much?

Are you stressed? Yes, yes, DESSERTS spelled backwards?  SILLY QUESTION!!! Who isn't? So what do you do about it? Well, we know that it helps tremendously to take time each day to meditate, to refocus on the things that matter the most. And for me, it helps when I am most stressed to get on my knees and offer thanks for all of the blessings I have received.

But other than that, give yourself a BIT of a break because stress is much more than a mental/spiritual/emotional reaction to life. It is also a very PHYSICAL reaction to your adrenal glands not being able to manage and function appropriately.

What do the adrenal glands do? In addition to helping you handle stress by helping manage your cortisol levels, these glands help control body fluid balance, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other metabolic functions. 
So, how do you know if your body is suffering from an OVERLOAD of stress?  Well, if any of the above are off, that's a pretty good indicator.  But to be a little more specific, check out this list of adrenal insufficiency symptoms: 

  • weakness, 
  • lack of libido, 
  • allergies, 
  • dark circles under the eyes, 
  • muscle and joint pain, 
  • dizziness, 
  • low blood pressure, 
  • low blood sugar, 
  • food and salt cravings, 
  • poor sleep, 
  • dry skin, 
  • cystic breasts, 
  • lines of dark pigment in nails, 
  • difficulty recuperating from stresses like colds or jet lag,
  • no stamina for confrontation, 
  • tendency to startle easily, 
  • lowered immune function, 
  • anxiety, 
  • depression, 
  • premature aging.
HOLY COW!!! Maybe you noticed they are very similar to thyroid insufficiency symptoms.  I sure did!

BUT before you run to the doctor, here is a great article about Adaptogens: nature's way to help manage stress. Pre- and post-pregnancy, I drink them in a mineral drink I have every morning and/or night when I need it (contact me if you want to know more about it). Adaptogens are helpful for EVERYONE!  Nature has a way of blessing us like that.

In the meantime - DEFINITELY teach your children NOW to plan in some down time to de-stress!  You could save them YEARS of health problems in the future!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

For Every Stop . . . There IS a GO!

LIFE IS BUSY!  Isn't it?  It's like you set out to really accomplish a certain goal, and either that goal takes over and you find yourself overwhelmingly busy in the pursuit of it -- OR -- life takes over and you find yourself never quite getting around to it.

The answer is in my favorite word on this blog: DELIBERATE!  Take control of your life so it doesn't take control of you. Easier said than done at times, I know.  But as long as you consistently get back to it, you will achieve it!

Even so, there are times that life just does take over.  And it is just going to.  The stroller wheel is going to snap off while you're out on a family walk to get your daily exercise in.  The kids are going to experience new highs in independence that are going to leave your house (and world) turned upside down for a stage.  You spouse will have days (or weeks) at work that make it so he gets home an hour - or two or three - later than anticipated, thus throwing off all of your "plans" and "goals" to accomplish things for the day.  The perfect diet that you know is best for your body and makes you the absolute happiest - body and spirit - is going to fly out the window in the face of double-stuffed Oreos and ice cold milk.

And, let's face it, YOU are going to have times when you just SHUT DOWN because that is all you CAN do!

That is why I LOVE the simple promise of this priceless quote.  Because it is true!  Change is constant!  If you love where you are, realize that things can and probably WILL change . . . and it can and will only get better even than it is right now!  If you are struggling just getting through each day and appreciating and enjoying where you are, realize that things WILL change . . . this is only temporary.  Every stop is followed by a go.  And, if you are like me, the go will feel like a newfound freedom, and you will RUN, unstoppable, when you can again.  However long temporary may last, it will not last forever!

So how do you get through the hard times?
1) Keep your chin up.  This too shall pass and, though it will be a part of who you are, in most cases it will not DEFINE who you are.
2) Keep focused on your goals and vision of the joyous things in your life and the glorious dreams ahead of you.
3) Offer gratitude every day so you don't get lost in it.
4) Ask for help where you can.  Don't try to tackle everything on your own, particularly when you are already struggling.
5) Learn to identify and let go of the things that really don't matter - no matter what anyone ELSE may say.
6) Even in the craziest moments, find someone else who needs you and do something for them . . . even if it's something that you cannot make happen for yourself but desperately want to have (perhaps ESPECIALLY if it's something you cannot make happen for yourself but desperately want to have).
7) Force yourself to keep moving in the direction you want to go - even if it is just with ONE thing. Don't let hard times become quicksand.  Pull yourself out and keep moving FORWARD!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EnJOY the Walk

Have you ever been on a hike - or driving to a new place - and felt like it took FOR-E-VER to reach your destination; but then, on the trip back, it seemed to go SO MUCH FASTER?!?!?  I have! ALL. THE. TIME.  Why?  Because the anxiety of the unknown in front of you is so consuming.  But when you come back, that anxiety is gone.  You are headed to something familiar.

The problem is in the post-trip experience.  How often do you remember the markers you passed on the way?  What feelings and smells and sounds and images come to mind when you think of the trip into that destination point?  For me, a lot gets lost in the anxiety of the unknown road ahead and wanting to just get there, just BE there, not wondering how much further or what obstacles (traffic jams, road construction, T's in the road that could take me the wrong direction, nightfall) I will face in the process.
 
Today I read a friend's post on Facebook about how her little boy just said his first two-word sentence.  It not only made me smile, but it reminded me of so many days when I find myself mentioning to my husband a connection one of the kids made that really impressed me or taught me something about what they think about.  Or I find myself telling him about how much they have changed in just a few weeks in really BIG ways, ways that you might miss if you weren't watching, listening, tuning into their "childspeak," and really just PAYING ATTENTION.

And it also reminded me of how many days I went the entire day without noticing a thing, ANXIOUS to just get through it.

On "My Fair Lady," Freddy sings, "I have often walked down your street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before. All at once am I several stories high, knowing I'm on the street where YOU live!" How often we walk the exact same street . . . every. single. day. No variation. No new horizon. No curves to have anxiety about, or maybe so many curves that all we feel at times is anxiety. :-)  

But for each of us, that daily road can take on new meaning as we remember what is happening along it, just as Freddy did.  ANY "street" at any time can be the street of your dreams, given the right perspective.

Be the road ahead uncertain or be it familiar -- be it a trail through the forest, a country road, a city road, the mall, the road leading to work, the road to the park, or wherever else your feet may lead you -- there are millions of things to see and discover and enJOY along the way.

And the roads of a child's life, a child's mind, a child's experiences, and a child's memories are even more amazing.

But both require you to stop. Quiet the anxiety. Look up instead of down at your feet.  See the straight road that leads to the curve and not just the curve that lies ominously ahead of you or the pebbles and cracks you are worried about stumbling over along the journey.

And ENJOY the WALK!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Health: It's a Matter of "DO"-ing

How many times in life do we need a shift in thinking - a change in our focus? EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. OVER. HERE. LOL! And we hope that you will find those shifts in thinking for yourselves here at The Mommy 15. 

Today, I wanted to talk briefly about a shift in thinking about food.  So often, people tell you what you shouldn't eat.  Don't eat sugar, don't eat carbs, don't eat processed foods, don't eat after 7:00 at night, whatever it might be.  It's generally focused around DON'TS.

But it has been my experience that when I focus on the DO'S instead of the DON'TS, I get a lot farther and feel a lot better.  Check this out:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hello Again!

Hello Again!  Did you ever see that movie - it's a 1987 movie with Shelly Long, Corbin Bernsen, Sela Ward, and Gabriel Byrne.  In it, Shelly Long's character dies, and her eccentric sister finds a spell to bring her back a year later.  But she can't pick up where she left off because life has happened, things have changed, and she also has to change to find a way to get back to LIVING!

Well, there are no spells or eccentric sisters involved, but I have felt that we definitely need to be back!  And because time and circumstance have taught and changed me, things are going to be a little different - better! So here we are -- Hello Again!!!

The theme for The Mommy 15 is Deliberately Creating the Life of Your Dreams: Heart, Mind, Body, Home!  I am SO EXCITED and SO READY for this blog to take shape and take life.  I hope that it will be a place you can come to find a culmination of everything you are looking for AND the inspiration and direction to put it into ACTION and CREATE the life you have been pinning on the Pinterest boards of your mind and heart for as long as you can remember.  Deliberate means purposeful, intentional, resolute!  Those are powerful words! And when applied to life and to dreams, it means that you are and will tap into that part of you that will keep you unstoppable in LIVING your OWN Happily Ever After.

And that change starts . . . TODAY!

So - WELCOME BACK! And please share this blog with your friends, send me a message on FB to request the topics and themes that are the dreams and struggles and inner battles of your heart. Together, we will move forward - like a waking giant in an unexplored world!

Much Love ~ Melinda