What Feeds Your Soul?

Many years ago a friend {who had the enviable energy of the Energizer Bunny} said to me, “energy breeds energy”. This little tidbit has stuck with me for over 20 years. Recently it has repeatedly popped into my head as I am finding things that feed my soul and feeling how that energy grows and grows based on the excitement and fire within me. It’s like this perpetual effect. It’s pretty amazing really.

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Today I had coffee with a friend. We met to talk about the 21-Day Fix as she is starting her first challenge on Monday. I have done two challenges in the past year with the same coach that she signed up with. I knew there were some things that I could tell her to make her start an easier one. This coffee date had nothing to do with me but I left feeling so rejuvenated. Now, let me just say that I always feel refreshed after hanging out with friends. Today was a little different. My friend told me how awesome I was and how much I helped her. She said that I could be a coach. What? Me? Why? By sharing what I know. How I cope. What motivates me. What brings me joy. By lifting her up and offering encouragement. I think we all can scoop up energy and little life lessons from others. As women, we definitely lean on each other for support. A lot.

So what advice did I give her? To take care of herself. Yes. Seems basic, right? But it’s so much harder than you’d think. We as grown-ups – as women – as moms – as wives – give and give and do and do and we aren’t overly good at saying no because oh the guilt. Guess what? If your tank is empty, what good can you do? You can’t continue to give without fuel in your own tank.

Last February I challenged myself to be active every day for the whole month. I named the challenge, “Fit in February”. This meant that I needed some kind of physical activity every single day. Some days I got a walk in, other days I did a workout video but I moved my body every.single.day. How did I feel at the end of the month? Recharged. It was so mentally empowering that I stuck to something but it was also so good for my emotional well-being. I’ve learned that moving my body is a must. I have stayed pretty on track with the exception of summer {which entailed so much running around and travel in general that I wasn’t stagnant by any means} but I picked it back up consistently in August and I feel good. Do I look like a super model? Nope. Do I feel good? Yep.

So what feeds my soul?

  • Moving my body. I love walking. I aim for 2-4 miles a day. I’ve also dabbled in yoga over the years. I have recently added that back into my schedule. I sweat like I never have before, I move my body and challenge myself. I leave a class feeling like I am a whole new person. In really sweaty clothes.
  • Date days with my husband. He is a firefighter so his schedule is a bit more open. Date days when we are both off of work are easier than night dates when the kids are home. Reconnecting is huge.
  • Family dinners, game night and vacations. I really enjoy my family and the times when all 4 of us can just be together are rare. Time is fleeting and I am very aware of how much longer I might have my boys at home for. I really try and take advantage of my time with them.
  • Time with friends. I really love girlfriend time. Dinners and coffee are the norm. We’ve laughed and cried together. The amount of support and girl power is priceless. I love my village.
  • Seeing my kids happy. I encourage happiness.
  • An organized home. Yes, really. Something about this really makes me happy and content.

Doing all of the above things fill my tank. Some days are busier than others and we live in a very over scheduled world but try. Try to carve out some time for you. Do some of the things that fill you up. You don’t have time for a 30-minute workout, do 10. Walk around the block. Tackle one thing on your to-do list. Meet up with a friend for coffee. Little things can be a game changer. Take care of yourself. See how you feel. I promise, feeding your own soul will breed energy which is what you need to take care of those around you in the best way possible.

Feed your soul and watch how it changes the ability of what you can give others.

The Power of Pen to Paper

I am a big believer in greeting cards. The real ones made out of card stock with pretty fonts and colors. The ones that you buy at a store, not via a website to send electronically. Don’t get me wrong, that method works well for a lot of people but for me personally, nothing beats a real, hold it in your hands, greeting card. Some people think that they are a waste of money but personally, I am a big fan. There is something about finding the perfect card for that special someone. Maybe it’s for a birthday, maybe it’s a get well wish for a sick friend, congrats on your wedding or new baby. Sometimes I send cards just to let people know that I love them. Cards come in all kinds of styles. The funny. The sentimental. The short but sweet.

A few of my favorite resources for cards:

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  • World Market – they have a really nice stationary section. I really like these assorted boxed cards

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  • Marshalls – I find great cards here at a $1.99 price point
  • Home Goods – same as Marshalls, pretty cards at a great price
  • Target – especially great for seasonal and thank you cards. I am especially loving these pretty floral ones.

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Do you still send cards? Put pen to paper and add a stamp. Just do it, you’ll make someone’s day. I promise.

20 Things and Challenges

Well hello and Happy New Year! New year, new goals – right? I know that for some people the fresh year means a clean slate. Time to start anew. Others are just looking to change their holiday habits {reintroducing exercise and sugar detox mostly}. Others aren’t looking for quick fixes but lifestyle overhauls. I think the key to success is baby steps but I also think that some challenges thrown in are fun.

 

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The Daily Quotes

I’m currently doing a couple of different challenges.

  • A 7 day healthy eating challenge with my sister in law. If you know how much sugar I’ve inhaled over the past month, then you know how much my body needs a reset. #imissmyicedcoffeewithvanilla #whatsthatgreenstuff
  • A 31 day challenge with Rachel Hollis over at The Chic Site. I signed up for this one a few days ago and I am getting daily email updates. It’s a lot of the basics – eat better, drink more water, move your body and I love that she added in journaling 10 things you are grateful for at the end of every the day.
  • A 31 day blog challenge. This just popped up on my Pinterest feed today so I am a day behind but you have to start somewhere, am I right? So each day has a topic. Follow along, it’ll be fun 🙂 Click here for the full 31 day list.

20 things about me:

  1. My full name is Gabrielle Erin, I went by Erin up until I was 15 years old. I changed towns and schools so I figured I would just make the switch. I was always correcting Gabriel {the boy version} to Gabrielle and then asking teachers to call me Erin. Of course it was immediately shortened to Gabby.
  2. I am the mom to two boys – ages 11 and almost 14.
  3. I love Instagram {click to follow me}. It’s my favorite form of social media.
  4. I love home decor.
  5. I work part time for a tax office that also does financial planning.
  6. HGTV is on in my house a lot. Fixer Upper is my favorite.
  7. My husband is a firefighter.
  8. I am super emotional.
  9. Sometimes I wish I was less emotional. It’s draining.
  10. I am taking a class on anxiety and depression this month because of my intense emotions.
  11. I think taking care of yourself is HUGE.
  12. I love walking and I try my best to get out for 2-4 miles a day. I love my FitBit and aim for 10k steps a day.
  13. I always walk with my pit bull rescue, Ollie.
  14. I couldn’t survive every day life without my village of girlfriends. They are instrumental in my sanity. Seriously.
  15. I am a big sister to two sisters and one brother.
  16. I have 2 adorable nephews and a set of twin nieces on the way. I love being an auntie.
  17. My house is home base for the holidays. I love it.
  18. I love organizing. It makes me feel so accomplished.
  19. Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places and it’s only 1.5 hours from my house.
  20. Fall is my favorite season {if you already know me, then you are well aware of this}.

Thank you for stopping by! I wish you a goal kicking 2017.

What’s Your Sign?

No, not your zodiac sign silly goose! I’m talking decorative signs. They are all the rage and I have several in my home to add to my decor. I really love quotes. And chalkboards. And wood signs. I mean seriously. I {heart} signs. So I have to share a few of my faves with you.

First of all, I have chalkboards throughout my house. True confession? My sister in law is my artist. I use old and new frames and MDF {which my hubby is sweet enough to cut for me} and create my own chalkboards using chalkboard paint. My awesomely creative sis in law then uses her magic chalk wielding skills to create a masterpiece. I usually have her change things up for the season but … but …. but .. she hasn’t been here since March and she’s coming in 9 sleeps people. Nine sleeps! So I have a whole bunch of work waiting for her. She’s magical. I swear.

One of my favorites that she did for me earlier this year is proudly displayed in my hall. It is from the Mumford & Sons song, Awake My Soul. Which is one of my favorite bands and songs ever.

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Letter Folk is one of my faves to follow on Instagram. I seriously LOL at some of the stuff people put out there. It’s part giggle fest, part inspirational. One of these boards in on my Christmas Wish List. For real. With a board and oodles of letters, just imagine the possibilities.

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Vinyl Crafts over at Etsy has this sweet Kindess Matters sign. It’s a good reminder, don’t you think?

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Another Etsy find over at Mellisa Jane. These are the lyrics to another song that I love.

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Barn Owl Primitives is one of my favorites. I love this table manners sign. I actually have one of her 2+2 signs which is a perfect addition to my gallery wall which showcases our family of 4.

table-mannersThis was a Pinterest find but without an original source. Bummer! It’s a quote that I love though. It speaks to my soul as I have a super amazing tribe. Lucky me.

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I’ve had my eye on this one for awhile. Soulspeak and Sawdust has some fun stuff over at Etsy.

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I hope that I inspired you with these fun finds. Have a fab day.

Ramblings

Turning 40 was kinda big for me. Now I am 42 but seriously – 40 was pivotal. In a weird kinda way. I’ve always joked that if I live till I’m 80 and die in my sleep, then I have lived a good life. BUT then 40 became that 1/2 to 80 mark and it felt like I didn’t have enough time. Silly right? Because there are no guarantees and anything could happen to any of us at anytime and we really don’t get the final say so in when, where and how we leave this world. Still. It kinda felt like this change took over me. All of a sudden, life became more fragile. I have always been a bit of an old soul and felt that I could relate to people of all ages. I had this realization that no matter our age, we are still who we are.

Losing friends around my age to sudden heart attacks and seeing my dad pass away – these things changed me. Losing a parent is a deep, deep loss. All morning I have had a song in my head that my dad loved. It’s kinda strange. I heard it last week on the radio but I woke up with it on repeat in my head. What does that mean? Does it mean anything? I am not a religious girl but I’d like to believe that my dad is somewhere good surrounded by his loved ones. I’d like to think that he shows up in my life in silly ways such as music or the random squirrel appearances {my dad had a thing about feeding squirrels so now when I see them, I think of him}.

Sometimes life just feels heavy. The world feels heavy. Human kindness is sometimes lacking. But sometimes, it’s beautiful. Sometimes the news shares stories that literally crush me. Awful, violent stories of people hurting people. The stories of children being harmed completely crush my soul. Some of these things are just beyond comprehension. Why? How can people be so hateful and mean? It’s a tough pill to swallow. It’s so easy to feel consumed by these stories and find fear in them happening to those you love the most. Having conversations with my kids about kidnappers and what to do should someone ever try and grab them. These are the conversations that break my heart. But it’s a part of our big scary world.

And the hate – don’t even get me started on that one. We are in an election year and boy are the haters out there. I have a rule, I don’t talk politics or religion with people Those conversations often get heated and ugly. I am not gonna change your mind and you aren’t gonna change mine. It’s a scary time though. I do feel that we need someone with kindness and compassion to rule this country – and maybe some humor. I think I’ll vote for Jimmy Fallon. Isn’t that an option? 😉 Kidding {sorta}.

As my grandpa would say, “Always keep your guard up”. He always said it as he waved both his arms in the air, I can still visualize it. I miss that man. See? Loss. It’s a tough one. Here come those tears that show up almost daily. The “I miss you” tears. They come and go at the most random times. They might show up for a second when I hear a certain song and then they are gone. I have pretty much resigned myself to wearing waterproof mascara. I have always been a crier. I wear my emotions – good, bad and ugly. So with that being said, I am not an Eeyore. I laugh. A lot. Life is full of good. It really is. I just feel every.single.emotion very deeply. If you know me then you are very aware of this. I cry, I laugh, I use sarcasm and cuss words to express myself. Sometimes I just have to have an emotional outburst {not in public – usually on the phone with a friend – thank you Stacie and Lisa}, to clear my mental space of whatever is consuming it. It’s like an emotional purge.

So my brain is often on emotional overload and I am always talking myself off the ledge. What I mean by this is that I am always trying to push away the worrying of the ‘what if’s’ in life. I am really an optimistic, glass half full kind of girl but people – there are clowns terrorizing our world! They are threatening schools and making children afraid. These are the issues that we could use a lot less of. Seriously, clowns. This has been a big topic with schools even sending home emails to parents about it. Sigh. Can’t we all just be nice and get along and not scare the crap out of people? I guess diversity is what makes the world go round but at this moment, I am burned out on the negative diversity. How about you?

I know that I haven’t been here in awhile and I always vow to write more. This post is obviously a bit raw and real but I just kinda needed to put it out there. Don’t worry, I will be back to decor and recipes soon enough! Thanks for listening.

Life

Hi friends,

There have been so many nights that I have laid in bed and drafted blog posts in my head. Then daylight comes and another day slips away without so much as a note from me. I won’t bore you with excuses about how busy I am because we are all busy. I will say that I pay annually to maintain this blog because I truly enjoy writing, so why don’t I just write already? I think I need to start sharing my real life instead of always spending hours constructing the perfect post. Don’t worry, I will still share fun decorating ideas and recipes as those things are so much a part of who I am and what I love BUT I will also share some of my day to day musings and life happenings. I also plan to incorporate more organizing ideas and inspiration into my posts. My brother tells me that I have a knack for this organizing thing and that should share my talents. Highest compliment ever 🙂

I am a bit of a sharer. A talker. A listener. I know not everyone in my circle is as expressive as me and I am always treading the line of being careful of not sharing my business at the consideration of others but sometimes I feel like that means that I am holding back on sharing me. Each of our stories and opinions are as individual as we are.

This particular post is about as personal as I can get. On June 3rd, my dad passed away. There is a whole book that can be written on the history with my dad. There were some rough years but the before and after those years are forever engrained in my head and heart. I remember a man that would do my hair and make me oatmeal before school. I remember a man who fought super hard for custody of his 4 children. He fought against my mother who suffers from mental illness and a very messed up system. He fought for us and lost when he was the obvious safe parent. I didn’t realize until going through his personal belongings that he fought even after we were all grown. That divorce followed him for twenty years. My mom caused a lot of stress in his life but he didn’t hold it against her. He pitched in money to send her Christmas presents. She never knew. As a mom and a wife, I have a very different perspective and appreciation for him. How he fought for us. He was ornery but loving. He was sarcastic and witty. He was extremely generous. He was Grandpa to my boys and my nephews. We lived close to him so he had been a constant in my boys lives. He taught my oldest how to fish. He taught us all the love of food {although my butt and thighs say I could love food a little less. Ha ha}. Every occasion involved eating. Dad loved to treat us to meals out. He always wanted to give me money for holiday meal shopping. He brought way too many pies to Thanksgiving. He always had cash in his wallet to give to his grandsons, sometimes it was a dollar, sometimes it was $20. He called to check in often. He was the one I looked forward to telling about our adventures. He was my oldest son’s ‘person’. The one he felt the most comfortable being his true self with. He was my husband’s friend. He was my dad. He had cancer.

My dad had cancer. Fuck cancer. I don’t have enough explicates to express my anger towards this heinous disease that steals the lives of so many. He turned 67 the week before he died. He spent his last birthday in the hospital hopped up on pain meds. He spent his past few months as someone who he was not. He had prostate cancer several years ago followed by surgery to remove his prostate. Then he has a small stroke. Then he has a quadruple bypass. Then he has a foot infection cause by diabetes that left him less mobile then he would have liked for the last two years. Two years ago we found out through elevated PSA levels that the prostate cancer had gone to his bones. He tried every medication to no avail. Each one started to work and his numbers went down and then they would start to climb again. His foot would begin to heal and then it would become infected again. He was limited in what he could do. It was a vicious cycle. He was in the hospital for various infections a lot. His eating habits were bad which in turn caused him to gain weight. At Christmas the signs that things were changing had begun but they became even more apparent earlier this year. He stopped driving. My dad was the guy that would jump in the car and just take off. Each of his kids has a little of that in them. We are explorers. He stopped leaving the house for things other then doctors appointments. We couldn’t even get him to come to dinner at our house and we live 4 miles away. He would’t even let us drive him here and then back home. He started to need more assistance. On Easter, he cut his ankle. I spent a few hours in the ER with him. He had lost weight. I knew this wasn’t good and I tried to just be strong and supportive. My dad didn’t do well with emotions and I am incredibly emotional. I cry at everything. It’s pretty much a running joke at my house. “Is mom crying yet?” Happy, sad, mad – I cry.

On May 4th I went to an oncology appointment with him. My aunt, our family friend and his nurse, and I were there. The oncologist explained that we had exhausted all options. We were looking at 6 months. I sat in the corner, unable to look at my dad and just cried. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I had to let my siblings know how the appointment went. We are big on sending each other group texts to keep each other in the know. I didnt know how to send that text. He had just come out of a week long hospital stay for elevated potassium levels. The week of his birthday he went in for a bladder infection. It turned into a lot more. He came home that Sunday, May 31st. He was done fighting. He told us it was over. He knew he wasn’t going to get better and as his best friend said, “If he didn’t have bad luck, he didn’t have any luck at all.” Sadly that was true. he was tired of fighting. I can’t say that I blamed him. He spent a couple of days at home surrounded by his loved ones. By Wednesday, we were all at his bedside. All four of his kids, our significant others, a couple of his grandsons and his sister. We talked to him. We made bad jokes {because dad taught us sarcasm and bad jokes}. We held his hands. We told him we loved him. We told him that it was OK to go. Our last words with him were that morning and then he didn’t talk again. He went peacefully surrounded by those that he loved. Being there in the moment that someone leaves the world is an incredible honor. It was also incredibly hard. When babies enter the world, you are eagerly awaiting their first cry. That signifies that they took their first breath. We cheer when this happens.  It means that they are alive! When someone is dying, we wait for them to take their last breath.  It’s crazy how our arrival and departure into this world are so completely emotional in very different ways.

The last few months were stressful. It was full of what ifs and tears. I didn’t know how to care for my dad and my own family and myself. I felt stressed about what I should and shouldn’t do. What I could and couldn’t do. Thankfully we had an angel of a caregiver step in and take the reigns. This helped us just be able to visit him. I started grieving the moment I heard the 6 month diagnosis. I didn’t know how to be normal. I cried every time I was with my dad. So I avoided any real conversations with him. When he started to talk about giving away his belongings, I had to step away with a giant lump in my throat. I didn’t want every conversation to be emotional. I cried. A lot. I cried at the grocery store when I bumped into a friend. I cried in my car. I cried in bed. I cried. A lot. I didn’t want to be sad. I wanted to enjoy the time with him. The Monday before he passed, I quickly rattled off why I was so grateful for him and how much I loved him. I was glad to have that moment even though it will never be enough. I was trying to say what I had to say in that moment because I knew I probably wouldn’t have another chance. I was right.

I am grateful that he didn’t suffer anymore then he already had.  I am also incredibly sad that I didn’t have more time with him. I am sad that I can’t call him and tell him about our trips this summer. That my boys can’t tell him how they both caught fish. I am sad that my boys feel his absence. I am sad that my boys can’t have sleepovers at Grandpa’s.  I am sad that he won’t be here as I navigate the teen years with my boys. I know I could have used his guidance. I am sad that his diabetes essentially went away and his foot healed when he lost weight from cancer. I am sad that it was too late. I am sad that he didn’t get to take my son on one final fishing trip. I am sad that he won’t see my little sister get married in November. I am sad that his future grandchildren won’t get to meet him. I am grateful that he knows that his kids are in relationships with good people. People who loved him like a dad. I am grateful for the time that we did have with him.

I recently posted a quote about grief on Instagram. Instagram is often my outlet for expressing how I am feeling. A stranger commented that she had lost her dad and that she felt like she had multiple personalities as she was grieving. I totally get that. I am happy and fine one minute and the next, I am crying and sitting in a puddle of grief. Grief is a hard thing. It brings you to a low place.  Then you rebound and are living life and feeling happy. I know grief changes shapes. I know I will be OK. I know my family will be OK but we are in all feeling and dealing in our own way. I have had two friends lose their lives in the last 4 months. Heart attacks at the age of 51 and 43. Heart attacks that left widows and young children fatherless. 2015 has been rough on my own heart. It’s also made me wildy aware of how precious life is. How we need to take care of ourselves. How we need to love hard. How we need to take deep breaths and let go of the petty things. How we need to take care of our own physical and emotional well being. I am a work in progress but I am highly aware of how lucky I am. I am grateful every.single.day. Grateful for the people who fill my life. At almost 41, I am not old. I am also not young. I am in the middle. I see how quickly life passes us by. Grab every moment. Savor every memory.  I will ride this wave of emotions for a long time. Many of us have already felt this loss. Losing a parent is a really weird thing. It’s like losing a part of yourself.

This year, I will serve too many pies at Thanksgiving, it’s what dad would have done. I will love hard. I will allow my dad’s memory to be a constant in our family. I will honor all conversations and stories that can be shared about his life and who he was. I will wipe the tears and embrace the emotions.

To my friends who see my ramblings on social media, I am OK. I like to share my feelings because it is who I am. Sharing makes me feel a little lighter, even if the content is sometimes heavy. I have sad moments but I am allowing myself to feel them. I am also living my life and feeling lots of happy moments and creating happy memories as well. I am incredibly grateful for the people that lift me up and support me. I feel loved beyond words.

In my opinion, the best way to support someone who is grieving is by just being there. Let them express how they are feeling. Give a hug or a listening ear. Nothing that you can say will change how they grieve. We grieve because we love. It’s a process. There isn’s a solution.

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Big hugs to all of you. Make a happy memory today and be grateful.

Happy New Year

Hi friends,

Once again I have gone rogue. I miss writing. So often I find myself journaling in my head about the things I’d like to write about here on the blog. Then time gets away from me — again.

I hope you all had a great holiday season and are kicking off the new year in whatever way makes you happy {resolutions, clean slate, fresh start or just treating it as another month, another day, another year}. This was the first year in I don’t know how long that I was in bed well before midnight. I am night owl almost always {and a ‘sleep in’ kinda girl when I can to make up for it}. The night before New Years Eve was a late one for us due to my husband’s work Christmas party. I couldn’t hang for two nights in a row. Yawn. We did manage to have a nice dinner with friends. It was some much needed catch up time with some of my favorite people. It was really a perfect way to end 2014.

I kicked off 2015 with a Starbucks and an almost 5 mile walk with a friend. Perfect. We finished it with a little dinner at B.J.’s {Pizookie anyone?}.

So I don’t really like to make resolutions but I  do like to set some goals – in hopes of achieving them – for the New Year. I really use the new year as my start because October – December are pretty busy months around here. I host several things including a Favorite Things Party, an annual craft event and our annual adults only Christmas Party. That with house guests sprinkled in through-out and we are busy. A good busy. A busy that I really enjoy and I am always sad to see it end.

That being said, I am also looking forward to making more memories in 2015. One of which is becoming an auntie again in just a little over a month. I can hardly wait to meet my new little nephew. My sister in law is one of my favorite people and I loved having her here over the holidays. Her, my brother and my cute – almost 3 year old nephew – stayed with me so our nights were spent on the couch  with me feeling her baby belly movements. One of my favorite things. I am pretty sure this kids gonna be a boxer.

Some of my goals for the New Year ….

eat better — I am not a diet kind of girl. I end up more hungry and less happy. Plus life is for living. So that being said, I’d like to do little tweaks and less calories but still allow myself some of my favorite things like my Starbucks iced coffee with whole milk. It’s my ‘thing’. I also don’t want to have what I eat become my main topic in life. I have so many other things I’d rather talk about.

exercise more — my two favorite things are walking and yoga. I am so out of shape. It’s up to me to take care of myself. So the plan is to walk and do more yoga. Ideally I’d like to do yoga 2-3 times a week and walk 3-4. I am trying to be practical about what I will actually do. If I do more then I get a sticker or a high five. Just saying.

be more productive — this is basically my way of saying that I need to stop wasting time on mindless things. I waste too much time on Pinterest. It’s not something I will quit but I think I need to set computer limits. It’s easy to waste away hours when I really could be doing something that is good for me, like going on a walk or taking a yoga class. Or blogging. The whole point of this blog was to make a job of it. I.HAVE.FAILED. So far.

blog more — I have so many things to share and say. This blog is my voice. And I like to talk. A lot.

see more — I love seeing new places. We have a lot of cool places within hours of where we live. Plus I just finished reading Wild so I am feeling like I should do more 🙂 Although hiking the Pacific Coast Trail is not on my list of 2015 goals. I’d love to hike more and seriously, we are smack dab in the middle of San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. The options are endless.

be present — need I say more? Whatever I am doing, I need to be fully committed to that moment.

play more games — we tend to do this during the holidays but we should be taking the time more often then that. We have a blast. Even if my husband it highly competitive and loud and we all have to ask him to take it down a notch. Ha ha.

garden better — we have a great spot for a garden. We tend to plant things only in the summer but I am not great at tending to it. Summer gets busy but really, this shouldn’t take a lot of time once it’s planted for us to harvest the goodness. Right?

budget better — we are wrapping up some debt in 2015 so 2016 will really be a fresh start for us. I’d like to save more and spend less. With that comes better planning for things like groceries, etc. Those last minute trips to the store add up at the end of a month.

delegate — I think in general my kids could do more. Sometimes it’s easier to just do it myself but they are capable of stepping it up. Same for the hubs. He is a rockstar but there are a few things that he could take on that would help me out.

As always I hope to do everything with kindness and gratitude. In a crazy world {that seems to be getting crazier} it is so important to treat others well. I also feel grateful daily for all the things I have been blessed with. So take a moment to smile at a stranger, to say thank you, to count your blessings.

Also, I wanted to share this list I found on Pinterest. I just love it.

 

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Happy New Year friends. I look forward to seeing more of you in 2015.

Kindness Matters

Yes, once again it’s been awhile. I’ve given up on being consistent and will post as I find little windows of time. I’m working full time for the next 6 weeks so that means I won’t be on the old blog much but I had some stuff that was on my mind as of late and thought I’d throw it out there. I truly love writing and finding fabulous things to share with my readers but time really does get away from me.

This is a little hodge podge but all really comes back to one thing, how we treat one another. Today I heard a morning radio show promoting an anti bullying campaign. I was in my car, on my way to work and I was completely sucked in. The conversations between the DJ’s and listeners calling in were eye opening. There are various opinions about who teaches children about being kind. It ultimately starts at home but one of the opinions is that schools should be more accountable and on top of students that bully. OK, so this is a tough one and it actually was a conversation that I had both on Facebook and also with the principal at my kids school a couple of weeks back after a few kids called my son ‘gay’. I expressed my irritation at this name on Facebook. Of course it sparked a huge conversation both on and off of Facebook (why I love Facebook, it can be a great place to ‘put it out there’). Several people suggested that I discuss it with the principal to which she (being my Facebook friend) spoke up and said that she makes it a point to discuss at monthly assemblies that bullying is not OK and will not be tolerated. I was able to catch up with her at school a couple of weeks later and we had a deeper discussion about it. In her eyes (and mine as well), being kind is not hard and something as simple as a compliment could make a persons day.

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Here is my take, it starts at home. Unfortunately some children are not taught the basics of  kindness and compassion. In which case the place where they spend most of their time could step it up a little. One suggestion was classes on anti bullying. We spend so much time teaching our kids science, math and history but so much of what they learn are lost along the way. I for one don’t recall the answers to many of the things that are on my kids tests and homework but do I know how to treat people? Yes. If I could send my children into the world with any skill what would it be? Not the ability to master chemistry but the ability to be kind and compassionate. The ability to connect with others. To be a friend. To make others feel special. To make others feel loved. To build relationships.

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So many thought provoking quotes come to mind,

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but there echoes are truly endless” – Mother Teresa
“Your wealth or status doesn’t make you. Your kindness and character do” – Venkat Desireddy
“My religion is very simple. Kindness is my religion” – Dalai Lama
“Compassion is a verb” – Thich Nhat Hanh
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” – The Help
” If you can’t be kind, be quiet” – Unknown

On last nights Academy Awards, Frozen won for Best Original Song. Cause yeah, “Let it Go” has become the anthem for people everywhere, mostly woman it seems! In case you live in a  bubble (in my house it’s sung loudly over and over and over by my boys and myself), here is the official video for Let it Go. The writers, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, gave a great acceptance speech but my favorite was the part dedicated to their daughters, “Never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are.” What a powerful thing to say to your children. Let them be who they are. Let them own their uniqueness. So much of our society is busy keeping of with the Joneses (not the Kardashians). Trying to fit molds. Competing with one another. For what? Be you. Own who you are. All of you. The good, the bad and the ugly. Don’t try and be someone else.

We live in a day and age (I sound so old — I’m pushing 40 you know!) but seriously. Things have changed in a major way. Our kids don’t just use names to hurt one another but they also have other tools at our disposable. Things like technology and social media. So that means we have a bigger audience. Which is terrifying. My child was called gay and let it roll right off of him. Thankfully he has a strong sense of who he is and knows that so many people say things just to get under each others skin. THANK GOODNESS my child deals with things like he does. I hope he always does. So many kids don’t. They take it to heart, they hurt, they don’t know how  to cope. Sadly you hear of kids changing schools because of bullying, teenagers committing suicide. All for what? A lack of kindness and empathy? Something has to change.

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Spread kindness and love. It is contagious. I promise. Oh, and have a lovely day!

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