03 December 2009

Perfect truth

Recently, my 5th grader son, was dealing with a situation in school with another classmate, a boy who was new to the school.   Right there, we can put emphasis on the word, "new" and realize that we can not have a clear picture of the situation, and so should not be quick to judge or take sides. 

For a period of 2 weeks or so, my son would come home, telling me "new" bits of information pertaining to his "not so wonderful" involvement with this other boy.  It was very disturbing to me, because it was clearly causing huge stress for him and I was very concerned for him.  In my fantasy world, school is a place where my children go to learn, have a great relationship with their teacher, and, ok, make some great long lasting friendships,which could amount to one or two, or perhaps 10 or more, but learning comes first! 

Long and short of it, the boys were having a personality conflict and each day my son would come home to report to me about the to-dos of the day, I was finding myself altering my position.  One day I would feel a sense of compassion for the other little boy being that he was "new," and another day I would feel a sense of intrusion because my child was bringing home this "frustration" into my house and it was causing unrest in not only his mind but mine as well, and this I was not happy about.  I did not want it.  We want what we want right?  And we feel a sense of invasion when we get what we don't want. 

The boy's mother reached out to me in an effort to "fix" the situation, and I came to learn that her son seemed to want to have a friendship with my son, but he was having some difficulties as their two personalities were clashing in the process.  I could immediately imagine that it was challenging for two 10 year olds to be able to sift through and overlook certain things, much like adults do (and probably perfected from childhood). 

Well, it seemed that both boys agreed they wanted to try to become friends, until some strange situation happened and they found themselves "feuding" again, with frustrations greatly out of control and thrown in the midst of "teacher" assistance to get it under control.  They ended up with the guidance counselor! 

Thank goodness!  I felt happy about this because it seemed that all my "motherly" wisdom was not helping and not because my "motherly" wisdom was no good, but because my child's mind was unable to grasp the concepts I was trying to teach him.  He was blocking me and focusing too much on "the situation."  People tend to do this.  They get clouded about the "situation" and refuse to focus on how to fix it FAST, in the best, most healthy way.  

We came to the conclusion, all of us, boys, parents, teacher and guidance counselor, that the boys were both wonderful children, with strong convictions about certain things (that were indeed ok).  On the one hand, my son had to learn more about compassion and putting himself in someone else's shoes (the fact that this other boy was "new" to the school), and the other boy had to learn that his "new-ness" did not mean he could expect people to like him regardless of his behavior. 

This all brought me to a thought about "PERFECT" and "TRUTH."  During this "situation,"  it seemed that so much "stuff" was being thrown about and nothing was being done to truly address helping the boys with their problems.   My son was coming home telling me "stuff," and expecting me to take his side and deep down inside I could not do that.  I supported him as best as I could by telling him that his wellbeing was my priority.  I tried to talk to him about being the better person, about making a choice (try to be friends, or just agree to not be friends and leave the other boy alone completely).  All the while, I kept asking him if he was telling me the "ENTIRE TRUTH" about the situation because somewhere, somethings just were not adding up.

Much of the same was going on with the other boy's family, as I learned from his mother, that she was getting "bits and pieces" of information.  We learned that both boys were telling as much as they felt necessary to protect themselves .... even from their parents.

Children and Adults alike do this repeatedly throughout life.  They tell what they feel is necessary to feel protected and to not reveal some possible important inner TRUTHS.  Also, people tend to want to pick sides with arguments by picking out SOME of the TRUTHs and not worrying about other significant bits of information.  I observed this during the past few weeks and I did not let it bother me.  I knew that we just needed to get past all of the "drama" and get to a place where everyone was going to be ok. 

Some people can feel good about going through life, discarding relevant important TRUTHs in an effort to be right, or to prove a point and it's truly unhealthy.   It can never be possible to know the ENTIRE, exact TRUTH of a situation, but it can always be good to examine your heart on what you believe is the TRUTH and how to proceed with a situation. 

I had spoken to a few different people regarding this situation with my son, and it was truly interesting to hear the different feedback.  Some people were compassionate and some were not.   Some encouraged that the boys work things out and get to a better place and others encouraged me to not be understanding and to just "side with my son" and fight for him. 

I did fight for him, in the privacy of our home, I sat with him and talked to him about PERFECTION and TRUTH.  I spoke to him about God and about the fact that we can not understand completely what is going on his someone's life, in their mind.   Things happen and many times, people overlook the TRUTH and circumstances about why it has happened and they want to blame or criticize.  This is not helpful. 

During this whole situation, I also begged my son not to engage any other children in this dilemma because I knew that it would be wrong to amass a group against the child.  Again, I asked my child to put himself in this other child's shoes, and to think about how he would like it if this boy got a group of boys to take his side against him.   What would this prove?   It is no one's place to get involved in the issues of a problem that exist between 2 people unless they are going to HELP the problem get solved.  If you choose a side, it's because you support the person you are siding with and will HELP them in a positive way, but you are not on a mission to go against the other person -- unless you know THE TRUTH about that person and they deserve your opposition.

I truly appreciate the guidance counselor getting involved, as she was a mutual party.  She overheard what each boy had to say and then they discussed how they felt about the issues that were brought up.  They explained themselves and why they felt or did what they did, and then they decided whether or not they wanted to try to have a friendship.   This was brave and mature for two 10 year olds to do, and this I admired tremendously.  They have decided to try to have a friendship!

The last thing I tried to talk about with my son was about PERFECTION.   In the midst of this problem, he had seemed to believe that there was a RIGHT and a WRONG in this situation.  When more of the TRUTH had come out, I had to make him realize that NONE of us are PERFECT, and no one was right and no one was wrong.  We all have our faults, some intentionally, and some beyond our control.  Before you can judge or declare that something is wrong with someone else, you have to be able to look in the mirror and know in all TRUTH, that you are totally within your own right to do so.  

Gosh, and the only way to know the PERFECT TRUTH is to be GOD, otherwise, you must let your heart tell you what is RIGHT.

01 December 2009

What's new pussycat?

Woh...oh..oh...oh! December 1st and we start the count down to Christmas and the New Year... Woah! People are starting to make up their New Year's resolution lists, making those promises yet again for the coming new year about all the changes they want in their lives.   They say a cat has nine lives, and we only have one life.  Perhaps we can make our one life... nine times more meaningful? 

Are you dreaming about a new, better and different 2010? Is that what you have in your future plans?  How about something NEW this time around?  Something different from the same old script that seems to be boring and repetitive.  Are you waiting on the economy to pick up?  A miraculous desired raise in salary?  A dreamy vacation?   These wonderful things that we all desire may not be in our control to receive right away, but we can foster some daily joys until they happen. 

How about we try to make some NEW plans and goals.... NOW!  Give yourself, the loves of your life, and the people you associate with a GIFT from NOW.   You don't need money, or credit cards or wrapping paper and it's a gift that has unlimited value .... sky's the limit!

We have all been hearing about "Pay It Forward," and it is being practiced a lot in the business arena, but I urge you to try this idea in your life and relationships.   Instead of making a long list of what you will buy for people (well, for some of you, you may still feel inclined to make the shopping list -- don't forget me :), make a list of what you will DO for someone(s) everyday...... AT LEAST until January 1st.   Anyone.  A friend, a family member, a stranger.   Let them know, or do it anonymously. 

Think about who you see everyday in need. Think about who is in need.   Even think about who is not in need of something, but may just need to hear your voice.  Who have you not called in a long time.  At least once a day, DO SOMETHING GOOD for someone, somewhere,  and it does not matter what you do, just that you believe in your heart that it will warm someone's heart.   

The reward you will feel doing this NEW and different thing in your life, NOW, at this time, will be the most fulfilling present you will ever give to yourself and to others.   Tell your children what you are doing and include them.  Maybe you have not been spending enough time just enjoying your children -- change it ... TODAY.  Remind them daily too about trying to be thoughtful each day. 

AND.... you must do something GOOD for yourself in the process.   Go for extra walks, exercise, meditate, sing a song, eat extra healthy foods in between, drink extra water, read something wholesome and uplifting.... GIFT YOURSELF in a new and different way that does not entail spending tons of money. You deserve it! 

We have a purpose in this world that is far beyond just working and buying wonderful things for ourselves and others.  We have the capacity to show what is deep inside of our heart. 

I believe this exercise can produce a NEW and BETTER you BEFORE January 2010.   A you that will be better able to carry out your resolutions! 

With TONS of LOVE!

Me :)

30 November 2009

Feeling safe and respected

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.   I am thankful for the ability to be able to live healthy, and to be able to love and learn more and more everyday, you just have to have an open mind to realize you need to keep growing, and the WILL to become a better person -- there is always room for GROWTH.  So many of us hold onto to old-fashioned ideas about life and it stagnates our growth as human beings. I am especially thankful for the ability to have two beautiful children that I can help along to become wonderful human beings! 

This life is so amazing because we have in our grasp the resources to learn how to be better human beings everyday.   It's so easy to get caught up in the world at large thinking that working and money is all there is, but there is so much more to life than that. 

I have read some great books recently that truly resonate this thought and puts me at ease that we will be ok.   Many of us wonder if we are ok, we question life, or we just don't live it to the best of our ability -- we take it for granted.  Some of us believe that because we give to charities every year, we are ok.  Some of us believe that because we go to church every week, we are ok.  Some of us believe that because we pay our bills, we are ok.   All of that certainly does lend itself to part of the picture of being a worth while human being, but it does not complete all the necessary ways we can be "whole" human beings. 

The truth is, your "heart" has to be in it.  Even books about how to do "business" speaks about the need for being personable and caring with your clients.  We need to do this with clients, friends and family.   In anything you do, whether it be for yourself or someone else, the best way to reap rewards is to know that your heart is aligned with your focus and your efforts. 

How do we become better human beings??   By encouraging one another to properly use our strengths.  Many of us have lived and worked in various places that have encouraged us to be self-indulgent, outshine the rest, may the best man win type "individuals."   What does this cause?   It causes a huge sense of division amongst people who SHOULD be working together.  

TEAM -- Together Everyone Achieves More.   Together we get more acomplished.  Together the task can be accomplished in a much more efficient manner.  One man can not do it all by himself.

We need to create an environment, at home or at work, where people feel SAFE and RESPECTED.  We need to encourage each other to do our best.  We need to help when we see someone struggling.  When someone starts to feel inadequate, reassure them that they can do it!  Give them that sense of security that they can succeed. 

Just when you think the world is a cold, callous, uncaring arena, you can truly step out and find that there are a lot of people that don't share that mindset.   There are a lot of people who remember that the world is made up of HUMAN BEINGS, and you have a purpose on this earth beyond worldly goods and possessions to love, respect and support one another.   By yourself, you can not feel safe -- you can't feel anything quite frankly.   Sure you can show off what you have, but who do you have that will truly care and make you feel loved and grateful? 

I am so thankful that I can pass this wonderful lesson onto my children, and perhaps it will save them from some heartache and disappointment as they get older.   They can learn from now to only stay where they can feel safe, respected, uplifted and supported. 

12 November 2009

Be right or be free

"Would you rather be right or free?"   ~ Byron Katie ~ 

my babies about 4 years ago 

Freedom equals happiness, which equals true living.  Living, here on earth, now, at this time.  Isn't that all that matters?  How come we spend so much time in conflict, arguing, trying to get our point across...wanting to prove a point? Wanting to be right?   Being self-righteous?  Standing firmly on a position........... for what reason?  Taking away from the main goal of life -- to share love, have a good experience, appreciate all that is good.

Yesterday was Veterans Day and my heart goes out to all the brave souls that have voluntarily sacrificed their lives so that we can live in peace.  Despite all those brave souls out there, many of us do not live in peace, right here, in our homes, in our relationships, in our families.   Lives are in a constant state of mutiny and unrest.  Many consciously choose this state of conflict, sadness, discontent, meanness, harboring thoughts of judgment, hatred, and ill-wishes, never stopping to realize that they are exchanging the GIFT of LIFE that they have, for a world of darkness, all for the sake of "proving a point," or "making a statement."   Ultimately, who is the point for and who benefits from the statement?  No one.

While doing some work in my house yesterevening, the tv was on, and the sitcom, "My Wife and Kids" was on at the time.  The husband had agreed to take his wife golfing with him because she really wanted to spend some "quality" time with him.  Well, she had no clue how to "behave" during his golf outing, but she innocently chose to be herself which translated into her being a "nuisance" to her husband during what was to be a very "relaxing ,therapeutic but serious" day of golfing for him.   At that moment, all he had to do was HONESTLY explain to her how he felt so that they could get passed this and continue to be a happy loving couple, but instead he chose to "GET HER BACK,"  -- teach her a lesson, by intentionally messing up her yoga class that he agreed to attend with her the day after the golf outing.

Why?  Why do we play these childish, foolish games with one another?   You can imagine the outcome.  He did manage to annoy her during the yoga class just as much, if not more than she had (innocently) annoyed him during his golf outing.   BUT.........conflict arose out of his need to punish her/pay her back. Unnecessary conflict.

Don't discount this example just because it is from a comedy sitcom tv show -- it's a great example (one example) of real stuff that happens everyday in the lives of regular human beings.   We REFUSE to handle our daily conflicts at the moment with INTELLIGENCE and TRUTH, and we resort to  playing games, becoming vindictive, distorting reality and hurting one another, which often times snowballs and spins a small problem way out of control. 

The wife indeed, ended up angry and emphatically trying to make her husband understand that she truly ENJOYED herself being with him when he played GOLF.  She immediately scolded him that he was WRONG to attempt to "teach her a lesson."   This is true.  She is his soulmate, his partner, his wife, and so why would he choose to treat her this way?  It's disrespectful and deceitful.  He then admitted that he was wrong to "pay her back" but also truthfully explained to her that he appreciated his time alone to play golf.  He finally explained to her that she had annoyed him a LOT during the golf outing.   

We can be truthful with each other without being hurtful.  We can come to an understanding and still be loving in the process.   This is true FREEDOM and why we have a life in the first place.    Allowing yourself the ability to be truly LOVING to those your care about.   Not playing games. Not trying to hurt one another.  Not trying to TEACH LESSONS that cause lifetime conflicts. 

Some of us are fueled by friends or family to go ahead, "teach the lesson."  Some gang up together and say they will make the statement together, "let's all show her/him how we feel."   (Sounds like a war right?) Taking sides against someone.   Who benefits from this?  It's like a gang.   May the strongest win.   May the weak crumble.  At the end of one's life, who comes out the winner?   Too proud to be the bigger person to say, this is not right.  No, I don't agree with your actions.  "WE" can't benefit from this. 

So many people are immersed in "standing for something" that they miss out completely on what life is truly about.   You can't be a true human being if you lack compassion and lack the ability to love.    

Love is NOT about being vengeful, it's about finding a LOVING solution so that we can all live and appreciate the LIFE we have together.  Gosh, there's a thought.  The world is indeed made up of MANY human beings, and we need each other.   


Live it well.

Live it with love in your heart! 

11 November 2009

Swaying buds

One week since my last blog, oh my!  And why? Because there has been much happening on the homefront, so much so that I truly could not get here to share as I would like.  Between massive amounts of leaves in the yard, soccer, school projects, homework, laundry, work-work, work, and some work, it's been a little busy around here!

I wanted to share about a recent accomplishment, one that I believe will continue to show improvements over the next months and years.  Remember my "picky" eating 7 year old daughter?  Well she has ventured out of her comfort zone a little more in the past couple days, and this I see she does with a look of "I will try my best Mommy" look on her face.

Peace people, I will eat when I am ready... chill ......

For the longest while I worried that I would never be able to get her to eat certain things, and it baffled me that she refused to eat certain things that other children (particularly her own brother) seemingly enjoy.    

A few weeks ago, I made kale, tomato and onion omelette, and I was not sure if I was able to truly believe that she enjoyed it even though she did eat the entire thing with absolutely no hesitation.  I had been down this road before with her where I thought she was "sold" on something only to find out the next time I tried to serve the same something, that she suddenly reverted back to her original "don't like it" position.   I tread lightly and cautiously.

To this day I can't understand what it is about ground meat that my precious princess does not like.  She refuses to eat any dish that is produced from ground meat, turkey, beef or otherwise, and that includes sausage as well.   I never really worried about it because I figured we can live just fine without sausage, bolognese, meatballs, burgers, meatloaf, meat lasagna --- sure, we can do without all of those lovely, delicious "when made at home with love" -- they are awesome dishes!

No way!  Again, I figured I would just go slowly and keep revisiting the idea with her until I could sway her to "try again."

A couple nights ago, I/we (Miles and I)  literally BEGGED her to let me cook something other than chicken and she agreed to a Turkey Burger.  I was pleasantly surprised when I watched her take her first bite and her eyes lit up.  

I will take these 2 accomplishments and feel proud of my sweet angel for having an open mind to try again.  This in itself is truly fantastic, the fact that her mind is OPEN to at least try.

Parents out there, it's time to stop saying your child "does not eat....." and try again and again, especially if it is something that is good for their health, such as fruits and vegetables.  We must do this for our children.   Most of the time, their dislike is based on one bad experience or perhaps a not-so-ideal preparation of "said" food, so one should definitely explore new ways to present the food(s) to make it pleasing to the children.

Maturing gracefully 

04 November 2009

Give them a sense of pride

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be 

-The Greatest Love of ALL, George Benson/Whitney Houston

To make it easier.   Our children are our responsibility considering we brought them into the world.  We are their heroes and they are our FUTURE heroes.

If we want to make the world a better place, it starts at home, helping our children to become human beings who take pride in themselves and love themselves.  When you can love yourself, you can then love others.   When you possess a great deal of self-esteem, you are then able to love and respect others.

At the beginning of the school session back in September 2009, my 10 year old son was voicing a lot of discontent about starting the 5th grade, so much so that he managed to exhibit this "attitude" towards his 3 different teachers.  Two out of the three teachers did notice that he had a lot of manners and a loving "way" about him, but the 3rd teacher was only interested in his "academic" abilities, and she could careless about whether or not he said, "Good Morning" with a bright sunshiny smile each and every day.

As a parent, I had mixed emotions, happy that my child remembered about the importance of proper manners, but not happy that my son was wasting so much energy "worrying" about the challenges of 5th grade.   5th grade in his school is the year to get a true sense of independence as they inherit lockers, change classrooms about 4 times a day, and become loaded up with school work.

On Back-to-School night, this "math" teacher made it clear that she thought my son was "struggling" to understand and was "overwhelmed", and at that very MOMENT, "I" made it clear that she will "struggle" to use those words to describe my son ever again.

From that night on, I made it my priority to help him in every which way possible to make this year a GREAT year for him (as he has always had great school years).

Yesterday afternoon I met with this "math" teacher and she had a great big SMILE on her face because she sat and said to me, "Well it seemed that he was overwhelmed in the beginning, but now I see he has improved incredibly," and then she continued to rattle off the list of his many test grades, 100, 100, 100, 95, 88, 100... he did have a 76 and a 56 in there, but those were momentary setbacks.    She agreed that it is CLEAR that he is showing great strength, understanding, and still maintaining he wonderful "jovial" well-mannered spirit. 

Giving my son a sense of pride and something to strive for is important to ME and to HIM.   He is now a very happy child and a child that knows he can perform wonderfully.  He is no longer "worried" about being in 5th grade and knows that his parents believe in him.   We MUST enforce that we BELIEVE in our children.

It is our job as parents to step in at the very INSTANT that our children are struggling and help them along.  Give them love, support, encouragement .... and extra love, support and encouragement.

03 November 2009

The eyes have it... seeing into the future

I have blogged in the past about the fact that my beautiful (very healthy and strong) 10 year old son developed Uveitis in June 2008, and it's been a on-going situation.   His eyes are clear (have been for a few months now) because he gets a weekly injection of Methotrexate which is keeping his body calm (suppressing his immune system) so that all stays well.  We will not know the TRUE situation until at least June of 2010 when his rheumatologist will access if it is ok to take him off this medication.

I am blogging about this again today as we prepare for next week's visit with the rheumatologist.   Last week he saw his Ophthalmologist and all was good, however I will always take it upon myself to re-research Uveitis which is a RARE, serious medical vision condition that only afflicts a couple thousand children per year in the United States.  You can go from one school to another and NOT find ONE child with the condition, that is how rare it is.   Given it's rarity, you have to be certain that your child is being tended to by doctors who are familiar with the condition and know how to treat it.  Uveitis accounts for 10% of the cases of BLINDNESS in this country.  That is a signficant number and not to be ignored.  It needs to be treated CORRECTLY.

One of the contributing factors to blindness is neglect.   Often times people hear about it and don't take it seriously.  The treatment routine is one that must be addressed aggressively and diligently in order for it to be successful.  It's a frustrating routine, but one that must be adhered to.

I make it my duty to keep up with all the news and I belong to a few support groups (and I keep in touch with the Uveitis Foundation) to see if there are any new discoveries towards helping to treat the condition.  This is what EVERYONE should do when they are afflicted with ANY illness (even little ones like the flu, diabetes, etc.   Never take anything for granted.

As I blog about this, I know NO ONE out there who reads this blog will even feel connected to this illness because of it's rarity.  My goal is not to find a connection to the illness, but to ENCOURAGE any and everyone who has a child with an illness to make it your priority to research the condition and find out all that you can do.  Doctors can do but so much, but you can lend some aid to your child in the process too.  I don't want any surprises in the future (since it is a mysterious condition that can go on for a lifetime) and I want to BELIEVE that I took all the steps to learn as much as I can about the condition. 

It can get very expensive between doctor visits, medications, and foods/supplements, but diet is KEY in many cases, especially with Uveitis which is an inflammation issue.  What occurs is a build up of cells in my son's eyes (because the immune system thinks something is wrong -- why?? - we are still trying to learn why??? )  and so we need to TRY to keep the inflammation from happening, which the aggressive steriod eye drops addresses, but the METHOTREXATE ultimately addresses with the immune system.  As you can see -- it's MASK, a BANDAID and not a CURE.   NOT a CURE.


Foods, supplements and stress relieving exercises.   Helping your child to ease their STRESS is very important.   Children suffer with stress just like adults do, and there have been many cases where STRESS triggered a condition.

We continue to monitor him and check for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is very typical for kids with Uveitis.  I BELIEVE that my efforts to help my son stay well do HELP immensely.   I also make sure that he gets exercise.  Consider if I did not monitor his diet and he did not exercise --- we could possibly have MORE issues to deal with (bad nutrition, weight gain.... stress). 

Good health is not just about saying, "I am totally healthy and there is nothing wrong with me,"  it's also about MANAGING a pre-existing condition to the BEST of your ability.   I will never ever forget the fact that the rheumatologist told us that many times in cases of Children with Uveitis, the parents have been negligent in caring for their child.   I suppose it may seem easy to overlook it and think all is ok because your child "LOOKS" ok, but what about what is going on inside those eyes??????   Seeing is TRULY believing!!!!!  I know I owe it to my son to stay on top of the care of his VISION so that he can SEE into his FUTURE

Be proactive no matter what is going on!

02 November 2009

Honey, I am not in the mood...

Come on baby light my fire!  Moods have the ability to do this--- light one's fire, or extinguish one's fire! Can it be that a "MOOD" or moods really have the ability to dictate how your day/life will go?  You get up and you quickly try to ascertain, "am I in a good mood today?"  Or some people say, "I don't know what it is, but I am in a great mood today!"

Moods are often the same as "feelings" and people allow how they "feel" to dictate their mood.   They need to be separated.  It's very ok to feel sad, or happy, or overly emotional at some given time, but it does not have to affect your overall mood if you have already lined up your goals in life.   Your goals should not be affected by your feelings.  This is tough to do since as human beings we want love, attention, to be acknowledged -- to be validated, and to have time to even feel bad.  But many times we give fuel our MOODS a bit too much! 

Intimacy in relationships dwindle because people are apt to say, "I am just not in the mood."   Relationship experts often encourage couples to "schedule" some time together so that you can rekindle the romance.   The blocks in the mind have to be broken down before the scheduling can even take place.   If you are reluctantly scheduling this much needed time together, even when the moment presents itself,  how can it be enjoyable for anyone if you are continuing to resent the process and embrace your "bad" mood?

We need to take our moods in hand and replace them with INTENT, and this is relative to any aspect of our being.   Make an intent to live life differently.   If you can see the NEED for doing certain things, you can probably enjoy more great MOODS.

All of this came to mind the other morning when I was hesitating to do my workout (oh yeah, here she goes again talking about working out) and I thought about MOODS.   I was NOT in the mood to jump up and down and sweat.   I suddenly thought deeply about my so-called MOOD.   My MOOD was governed by MY thoughts.   I let the LAZY, "don't want to be bothered" thoughts get into my head.   When I acknowledged that my "mood" was unfounded, I quickly shook it off, and remembered that my LIFE'S GOAL is to ALWAYS take care of ME!  Nothing will get in the way of that, as long as I can truly control it. 

In order to get what we want out of life, we have to put the EFFORT in, and much of the time, it is our minds that are holding us back, and not some random mood that gets it's energy from our thoughts.   The key to MASTERING these moods, is to HANDLE and be in CONTROL of your thoughts.

Keep only the thoughts about WHY it is good for you to make the STEPS towards certain goals.  WHY am I doing this?  How will it benefit me?   And perhaps, how will it benefit someone else?   Even in that relationship, this is key.  If the relationship is meaningful to you, you will realize that you have to SNAP out of the MOOD that has you refusing to be that extra loving, giving, doing person, and bring out the good mood that will benefit your relationship.    

A good mood is not just about smiling and doing, it's about feeling:

Optimistic, positive, able, strong, purposeful, joy, signficance, brave, proud, elegant, accomplished, needed.... the list is endless.

In between experiencing real-life "moody moments," we have to remember what the BIG PICTURE is... and that is to have a LIFE of PURPOSE and WELLNESS!

01 November 2009

Falling leaves

Hide the path so quietly ~ John Bailey "Autumn" , a haiku, 2001

And they hide my house and yard so loudly!!! Wow!! Sunday, all day, blowing leaves! Wow!
I believe I get the most leaves and the most snow in my neighborhood .... LOL!
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More Halloween Moments

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Halloween moments from the parade

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29 October 2009

A Turkey Chili true story

This is all that was left as I was getting ready to devour it a few minutes ago, and then I remembered that I forgot to photograph the entire meal last night!  

My darling son had one of his monthly eye appointments after school yesterday and this usually means a 30-40 minute drive to the office, sit and wait for a long time (anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hrs, sometimes more) and then the 30-40 minute trek back home.  From there we cram in homework, dinner, showers, cuddle-time, bedtime by .... 9:00 pm??   Not at all possible at times!   

My intent was to give them a leftover noodle chicken dish to save on time, but I am starting to realize that my children don't love having "pasta" as much as they once led me to believe.   This is a good and a bad thing.   I was getting sick of all the "pasta" requests and wanting to introduce them to other foods, but I also started to learn 200 ways to prepare "pasta" dishes!  Perhaps a cook book would have been in print by now written by "yours truly!"  Chapter 4,  "50 different Chicken Soup recipes !"  As I was driving back from the doctor appointment with them in tow, the inquiries started to ripple through the car (one of their school friends was with us too), "What's for dinner???" and the best remark of them all, "I'm hunnnnnnnnnnngry!"  Great, SUPERMOM to the rescue!  I shall create a masterpiece in ... in....40 minutes!  They can do homework while I cook! 

I had picked up some ground turkey the day before and so I quickly decided that I will make a Quick Turkey Chili, rice and a veggie.   As the cooking got underway, they ran back and forth into the kitchen wondering, "what are you cooking?"  The aromas were permeating their little tummies big time! 

I don't really measure when I cook since I have been cooking FOREVER --- so I don't have actual measurements here.   My advice --- add and taste as you go--- make adjustments.  Anyone cooking should do this anyway so that you know AHEAD of time if the food will taste good before you give it to someone else to eat :)!  

The recipe:

1 lb Turkey chili
Onions - chop

Garlic - chop
Medley of peppers (red, green, yellow) - chop
15 oz can organic black beans
Frontier Chili Powder seasoning

Bay leaf
Salt (or other seasoning salt)
Black pepper
Tomato sauce
Broth (chicken or veggie) -- or just plain water
If I forgot to mention something, I apologize!  

Saute the onions, garlic first in olive oil, add in the meat, stirring to break it apart.  Once heated through, add all the veggies and seasoning.    Add Broth just enough to create a nice consistency.  Simmer, stirring lots.  Sauce should be thickening as it cooks (so watch for need for dabs of water/broth).    I add Ketchup towards the end to add a nice "kid friendly" flavor to the chili. 

The Frontier seasoning(a salt free organic seasoning) is a bit spicy (not for me, since I had to add lots of hot sauce thereafter) but it was not too much for the children.   Along with the chili, I made some basmati rice and a stir-fried eggplant seasoned with some greek spices, olive oil and a bit of lemon.   It went lovely with the chili.  Why did I make the eggplant?  Because I had picked it up at a farmer's market last Friday and said, "hey, why don't I cook this eggplant?"  Cooking a lovely meal does not have to be a PRE-planned effort all the time.   Last minute throw togethers can produce some of the most amazing creations!  

You remember my lovely "picky eater" daughter right?  The one who only eats about 10 different things.   Well, she has maintained all the way up until last night (before I served dinner) that she does not like ground meat in any form.   Once or twice a year she will tackle a burger, but she would NEVER EVER ask for one voluntarily, and if you ask her, she will undoubtedly respond, "No ThankYou!"  I knew this was going to be a very agonizing moment for her, but I was determined to hold her hand and guide her to understanding that "Mommy's Turkey Chili" is not to be feared!  

As I set the plate before her,  her face sent forth some involuntary grimaces with mostly a look of, "OMG!  Mommy please don't make me do this!!"   For some reason though, she did not utter a word, and I think it was because her friend was sitting right beside her with a very bright happy look of anticipation on her face.  I believe she wanted to be "brave" in front of her friend.  Maybe I should invite someone over for every meal from now on ?  

The tears came flowing down and she cried as she ate, saying, "Mommy, I am so tired, can I go to bed when I am finished?"   I think she thought she was going to die while she was eating my delicious turkey chili!   My son, our friend Ally and I, all sat eating together with Nia, smiling at her and at each other, "oooo'ing and aaahhhh'ing" over the food, trying not to laugh as Nia cried, chewed and swallowed.    Everyone BUT Nia, asked for seconds.  

As she finished eating, she begged me to take her to her room and let her change into her pajamas.  Poor baby.   It was time to put her down.  This was it.  She was done.  I hugged her and kissed her and told her "take it easy, you should rest."   

She layed down on the couch in the living room because she did not want to abandon her friend who was over, and just when I thought we were going to lose her completely, she perked up when she remembered that her father had given her a big FAT CHOCOLATE cupcake to have after dinner!    There is something about sugar and chocolate... it's helps to soothe a "turkey chili" invaded tum-tum!  

10 minutes after she downed 2/3 of her cupcake, she was back to normal and over the trauma of dinner.   A while after dinner, Ally's mom came over too, and she was able to indulge in a lovely plate of the chili, rice and eggplant.  All SMILES and no tears from her, what a big girl!

Tonight we are having Moroccan Chicken and perhaps I will set Nia's  pjs now .... just in case!

28 October 2009

Lessons on Life

"Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!" ~  Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Lesson time again while driving to school this morning.   We were talking about food, one of our favorite subjects, and I asked Nia if she liked chicken... again, since she tends to change her mind about food from one day to the next.  It's very challenging for me as a mother to figure out what to feed her at times because what I think she enjoys today, suddenly becomes a "dislike" the next day.   My goal was to ascertain what would be ok to make for her lunch today and feel confident that she would eat it.

She said she liked chicken and then added that one of her friends in school thinks chicken is "DISGUSTING."   I know this friend well, and I know that he and his very lovely family are VEGETARIANS and so they do not eat meat which I explained to Nia.  They asked me "why" would anyone not want to eat meat?  From there, my darling "foodie" son chimed in to say, "well, if you don't eat meat, you don't fit in well with the rest of the world."

Thus the lesson got underway, and I proceeded to explain to the children that a true human being only needs to FIT in by being a GOOD person, treating people the way they want to be treated.  We don't judge one another based on how we dress, what we eat, what music we like, etc.   The true joy of human interaction, is being able to accept one another for our differences and appreciate the diversity of being able to live, love and continually learn TOGETHER.

We spoke some more and they realized that the person (well at least for this morning) that they would most enjoy being is themselves, able to choose what they like, do what they want, and be around people who accept them for who they are.   They also want to be able to choose their friends based on the friends being fun to be with, kind, respectful, loving and giving.  And, if they have similarities, that just makes it even more exciting!  They seemed like they were noticeably content with this morning's "Lesson on Life," as they joyfully jumped out of the car and dashed into school!  

We love to explore glorious FOOD (well, at least the "Foodie" child of mine and I do) , and over time,  we will further learn that the world's culinary experience FITS just nicely into our palate whether or not it includes meat or not... LOL!

27 October 2009

Everything yields benefit

"On this day of your life, Jacquie, I believe God wants you to know that no effort is ever wasted, although some pay dividends later than you think.

Do not imagine that you "wasted your time" because something didn't turn out right. There is no such thing as "waste" in the Universe. Everything -- everything -- yields benefit.
It's true. And your life will show you this. So don't decry the "effort that failed."

All things lead to your highest good. You just may not know it yet.

You know even now why you just read this...

This friendly "nudge" came from your Self, you know..."

Love, Your Friend....


I love this little note from Neale Donald Walsch that I received in an email!  So true for ALL OF US!  We work so hard and it seems that it takes so long to reap the fruits of our efforts.   

People are all around us telling us what to do, what not to do, casting their opinions, knocking down our efforts, trying to destroy our focus and our dreams, constantly expecting more, never giving praise, questioning our abilities.  There is no benefit when you give up and don't try.   It's hard not to listen when it seems sometimes that there are people who seem so adamant about cutting you down, jamming "their beliefs" into your brain, causing you lose sight of your goals.  

Much of the benefit to working towards something, is learning as you go, even when you make mistakes.  There is NO successful person walking around that did not make many mistakes along the way.  Mistake is not taboo -- it allows you to adjust and keep pressing forward.   If life was so simple that we could all "do the same thing, by following advice," we would all live perfect lives. 

It's is so important to FIRST consider WHO are you taking advice from???   Most people who give advice tend to be people who are regurgitating what they read, or telling you that you have to match what everyone else is doing.  God created individuals, not clones.  We have individual personalities, and individuals gifts and abilities enabling us to make different contributions to this world, and I wholeheartedly believe that we each can make a signficant contribution in a positive way!   This is what is missing in this great world of ours! 

Everything is not attainable overnight, and diligence and focus is the key to getting closer to your goals. 

Time to trust and believe in yourself and figure out what would work best for you.   Work hard, go forward!  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to be doing?  Keep your goals and chip away as best as you can!  Never let anyone break you down along the way! 

If you are working towards something that is truly uplifting for you as a human being, or perhaps for the HUMAN RACE, every step towards that GOAL is a HUGE BENEFIT!

26 October 2009

FALL Faces

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Don't WHIMP out, go for the "slow burn"

There's a chill in the air, and winter is near, so what is the best way to start the day warming up the body without adding some EXTRA layers of winter's flab ?

OATMEAL!  Steel Cut Oatmeal!  But don't whimp out with the "quick oats,"  go for the Steel Cut Oats.  Why?  Because the quick oats have been PROCESSED.   Stripped of some of their true "wholeness" though still healthy, not as exceptional as the real deal. 

What is this "slow burn" that you often hear about?  Quite simply, it's the rate at which the carbs that you are eating gets burned up.  Slow burn is slow digestion, and this is a nice gradual process that takes place before the sugar is released into the bloodstream.  For breakfast, you want the "slow burn" carbs to keep you FULL longer, and you are less likely to overeat (and thus snack on things that are detrimental to your nutrition program). Because the Quick or Instant Oats have been processed, they burn up a lot faster.   Instant Oats, by the way, are actually "precooked" oats and that is why they cook so quickly and come out so mushy with NO texture -- you basically are just reheating them.  In the spirit of freshness, that is not appealing! 

Don't be afraid of the Steel Cut Oats!! The Steel Cut Oats are the true WHOLE grain oats, that have been cut with a steel blade... that's it!   They have not been tampered with and so you get to consume the true goodness that it has to offer !  Much of the time people are turned off from the "cooking process" of the Steel Cut Oats.   They take 30-40 minutes to cook as opposed to the Quick Oats that take about 10 minutes and the instant that takes only 2 minutes or so.

You can get around this by (a) finding a good process to prepare it, (b) making a few servings at a time, so that you can have it ready to reheat when you want it, (c) perfect your own recipe, (d) put it on to cook when you are doing something else.

You can soak the oats over night in hot boiling water, and then put on the cook for 15 minutes the next day.  You can toast them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, and then cook them about another 10-15 minutes with milk and what ever else you like to add into your oats.   You can also put the oats in the food processor if you would prefer a "finer" textured cereal.   When making Oat Pancakes or cookies, be sure to use the "Quick" Oats... not the Instant. 

Steel Cut Oats, cook in 30-40 minutes, that is it!  The key is to do the correct measurement of liquid (water or milk), low flame, stirring often, and adding a little liquid as necessary.   They should come out nice and soft, but still hearty.  Do not overcook your Oats.  You can, however, cook them in a slow cooker for 7 hours, but I truly can not understand the necessity of this.  If you make them the night before, keep it a bit dense, and then when you go to reheat in the a.m., you can add some extra milk to make it rich and creamy.  30 minutes for a bowl of GRAND GOODNESS to warm your body, give big nutrition, and ward off hunger pangs, seems simple enough! 

Don't forget to add your spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.), choice of sweetner, fruits, nuts, protein.. whatever you like for added taste and nutrition! 


20 October 2009

A matter of necessity

As I am typing this, I just heard a quote which states, "when people show you who they are, believe them... the first time."  That is from Maya Angelou, and this wonderful quote carries over to what good caring people will say to you when they are telling you about the state of your health.   There is very little room for argument if you are not treating your body well.

It almost seems like people are complacent with the idea of "having a medical issue," as if it is a "normal"occurrence in the unveiling of their lives, perhaps because it runs in the family, or perhaps because they are surrounded by people who echo the same or similar issues on a regular basis.  There is a silent "high fiving" going on amongst people with illnesses.  Submitting to the statistics and choosing to believe that "this is normal," is NOT normal, and is very untrue about how a person's health journey can go.  

It does not matter if certain issues run in your family, you do indeed have the ability to choose a different road.  I can also state that I have come to realize that many people do not intentionally choose to neglect their health in an effort to continue the "norm" of what is in their families, but they subconsciously live out their lives in such a fashion and it manifests in the end. 

A family of 5 sisters, in which 4 are obese.  A family of 9 siblings, and 5 have diabetes, 3 have high blood pressure, 7 have high cholesterol, 2 have cancer, Mom had cancer.   People walk around sharing these familial statistics as if they are "surrending" to some false notion that they too will inevitably contract one or more of these illnesses.

You have a choice, you really do.   It takes a sacrifice.   People sacrifice all sorts of things throughout their lifetimes to achieve what is most important to them, but it seems that often times, they won't make the necessary sacrifices for their HEALTH.   Well, without decent health, all the other sacrifices that you make will be meaningless BEFORE you know it.

The Surgeon General staes that EVERY single person should walk 5 miles A DAY -- A DAY.  Not twice a week, not 3 times a week.... EVERYDAY.  Professional health experts will tell you that EXERCISE is a priority for everyone.   Ideal health and fitness can only be achieved by having a healthy diet and exercise.  Exercise should be a FULL BODY program to enhance the entire body to be at it's best fighting condition, to fight disesase, fat, weight gain, stress and other toxic invaders.

When you sacrifice health, all else that you are working so hard for, could suddenly be put on hold if you end up with a serious illness, having to take medications, and not being able to do certain things.

The true statistics about the American population is that 2/3 of the population is overweight.  Can you put that in true perspective?   Of that 2/3, 50% of the American people are OBESE.

The National Institute of Health reports that 84% of ALL medical claims -- let me repeat -- 84% of all medical claims, are the direct result of a lack of exercise.

Much of the people who are getting sick and running to their doctors, it seems, could have tried to AVOID this completely had they chosen to address their diet and their exercise needs.   It's a matter of necessity.

You can sit around and tell the world how you postpone getting into the better health because you are busy with your job, with your children, etc.., but the only conversation that will ultimately RESONATE will be the conversation you (a) have with yourself when you are not well, and (b) you have with your physician when you are being prescribed with certain medications.

It seems that very few people are following up with the Surgeon General's suggestion to walk 5 miles a day, and again that is because we have some excuses that can't be helped.  Many people complain that they can not get out because of the weather, lack of sidewalks, type of neighborhood.... These things deter people from being able to stay true to their workout program.

Other people seem to be worried about how they look if they join a gym, or if they are walking around the neighborhood.  Again, a very unimportant excuse to not exercise.   What you look like when you are trying to IMPROVE your HEALTH, does NOT matter.   Keep doing what you have to do!

Men--- prostrate cancer is enhanced by high fat diets and obesity.  So why not try to avoid Prostrate Cancer?

The resounding question in this tough economy is, how can people afford to eat healthier foods when they are losing their jobs, getting pay cuts, or not getting any raises?  The better question is, "Can you afford to get sick?"   "Can you afford to get very sick, stay in a hospital, and then deal with surmounting health bills?"  "Can you afford the time that you will be unable to live, function in your family, function on your job?"

You are NOT a hero if you neglect your health and then have to walk around and tell the world about your illnesss that came about because of years of neglecting your health.  Sorry, but that is no way to become a hero. 

Child obesity is the alarming epidemic right now.  It has QUADRUPLED in the past 25 years, and so, WHERE ARE WE HEADED?   We, adults, parents, etc., have to assume the responsibility to save our children from OBESITY.   It is our job.  It's not about looking and being overweight  -- a very superficial thought in most people's mind... it's more about being overweight and being significantly prone to major health illnesses.  

Whatever happens with healthcare reform will happen.  People need to address their health right now and always.  Take control.  Exercise, eat right and make a choice to NOT continue the family history.  It can be done.  It's a necessity.

Nurse Mommy

Here we go again!  Luckily I worked out hard over the weekend and I think I did so because I anticipated that this day would come.  Saturday's soccer game was quite cold and ended with a light drizzle. The children were spending the weekend with their father which meant I had no control over what would happen.

Miles battled the entire week with congestion, but Nurse Mommy managed to keep him strong and healthy enough to not miss one day of school.  Nia had missed 2 days of school over the past couple weeks, but again, Nurse Mommy was working hard to keep her healthy.  N.M. is the queen of "beefing up security!"  I wholeheartedly believe in proper nutrition and preventative efforts to ATTEMPT to ward off unwanted germs and illnesses.

When the children left me on Friday evening, I had no idea what their weekend would comprise of, and that always makes me a bit uneasy, but I learned a long time ago that the more I stressed and agonized over the situation, the more I would only make MYSELF crazy.  When I first arrived at the field on Saturday morning, all bundled up myself, I immediately noticed that my son was not properly dressed.  His congestion was very apparent, and his hands were very cold.  Always remembering that the methotrexate injection that he gets weekly, suppresses his immune system, I am always erring on the side of CAUTION when it comes to his health, how he eats and how he dresses.  I immediately took off my gloves and made him wear them.

After the game was over, the winds had kicked up and the drizzle started and my first thought was, "time to leave and go home."  But, they were not coming home with me, so I had no say so.   I prolonged my departure, but realized that their father was not rushing to leave despite the rain, and as I was proceeding to get more and more stressed, I decided it was time for me to just leave and not continue to witness what I knew would inevitably make me "lose it."   I have no idea how long they remained out in the cold and rain playing, but I would later hear on that evening that "Nia is coughing a little."

We all know that rain and cold does not "cause" one to get sick, however, if one's immune system is not strong, the cold and rain wear one down even further, and consider that Nia had been running up and down playing soccer, probably sweating underneath the layers.   And remember, she is my "picky" eater.

Knowing how she is, I know what I have to do to keep her as well as possible.  I make it my life's mission to do this on a daily basis, analyzing what I feed her with purpose for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Those soups I love to make over and over again, have a ton of great "goodness" in them because I know it's my best "ONE" shot for the day with her.

Sunday morning, I called to speak to the children and I was told that Nia was in the shower, and I immediately knew what that meant -- she was coughing the night before.   I spoke to her father and asked how she was doing and he said, "she coughed a bit but she is fine."  He said he was giving her cough med and mucinex.  Wonderful.   I then offered, "can I make some soup for her."   He responded, "no thank you, we are fine."

Something told me (most likely it was God) to still break out the SOUP ARSENAL, and so on Sunday I prepared 2 pots of soup.  One Chicken Noodle Vegetable, and a Chicken Brown Rice Vegetable.  

Monday morning before school, I called to speak to the children and again I was told that she is in the shower.  GOTCHA!!!!  I know she is not fine, but she is not with me, so what can I do.   Her father took her to school and I picked her up and we left straight from school to head over to the farm for pumpkin picking with her fellow Brownies.  I noticed she was coughing, but she was so happy to be with her friends, AND I had committed to take 2 other girls with us, so I had to follow through.  It was only 1 1/2 hrs, so I did not worry too much about it.  

I was not going to believe that she "suddenly" started to cough.  As the evening progressed, it got worse, and it was "one of those nights!"  Violent coughing attacks.  I made her drink so much, she had to get up to go to the bathroom about 3 times during the night and woke up at 4 a.m.  At that time, we just stayed up, had tea, lots more water, until we dozed off for a bit.  YES, I was soooooooooo tired!   Miles ended up coming into the living room where we were at about 6:45 a.m. and woke me up (as I slept sitting up on one end of the couch with Nia on the other end).  She remained asleep........... only for another 20 minutes to wake again coughing.

So here we are, another day, home together,  and I will be Nurse Mommy doing "my thing" to get her well.   She already had some lovely "Mommy made" soup, tea, water, some vitamins and now we will make a lovely bath for her with some lovely soothing eucalyptus oils.

A cough is a natural reflex that protects your lungs.  Well, we will work on loosening up this cough and I can already anticipate that it will not go away in one day.   Nia has had this issue since she was about 2 years old.  One day I came home from work, and found my nanny (it's hard to find great nannies.  She informed me by phone that Nia was not well, but she really did not convey the true gravity of the issues - she did not know) at the time, holding her as she was breathing erratically and her body was jerking.  At the immediate sight of her, I knew something was very wrong and quickly took her to the emergency room, where we stayed for many hours until they stabilized her, and that was when we were introduced to the nebulizer.  Over the past year, she seemed to be growing out of it, but I truly feel that this time, her issues are based on "lack of proper" care.   A situation left to get out of control.  I felt bad keeping her home today given the fact that it's picture day at school (and she was going to look so beautiful) but I certainly could NOT send her to school with this obnoxious coughing that she is doing.

Gosh, it's only October -- as I reminded her father.  "Campbell" Soup for breakfast and morning showers will not heal my precious little one.   The funny thing is, her and her brother always look forward to coming back to me when they are sick.   I used to resent the fact that I was always left to deal with the children's illnesses, but I also know that I will do whatever it takes to get them WELL and HEALTHY again - I give them my very best.  I believe in my program and anything less is just not good enough under the circumstances. 

I know that my ex-husband relies on me to do what he knows I will do - get the children straight.  I can't even count the amount of Mondays that a sick child was given back to me after they spent the weekend with him.  There have been nights that I have had to jump out of bed, and go and get Nia because she was "too much" for him to handle when she is sick.   A little over a month ago, Miles had an accident at 10 pm at night, tripped, fell, hit his head, and had to go to the emergency room -- again, I had to go RESCUE my angel.  She was so distraught over what happened to her brother, seeing him bleeding and crying, she could not settle down.  But, once I got her back home, and held her tight, it was a matter of minutes before she was calm and drifted off to sleep.  The magic of Mommy! 

A situation left to get out of control... that is what one has to avoid when it comes to illnesses.  Some may think I am overly cautious, but if I sense something is "happening," I start to implement a "plan of action" to ATTEMPT to offset what may be happening!!!  Often times you will hear people say, "I think I am coming down with something."  They go home and take some aspirin or something and think that will "prevent" them from getting sick, and that will NOT work.  The key is to build up the IMMUNE SYSTEM as quickly and strongly as possible.

A compromised immune system will continue to be able to be further compromised.  This I learned recently.   You often hear some people say, "I never get sick," or "If I get sick, it's usually not a big deal."  A strong immune system works hard to keep the body well.  Then you have the other people who seem to get sick often, and that is because they are NEVER getting themselves STRONG enough to combat the NEXT germ or bout of something that is coming.

There are ALWAYS germs EVERYWHERE, and ALWAYS opportunities to get sick.   It takes a STRONG body to be able to fight and win the war!

I have a bible right by my bed, and right before I carried my beautiful daughter into the kitchen at 4 a.m. this morning, she asked if she could have it to say a prayer.  And this is what she said,  "Dear God, please help me to get better.  Please help me to remember to eat all of my lunch and drink all of my liquids when I am at school so that I can be healthy." 

She said more, but you get the gist!  We talk daily about how it's important for her to eat the healthy foods I give her, and drink all her liquids.  She told me, "Mommy, I don't like being sick."  I can appreciate that.  I don't like her being sick either.  She loves school and she especially LOVES her teacher! 

It seems reasonable to want to keep your children well so that they can be well enough to go to school to learn and do all the great things that children are supposed to be doing.  Since my efforts are only MY efforts to keep the children as well as possible, I can only do the very NEXT BEST reasonable thing...

Keep myself well, so I am able to take good care of them!   Luckily I worked out hard over the weekend.  Not getting great sleep last night is a downer, BUT, I feel very well and very strong.  I also feel great that Sunday was to be my exercise "rest" day, but I did not rest, so TODAY, I can rest with my darling baby!

16 October 2009


Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. ~ Helen Keller

Woulda-shoulda-coulda.....how many of us have uttered one or all of those words at one time, or many times in our lives? Missed opportunities. Missed events. Missed occasions. Missed memories. Missed relationships.

Even the little things we choose to do or not do in a given day can make all the difference in the world.

This morning, I thought about how I felt when I started my workout at 5:30 a.m. I was not so eager to do it, but I realized that the time was perfect since the children were sleeping and I had NOT one single excuse to not do it. I had no reason to DENY myself ONE SINGLE HOUR to do something good for my mind, body and soul. Finish by 6:30, the day is open for all else I have to do... so truly NO EXCUSES. I jumped right in and got it going and within 10 minutes I was so happy that I did not HESITATE to workout.

I thought about how we do this and why? We are sitting around worrying about problems, worrying about what we have to do, what we don't have, how bills are piling up, the disagreement that was had the night with someone, all the housework, the weather, the upcoming holidays.......

But none of those things remotely matter for ONE HOUR out of your day. An hour that can truly prove to enhance your ability to better deal with all the above mentioned issues. You have to stop and say, "I need this for myself so that I can feel better. I need to feel healthy, energetic, optimistic, clearer, more focused."

When you hesitate you fall into the TRAP of never being able to address your needs and desires FIRST. You fall into a false belief that everything else is more important, but while you are hesitating, what are you TRULY accomplishing? What do you have to show for your choice to hesitate?

When we hesitate, we give away time that we will never get back. To hesitate is to doubt, to act unwillingly, to pause...to waste time..

We hear the "little birdie" talking to us. We have an intuition, or a "feeling" about something. Go with your GUT! That's a good one.

Is it really your conscious sensible "gut" feeling talking to you telling you not to take care of yourself?? Can you truly believe such a thing would be true?

Everyone's life does not have to be a daring adventure because that may be undesirable, or simply unattainable for many people, but it should be somewhat of an adventure, something that makes you go a bit beyond just living, breathing and doing the same mundane things day in and day out.

Love should be part of the journey for all of us which encompasses at least one other somebody that you share with -- share time, love, feelings, experiences. And LOVE should be what you have for yourself throughout.

Is something preventing you from loving yourself? Before you can love others, you have to love yourself. Loving yourself means taking care of yourself. When you are able to take good care of yourself, you are then able to take good care of others. You are strong enough to lend that helping hand to someone else.

Moments of hesitation are not bad -- we are all entitled to those days when we make a choice and say, "I think I will sit this one out," knowing that you put good effort in prior to that decision and you WILL come back tomorrow and get back on track.

The problems, the work, the people , the "stuff"--- will all be there waiting for you AFTER you WILLINGLY take that time out for yourself... a small amount of time out of each day to do something VALUABLE for YOU.

Don't hesitate -- your life is passing you by.

15 October 2009

Belly bumps Part 2

Yesterday I wrote a blog about how it is actually a great idea to plan ahead and start a workout routine before getting pregnant so that it can be sustained through the pregnancy and after.   Being a fit mother-to-be is a wonderful way to embrace motherhood as well as giving a stronger ability to manage weight during and after the pregnancy.  So many women struggle with weight issues after childbirth to the degree that it lingers for many years after. If your doctor says it 's ok (and be honest about the TYPE of workout you will do), then go FORTH and exercise Mommy!

More memories came to mind yesterday's blog about my two pregnancies and I decided to come back today and share some more.  I had many other friends and work associates who went through pregnancies before, during and after my own, and so I definitely witnessed different experiences.  It was very easy for me to maintain my fitness program during my pregnancies for two reasons, (1) I had exercise equipment at home, and (2) I had a  FULL-service, FITNESS CLUB in the building where I worked, and I would go EVERY MORNING, Monday -Friday at 5:15 a.m.

For the first 4 months, I did not tell anyone that I was pregnant, though I suspected that they could tell that my body was looking different week after week.   I got very "BUSTY" almost immediately and it was very difficult to hide the "GROWTH," a growth I should have definitely embraced (LOL), but I did not because (a) it gave away my "secret", and (b) it was harder to run with the extra "BOUNCY" volume!  See how my mind worked?  I was more worried about not being able to exercise than being "BOOB mama!"  How did I manage this?  I wore 2 sports bras together for extra support and minimization of "bounce!"

I was not one of those women who did not show until month 7 --- my "BELLY BUMP" was protruding from month 3 despite my 5 day a week workout routine, and it was a pretty intense routine.  I think I was more self-conscious about it because I was used to having a FLAT stomach.   I was still running 4-5 miles a day up until about month 6, and I cut back to about 3 miles in month 7 with the first pregnancy.   I lifted weights and did the machines throughout both pregnancies.    I did not have the opportunity to do "pregnancy" exercise classes, but I know that NOW, there are MANY fantastic ones to pick, choose and refuse, as well as home pregnancy workout DVDs.   Prenatal YOGA seems DELICIOUS! 

During my 1st pregnancy, my company attire was very "corporatey" and so I purchased quite a few very lovely suits and dresses.   Three years later for my second pregnancy, we had become a "dress down" firm, and so I was able to be more trendy and cute, sporting things like, leather pants, tight tops, designer jeans, and I have to mention (don't recommend this) that I was quite vain about how I looked walking, and I wore heels throughout BOTH pregnancies.  I refused to "WADDLEl!"   There was a very sweet security guard who greeted me every morning as I entered the building to go to the gym, and he was always amazed that I was showing up every morning as usual.   He would often comment, "so, when are you going to start waddling?  All pregnant women waddle."   That's all I had to hear.  I REFUSED to waddle.

I truly think "exercising" helped me to not waddle.   I felt strong, had good posture, strong legs, and I did continue to wear a 3 inch heels throughout and I can proudly say.... NO WADDLING occurred.  My security guard will attest to this fact. Again, I am not recommending that anyone wear heels... just sharing what I did.   

I can truthfully tell you that during my first pregnancy, I was the "center" of attraction.   All eyes were on me every morning!  "Here she comes, Miss Belly!"  There were no other "very" pregnant women coming to the gym everyday.  Most of the time, the women who got pregnant would start out with good intentions, and then stop coming after their 5th month or so.   I was a bit self-conscious of how I "looked" and thought about only working out at home, but I truly "FELT" great all over, so why did I need to change my routine?? The only thing I did change was I stopped driving in around month 7 and my husband would drive me in  -- door to door service!  Milk it if you can Mommas!!   This we did because I was lugging a big backpack and clothes everyday so it helped to not have to walk from the parking garage with all that stuff and MY BIG BELLY!

The guys at the gym (who by the way, I worked with them) started getting nervous when I was still showing up in month 9... it was HYSTERICAL.  Some of them would crack jokes saying, "hey you need to be careful, your water may break and I want to use that machine!"   Ha ha!  Making them nervous was a LOT of FUN!!

I was truly a TREND setter!  A few women who became pregnant toward the end of my pregnant approached me and said, "I hope I can last as long as you did!  You are my inspiration!"   I rooted for them even when I was at home on maternity leave, I would sometimes call the job to find out if they were still "at it."

I also ended up sharing some of my clothes with other Mommies-to-be because I knew how they felt, and I knew how expensive it was to buy a lot of "cute" maternity clothes.   I knew how it felt to wake up to get dressed for work and stand in front of the closet wanting to cry because nothing fit, or nothing looked good when you put it on. 

Though it was hard to be energetic while pregnant, I can say that I was sooooooooooooo happy I chose to work out consistently with both pregnancies because I truly felt strong and healthy during both pregnancies, and I recouped quickly from both c-sections within a few days.

Often times when a woman gets pregnant she considers the pregnancy like a time to "take a break" and "rest" as if she is going through an illness or recovering from a bad wound.   This is not the case.  You do NOT have to do strenuous exercise, and should not if you were not doing it before your pregnancy, but you should do something that is HEALTHY and good for you.   It can help to improve your mood, relieve stress, and prevent you from developing certain conditions like gestational diabetes for starters!  

Consider if you already exercise, why would you stop?  You have lovely toned arms, legs, back.... keep working on them so that they remain that way throughout!  

Exercising tends to keep a person disciplined about how they eat as well.   Being pregnant does not mean "open season for gluttonous" eating.   Your baby deserves good nutrition and so do you!   Just how some foods can trigger headaches, mood swings, stomach issues, etc., when you are not pregnant, they still have the same capacity when you are pregnant.

To all the Mommies-to-be, don't agonize over being pregnant.  Sit down and figure out how you want your pregnancy to be, and try to "plan" out what few things you will do that will ultimately make you feel better, healthier, happier, and excited about the life that you are bringing into the world.

There is "LIFE AFTER PREGNANCY," so consider that what you do for 9 months will have a huge impact thereafter.   It's a tough job alone having to be a parent, possibly dealing with a colicky baby, adjusting to the new life .... so if you can combat the issue of HEALTH and WEIGHT to some degree beforehand, it will make things a bit (or a lot) easier down the line!

Maybe you will be the trendsetter at your job, in your family... in your neighborhood!   Don't worry about how you look... just take care of you Mommy!