Jan 122017
 
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Teenager Attitudes

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Stephanie Pletka

Help, I Have a Teenager

What happened to my sweet, precious child? You know, the one that was fun, lovable, a conversationalist and a friend.

It’s a phase, just like everything else.  Seasons of life come and go; it’s their right of passage.  And it too, shall pass. You survived it, and so will they.

Remember, kids actually like discipline, margin and guidance. It’s the world’s best kept secret. They’re trained as teenagers to roll their eyes, cop an attitude, sigh loud enough to break the sound barrier, but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

Their hormones are a mess, as they transition from children to adulthood. I know how they feel. They’ve got the case of the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s but I can’t, going on; testing the waters on every front.

Sweet Attitude Before Teenage Years

Sweet Attitude Before Teenage Years

Notice during game night, they act too old and cool to play, but they hover close enough, as to not miss out on the action.

It’s their job to test the boundaries, as they grow up, seek independence  and figure out who they are in this world.

Don’t you remember what u were like, growing up? 3 times worse. Oh dear God, I can hear the prayers now: please don’t let them be near as bad as I was, you know- you already have a story in your head; and it probably includes the word jail. You’re already calling your parents to say you’re sorry.

By testing the boundaries, they’re walking up to the Electric Fence of life to make sure it’s still there, making them feel safe, secure and cared for.

Guide them now, like bumper cars hitting the rails. Parental Guidance is a safe place for kids to bump life, test drive what works and what doesn’t, take notes and move towards success in a safe, secure area; before they enter harsh reality and life offers fewer soft places to land.

When they act unlovable, lean in, love harder, chase often and pray like there’s no tomorrow.

Like the Olympic sport, Curling, we’re whisking the broom left and right: love, lean in, hug, repeat. Hey, they gotta know we’re either crazy (highly probable) or care about them too much to let them veer off into the ways of the world.

They are your future. Their kids will be your grandkids. You have to fight for the goodness. No one will love, guide and care for your kids like you will.  Stay the course, parents. You got this! Don’t let them fool ya. They love the guidance and margin. Those rolling of the eyes, is just code word for ‘I love you too.’

Because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a Father, the son he delights in. Prov 3:12

Jan 212016
 

YOga jpg

The Power of Intentional Living
by Stephanie Pletka

I’ve never thought of myself as a slow paced, Yoga type of girl, rather a triathlon racing, tennis ball whacking one. So when when I pulled a ligament in my leg and had to quit tennis for a while, what seemed like the worst season of life, turned out to be the best. I tried playing. I hopped and hobbled, prolonging the Closing of the Tennis Door. I should have let it naturally close, but the Southern in me, fought to my death, when I should have graciously let it go, waiting for what was behind door #2.

Do you ever have times in your life when a door closes, a sweet season of life is over and you wonder, what’s next? Your kids leave for college, as you envision chasing them behind the car as they pull out of the drive way, or better yet, enrolling in classes at their university, while renting an apartment across the street, just to enjoy the relationship you have, a bit longer. How can it be over? You are being promoted out of an amazing department at work. How can this be a good thing? You try to suck the last bit of air, the last ounce of goodness, by trying to pry the door open for a few more days, a few more weeks, throwing a wrench in the plans of whatever is trying to change what is good, (how dare they) only to find yourself in a compromised situation where there’s no winner. They say a true lady knows when to leave. A lesson I’m just now learning.

I loved tennis. It was free therapy. It kept me fit, social. It was my way into all my girl’s luncheons, weekend parties, girl’s night outs, Friday night double dates. Throw the rage on the court, smell the roses, off. It was good for the soul.

My favorite exercise, chasing a yellow ball, has ceased to exist. Now what?

So I joined a gym, found an exercise class in the time frame that worked best for me, and it happened to be YOGA. If you know me, I’m probably the least coordinated, Zen loving, slow pace hating, leg contorting, dirty dog posing, girl you’ll ever meet. What could I possibly get out of Yoga class?

So, upon my husband’s slight push, I signed up for an adventure, outside my comfort zone. I didn’t have a mat, I’m not flexible and dark spaces make me feel claustrophobic.

I walk into the class, and a perky, pig tailed instructor (my kind of girl) skipped up to me and said: We’re so glad you came today.

“Wherever you Are, is where you are suppose to be.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. Wherever I am, is Where I’m suppose to be? Had she been watching the story of my life through a hidden cam? Perhaps the tennis door closed, just so I could hear those words.

Wherever you Are, is where you are suppose to be.

It knocked me to the core. The mama in me comes from the school of: Wherever I am, I should BE somewhere else. Whatever I am, I should be SOMEONE else. WHOever I am, is NOT enough.
I’ve never heard this before. Maybe Tennis wasn’t the end all be all. Maybe a door actually had to close, for another to open. This, perhaps, wasn’t an accident. I sure would not have taken this class on purpose, if the door had not been closed, locked and boarded up.

As I began to hold stances that would make a grown man cry, sweating, screaming inside, trying to figure out how to escape through the side door without being caught, I found a peace I hadn’t felt.

Where I am is where I need to be. My torn-up body says I need to be hitting a yellow ball with my friends. My new season of life is telling me to relax, enjoy the moment I’m living, quit trying to pry open a door that should be closed.

I had a tool belt, full of ideas, on how to keep that door open. And God wanted it closed. Imagine, if wherever you are, is where you’re suppose to be, could be true. It felt good, not to run from this place to that, high five-ing one sports event to get to another, comparing my lot in life to another; never truly enjoying the journey, all the while carrying self imposed luggage not meant for us to bear.

What a concept. Those words were like a beacon in the night, a bull horn on a football field. All the sudden, this ADHD girl conceived the idea that I no longer had to struggle, juggle, spin plates, push, prod, beg or plead to be where I was suppose to be.

It was like a toddler who learned how to walk for the first time, a child who tried and failed to ride a bike, and then while I was peddling, I just rode. It was such a simple concept; my shoulders, my neck, my head . . . my mind finally relaxed.

You know! The kind of relax when someone says to relax and you think you are, but it takes you 3 more times to realize your shoulders are still up in the air, perched like an eagle on a limb?

You realize that something so simple as relaxing, as being, is a mode that we, as moms don’t acclimate to, so easily. We’re a work in progress. But oh, when we begin to ride that bike, relax those shoulders and learn to BE in the moment, not groaning over the past or churning over the future, but learning the lesson in the moment; it’s an amazing gift.

Enjoy the journey, not always seeking the final destination, or choosing to pry open a door that for whatever reason is trying to close.

The blessings come, when you let go of all the twirl and swirl around you, taking the stance, knowing: Wherever you are, IS where you are suppose to be.

 Posted by at 4:05 pm
Nov 282013
 

santa

Oh the Marketing Machine of Life.  It keeps us spinning from the mall to the grocery store to Amazon.  Money and time have sprouted wings; they’re on a one way trip, never to return.

Christmas in July,  Gray Thursday, Black Friday, there’s hardly time for rest and relaxation before “high fiving” another holiday, while planning for the next.  I read a cartoon the other day.  It showed a turkey telling Santa to BACK OFF,  “it’s STILL my holiday.”

The “to do” list runs deep:  Kid’s matching outfits, check!  Christmas photos, mailing list complete, elf on the shelf duties, decorations, presents, over indulgence, it’s enough to keep your head spinning. While these tasks are fine, don’t let the “To Do List” Steal your show.

Last year my neighbor and her teenage son were running last minute Christmas errands when a man driving on the wrong side of the rode hit them head on, killing the mom. In the blink of an eye, it was over. I think of her often.  What were her last words, her last thoughts?  Do we take the time to live in the moment, in the present – or are we running around in a state of panic, trying to fit too many tasks into too little time?  Total mayhem makes mama frazzled and when mama’s not happy, well . . .

Like most moms, all the logistics weigh squarely on our shoulders.  But we carry an immense amount of power.  We’re the hub of communication, the spokes on a wheel.  Our family members look to us for guidance, for direction.   What are we cooking mom?  Who’s coming to dinner?  Where are we going for the holidays?

Like little soldiers, they’re ready to follow our beck and call.  The power lies within us, to determine the tone.  Will the holidays be peaceful and fun, full of great memories and tradition or stressful and agitated.

We can budget wisely and enjoy those meals in moderation or be paying debts and loosing those extra pounds in March.  Don’t allow the “Marketing Machine of Life” to steal the show.  Let’s not make the Turkey and Santa have to dual it out.  En guarde! Remember the real reason for the holiday is to reflect on our blessings.

Here’s to living the best version of you.

 Posted by at 11:07 am
Jan 142013
 

Our family drove cross country for Christmas: 42 Hours, 4 hotels, 4 kids and 3,000 miles of Awesomeness! We took pictures along the way, posting fabulous shots of our adventures on Facebook.  From ice fishing in North Dakota, shopping in Chicago to Skiing in Minnesota, we had an amazing trip, meeting up with friends and family all along the way.

Facebook Friends commented:  You guys are the most adventurous people I know.  One said:  ADOPT ME!.

I had to giggle: It made me think, while the pictures portrayed the fabulous side, the glamour, I have to admit, Facebook did not give you the behind the scenes, “clear picture” of what really happened. The cropped pics, the car fights, endless pee breaks, the number of pictures we took before all the kids looked at the camera.

‘Hey kids, quit making rabbit ears over Santa’s head, stop crying: from the bribes to the threats:  What Facebook didn’t tell you.photorabbit ears

We stayed in great hotels along the way; though nothing was mentioned about having to sleep in a room with 4 kids: children sleeping sideways, digging their toes into your back. My husband slept so soundly, he wouldn’t have heard a tornado if it ripped the roof off, yet I laid there all night, hearing all the sounds of each child: sucking thumbs, tooting in their sleep, kids whimpering as they re-lived fights, earlier in the day, with their siblings over a toy or an ipad.

We had a ton of fun ice fishing.  Ok, not really.  I’m going to have to side with my Mother-in-law on this one.  It was fun to say we did it once.  It was so cold, the bait froze.  My 4 year old finally stopped crying , after bribing her with a bag of doritos.  Thank you Doritos.  You’re a lifesaver.
photo ice cry     photo ice fishing

15 minutes of crying in 2 degree weather.                After I gave her the Doritos. 

On the 22 hour journey back, the kids had to stop every 30 minutes to pee.  In a last ditch effort, we gave them a 7-11 Big Gulp Cup to pass around. We trusted the kids to pass it up from the back of the mini van to the front, making it’s way through 4 sets of little hands. That didn’t work so-well last time, when they dropped it in my purse, but hey, it’s a new day, so we thought we’d try it again.  And it worked! Woo hoo. We labeled it “Hazardous Material” and guarded it with our lives.

Someone who shall remain nameless, forgot to bring the bag full of DVD’s for the road trip, so the kids watched “Mall Cops” and We Bought a Zoo – 9 times each. Every 2 hours, I heard: Mom – Push & Play.

So when we smiled for the camera to give you THE SHOT of us Ice Fishing, we may have forgotten to mention or display the fact that one of the kids stepped a little too close to the Propane Heater inside the Fish Tent, caught their backside on fire; jacket went up in flames, smoke billowing out the door.  I unzipped the tent, grabbed “said” child and threw them into the snow.  It felt like watching Uncle Lewis from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when he caught Himself & the Christmas tree on fire with his stogie!

photo fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like snow on his jacket, but it’s not. It’s the inside stuffing from where he caught on fire.

After 12 hours of driving through Snow and  negative degree temperatures, we pulled over on the side of the road, next to the Arches in St. Louis, rolled down our dirty, snow-covered window and snapped a picture for the Bucket List.  Did we go inside, catch the awe-inspiring sunset view from the top?  Uh, let me think . . . . NO! We were too tired, too hungry and too crazy-looking to be let in.

photo car

photost louis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But hey, that’s part of making memories.  If the journey wasn’t colorful, it wouldn’t be remembered as such.

“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between.” Norton Juster.

It’s the Journey that matters most.  The destination is but for a moment.  The journey from beginning to end is the gooey awesomeness in the middle; the best part of life. So, if my friend still wants us to Adopt her, we’ll take her, but thought she deserved to hear all the Facts that she didn’t see on Facebook, before a decision was made. Life is What you make it!

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!

photo

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Sep 172012
 

 

When I sold my business to stay home, I figured – if I was the CEO of my company, I’d call myself the CEO of my home.  Hey, I run this ship, right?

Kids don’t care what titles you hold, who you know, or what you do for a living . . . When they’re little, it’s all about what THEY want.  I notice that each time I go to the bathroom to pee or even take a quick bubble bath, it must set off a silent alarm somewhere in the house.  As soon as the bathroom door closes, the kids come running.  It doesn’t matter if they’re watching a movie, playing in the backyard or riding bikes on the cul de sac.  As soon as I close the door to the bathroom, it becomes someone’s duty to knock, bang, cry, shove notes underneath or plead urgently for food.

In the minute it took me to pee, one of the kids colored their tennis shoes with a blue highlighter.  Why did you do that, Johnny?  Well, I was trying to tell you I couldn’t find paper and you weren’t listening.” Yes, it’s because I was IN the bathroom.”

I can hide in the closet to eat rice crispy treat, (because it’s the last one – and frankly, I don’t wanna share) and what happens?  They come running.  It’s like they were born with dog ears, that can only hear high pitched sounds, cookie wrappers and bathroom doors closing.

I can say:  Clean your room – And what do I hear? Nothing,cricket sounds.  But you go to the back yard to sneak a piece of chocolate and their hunting you down like a heat seeking missile.  If I holler for the boys to clean their room, they can’t hear me.  If I call their name with a high pitched voice, they’ll come running; like a whistle that only puppies can hear.

Like Bert is to Ernie, and Ying is to Yang, so it is with our children – doors close, they knock.  Wrappers rattle, ears perk up.  That’s what kids do.

It comes with the territory.

Just as death and taxes will always be with us, so will little hands knocking on doors and pint-sized sniffers smelling chocolate, after they’ve gone to bed.  Embrace the little-ness while it lasts.  One day, you’ll get to pee in peace, eat that last cookie in broad day light and be a respected CEO, once again.  But until then . . . embrace it ALL.  They are your little chocolate sniffers and door knockers. And we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Here’s to the Living the Best Version of You!

Galatians 6:9 “And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap a harvest, if we do not lose heart.”

 

 

 Posted by at 11:38 am
Mar 272012
 

I was in a BIG BOX Store the other day, hauling 4 kids (something I don’t recommend), trying to quickly get in and out, when the 6 year old decided he wanted to touch everything he passed.   Since he was successfully grabbing everything, his little brother thought it would be cool to PUSH everything he saw.  Things were flying off shelves faster than I could give them the “MOM LOOK.”  You know the LOOK that sends shock waves of fear, without having to say a word!

In an effort to ease tension and keep us from being thrown out, I delegated pushing the cart to my 10 year old with the baby inside, while I grabbed 2 little boy’s hands and gently guided them down the middle aisle, quietly threatening their lives if they touched one more item; when a woman walked up, (you know, the kind walking slowly toward you, but you’re not sure why).  She smiled and said:  THESE ARE THE BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE.

Now let me pause . . . because my first thought, was NOT Pretty!  An Attitude of CRAZY wanted to rise to the top.  As I slowly regained my eye sight, it was more like, Where’s the Roof, I May Jump.  If this is THE BEST . . . I mean,  The BEST, then we’ve got a problem.

I was hoping more for:  “Hang in there, it gets better.”  If someone dangles a carrot of hope, I can keep going, but telling me this is IT:  We have arrived at the station! These are the BEST Days, left me exiting the store, like a deflated balloon.  I could have walked across the street, never seeing oncoming traffic, thinking this IS IT?  I’ve heard horror stories of rebellious teenagers; heck, I was one myself.  But hearing,  These were the Best Days, left me in a state of despair.

As I lay in bed, in the dark hours of the night, pondering what she meant, I began to access my life, our situation, the crazy, loud life of raising a gaggle of kids so close in age.  I couldn’t help but laugh.  I couldn’t help but review my circus-filled life of my 2 year old flapping her little chicken arm, trying to do an “arm fart” at the kitchen table, something she had seen her 3 brothers do.  I laughed at the thought of my 4 year old playing the violin, still wearing his bike helmet or my 6 yr old writing the words:  Left and Right on the top of his new tennis shoes with a SHARPIE Marker, so he wouldn’t forget.

If we redefine what is GOOD in our lives – these are good times, if we see it for what it is, and not the unrealistic expectations of what it could be.  If we understand that our house is probably going to look like 12 people live in it, then our mindset will change.

Instead of taking things too seriously and always seeing the bad, the negative aspects, we need to lighten up and think, what would we do if the kids weren’t here?  Ok, Italy comes to mind, but for the long haul, this journey we’re on:  leading, guiding, loving; this adventure we’re on, eventually leads to them leaving the nest.  Embrace the good, the bad and the loud; so the next time you are walking the aisles, gaining attention of judgmental eyes – smile and whisper to yourself:  These are the Best Days of My Life, because they are MINE!

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You.

 Posted by at 7:40 pm
Jan 032012
 

I visited a doctor’s office the other day and for insurance purposes the questionnaire asked what I did for a living. Never understanding why it matters, I wrote:  MOM.  I used to say Director of Communications or Business Owner and boy did that feel good.  It said everything I needed to say in 2 -3 words to boost my ego.

Now, when I fill in the box with :  MOM – I hear 2 little words in my head:   “JUST A.”  I felt compelled to explain, as if I needed a paragraph to say: I cook for a small army, ya know, planning menus, organizing schedules, responsible for annual budgets.  We’re teachers, accountants, counselors, chauffeurs; we’re public relations, risk management, the CEO of our Household all rolled into one.

For whatever reason, I’ve become my own enemy in viewing the word MOM, as if I had been retired from active duty, been put to pasture, as if staying at home meant doing nothing.  With a title like Director of Something, there’s a value set to it; a monetary figure, a set of skills earned to attain this position.  With the title of MOM there’s no financial figure tied into the equation, therefore motherhood doesn’t reflect the respect it deserves.  After all, who would work for nothing?

While I know that’s not true, I somehow felt compelled to march in a parade, hold my flag high as if to say:  we guide little hearts into adulthood, teaching them to be productive citizens, raising leaders of tomorrow.  Perhaps it’s because our pay rate doesn’t translate in monetary form.  No real salary, pay increase, bonus or vacation days.  While greenbacks are a definite bonus, the benefits of parenting far out way financial perks.

I then realized, why do I care what the world thinks.  I’m not in charge of changing global perception, rather my own.  The problem is with me.  In the end, I know my credentials, my capabilities. There’s no need to post a sign on my car advertising my resume.  What matters is that I’m focusing my attention, my abilities and talents on guiding my children (doing my part) to raise the best individuals they can be, one person at a time.  One day they will be someone’s employee, boss, spouse, parent, friend;  that’s my contribution, my legacy.

So here’s a shout out to all those moms (working at home/ in the office) who will NOT make the Forbes’ Top 100 list.  Your reward is mentoring those trailing a little behind you in life’s journey.  There are no term limits, no set guidelines.   No matter what you write in the BOX OF LIFE, that one-word description can’t possibly DEFINE all the many facets of Who You ARE and what you do. Here’s to Living in Confidence, knowing you are where you need to be, this moment in time.

 Posted by at 5:42 pm
Dec 202011
 

Someone asked me the other day, what was my most memorable Holiday. I think they were anticipating a story filled with fun traditions and great family memories.

Instead, I said:  We lost our 4 yr old son at Mall of America.  You know, the largest Mall between here and Canada.   Nestled in Minneapolis, MN, this 5.2 million square foot facility contains roller coasters, a water park, a  theme park – and that’s just the first floor!

We lost (Oh I’m sorry – I mean, my HUSAND) lost our son while watching the 4 of them in Lego Land.  I traveled 3 stories from the food court with 6 bags of chicken nuggets and upon my return, noticed one was missing.

We searched high and low for that child.  No doubt, my husband’s hands were full.  Four kids ages 8 to1 in Lego Land can’t be easy.  But the more we searched and couldn’t find the little fella, the more my anxiety grew exponentially.

After calling Mall Security, we noticed a commotion, almost like a parade of people marching from the 3rd floor, making their way down the escalators.  Police officers, lightening equipment, cameras:  It looked like channel 2 news had arrived on the scene.  As I’m telling my husband, through tears, what I’m gonna do to him if we don’t find our child, we are circled by a camera crew – recording tears, private conversations and police interviews.

It turns out, Mall of America was taping Mall Cops for a television series on TLC.  Seriously?  Only to us would this happen – The Crazy Family; though we look fairly normal on the outside.

They asked if we’d be interested in signing a contract to be on TLC’s 1st Thanksgiving episode.  Now isn’t that Special.  Their first episode.  (Do you hear the cynicism)?

She said: It’s a story about families coming together.  Oh REALLY! ?  Uh, I wasn’t born yesterday, but I’m thinking it’s a story about Horrible Parents who can’t keep up with their kids in a mall the size of Montana.  After finding him in Spongebob Land, we made a bee-line to the car with TLC’s paparazzi camera crew chasing us with a contract, begging us to share our “Wonderful Family Reunion Story.”  We were all out of breath, running with strollers and diaper bags. I’ve never buckled kids in a car so fast. I’m pretty sure we left skid marks in the parking lot.

So when you’re beating yourself up for thinking you’re a terrible mom, because you forgot to feed little Johnny something with color for dinner or you missed Timmy’s Parent-Reader Day, forgot to slip money under the pillow from the tooth fairy or didn’t sign up your son for the football team, just think, you could be sharing your story on TLC with the whole world.  We all have tough days when life’s margins are running thin.  Just remember, we’re not perfect, but a work in progress.  Do your best and forget the rest.  Here’s to making holiday memories – ONLY the GOOD ONES!

 Posted by at 11:24 am
Nov 032011
 

Asking a mom if she ever feels guilty is like asking a woman if she likes chocolate.  It’s a “no brainer.”  It comes with the territory.  Show me a mom and guilt is around the corner.

Like the song:  Should I Stay or Should I Go, guilt peeks its ugly head like a fire breathing dragon.  Should I quit work and stay at home.  Should I go back to work?  Do I volunteer enough, did little Johnnie get plenty of hugs last week?  Are my kids eating healthy enough, are they in the correct activities?  If only I were a better cook, skinnier, happier – and as the plates continue to spin, so does our head.

Guilt is tricky in that whatever you do, the void can’t be filled.  Whatever choice you make, it’s the wrong one.  If you’re here, you should be there, ying should be yang, up should be down, right is wrong, the grass is always greener, and the cycle continues.

There’s a book recently published called:  “Enemies of the Heart”.  It discusses the characteristics of Guilt and spurs one to answer the questions:  Who do you owe and What do you owe?

Often, the “Guilty” hat follows us around like a permanent cloud, a dark shadow you can’t outrun.  The author, Andy Stanley suggests if we can answer Who do we owe and What do we owe, we’ll break free from this emotional control.  Guilt, a destructive power, tries to set us up for failure, before we’re out of the gate.  Look guilt in the face, make it play a fair game.

Whatever circumstances you’re in, perhaps something unforeseen, a bad marriage, a bum deal at work,  miscommunication, a child in a difficult phase, whatever the case, set up a plan of action.  If you’re happy at work, embrace it.  If you’re happiest at home and can afford to stay, seize it.  We’re not living in Utopia where everything is perfect.  We’re living in a world full of too many choices, too little time and one mom trying to juggle it all.

Don’t let Guilt rob you of the joy you have, in whatever position or spot you land.

Guilt is a “Happiness” robber, a contentment thief.  It’s no respecter of persons and doesn’t care what side of the fence, saddle or route you’ve chosen. Guilt will find fault with whatever stance you take, making you feel as though you’ll never meet the standard, complete the race or be truly successful.  It’s a 2nd guesser, a what-IF-ER.

It’s not your friend, rather an enemy that needs to be set sail.  If you had a “friend” who treated you this way, they would be sent on their way in a heart beat, with a footprint on their back side, yet we cuddle up with GUILT like a warm blanket and hot chocolate, hosting it in the most sacred position: our home, our heart, our life.

Identify Guilt for what it is, recognize it and whack it with a broom.  Tell it out loud:  NO MORE!  Answer the questions:  Who do I owe and what do I owe and in this, you’ll find the peace, the contentment you need to embrace the Happy in the place you’re in.

Do Your Best and Forget the Rest.  Here’s to living a life with contentment and purpose.

 Posted by at 7:57 am
Oct 182011
 

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 9.16.13 PM

 

 

 

 

Have you ever eaten a fantastic dessert, as you held an interesting conversation, looked down and thought, “Who Ate My Pie?”

As I’ve raised kids, climbed the corporate ladder, and worked the PTA gig, I’ve often wondered:  Where did my Sexy Go?

I began searching for it.  Did someone steal it from under my nose?  Did I loose it on the way to having kids?  Did it I exhaust it, with my Lulu Lemon and Ponytail look? Had I not made room for it amongst soccer, ballet, deadlines, and dishes?  Was there not an extra seat in my minivan?

As I began to search for my distant friend, I had to remember what it looked like.  Had it matured?  Could we still be friends?  The mirror reflecting what use to be – now told a different story. Would we fit together with the ease we once knew?  Would we recognize one another?

Sexy is more than a little black dress, heels, red lipstick and a trip to Vegas.

Sexy is:

Confident

Strong

Independent

It’s Quiet, it’s Loud

It’s Smart

Empowered

Vulnerable

Courageous

Capable

Sexy is an attitude, a mindset.  It’s not whiny,  in constant longing for affirmation; it’s not weak.  It’s not crying over a college figure that once was.

Sexy pulls you up by the boot straps and turns your life around, makes changes you’ve always needed but hadn’t.  It’s the girl that realizes she’s the BOSS of Her OWN Life, the Leading Lady in her Own Play, the Decider of Her Own Fate.

With every decision you make and every word that comes from your mouth, choose to be confident and empowered. So when you throw on those PJ’s, Yoga pants or the little black dress, don’t forget to put on your sexy.  It’s all in the TUDE, the atti-TUDE.  Here’s to Celebrating the Best Version of You.  Now that’s Sexy.

 Posted by at 1:53 am
Jun 092011
 

I love to be happy, who doesn’t, right?  Webster’s defines Happiness as as state of Well-being and Contentment.  Well, sign me up.

I went to the “World of Coke” and their new slogan is “Open Happiness.”  Wouldn’t it be wonderful that every time your kid has a bad attitude, someone colors the living room wall or you slam your finger in the door, just grab a coke and “Open Happiness.”

Y, I’d have an 18 wheeler backed up to the front of my house, unloading 12 ounce cans of Happiness, quicker than he could blink.  Load me up, boys.

But it’s not that simple.  Happiness is not “The Midas Touch” where everything you put your hand to, turns to gold.  Happiness is a state of well being, wherever you are, in the moment – find contentment.

You don’t need to climb another rung on the corporate ladder, longing for a sportier car, a larger house, a shiner ring. It’s true contentment, just the joy of Being where you are, in the moment.

Try lying in in your backyard, looking up at the stars one evening.  Practice contentment.  It’s not usually a friend that’s beating down the door to get in,  but more of a quiet satisfaction.

Wherever you are, in whatever stage of life, take a deep breath, make a list of what makes you thankful; and Open Happiness, it’s zero calories.

 Posted by at 11:11 pm
Mar 262011
 

After 4 kids, and the fact that they EAT 24/7, eating in-between eating, it’s crazy. There are PB&J sandwiches, chicken nuggets and goldfish crackers everywhere, while the Strawberries sit nicely on the counter, waiting patiently for someone to try them.  Now that my youngest is 2, I can’t use; “I just had a baby” as an excuse for weight I had gained.

I joined an online-points tracking system.  You enter what you ate into the “food tracker” and what activities you did, in the “activity tracker.”  If I walked 3 miles, I’d type “walk” in the tool bar, to see how many points I’d earned toward my goal; and this is what the drop box said:  I kid you not:

Which did you do today?

Walk up stairs carrying 1-24 lbs (I assume kids or laundry)

Walk carrying a snow or leaf blower

Walk/Run with crutches

Walk pushing a wheel chair (didn’t mention a stroller)

Walk with a horse

Walk with golf clubs (ok, I’ll give ya that one)

I have to admit, I was hard pressed just to find:  Walking.  You know, fast paced, cardio, exercise-worthy Walking!  I’ve walked a million miles up stairs carrying laundry and children. By their standards, I should be skinny by now. It seemed as though they were giving us more excuses, for not really getting out and sweating.

Between kids and activities, school, taxi service, homework, office projects, dinner and bath time, some days it feels like there’s nothing left.  But you were a whole person with great ideas and thoughts before marriage and kids – now It’s time for You.  It’s time to write down those goals and begin accomplishing for Mwau!

I’ve spent too many years wishing this and hoping for that, without taking steps toward the goal.  I’d love to click my heels,  have a Genie in a Bottle at My Command and, Poof, the house is clean, Boom – To Do List – gone!  I could wish that I love to run, or put on gym clothes and hope to make it outside today; I think of things all day long.  But without Action, it doesn’t change a thing; except the guilt that tends to build inside.

Have you ever laid in bed, knowing you’re late to something, but didn’t want to get up? Yet, you lay there, procrastinating, not even enjoying time in bed, for worrying and thinking about how late you’re gonna be.  It’s time to Get Up, Grab Life by the Horns; Be Ahead of the Game for once.  It Feels Good.

No more whining, complaining, waiting, thinking, pondering, lying around perpetuating GUILT and knocking yourself over all the Energy You Place into Doing Nothing.  Become the Productive Citizen you always Hope for your own Children; get off your Rear and Take Action Today . . . Now . . . For You!  Be the Example.

Wanna own a business, write a blog, a book, join a team, invent a product, start a club . . . be the NFL’s oldest cheerleader?

No more “walking with crutches or pushing a wheel chair.”  This behavior offers very few rewards.   It’s time to Get Up, Lace up those Running Shoes, Open the Door Of Life and Take On what you’ve been mulling over for years.  You know what it is.  Write it Down and Trump It.

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”  Dr. Seuss

 Posted by at 11:22 am
Feb 252011
 

The Fabulous – Facebook – Fasade

Have you ever taken a photo of yourself and saw all the flaws and thought . . .  I wish I could photoshop that?  But it’s real life, right?  The Fabulous Life of Facebook works the same way.  We take our ordinary life, flaws and all, and write a fabulous post – minus the mundane – and thus, tweak our “picture of life.”

Who wants to hear that you can’t think of another way to make “Chicken” for dinner?  Who wants to hear that you have 9 more loads of laundry and you haven’t washed your hair since Wednesday? or that you ran out of gas on the way to soccer, and you feel like a dummy.

My life is pretty average.  I have 4 kids, and like most, I spend my days doing laundry, cooking dinner, making school lunches, running kids to and from soccer practice, art, music lessons, help with school projects, throw in a daily workout, write articles and try to scratch off the “To Do List” faster than items HOP on it.

In between all the laughter, the tears, the 2 year old hollering “EAT” EAT” EAT” & the 3 boys running in the house with new “tree house” ideas & school projects, something out of the ordinary will happen, that I need to post to Facebook; something fabulous, something worthy of celebration, that’s outside the realm of my laundry-piling, meal-cooking, diaper-changing day.

It reminds me of planning our Annual Family Photo;  it takes a couple of weeks to figure out what everyone is wearing; we have to match colors on some level,  organize outfits, have backups in case there are food spills and . . . you know the drill.

We typically do outdoor shots, and though the picture turns out fabulous, because our photographer, Crissy, is so talented, what I remember most are the gnats swarming around our heads, the dog spotting a duck across the pond and racing like a grey hound to catch it, the kids begging to play at the park and the baby crying because we had placed her in a red wagon, where she thought we were leaving her forever.

I remember after arranging all the clothes, loading everything in the car and arriving at our location, we had forgotten the babies’ pants.  Oh Dear God.  A turtle neck and a diaper, NICE!  And yet, the picture you see, is the Great American family, well put together – Living the Dream.  That’s right . . . Livin’ the Dream!

We get our kids all dressed to see Santa Claus.  They’re in red and plaid; the older kids are posing because you want them to – and the baby is screaming like mad, while the Santa Helper is clanging a bell to get their attention.  It’s all about the “Money Shot.”  Getting the kids to smile at the camera, all the while your upper lip is sweating.  It’s craziness.  This isn’t real life.  But we need to get the “Facebook” moment.

I have a friend that sends Christmas pictures of what REALLY happens when their family photo is taken.  It’s hilarious.   There’s always someone crying, one kid is goofing off and it’s AWESOME.  To be honest, it makes for a better story.  It makes me laugh so hard and the memory of that day is more precious.

So instead of “photo shopping” your life for the “Facebook” Moment, post the good, the bad and the mundane.  Just as “Chicken Soup” is Good for the Soul, posting “Real Life” is Good for the Spirit.    We’re all in This Together.  Here’s to truly living your life, inside out!

 Posted by at 2:22 pm
Feb 012011
 

Live Your Best Life

I’ll be 40 this year.  I know, I can’t believe it myself.  I use to say:  Yes, Ma’am to those people.  My heart tells me I’m younger, but the lines on my face and the amount of energy, tell me otherwise.  I’ve been mulling it over for about a year, what to do for my 40th birthday.  Something radical? Out of this world? Never been done? I need to scrape together a bucket list, and FAST! I’m gonna be 40 people!

I could jump from a plane, learn a new language.  Maybe climb the Himilayas . . . Heck, I’m not even sure how to spell Himilayas.

Then I realized if 39 is anything like 40, it should feel like 38 or 37 for that matter.  It’s just a number and I didn’t need a number designating what “Crazy Act” to perform, at least not in the next 30 days.  Whether I learn to Salsa Dance or ride a Gondola in Venice, I have lived a great life, full of stories, adventures and friendships.

I don’t need a red convertible or seats to the U.S. Open, to tell me I’ve lived life.  Everything I have, (my kids, my family, my hobbies, my friends, my journey in this life) is right where I want it to be.

I don’t need to fly with Virgin Air on their first outer space mission, to know I’ve lived life to its fullest.  As I struggled with this concept, (Have I truly embraced all life has to offer?  Am I missing out on the excitement that’s out there?) I took a stroll one evening.

As I entered the house from the back porch, I looked through the window and saw my kids running around in the living room, jumping on my husband like a jungle gym; they were so happy, giggling about nothing and everything at the same time; the baby was dragging her blanket in one hand, while holding a baby doll in the other; the dog was barking, trying to get-in on the action; and that’s when I realized, my Bucket List was being checked off the entire time.

While it’s important to integrate some of those crazy “bucket list” adventures into your life, you don’t have to crunch them into a couple of months to prove your youth or vitality.

40 is the new 30.  But even if wasn’t, I have happiness, joy and love all around me, and if that’s not a goal to achieve, then what else is there?  Embrace today’s moments, and be thankful for all the Goodness in your Life.  Here’s to 40 and Beyond!

 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Jan 272011
 

Have you ever been driving to your kid’s school or your parent’s house, and without thinking, you just ended up at your destination?  You don’t really remember the journey, because you drove in a daze and appeared there?  That’s when you know it’s time to shake it up a bit.

We get in Life’s “Rut” taking the kids to sports and ballet, running to the same grocery store, the same office, making the same 5 meals and wondering:  How did we get here?  It’s time to “Jump the Curb” girls. Get out of Life’s “Rut” and challenge ourselves to think outside the box.

My husband has traveled to NY on business, for years – and I never go, because . . . who’s gonna keep 4 kids for 4 days?  Besides, you’d spend hours pulling together medical information, school projects, little Henry has to be at baseball on Thursday, you know the gist.  It’s more work to pack and make lists, find baby sitters, write down “what-if” scenarios that will probably never happen and the list goes on.

But I did it.  I bit the bullet and wrote it all down, made all the arrangements and flew to NY for a weekend of adventure with my hubby.  And the return on the investment was priceless.  It was worth all the work.  As I walked through Times Square, I felt liberated.  I found the “Fun Girl” again, that lives life “off the cuff”, not worrying about changing diapers or making dinner.

My husband found his “girlfriend” again.  We dated that weekend and it was fun to hold hands and just go back in time to the way it use to be, without a million responsibilities.

On Friday, my husband went into the office, which gave me a day to myself to wonder the streets.  I got up early, went to NBC Studios, picked up standby tickets and hoped for the best. To be honest, I was nervous to leave the hotel, navigating all the streets, looking for buildings and entrances, all by myself.  But if I had not done it, I would have missed a day of adventure.

Instead of watching Dr. Oz on TV, I got to see him in person.  And that made for a fun story.  “Jumping the Rut of Life” is free-ing and fulfilling and will go along way, in taking care of your kids.  It’s makes you a better provider, heck, a better person for that matter.

It’s fun to let it all go and find your “core self” again.  Repeat this:  I’m Free to Be ME!!!!!!!

So when you’re up to your neck in mommy duties and you need a break, big or small “Jump Out of the Rut.”  Find yourself!  In doing so, you’ll gain liberation on your journey to adventure.

 Posted by at 1:59 pm
Jan 182011
 

Empowering moms for success – while making lunches kid’s will eat.

Click Link Below for Lunch & Snack Ideas:

Kid’s Lunch Ideas

I’ve received a lot of tips, tricks and ideas over the years, regarding school lunches and thought I’d share them with you.  Too often, I was the ill-prepared mom who couldn’t find 2 pieces of bread the morning of, to make a simple sandwich.

Providing a variety of healthy meals your kids will actually eat – is not easy.  At the beginning of the week, the kids and I collaborate on menu ideas:  criteria is based on healthy, tasty, do-able lunches.

I typically marinade and grill all my chicken on Sunday afternoon, and place them in sealed containers.  I’ll go ahead and cut part of the chicken into stripes or nuggets, for the kids lunches and set them aside in different zip locks, for the week.

I wash all the fruit and divide them into zip lock bags also.  I do the same with cookies / crackers – making the vanilla wafers with peanut butter, cutting the cheese, and dividing them into enough zip locks to handle 4 kids for the week.

I also make lunches for the little ones who stay at home.  This way, when they’re hungry, they just go pick up their lunch box out of the fridge and no one misses a beat.  If we’re running errands, I just grab their lunches and they can eat on the way.

After school, my older kids read the menu and grab the pre-made lunches already divided up – and place them in their lunch box.

It’s not easy being a mom.  Let’s stick together girls.  I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here’s to empowering moms for success – and lunches kid’s will eat.  : )

 Posted by at 7:13 pm
Dec 032010
 

People call or send emails weekly, asking questions about raising kids and I have to say, having 4 does NOT make me an expert, rather a person who’s probably failed many more times than not, doing the wrong thing, more than the average person.  So hey, if you can learn from my mistakes, that’s even better.

I’ve had more opportunities to fail.  Don’t you feel better ALREADY?  And probably apologized way more times than you’ll ever have to, and am always reminding myself that Practice makes Progress.  It’s called Life – and we’re on this crazy journey together.

1) What’s it like to have 4 kids?

The same as having 2 or 3, it’s just exponential with each child.  I have friends who have many more than me, and some with learning disabilities, so I, by no means, have it as hard or feel as frustrated as some moms who really have to kick it in gear when they don’t always feel like it.  To you, I salute your determination.

For us, it’s Crazy and Loud and everyone’s always hungry . . . there’s a ton of laundry.  But I don’t think about it too often.  Mostly because there’s no time.  I spend my days repeating myself and very seldom do I finish a complete sentence, thought or phrase without interruption.  Whether you have 2, 4, 6 or 8, you still have to make dinner, crank up the washer and drive kids around, so – GREAT JOB MOMS!  You deserve to make your own treasure box full of goodies. (www.dancepartyforone.blogspot.com)

2) Friends ask:  Was it hard having 4 kids?

No.  The answer is an Epidural.  That seemed like the easy part, until my epidural didn’t work once, for about 30 minutes, and I heard something in the room that sounded like a wolf howling.  I know, it scared me too.  But when the epidural works, it’s like the Disney Slogan:  It’s a Magical Day!

3) What sort of responsibilities do you give your kids?

Around our house, if 6 people make one mess, it’s gridlock, so everyone is responsible for cleaning up and putting back what they take out.  The kids (no matter the age) help in some capacity with the dishes, the laundry, cleaning their room and feeding the dog.  OK, Max gets jibbed some days, but for the most part, he’s fed daily.  We’re a team – and that means everyone has a role to play for the success of our family.  It’s all for One and One for All.

4) How do you instill a sense of community in your children’s lives?

We can easily become selfish and live in a world that is “ALL ABOUT ME”  It’s important that the kids see it as “WE” not Me.  We’re a community and have to help one another.  I show them pictures of the kids we sponsor in Africa and have them give a percentage of the money they earn through household responsibilities, to purchase items to give as gifts through Samaritan’s Purse.  They get so excited to use their own money to purchase fun items for other children.

5) How do you discipline your kids?

Every child is different. But this is what typically works for us: If the kids get into big fights and the one at fault is unwilling to apologize, I will randomly allow the offended party to decide the punishment.  i.e. the offender goes to bed 15 minutes earlier than everyone else.  That usually does the trick.  Next time, they’ll treat others as they would like to be treated.

If they breach a virtue (i.e. lie, cheat, steal) or disrespect mom, (rolling of the eyes/ slamming the door) it’s immediate corporal punishment.  They already know the rules, so they should consider that, their fair warning.

Carelessness, not listening . . . like throwing balls in the house and breaking things, equates to more chores beyond their regular day to day responsibilities, or taking away games, television, DS.  When we take away one of the big 3, they tend to “turn their ears on” quicker.

6) How do you stop your kids from waking up at 5:30am on the weekends?

There are no cartoons before 8:30am and each child has an electronic clock in his/her room.  They have to sleep or play in their room until they see 8 3 0.  Otherwise, the first task of the day is a chore, such as folding towels or cleaning the playroom.  This usually does the trick and we all get to sleep-in on the weekends.

7)  How do you do everything?

Who says I do.  Between sports, homework, chores, music lessons and life in general, we’ve eaten cereal for dinner on occasion. 85% of the time, the kids take healthy lunches to school.  The other 15%, they eat in the cafeteria.   There comes a time when “the list” becomes too long, the plates need extra spinning and you have to let go of something.  Give yourself permission to Surrender.

There’s no guideline that says we have to raise our kids a certain way.  Make it fun, adventurous, outside the box.  Eat dinner at the park, have the kids make their own lunch for a change.  No one is going to die.  You just need a break to recoup, re-strategize and re-define your goals.  As I’ve heard it said before:  Do your Best and Forget All the Rest.

8) Do you feel guilty doing fun things for yourself?

Absolutely Not!  You should feel guilty if you DON’T.  As the CEO of my Household, it’s important to take care of me; be a good example of a well-rounded, happy person, engaged in outside events, hobbies, social activities, tennis, date night, spa day, healthy activities that inspire you to be a better mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend.

You want the kids to see that life can be fun after childhood, and if it’s not:  you might need to re-access.  It’s not just about paying bills, cleaning the house and running kids from here to there.  Don’t be a martyr. Life is what you make it: Now get out there and make it FULL, FUN & FABULOUS!

 Posted by at 1:32 pm
Nov 222010
 

When I was 11 years old, we had a school fundraiser – selling cookies, and the top 10 winners got a chance to walk on stage in front of the entire school and choose from over 100 items.  It was the ultimate treasure box of electronics, sports equipment and apparel. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.  I began selling cookies door to door and within 2 hours had sold over $400.

My mom was so shocked and amazed at my drive to win a prize, she joined the mission and drove me all over town, ending with $1000 worth of cookies sold by sunset.  I came in 3rd place and proudly walked on stage, glancing at everything carefully, picking up this and checking out that, until my eyes landed on . . . drum roll please . . . a Red Panasonic Cassette Player & Recorder.  I proudly walked off that stage beaming, as if someone had given me a sports car.

Like most kids, mine will do anything for a Gold Star, Money or Prizes from the Treasure Box.  Sometimes I wish someone would give me a treasure box.  I’d surely be more motivated. Why should kids have all the fun?  So when my friend Becky challenged me to write down 10 things under $10 that I could reward myself with, instead of food, I went right to work.

I’m a gift person, so I figured I’d have my list completed within a couple of minutes, but what I realized is:  I knew everyone else’s list, but had trouble figuring out my own.  It’s in our nature to serve others, often times forgetting about ourselves.  It’s much easier to give, than receive.

We’re not used to having the tables turned – instead we’re taking dinner orders, like an overworked waitress handling 6 tables at once, with life’s demands flying on our “to do” list quicker than we can strike them off.

I’m much like the kids – a rabbit chasing a carrot.  You dangle a play pretty in front of me, I’m immediately motivated to do what it takes to get the job done. . . laundry . . . dishes. . . groceries.  If you splash a little motivation in the mix, it’s amazing how much work you can squeeze out of me.

What motivates you?  Create a list of 10 items under $10 and reward yourself!  Here’s my list, to get the creative juices flowing.  Make yourself a treasure box.  You deserve it!

Stephanie’s Treasure Box:

Sleeve of Golf Balls (pink or bright yellow) – easier to find in the woods

Movies: Comedies: Sweet Home Alabama / Christmas Vacation

Inspirational Books / Biography’s / Magazines

Eye brows waxed – this is good for everyone

Fun Jewelry – Rings (Pier One Imports, Target, Art/Glass Shops)

iTunes downloads

Tennis Balls (I love to hear the sound of freshness when I pop open a can)

Colorful knit scarfs

Girlie Baseball Caps

Fun Nail Polish

So here’s to creating your very on treasure box.  Thanks Becky for your inspiration and your blog:  dancepartyforone.blogspot.com

 Posted by at 10:22 pm
Oct 282010
 

I was 5 years old playing dress up, when I got the bright idea to put on a pair of tennis shoes with a pair of women’s panty hose over the top of them.  While I wasn’t the brightest one of the bunch, I had my moments, but that wasn’t one of ’em.

When I went to pull off my tennis shoes, they wouldn’t budge.  With the panty hose over the top, no matter how much I kicked, screamed, rolled and slung, those shoes would NOT come off. The more I wrestled, the more frustrated I got, and in the end, I was laid out on the floor, exhausted with stretched out panty hose and 2 shoes draggin’  behind.

That’s how it is with life sometimes.  We try to re-arrange the process, skip a few steps and wonder why life doesn’t work out the way we planned.  Without any prayer, counsel and the attitude that “I’m gonna do this myself, come hell or high water,” we’re wearing our panty hose on top of our shoes.

We skip through life trying to make things work on our own, shoving squares into round holes, wondering why some days, the world is against us.

When the entire time, God is wanting us to Be Still and Know that He is God. Ps. 46:10

Instead of praying about our day, our friends, our choices, our daily decisions that will effect our family and their lives, we just go and do what we want, with little thought or effort about God’s plan for our day, our week, our life.

In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Proverbs 3:6.

That means, pray before starting the day.  Pray for good friends, wise choices; perhaps that God will place someone in your path who needs YOU, today. Pray for your kids, that they’ll have favor with their teachers, their friends, their employers.

Placing God first, is always a good way to start the day.  No more spinning your wheels with little productivity.  In the end, we’re not really playing dress up.  This is real life and there’s no time for Panty Hose Drama.

 Posted by at 6:35 pm
Oct 222010
 

Try New Things and Shake It Up

Over the years, there have been several organizations, ideas, blogs, products and services that have changed my life for the better.  Here’s what has worked for me and I’d like to pass it along to you.

I have a “Great Ideas” file and whenever I hear a great idea, slogan, quote, brand of perfume, website, blog, business strategy, song, commercial, something funny the kid’s said, brand of shoes, mom tip, newspaper article or book idea, I write it down for a day I may need it.  It may not work for me now, but it may later.

iPod with Favorite Music:

Find that special place, whether the park, the local running track or just in your neighborhood.  When you feel good and listen to upbeat music, you’ll walk faster, get your heart rate up, work out issues that weigh heavily on your mind.  You may forget you’re working out.

Helping Others:

http://www.410bridge.org

Partner with an organization, where you connect with non-profits that utilize your gifts to serve others.  Bring fresh water to African nations by giving your money, your time to build wells for clean water:  Help identify and implement solutions to physical and spiritual needs in their community. It’s nice to drink clean water.

Athletics:

Pull out the old Tennis Racquet and build a healthier you:  It doesn’t matter whether you are good or if you even know the rules – who cares.  You’re moving.  You can’t take care of others, if you’re in a mess yourself.  There’s a free public tennis court on every corner.  Put on cute gym clothes.  Statics show, if you look good, you feel good and it makes you want to take care of yourself . . . or maybe you’ll feel guilty if you don’t work out.  : )

Blog:

http://www.dancepartyforone.blogspot.com/

This is a blog about finding YOU again, after having kids, weight gain, being pulled in every direction, till you can’t find YOU anymore.  It offers encouraging articles and videos about finding that “Sexy You” again and creating a dream list of things you’d like to accomplish for yourself.

http://www.franklinmom.com

Nashville mom that shares great recipes, grocery lists, ideas for kids, after school activities, etc).

Books – A Good Read:

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Boundaries by Henry Cloud

In reading these books, I discovered that “NO” is a complete sentence.  You have to take control of your life, or others will do it for you.  An organized house can bring peace to the soul and paying for items in cash can truly keep you out of debt.

I came from the old school:  If you have a check, you’ve got money.  If you have money, spend it.  If you don’t have to pay until 2012 for furniture, don’t.  Wrong Answer!  I never thought I’d pay cash for a vehicle, but that’s the only way we pay for them now.  We buy a 1 or 2 year old car for 1/2 the price with 10K miles on it and enjoy it till it pants it’s last breath.  If you save for something, there is a great sense of accomplishment, that you’ve truly earned it and No One can take it from you.

Flavored Coffee (My favorite):  It’s a hug in a mug and we all need a reward!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Toffee Mocha Latte

(here’s a tip: soy milk with no whip, takes 100 calories off a grande size drink)

Free Phone App – RunKeeper

Keeps track of distance:  how far I walk or run:  shows calories burned, average miles per minute, current pace, shows GPS Map of your walking pattern, and will post to Facebook, if you choose.

Mac Laptop

Apple provides an amazing assortment of programs and applications to allow your creative spirit to soar; designing your own home movies, writing a blog or book, burning dvd’s, downloading your favorite itunes, cropping and editing pictures for a fun slideshow and the list goes on .

Old Navy – Vanilla Mint Lip Balm (sold at the counter)

When I’m out and about, without makeup, there is something refreshing about putting on a fun, minty lip balm to soften those lips and give you an extra kick in your step.  You almost get an attitude.  : )

Shoes:

http://www.lulus.com

http://www.lulus.com/categories/179/shoes.html&wtid=8449c9b3e4abf08ec7c943d046d1e77e

An amazing assortment of sassy ladies’ shoes that you don’t always find at the local shoe store.  It may even spark an “out of the ordinary – let’s try a new look.”  Hey, can’t hurt to shake things up a little.

I hope some of these ideas help you kick start a New You. Here’s to Shakin’ it Up! Would love to hear your ideas.

 Posted by at 11:28 pm