Tuesday, September 10, 2013

3 Vacations Every Mother Should Take Each Year

I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica with five wonderful ladies.  It was a good friend's 50th birthday and we gathered to celebrate this special occasion.  At the beginning of the trip, I only knew the birthday girl but by the end of the trip, the six of us were best friends.

Funds and family obligations, notwithstanding, every mother should take 3 trips each year - a girl's or good friends getaway, a romantic trip with your spouse or significant other and a family vacation.  Each trip feeds a different part of our soul.

With the right mix of friends, the girl's getaway can be adventurous or pure relaxation.  For me, I wanted relaxation and good conversation - mission accomplished!  Mothers, whether it is for a week or just a weekend, we are in a space where we are not pulled in many directions and no one wants anything from us.  Do you even remember what it feels like to hear your name without it being followed by an immediate request?

I know that you love your husband, but do you like him?  Time alone - walking on the beach, dancing, talking about something besides the kids, focusing on something other than our electronic devices - allows us to reconnect to the essence of the person with whom we fell in love with and choose to be our partner in life.

Little footprints in the sand, the joyful noise of kids sliding down a waterfall, "are we there yet" from the back seat of the car, squeezing 5 people into a hotel room with only a king size bed, searching for the best ice cream in town, are all hallmarks of a great family vacation.  We have a great time, we make awesome memories but usually return only slightly less tired than before vacation.  Still, these are the memories that we will be discussing over family dinners 20 years from now.

This year, I have had the girl's getaway and short trips with the family.  I'm still hoping to have at least a weekend away with the hubby but finding someone to take care of three very active boys under 9 for even one night is not an easy task.

I didn't say that it would be easy but we are mothers and we rise to every challenge.  Happy vacationing and don't forget to share memories from your trips.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Car Therapy

I was driving to work this week singing, "I'm walking on sunshine" louder than anyone has a right to sing and it dawned on me that I have spent some of my happiest moments in my car.  Most mornings, I drop the kids off, exhale and turn the radio to my favorite station.  My commute provides precious alone time with just me and whoever or whatever I want to invite in; usually I extend the invitation to music.  My mood that day determines which songs I play. With the kids off to school, I can now listen to that cool song with a few bad words (Welcome to JamRock) that I can't let the kids hear, yell at the talk show host who is "talking crazy" and cry when I hear a sad country song (Blake Shelton's Baby), Martina McBride's (I'm gonna love you through it) or  almost any song by Shirley Caesar (No Charge) because her voice reaches in and grabs your heart.   I sing loudly.  I play Micheal Jackson's Off the Wall and dance until the person in the lane next to me starts staring at me and then I smile and wave at them.  I relax.  I breathe.  I make quick fixes to my hair and makeup (yep, I am one of those people).   I give myself pep talks about life (Janet, you woke up so it is already a wonderful day, just claim your joy today).  I say the same commuter prayer in the car every day. 

Father, thank you for waking me up this morning and starting me on my way. 
Please keep the entire family safe and accident free.  
Fill our hearts with love, joy and happiness (If it has been a rough morning, I throw in peace).  
I say a special prayer for anyone who needs you today but does not know you or is unable to pray; please bring them comfort and meet the needs of their heart.  
Thanks for your love and your blessings.
In Jesus, name.  Amen.  

When you have 3 active boys "safety and free of accidents" is a huge deal.

I sometimes turn the music down and call someone that I love.  I reserve my "car calls" for the people who make me happy because who wants to speak with a downer when you are on the road. I plan my day, try to map out my life, think about dreams that I am still afraid to say out aloud, yell at people that I don't have the courage to yell at in person but mostly I do what I love - sing and car dance.  By the time I get to my destination, I have laughed, cried, sang or danced my worries away; well most of the time. 

If you don't think that you have time for yourself, consider the time that you spend in your car.  Focus on the road ahead, drown out all negative energy, ignore all the crazy drivers and just be your craziest, wildest, funniest, most authentic self.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Are Your Daily Activities Aligned With Your Core Values?

Are your daily activities aligned with your core values?  When the answer is no, it creates both physical and emotional imbalance.  It is fine to be busy if you are busy doing the right things but it is a shame to spend all your time on a treadmill that is going nowhere. 

 A few weeks ago, my Whole Health doctor told me that I was leading a stress-filled life and that stress was contributing to my thyroid imbalance.  In response, I started a eight week boot camp class, added helpful supplements, such as Vitamin B-12, Hemp seeds, Chia seeds,and Maca powder to my diet and also cut back on my interactions with people who are a source of negative energy.  Life coaches often recommend journaling as a way to reduce stress and reconnect to your inner self and it is great advice, however I have never been able to journal for more than a few weeks at a time so I was happy to discover a shortcut.  As I was completing "happiness" exercises on one of my favorite websites (www.happify.com),  I was asked to write down my core beliefs and values.  At first I groaned at the thought but started writing anyway.  I was surprised to find that some of the things that I valued last year have changed based on all my life experiences over the past year, including the passing of my father.  Below is a random list of thoughts/beliefs that shape my day.

  1. Don't be judgmental.  Be kind and understanding regarding the road that others have traveled and the path that they have chosen for their lives. 
  2. Shower God, family, friends, and neighbors with love. 
  3. Pray everyday and always give thanks for my blessings. 
  4. Contribute to the life of a child that is not my own. 
  5. Nourish my mind, body and soul and continue to be open to new truths. 
  6. My body is the temple of God and it is to be treated with the highest regard. 
  7. Eat real food. We are what we eat. 
  8. Material things = fleeting happiness. If someone loves something that you own, give it away with a smile. 
  9. Don't be afraid to feel every emotion (laughter, sadness, tears, joy, pain). Feel it but don't dwell on it and don't hide it with substances, legal or illegal. 
  10. The power of the Bible lies with those who read it; if I don't love myself and my neighbor everyday then it is just a book with good stories. 
  11. I am an introvert but not a loner. Strong relationships and strong friendships mean everything to me. 
  12. We are our brother's keeper; don't miss a chance to help someone in need. 
  13. Take a moment everyday through prayer or meditation to listen to what is in your heart. 
  14. Listen more than you speak and give more than you receive.
  15. Exercise every week.  Sometimes that means exercising your facial muscles by smiling at everyone that you meet and exercising your arms by giving everyone a hug.

What I learned  from this exercise is that in order to better align my beliefs to my daily life, I need to become more connected to my local community.

Take a few minutes to jot down your core beliefs, your goals and a few things that you value.  Keep a journal for one week and document everything that you do.  Are your daily activities aligned with your goals and your core beliefs?  What can you eliminate to make room for inspiration and growth?  What can you incorporate in your life to increase your peace, general well-being and your impact on society?   

Share your list so that we can inspire, support and encourage each other.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Honor the victim of the Newtown Elementary School tragedy by remembering their names

Below are the names of the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT.  We are all grieving and searching for a way to honor them.  We can do so by praying for their families, the Newtown community and for the safety of all our children.  We can also help by ALWAYS remembering these innocent angels.  Please select a name to remember and always carry in your heart.

The names and birth dates of the victims:
Charlotte Bacon (2/22/06), 6 years old, female
Daniel Barden (9/25/05), 7 years old, male
Rachel Davino (7/17/83), Staff member, 29 years old, female
Olivia Engel (7/18/06), 6 years old, female
Josephine Gay (12/11/05), 7 years old, female
Ana M. Marquez-Greene (4/4/06), 6 years old, female
Dylan Hockley (3/8/06), 6 years old, male
Dawn Hochsprung (6/28/65), Principal, 47 years old, female
Madeleine F. Hsu (7/10/06), 6 years old, female
Catherine V. Hubbard (6/8/06), 6 years old, female
Chase Kowalski (10/31/05), 7 years old, male
Nancy Lanza, 52 years old, female (mother of shooter Adam Lanza)
Jesse Lewis (6/30/06), 6 years old, male
James Mattioli (03/22/06), 6 years old, male
Grace McDonnell (11/4/05), 7 years old, female
Anne Marie Murphy (7/25/60), Staff member, 52 years old, female
Emilie Parker (05/12/06), 6 years old, female
Jack Pinto (05/05/06), 6 years old, male
Noah Pozner (11/20/06), 6 years old, male
Caroline Previdi (9/07/06), 6 years old, female
Jessica Rekos (5/10/06), 6 years old, female
Avielle Richman (11/17/06) 6 years old, female
Lauren Rousseau (June 1982), Staff member, 30 years old, female
Mary Sherlach (2/11/56), Staff member, 56 years old, female
Victoria Soto (11/04/85), Staff member, 27 years old, female
Benjamin Wheeler (09/12/06), 6 years old, male
Allison N. Wyatt (07/03/06), 6 years old, female
Please pass the names  of these angels on to others for prayer and remembrance.  God bless these angels and their families.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newtown Elementary School Tragedy: When Will There Be A Safe Place For Our Children

I'm searching my mind for an appropriate prayer but there is none. Our bodies are fragile and sometimes our minds are fragile. It is hard to confidentially move forward following this elementary school tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed so many lives.  My heart is heavy and there is a sinking feeling in my stomach.  It feels like there is no safe place for our children.

Last night my son was crying because the spaghetti on his plate was touching the peas so he didn't want to eat it.  Normally, this would prompt a stern warning to stop being silly and just eat but I just hugged him. It reminded me that these beautiful children who died were young and innocent with no real worries; they just wanted to learn and play and be loved.  They want to exist in a safe space.  Every child should be guaranteed these very basic wishes.  Our hearts are mourning for these innocent children, their teachers and their parents.  Please share your thoughts and prayers.
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