Friday, December 28, 2012

Love Note - Friday 12/28/12



With our last love note of 2012, we leave you with a wonderful thought and mantra (change "your" to "my") to take with you into the new year. Plan to set yourself up for greatness in 2013!
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Affirmations to Begin the New Year


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Whether we want them or not, the New Year will bring new challenges; whether we seize them or not, the New Year will bring new opportunities. 
~Michael Josephson
 
One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.
~John Burroughs
 
We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. 
~Ellen Goodman
 
How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I'm committed to?
~Anthony Robbins
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Monday, December 24, 2012

What I Love Most About the Holidays



With arms outstretched I thank. With heart beating gratefully I love. With body in health I jump for joy. With spirit full I live. ~Terri Guillemets

It's snowing!  Atleast here in Maryland, it is.  I can't help but to be excited.  Generally, I could do without it but my kids love it, so I'm happy that they are happy.  I always get nostalgic around this time of year, remembering my own excitement as a child and what made the holidays such a special time. 

So while I'm forcing my son to watch Christmas movies with us instead of playing his Xbox, I know that one day he'll look back and remember these days fondly. My two year old barely knows what's going on but she's got this wide eyed-something awesome is happening-so i have to say everything as loud as possible-thing going on.  It's very cute.  

I'm just breathing it all in, you know?  What I love most about Christmas is remembering all the ones that came before.  Thinking of where I've been, how life has evolved, and what I have to be thankful for - it has a way of putting things in perspective. 

I hope that during this holiday season and as we wrap up this year, you will find courage for your present and your future.  Focus on all that is good in your life & be THANKFUL.

Love you!





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Friday, December 21, 2012

Love Note - Friday 12/21/12


Just one of the rules of being human--and probably the easiest one to forget. This weekend, why not practice loving your body and focusing on its beauty from the inside out? Have a great one.
xo

To read the rest of Cherie Carter-Scott's Top 10 Rules for being human, click here.
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Monday, December 17, 2012

5 Ways to Fight the Symptoms of Seasonal Depression



The symptoms of seasonal depression become more and more difficult to fight as fiercely cold weather sets in, and the days start getting shorter--with darkness falling during the late afternoon hours. If you're like me, you may not be clinically diagnosed with seasonally induced sadness--but there's definitely a sense of disenchantment and frustration that can set in. Here are a few ways to help ward it off:

Recognize that it is completely normal.
In an environment that naturally lends itself to less activity it is easy to start to feel like you are being lazy. Give yourself a break.

Stay busy.
Even if you're not doing very much outside your home, be sure to keep your mind busy. Work on the action steps for your goals, read books, paint--whatever you can do to keep the creative juices flowing is good. Don't let your mind become idle--that's when it can start to zone in on those negative egoic (read: fearful) thoughts.

Surround yourself with light.
Fill your home with lots of warm light to help accommodate for the lesser amount of sunlight you're getting.

Take a break from social media, blogs and email.
Nothing can make me feel worse about myself than when I am already sad, than scrolling through my social media feeds. In these times it gets so easy to start comparing my life to the "great" lives it seems like everyone else has. Most people only post the good stuff on social media anyway--everyone has their struggles. Beginning comparison thinking is the worst thing you can do for your mood. Avoid it at all costs.

Remember that it is only temporary.
The seasons will continue to change as part of the earth's natural ebb and flow--as will your moods along your journey. You just have to roll with it, knowing that things will turn around. Spring will come around before you know it, bringing you lots of sunshine and bright skies. Hang in there. 
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How To Make Your World Better Overnight


source


This post is for me, just as much as it is for you.

I'm having a hard time with some things, like we all do sometimes.  I believe that our respective skies have to fall every now and then, just to prove to us that we can survive it. 

One of the toughest aspects of my life these days, as a woman trying to hold on to herself, is that no matter what I'm going through, my world just keeps on spinning.  It doesn't slow down for me.  I feel like I'm running on a faulty treadmill that won't stop and I'm afraid to jump off.  I'm so out of breath that I can't even get the words out to ask anyone for help.

And the most aggravating part of it all is that I know it doesn't have to be this way.  We've all had problems come and go.  Some even stay and we manage to enjoy life in spite of them.  We climb our mountains and stand up to our bullies.  Then we encounter another challenge or crisis and become dutifully consumed all over again. 

Today, I want to remind you (and me) that none of our issues are random.  What helps me to wake up every morning with hope and determination is my awareness that every problem I have is an opportunity.  I may go to bed feeling heavy and uncertain - childishly frustrated that I can't solve everything overnight.   But in the morning I start fresh.

Start each day with the mentality that no matter what happens, you will view it like it was strategically placed in your life -  not to curse you - but to help you become a better version of yourself. 

When I make this conscious effort, I notice that my mood is significantly more resilient and less likely to take drastic swings when things don't go my way.  It doesn't make the problems necessarily seem smaller, it just gives you more motivation to face them.

The student loan people still won't let me decrease my payment.  My car is still on its death bed.  I'm still adjusting to my dad's new normal. And as much as I try to pray it and write it out of my system, I still have this sneaking suspicion that something is inherently and fundamentally wrong with mind.  I could go on, but you'd be bored.  I'm sure you have your own list of complications.

I live for the idea that every unwelcomed event, person or situation is really a doorway into the next me.  A stronger, wiser me.  Yay.  I'm so anxious to meet her.

What do you think?  Could this work for you, too?  Try it tomorrow, even on the smallest thing like someone cutting you off in traffic.  Think to yourself, "This jackass was strategically placed to help me become a more patient person."  Keep your road rage in check and drive on in peace. 

If we all practice this, we'll not only make our own private worlds better, but we'll also make the whole wide world better. Win Win.
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Friday, December 7, 2012

Love Note - Friday 12/7/12


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Link Love: The Simply Luxurious Life (Why Never Giving Up is the Best Idea)



Happy Monday! I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far. I am in a little bit of a funk/at a bit of a crossroads today. There is one particular goal that I have that I've been working on achieving for a really long time--probably about 15 years--and lately I've been feeling like maybe it won't ever happen. Every time I feel that I have made significant progress or had a breakthrough, something occurs to make me feel like I haven't done anything at all. It's high and low and an emotional roller coaster, and today I was thinking about putting it on the back burner. In fact, I was having a conversation with a friend about my frustrations, just as this post from one of my favorite blogs, The Simply Luxurious Life, hit my inbox. The message here couldn't be more clear, and I thought that maybe someone else might be struggling with a decision and need this advice too. 

“Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost legendary.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent.”

~ U.S. President Calvin Coolidge  

Each one of us is on a journey, and based on the many emails I receive from you, my readers, I know that many of you are in the middle of striving toward the goal you have set for yourself. Whether it’s a professional or personal goal, working towards a promotion or strengthening your relationship, I genuinely believe so long as you are heading in the right direction, never giving up is the best idea.

Why? Let me explain. Read the rest of this post...
We know that timing is everything, and even if it isn't my time just yet, I've got to keep working to be ready when my time comes. This post served as the best kind of reminder. Here's to never giving up.     {photo source}  
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Friday, November 30, 2012

Love Note - Friday 11/30/12

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Why No One Can Compete With You. Ever.

source

It’s happening. I’m starting to do that end of the year reflection thing. You’re doing it too, I just know it. How are you feeling about your journey through 2012?

Being hard on myself was so 2010 and 2011, so I happy to say that I’m not going to overanalyze what I accomplished and what I didn’t for 2012. However, it’s never a bad time to acknowledge an area where you’ve grown, and how that growth has enriched the quality of your life.  

As such, I just have to tell you what a GREAT year I had professionally. If you can’t tell, I’m proud of myself. I feel like this year, I stopped playing small at work, I put my big girl panties on, and I took on more responsibility and leadership than I ever have before. And low and behold, it was acknowledged and rewarded.

Ironically, I’ve never ever wanted to leave my job more than I do now. Maybe because I proved to myself that my true value proposition is not tied to a specific company or job. I’ve worked at the same company since I graduated from college so it’s no wonder that I associate any security or success that I’ve had with that company.

But I’ve learned that my true value comes from just doing what I know how to do. I’m not talking about the skills and accomplishments that go on my resume. I mean, anyone could do my job from a tactical standpoint. I could quit tomorrow and business would keep on keeping on -- they’d fill my position, and I’d just be someone that they used to know.  However, Maya Angelou said, ”People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

And this, I believe, is my strength -- how I make people feel and the energy that I bring into a group. It's more impactful than my technical knowledge, my educational background or anything else that can be taught. So, when I doubt if I’ll be successful at another company or in other endeavors, I need only remind myself that all I had to do in order to have the most successful year of my career was to fully embrace who I am and what I bring to the table. The solution to doubt is always to be true to yourself.

Authenticity. It’s like our own built-in guarantee, but we don’t realize it. It guarantees that we are always on the right track as long as we are being honest with ourselves and with the world about who we are and who we are not. This psychologist guy named Carl Rogers once said, “What you are is good enough if you would only be it openly.”

This year, I really proved this to myself that who I am is enough. What about you? Were there any lessons that really stood out for you?


 
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Season for Giving



As the season of gratitude that we call Thanksgiving comes to a close, the season for giving—Christmas—comes in on its heels. Amidst thoughts of holiday d├ęcor, fine foods, snowy weather and presents under the tree, be reminded to give things that are intangible, like your time and your love. Why not:


Volunteer to serve food at a shelter?

Have your nieces and nephews over for a sleepover to give your sister or brother a break?

Invite that neighbor who is spending the holidays alone over for a meal?

Volunteer to shop or wrap presents for an elderly friend, neighbor or relative?

Make a donation to an annual or community drive like Toys for Tots, your local food bank or (this year in particular) the Red Cross?

What are some of the ways you give back during the holidays?

{*photo source}

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Why Fear and Goosebumps Aren't Really Bad Things




A few months ago, I wrote a post about fear and the role it often plays in why we do or don't do things. Here are some snippets from the comments:

"...In 2012 I would like to start school. I would like to stop telling myself I can't do certain things..."

"...would love to stop myself from giving into fear...really anxious to learn how to use this emotion to propel me forward rather than back. It's always been a natural reaction to run the other way...but 2011 has taught me that it's important to walk through the fear and use it as a positive force. On the other hand, it could just mean we are all on the right track when it creeps up...so there's now an added sense of excitement when I think of a crazy idea that both scares me and gives me goosebumps!"

"...I've successfully lost 75 pounds, but gained 10 of it back, so now I want to finish what I started a two years ago. No reason why I shouldn't. I need to stop giving into fear of accomplishment."


These comments and my own intention to have a clearer understanding of the role of fear in my life led me to explore the subject further on WCD.  Here we are a few months later and I'm ready to make a lot of changes in my life.  Of course, fear pokes out its head and reminds me that it's still there. 

So, in honor and in spite of that attention whore that we call fear, I wanted to revisit this with you all today.

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.
~Marie Curie


Once I became aware that fear was affecting my choices, I really didn't know what to do about it. I guess I had to just sit with that awareness for awhile. In some aspects of my life, I'm still sitting with it. What I have developed though, is a passion for breaking down my fears and negative patterns so that I can understand them. If something bothers me, I'm determined to figure out why and make peace with it so it can't control me. It doesn't always happen as quickly as I want, but it's so much better than it used to be.

Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.
~Henry S. Haskins
 

One of the commenters above mentions a sense of excitement that comes from a crazy idea that scares her and also gives her goosebumps (the good kind!). That's the kind of scary that we shouldn't avoid. There's probably something you want to do that gives you goosebumps, but you're afraid to do it.  

For instance, I want to be a writer. But the idea of writing for a living completely freaks me out. I love to write, but what if I stop loving it when I start doing it for money? Sometimes we're not afraid of the thing itself, but we're afraid of the process of getting there. My suggestion would be to just start. Do something to bring you a step closer. My start has been blogging and guest posting. I'm just beginning to realize that this is my purpose and I'm taking it more seriously. What's next? The possibilities give me those good goosebumps, so I'm going to keep writing.  (Update:  A couple months after I wrote this I got my first paid freelancing gig!  Woohoo!)

There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.
~George S. Patton

Since we all must deal with fear on some level, there comes a time when we must discern between the fear that can push us forward and the fear that can hold us back. The answers are already there inside of us if we only listen. It's called intuition. When there's something positive and challenging that you want to do with your life, that's when it's time to take fear by the hand and bring it along with you. Recognize the nervous energy for what it is and allow it to fuel you. Likewise, when your inner voice tells you that you're heading down the wrong path, believe it.  Trust yourself.

Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death. ~Betty Bender

To free yourself from that frustrating inertia that comes from fear, learn to recognize the difference between the excited goosebumps and the warning signs and consider letting fear be your friend. No? Frenemy maybe? No matter how you look at it, remember that with great risk comes great reward. 

If you have a testimony about a time that you overcame fear or a time that you used it to your advantage, please share in the comments.    We'd love to hear about it!



 


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Friday, November 16, 2012

Love Note - Friday 11/16/12



Let's make the choice to get happy right here, right now. It's totally up to us! Have a great weekend. xo
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Strong Women Do




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“I don’t want to walk through life like I’m asleep. I want to feel everything. The joy. The pain. The wins and the losses. I want to fall and shock myself at how I’m able to keep getting up.” me

And while I’m falling down and wiping my tears and getting back up, I want to look good and feel like a warrior with my head held high. I’ll be the first one to tell you that appearances and material things don’t matter and it’s what’s inside that counts. And in the next breath I’ll tell you that no matter how you’re hurting or what’s going on, you need to get up off your hurt feelings and do your hair and put some lipstick on and keep it moving. Everyone’s been through it, and the world is going to keep spinning.

As a woman of character and spirit, how you handle ups and downs distinguishes you. With the right perspective, your struggles will empower you and bring out your beauty. Self-pity and bitterness will only slow you down. 

“You see, no one can take your power - only you can give it away. When you do, the resulting self-pity and desperate behavior basically repel the things you really want.” me

Feeling sorry for yourself will not make that man be faithful. Eating everything in sight will not make all of your debt magically go away. A Facebook rant calling out this person and that person for betraying you will not create the karma that you want. Waiting to be rescued will not give you the strength to carry on. At some point, you have to get sick of feeling bad and decide to feel good.

Where’s all this coming from? Someone needs to hear this. Someone needs to snap out of it and get back to the business of being fabulous. This is the life, ladies. You weren’t put here to roll over and give up. Always choose to view things in a spiritual and mindful way. Remember that you are a universe within yourself and you don’t need a person, a title or a dollar amount to make you whole. 

Take what you have, dust it off and make it sparkle. I’ll see you out there. xoxo
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pretty Things: A Hint of Sparkle



 The above are a few of my favorite pretty things; I adore them for the hint (or splatter) of sparkle they bear.

As GG mentioned “in secret” while I was away, there’s quite a bit more to both she and I than we’ve allowed ourselves to show here previously, but in the spirit of evolving, we’re making an effort to let you in a little bit more.

Something you may or may not have learned about me by reading this blog (but that you probably did know if you happen to also read my other blog, Pish Posh Perfect) is that I am the ultimate girly girl. If it’s pink or ruffled or floral, I am SO in. I also have a bit of a penchant for sparkle, which as the holidays approach, becomes more and more acceptable within the confines of every day wear (this is not to imply that I don’t wear it outside the confines on any other day of the year!). We talk a lot on this blog about appreciating the little things, and letting them take you to a happy place when needed—sparkle is one of the things that does that for me.

It’s easy to go full-on New Year’s Eve or 70s disco glitter; you can make sparkly accessories your play with more neutral base items; and there are tons of cute pieces that bear more subtle bling. No matter which side of the style spectrum you lean toward, there’s a way to incorporate it into your wardrobe.

Are you a fan of pretty sparkly things? 


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Friday, November 9, 2012

Love Note - Friday 11/9/12


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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What You Can Learn from Being Stuck Outside Your Comfort Zone



There is much to be learned from being stuck outside your comfort zone--both literally and figuratively. Last week, while traveling in Europe, I was literally stuck outside the comforts of home. Due to Super Storm Sandy, all flights into the East Coast were canceled while airports and cities dealt with the surprisingly devastating blow Sandy dealt--and my travel buddies and I were unable to leave Rome, Italy on the day we had planned. 

I know this doesn't immediately sound like such a bad situation. We were in Rome after all, right? Right. But we'd also already traveled to multiple cities, completed the itinerary we'd planned, and spent most of what we had allotted for travel funds. So we were more than ready to return home. That didn't happen for 3 more days (thankfully not the 6 extra days we thought we'd be away), and they were a difficult 3 days at best. We were on mental overload from all we'd taken in, emotionally stressed from working feverishly to secure new flights, and on a particular rainy day in Rome--totally bored. 

Please don't misunderstand--this was an absolutely amazing trip. But there was certainly something to be learned about adapting when your plans change in a way that is so utterly out of your control. 

Appreciate the simplest things possible. Immediately after returning home, I realized I'd missed even the tiniest pleasures about it--down to standing in my own kitchen and staring out the window while cooking at my own stove. Remember to be grateful for even the simplest day to day activities that can bring you a bit of joy. 

Know how to self-soothe and find peace no matter where you are. The ladies I traveled with were a great group. But I live alone, am used to lots of alone time and I value it immensely. It's easy to start to feel stifled when I can't get that. So I had to find ways to sneak away from the group--even if it was just for a few minutes--to breathe, write or read some of the daily positive emails to which I subscribe. Having new experiences was great, but I needed to also find ways to feel like myself. There are going to be times where you can't complete your normal routine. You have to know how to adjust and be centered anyway or you'll drive yourself crazy. 

Find a way to connect with your loved ones and yourself. I'm not sure if you have checked out international calling rates lately, but uh...they are OOC (out of control) and I'm not about that exorbitant phone bill life. So I relied on free wifi throughout Europe to communicate with my family and bf at home. Even at the times where I felt most stressed, a quick Face Time moment or a well-timed email was all it took to help me to feel like myself again. There is something about reconnecting with the people who know me best that helps me to reconnect to myself. Try and bring a bit of the familiar into unfamiliar circumstances when needed. 

Be patient. Trying to get on a new flight home was a hell of a waiting game. And the actual journey home was a long and arduous one. But as soon as my feet touched ground at the airport and I saw my son's face at the gate, all that drama was forgotten. Trials seem really tough to stick out while we're going through them, but more often than not we forget about all the hard stuff once that great thing we were waiting for comes to fruition. 

Learn to bite your tongue. As frustrated as everyone was, there was not one incident among the 6 of us on the trip where there was negative confrontation. We worked hard to be constructive in suggestions for how to handle our extended stay. And that really warms my heart. The women in my life continue to prove that the assumption that all black women are angry and combative is 100% false! When there are a lot of voices in a room, the need to feel heard can be overwhelming; but sometimes it is just important to keep your opinion to yourself as it is to speak up. Find a way to quietly contribute in other ways and make yourself a useful part of the solution as opposed to someone who spends all their energy complaining. 


In what ways have you been stuck outside your comfort zone, and what did you learn from the experience(s)? 


photo: source

p.s. I penned a travel diary over at Pish Posh Perfect about all the ridiculously wonderful parts of the trip. Click on over if you're interested. There are pics too! xo 
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Monday, November 5, 2012

Simplicity, Heart & Humility

source

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I am endlessly thankful for the collective of impressive women that I call my friends. They are always dropping gems of wisdom on me without even realizing how much they enhance my life. 

Today I was chatting with one of these spectacular women and we were talking about working in Corporate America and how fundamental it is to be professional and polished at all times. Egos and emotions can really be career limiting when they are not kept in check in the workplace.

She told me about an acronym that her uncle shared with her years ago when she was in college. S.H.H. (pronounced like you’re shushing someone) – Simplicity, Heart & Humility. As he explained to her, these are three attributes that will take you far in your career.

Of course, I started thinking about how these qualities will take you far in life in general. I love everything about it – from the pronunciation of the acronym to the intention behind each of the words.  So naturally, I had to write about it.

SHH!
Whether you’re a naturally boisterous person or not, it’s so important to just shut up sometimes. Having the discretion to know when to be quiet is paramount to building successful relationships in business and in your personal life.  If you follow me on this, then the breakdown of the following three words just takes this notion even further.

Simplicity
Too often we think that being loud and sounding complex will make us appear more relevant, when in effect, it usually does the opposite. It just shows a transparent need for attention and validation.

When you’re really comfortable and confident in your own skin, you don’t need to enlarge everything. In the words of Hans Hoffman, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”  

Know what really matters and emphasize those things clearly without a lot of bells and whistles.

Heart
When you are truly invested in a project or cause, it will show through your actions and the energy that you exude when you get involved. If your heart is in the right place, you shouldn’t have to point it out.

 Focus your energy into your project and don’t get caught up in the distractions of the ego like jealousy, envy and greed. We are only ever in competition with ourselves.

Inherent in this concept of heart is honesty, respect, passion and purpose. “Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”

I don’t know who to credit that quote to, but if it speaks to you like it speaks to me, you're reaching for your journal right now to write it down!

Humility
Lastly, but very importantly, be unassuming and patient in your demeanor. The fastest way to disillusion an audience is to give the impression that you think you are better than, or your time is more precious than or for goodness’ sake your sh!t stinks less than everyone else. Someone once said, “It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.”

We’ve all been right and we’ve all been wrong at some point or another, right? I don’t know about you, but I prefer to work with people who are focused on solutions - not brownie points.

Simplicity, Heart & Humility.  This is going to be my new mantra, I think.  What have your friends done for you lately?    ;-)

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Guest Post: It Is Well with My Soul


In this PLPT guest post, Jess J. discovers an awareness of peace within silence that signals that all is well. It's one that we should all train ourselves to recognize, and to go back to when the noise of the outside world gets too loud. 

I sat, wanting to write and with full knowledge that I promised a guest post to Kim and GG, soon. I did not have an idea or even an event to draw upon for inspiration, but I had the words, “It was well with my soul,” that seem to have taken root in my heart as of late. So, I thought it best to start there and naturally a story unfolded. I went digging for a quote with this thought on my mind, these words, and I came across a stanza from one of my favorite poems, Desiderata by Max Ehrmann that reads,

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

Clearly I was being given the words with which I needed to start. So I finally listened.

Affirmation…perhaps the greatest affirmation is silence. Not of the awkward kind, but the kind of silence that sounds like peace and sunshine when things are as they should be.

There are few moments in life when we can breathe freely, not in need, not in desire, not in fear but truly breathe, as is our purpose to do without any attachment to the action. There are even fewer moments when we become aware of those breaths and appreciate them. If that is not affirmation of a good life, I am not sure what is.

More and more as I grow more reflective in my life, I find that this sort of peace is the intoxicating kind that of course only comes when you are not focused on it. It is like one of those 3-D art pictures that used to be in the Sunday news paper, where if you focused, looking right at it all you saw was squiggles and colors but once you relaxed, let your gaze soften and look beyond that which was right in front of you, you saw this picture.

I heard it said recently that there is no right or wrong, there only is what is and life adjusts accordingly. It made me a bit nervous to think about the fact that my decisions can all, essentially, be life-changing. However, after I act I wait. I wait for the silence to speak to me, and its there just beneath the noise of the world. I listen for the quiet affirmation that ‘what is’ is what ‘should be’. And when I hear that quiet, and feel that warmth I am at peace. And it is well with my soul.

- Jess J.
For more of Jess J.'s insights, check out her blog and her tumblr.

*Photo via Pinterest
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guest Post: Where Is Their Mother? Why You Need to be Present for Your Children



Recently at a child’s birthday party I found myself asking this question: "Where is their Mother?". At first I was upset with the children but then I redirected my anger. The person at fault is a relative. You know her story. She has five kids at home, different baby daddies who are nowhere to be found, she works a crap job just to make ends meet, and her kids are totally out of control. And as a mother myself I get so frustrated with her! That’s not the right word. Irritated? Closer I think, but still not strong enough. I get right pissed-off at her!

Why are her children always unkempt? Why do they have to be told something two or three times before they respond? Where are their manners? Where Is their Mother? Not the girl who is slapping, cursing, and hating her children. Not that person. Where is their Mother? The woman who loves her children so much it hurts - the woman who cries for her children when they are in pain- the woman who teaches her daughters to be ladies-the fierce lioness that protects her cubs at all costs. Where is she? Where is their Mother?

I’ve known this parent and her children for a long time. She has both daughters and sons and shows no preference for girls or boys. She has no favorite child and appears to regard them all with equal disdain. Occasionally, she will do something nice for one child. Perhaps one has a birthday and may be treated to a special dinner out. Or one has a decent report card and gets a new pair of shoes. But even these perceived acts of love are all selfishly used to make her appear like a good mom to others or are held over the other children’s heads like some sort of brass ring to get them to behave.

I always look for the good in people. It’s just my nature. Sometimes that means I make excuses for their bad behavior. I used to say she treats her children badly because she is angry with herself. She talks to them any kind of way because she is hurting inside. Her behavior has something to do with how her parents treated her as a child. Maybe she was unloved or never given the tools to parent correctly, or at least better. But I’m done with excusing her. She has too many children, too many talk shows, too many bookstores, too many blogs, too much free time, too many examples, and too much at stake not to do better.

Her treatment of her children is disgusting and has to stop. Now! Stop hating the children you chose to birth. Stop whining like you are a victim or a prisoner of the life you made. Stop blaming everyone but yourself for the type of people your children are becoming. Stop acting like the little girl who laid down years ago and created these children to show love toward some boy who was undeserving in the first place.

Grow up and get your stuff together! Please. My children need you to. Every parent whose child will come in contact with one of yours needs you to. More importantly, your children need you to. With every word, with every action, they are begging for you to love them. They are desperate for you to locate her. They want to know where she is. Where is she? Where is their Mother?


- Penned by Kamesha M. 

*photo (source)
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Are You Ready for a Change?




If you've been reading Peace Love and Pretty Things for awhile, then I imagine that you feel pretty familiar with what Kim and I are about.  We've become accustomed to looking at life not just as ourselves, but through the eyes of the every day woman, so that we can have relevant advice and stories to share on this here blog. 

We all face challenges, we all have to deal with our emotions and find our way to our truest selves the best way we can. We hope that if you're reading this, then you are on a similar journey and you come here for the honesty and accessibility that we try to provide. 

Well, the truth is that we've been wanting to share different sides of ourselves and change things up a bit. 

(Kim doesn't know that I'm telling you this, but she can't really fuss at me too much about spilling the goods right now because she's in Europe on vacation.  For the next 10 days, I am on the loose on the blog with no supervision!  Ha!) 

Anyway, we've both grown and changed A LOT since we started blogging and naturally, our vision has evolved as well.   We're giddy and excited about the next iteration of Peace Love and Pretty Things.  We hope you will stay tuned!

Are you ready for a change in some area of your life?  Today I encourage to take a step towards it.  then tomorrow, take another.  Then the next day, another. 
The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs. ~Vance Havner


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Friday, October 19, 2012

Love Note - Friday 10/19/12


Remember to always be kind, Lovies! Have a fantastic weekend!
xo
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?






Today I was thinking about why it's so important for some of us women to feel pretty.  Do men ponder their handsomeness?  I daresay that they are more likely to think about their confidence or their toughness more than their pretty.  At least, that goes for the kind of men that I usually fancy.   Ha!

Anyway, as I sat there wondering if I'm too vain or too materialistic, I remembered the excerpt above that I came across last week.   And it clicked for me that it's okay for me to love pretty things and makeup and clothes and gratuitous girlyness. 

Underneath all of that is a woman who constantly assesses the wellness of her spirit, and strives to be beautiful in action and in intention.  And that's what really truly actually and magically makes me feel beautiful.   What about you?


Inner beauty, too, needs occasionally to be told it is beautiful. 
 
~ Robert Brault
 
 
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Monday, October 15, 2012

3 Ways to Have More Loving Relationships


I am no relationship expert. But what I have found is that—even with each relationship being unique to the individuals involved—there are a few key elements in any relationship that make it a better relationship to be in (for both parties). There are many positive attributes that help couples to remain strong in their commitment to each other, but today I invite you to consider just these three: Be honest. Be willing to compromise. Be willing to walk away.


Be Honest

I have both had and given my share of dishonesty in relationships. Being dishonest is toxic. It can become difficult to remember what lies you told and to whom. It’s a lot of work. Being lied to is hurtful and shameful and embarrassing. You feel haunted no matter which side of the lie you’re on. So why bother?

There is so much to be gained when you can be honest with your partner, and believe they are being honest with you. There’s a freedom that comes with it, as well as a security in knowing that they trust you enough to give you all the information—even if there are times that you may not want to hear the truth.

Be Willing to Compromise

When you’ve been single for awhile, you have certain visions in your head of what your life might be like in the future—where you’ll live, whether or not you’ll have children, what color you’ll paint your bedroom. And then along comes this person whom you love, and who has vastly differing opinions about all of these things, and you find that your version of the way things might be has to be adjusted slightly. And you might just find that you’re kind of okay with it. Obviously, if there are things that you feel REALLY strongly about, you need to be sure that your partner can respect your bottom line. But just being open to the other person’s opinion, and having an honest line of communication can do wonders for coming up with a solution that honors both sides.

Be Willing to Walk Away

Trust your gut. You know when something doesn’t feel right and doesn’t honor you. You know what’s required for you to live your best life. If you feel like you’re not getting those things, it is okay to walk away—even if it is just for a little while to clear your head and decide what you really want. Don’t worry about what people might say: take your well-being into your own hands. Sometimes removing yourself from a situation is the most loving thing you can do—both for yourself, and for the other person.

*photo (source)

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Love Note - Friday 10/12/12



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Monday, October 8, 2012

Reflection Exercise: Are You An Overthinker?





The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard

Are you an overthinker?  Do you talk yourself out of things that your heart is telling you really want?  Do you worry about making mistakes to the point that you end up not making any move at all?  Do you convince yourself that people don't like you or understand you?   Overthinking makes everything seem worse or more complicated than it is.

Today, I spent an hour thinking about how to tackle my to-do list. Where to start/how much time things will take/what's most important or least. It's not that those aren't good things to think about, but an hour? I could have accomplished a good chunk of the list in that amount of time.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't plan ahead and be thoughtful. When it comes to my children, I think about their safety all the time and I try to anticipate their needs. It's always a fine balance of holding on and letting go.

Being the self-conscious girl that I am, I tend to worry unnecessarily about too many things:

* How people perceive me (Do I come across as stuck up, selfish, timid or unintelligent? Did I just sound rude or pushy? Did I say thank you?)

* Random Accidents (never worried about these things until I had babies)

* Change (will I rejoice in it or regret it?)

* General Messing Up of Stuff (children, jobs, homes, cars, bills, credit, feelings, nutrition, exercise, politics, the environment, school, insurance, etc. I could literally go on and on and all of those categories can collapse into a zillion others. Being a grown up can be a serious buzz kill if you don't have an optimistic attitude about it all. But then of course, there's wine, so that helps.)

Your turn.  What do you tend to overthink about? Be honest with yourself.  Here are some ideas to help you stop analyzing and indulge more in enjoying your life.

* Pray. If you're worried about anything at all, just pray and immediately let it go. Remember that you are safe no matter how things may seem.

* Be thankful for the problems that you don't have. Instead of creating more worries by overanalyzing, flip it and think about all the things that you do NOT have to worry about.

* Learn to laugh at yourself. Don't take yourself so seriously. When you catch yourself doing too much - laugh at yourself and shake it off. Your life will only be as enjoyable as you allow it to be.

* Develop a thick skin. Work on yourself and build up your resistance to failure, embarrassment and sucky people. How many things have you not tried or not said because you were worried about the potential criticism?

* Trust your intincts. Even if things don't go as planned, you will learn from it. Believe in the process.

* Give yourself a time limit. Forethought is a good thing. But give yourself a time limit so that it doesn't turn into procrastination.

* Get out of your own head. Ask questions. Have a conversation. Do some research. Stop going around and around with it.

* Practice staying calm and centered in yourself. Don't compare yourself to anyone else. Don't allow hype and negative energy to invade your space.

Do you want to add anything? Please share in the comments.



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Friday, October 5, 2012

Love Note - Friday 10/5/12



Spend some time this weekend convincing yourself that you can totally do whatever you are dreaming of. We support you! xo
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Go with Your Gut. Stay True to Yourself.


It is paramount that you go with your gut when making decisions. No matter what you call it (conscience, intuition, the Holy Spirit, -Ing) there is an internal compass continuously guiding you towards the unique opportunities and right relationships that are meant for you. Listen to yourself.

There are always signs or red flags alerting you to emotional danger. Pay attention to them. If something doesn't sit right with you, take some time to feel it out before making a decision so you can be sure to make the right one.

"We fear our intuitions because we fear the transformational power within our revelations." - Caroline Myss

This is not, however, to be confused with succumbing to fear. Often, when fear is present, there's an accompanying nervousness--a feeling of not-knowing--that seeps in. But I have found that there is a sense of calm and near certainty that abounds when we sense innately that something isn't right for us. There is a distinct difference between these two feelings.

Sometimes there is a feeling that we might be missing out on something if we say "no" or we walk away; but rest assured that what is for you won't miss you. It, he or she will be there waiting when you are ready--if these things are meant for you, it is impossible for them not to show up for you. By letting go of the things that are not for you, you're making room for possibility.

"There is nothing more precious than the self." - Yogi tea

photo (source)
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Love Note - Friday 9/28/12


GG and I have both been swamped this week and didn't have opportunities to post new content, but we hope all of yours have been wonderfully productive {and that you perhaps enjoyed something from our archives ;-) }. Happy Weekend!
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Friday, September 21, 2012

Love Note - Friday 9/21/12



This quote reminded me of the theme that GG referenced in yesterday's post. Just as we have to learn the difference between quitting something we love or are meant to do and moving on because we are supposed to; we have to also learn how to let go of things (and people) that no longer serve us. If something feels negative and not in alignment with your spirit or your purpose, don't be afraid to move on. Rest assured that what you need will come around again in a way that is more suited to your current needs.

Have a great weekend!
xo
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Quit or Not to Quit






Quitting is not always the enemy.  If you're letting go of something that is hindering you, then go ahead and quit.  Let it go.  Dismiss it and don't look back.  It's fine to change your mind.

But if you find yourself quitting at things that you really want, you've got to learn to trust the process and give yourself a chance.  Understand that you very well might fail the first time, the second time and maybe even the third time. Get over that.  Try to adjust your thinking in these ways:

*Remember that everything you set your intention to do is about your experiences along the way, not the end result.

*Only commit yourself to things that you believe in with your heart and soul.

*Everytime you make a decision about what to do next, ask yourself if this is the same thinking that has led you to quit in the past.  If it is, do the opposite.

*If you fall off, don't abort the whole mission. Pick right back up where you left off as if you never fell off in the first place. For example, if you ate poorly on Monday, don't use it as excuse to not stick to your diet on Tuesday. Get right back on track.

*Visualize. Not just the end result, but also visualize what you want to get out of the experience and imagine the feelings you will feel when you see things through.

Consider the following:
"If you are determined to gather life's honey, to stick your hand into the hive again and again and again, to be stung so many times that you become numb to the pain, to persevere and persist till those who know and love you become unable to think of you as a normal woman, you will not be called mad.  You will be called authentic."

 ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What You’re Saying About Yourself: Does Your Story Empower You?


Retelling a self-defeating story. – If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not. So the question is: Does your story empower you? Don’t place your mistakes on your mind, their weight may crush your current potential. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view the horizon. Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy. What matters the most is what you start doing now.” (source)

I’ve realized that I don’t always tell the best stories about myself. In fact, I have a habit of retelling one self-defeating story in particular.

I’m a single parent. And as such, I struggle with a great deal of guilt for not bringing my son into a two-parent home, the way I always thought my children would be raised—the way I was raised. I tell myself that I should feel guilt for struggling financially and not providing enough of the “extras” I thought he “should” have {I was in my senior year of college when he was born}. I tell myself that not being fully self-actualized or self-aware in my 20s is a reason to feel ashamed {and really, how many of us know it all at that point in our lives? Or even in our 30s?!}. I often feel guilt for not having been able to be at home with him when he was younger, not having been able to leave my full time job to volunteer at his school, for feeding him fast food on nights when I was too tired to cook. In a nutshell, I’ve drafted this entire story about all the things I wish I had done differently where I paint myself in such a negative light that it's still surprising even to me sometimes.

The problem with this line of thinking is that none of what has already happened can be changed. I’ve grown and learned so much from those difficult lessons. And I need to tell myself a story that is empowering as opposed to one that is defeating and leaves me guilt-ridden and sad.

The result of all the dedication I poured into parenting--despite how I arrived at being a parent--and all the love I poured into my young man is this: he is a happy, well-adjusted, responsible, academically excellent athlete with major plans for the future. My job isn’t done yet, but all that I have been able to do with the time and resources I had then, and have now, are paying off. I am actually a pretty great mother. And that’s what I need to tell myself again and again.

In what area of your life might you be telling a self-defeating story? In what ways are you beating yourself up for past decisions, instead of treating yourself with love and recognizing that even through those mistakes, you’ve learned valuable lessons?

*image source
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Friday, September 14, 2012

Love Note - Friday 9/14/12



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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pretty Things: Girlfriends



Sometimes all you need to feel like a "pretty thang" is to be surrounded by your good girlfriends. You know, the ones who will laugh with you, cry with you, cook for you, tell you when you're wrong--and just overall love you to pieces.

A good girlfriend of ours got married a couple of weekends ago and friends from all over came into town to celebrate her nuptials. It was so much fun and just the biggest love fest ever. We can't be together all the time like we did when we were younger, but when we do get together, it's like we never separated. So refreshing.

If you haven't had really good girl time lately, I encourage you to have some. Immediately. Include wine. :-). Happy Wednesday.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Needs, Wants and Living Without Regret



Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions. ~Author Unknown

What drives you more -- needs or wants? Are you more likely to make decisions based on what you think is best for you in the long run or what will satisfy you most in the moment? The uncertainty of life requires that we find some kind of balance between these two concepts.

On the one hand, tomorrow is not promised and we don't want to constantly deny ourselves of things that bring us pleasure. On the other hand, living in a reality of complete indulgence and immediate gratification is chaotic at best, isn't it?
***

I went through a period in my life where I was constantly in crisis. My decisions were all based on what I felt would make me feel best in the moment. During that time, I was insecure, impressionable, and disconnected from myself. I didn't admit it to myself at the time, but I now know that I didn't believe I had a future worth protecting. I didn't believe in myself and my faith was weak, so the decisions I made for my life reflected that.

I'm certainly not in that place anymore, but I can still see it clearly in my rearview. In many ways, I'm still paying for the choices I made back then. I haven't gotten rid of the regret yet (perhaps I never will), but I dwell on it less and less. What about you? Are you a recovering chaos junkie like me? Or maybe you've always played it safe and now you don't know how to indulge yourself. Most of us can relate in some way to both of these extremes. 
***

Have you ever thought about this concept of needs and wants and how your approach to it has shaped your life? It's worth some self-reflection. Whether we realize it or not, our tendency to lean towards one or the other often causes regret and dissatisfaction in our lives. We wonder, what if I'd done things differently? What if I'd been more responsible? What if I'd married the wild one instead of the stable one? What if I'd taken that job overseas? What if I'd done the unthinkable instead of the expected? What if I'd saved and planned for the future instead of living outside of my means?

Really, we can drive ourselves crazy with the what if's. Or, we can sit back and observe our decisions without judging them as right or wrong. What we've done, what we haven't done -- it's just our path. We don't always do or even know what's best for us. Our hearts and minds disagree more often than not and yet they must coexist. We always have the option to change the way we do things if it's not working so just keep doing the best you can to seek balance and leave the regrets behind.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Love Note - Friday 9/7/12



This weekend, we encourage you to take some time to think about what you're calling into your life; ponder what you are "seeking", whether consciously or unconsciously. It might be difficult, but it also might bring you one step closer to your breakthrough. Happy Friday. xo
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why You Need to Cultivate Self-Loving Habits

 

source

When you don't make time for things that make you feel good, you're opening the door for needy, insecure behavior to become your method of operation. You can't wait for other people to make you feel good. I've learned this the hard way and I never want to go back to living in a world where everyone else's needs, wants and opinions matter more than my own. Praise and appreciation feel good, but they shouldn't be your motivation for what you do - especially not for things that you do for yourself.

Today, I'd like to share four habits that I've cultivated to stay grounded in my identity and show myself love. I encourage you to think about your own patterns and if you are giving yourself as much love and attention as you give to others.

Keep some things private.
I make a conscious effort to be open and honest in my everyday interactions with people and certainly in my writing. I find that transparency is empowering for the most part. But I've learned that some thoughts and feelings are best kept private. Discretion is key. When you tell your secrets, you open yourself up to the opinions of others. So you must first determine if this exposure is wise and/or necessary and if so, be sure that you are emotionally ready for the possible criticism.

Disconnect and unplug.
You can't make yourself available to everyone day and night. I refuse to be a slave to my many communication devices. Everyone's threshold is different, so just make it your business to be aware of yours. Perhaps you should designate a certain amount of times a day to check email or return phone calls. Whatever you do, don't overextend yourself makiing it impossible for you to ever concentrate on one thing at a time.

Pamper your hair and skin.
You've heard me talk about the importance of beauty routines before. In addition to my obvious love of all things hair, beauty and self-care have always been hobbies of mine. I used to feel down when my significant other didn't acknowledge my efforts as much I thought he should. I would even go so far as to seek that attention in other places. (I'm always throwing sneaky confessions into my posts, right?) But time and experience have taught me that I'm really the only audience that matters. Even if no one else notices or cares, I will always enjoy the process of pampering myself.

Learn how to self-soothe.
When things aren't going your way and no one understands, it's easy to give in to self-pity and lose hope. I used to go to this dark place often - feeling down and upset and wanting someone else to make it better for me. One of the most valuable things I've learned is how to pick myself up, dry my tears and stuff a sock in the mouth of that annoying inner critic that tells me that I suck and the world is coming to an end. How you self-soothe is very intimate and personal, so I can't say what will work for you but prayer, meditation and positive self-talk will start you on the right path.



{Originally posted on The Write Curl Diary}






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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dating and the Single Parent: When is it Time to Involve Your Child?

Dating and the single parent is always an interesting topic—what are the rules of engagement when children are involved? When is the right time to introduce your child into the situation?

{source}

As if dating isn’t difficult enough on its own at times, there are additional elements at play for single parents. They often have budgets, priorities and schedules that differ widely from those of their childless single counterparts--which contribute an additional layer to the experience. When to introduce your child to someone you're dating is probably one of the most important questions that parents seek to tackle in regards to dating.

It is such a loaded question, as there are a variety of factors that play into it: how old is the child? What is his or her level of maturity—can s/he understand what it means to date? How involved is the other parent in the child’s life? Is this person someone you are, or are planning to be serious with? How well do you think you know the person you’re dating?

As I've probably mentioned before, I am a single parent and am currently in a relationship. When dating, my method has always been to keep the people I see separate from my son, and to allow someone to meet him only once I’m sure that things are--or have the potential to be--serious. It has never been worth it to me to bring someone into his life unless they’d be there for a while.

I have not, however, kept the fact that I date a secret from my son. Of course my approach with him has changed over the years; when he was younger, it wasn’t worth bringing up at all; but now he’s old enough (at 13) to understand what it means to date or to have a boyfriend. And I’ve reached an age where marriage is a priority for my future; so I need him to be prepared for my one day having a husband, and it not being just the two of us anymore. We communicate, and we have a level of trust that lets him know that I would never bring anyone into his life that I didn’t spend time getting to know as well as I possibly could, and determining that they warrant the opportunity to be there. 

In my situation, it does help that my son has a pretty good relationship with his father--so he isn’t looking for a father figure to get attached to. Additionally, since he has never known his father and I as a couple (he was very young when we split) there is no underlying resentment on his part. He just wants me to find a partner I can be happy with.

So my situation is fairly easy, thank goodness; but I know it isn’t that way for all single moms and dads.

What has been your experience? When do you think is the right time to engage your child with someone you’re dating?



*A version of this post was originally published at Pish Posh Perfect (formerly Chic Mommy, Cool Kid).
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Frustrating Balance between What You Have and What You Want


Do you ever feel like the balance between what you have and what you want becomes a bit frustrating? You’re torn between the steps you’re taking towards your goals, and being present where you are. You know what you want, and so you become increasingly disenchanted with what you have—but you know you should be grateful and so the struggle ensues.


It has taken me awhile to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve worked in radio and TV; I’ve wanted to work in PR and A&R and Sports Management. I’ve been a full time student, a cheerleading coach, a voice over talent and a wedding singer. I’ve looked into being a teacher on more than one occasion. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something that should be on this list (G, feel free to chime in).

Throughout these moments of exploration, the theme has been the same—the search for creativity and flexibility and freedom of expression--to just be inherently me. The goal has been to figure out what I can do that is aligned with my personal core values, makes me light up even the going gets rough and makes want to work even when I don’t want to work.

And though I know there’s more than one thing that will accomplish this for me, and that I’ll continue to evolve and try out new things with each phase of my life, I think I’ve finally found (or rediscovered at any rate) one of the things that I’m really good at and know that I want to do for a while. I want to write (and I get to do it all over the web, both weekly and monthly). And I’m really lucky that we’re in an age where I get to do it in a fun way through blogs (this one and Pish Posh Perfect), and then tell everyone about the writing and the blogging via social media; and I get to tell other people’s stories via social media too (because I freelance as a consultant for a couple of brands).

But I still have to do what I have to do in the meantime. And therein lies the rub. There are days where the frustration is almost overwhelming and I want to skip the “learning process” of being where I am and just get to where I want to be already!!

How do you continue to have patience when you feel you are on the cusp of something really special--something that will ultimately help you to live the lifestyle you want—but you have to continue to do that other thing for just a little while longer?

How do you balance the frustration between your present and the future you visualize?


*photo via Pinterest
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