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!
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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



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?


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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