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!
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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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