Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years - UGH!

Are you dreading tomorrow? Do you want to just slap the next person who asks you what your resolutions are? Is it even worth getting a babysitter to go out?

Hey, I hear you! New Years can be filled with just as much pressure as Christmas and Thanksgiving. People are expecting you to be grand and giddy and you just want to acci-purposely take an extra sleeping pill.

Let me tell you a secret. I do my resolutions when the new school year starts, so Friday is only going to be a checkup. Here’s my resolution list and my double check:

A: take what I have and enhance it = this means that I’m grateful for what I’ve been given and will run with those gifts.
For example, I can put on muscle like crazy, but don’t have the lungs for running. So, I’m going to focus on getting a really cut body. I won’t give up on cardio but I’m not going to judge myself against my best friend because she’s a marathoner.

B: passion, passion, passion every day!
This is passion as a life force. Pure enjoyment of my environment. You can’t possibly give joy to others if you are not overflowing in it yourself. I’m going to paint in my house, wear more jewelry, try cooking and eating new foods, find a way to link my teaching skills into a service, and do a core training class just to be sure my life is juicy every day.

C: Slow down and throw out = Double check
1. Is this (whatever activity or person) bringing or fulfilling passion for me?
2. Is this (blank) helping me reach my personal goals? It could be a great deal or opportunity, but is it sidetracking or pushing me forward?
3. Is it scary? If so, I’m probably on the right track.

Let’s be honest, if you are really passionate about something, you’ll do it. Nothing can stop you. But if your heart and soul aren’t in it then it means you are trying to live up to someone else’s goals for you. I don’t care what it is, weight, smoking, spending, cleaning, if you tackle it like a kid, focused and determined while having fun, you can do it. If you feel you “have to” and its drudgery then you’ll hate every minute and quit by February.

When you love who you are, your love will overflow to everyone else. The one drop can become a tidal wave. That’s the real goal of 2010! And yes, the babysitter is SO worth it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Different Disney

Last night we went to see Disney’s new movie, “Princess and the Frog”. This film is about a servant’s daughter, Tiana, in New Orleans. Her daddy had a dream of opening a restaurant, and when he passed away, the dream became hers. She always worked 2 jobs to save money to buy the sugar mill and restore it to fulfill her dream, even when her friends were begging her to go out. Of course, there is a prince. But here he is plum broke and quite lazy; though full of suave charm and love of life.

What I loved about this movie:
1. The heroine is black. Besides Pocahontas and Mulan, this is a huge diversion off the Disney princess usual carriage route. Tiana is kind, fair, hard working and quite sassy.
2. It’s set in New Orleans, so you get to learn about a bit of American culture = the people, habits, architecture, food, customs, and languages.
3. The underlying theme is that people and family are more important than money. Tiana learns that all work and no play are just as bad as the prince who learns that all play gets you nothing. Dreaming combined with dedication is needed to aspire….but if you have no friends or family to share your success with, life is very hollow.

Of course, my kids’ favorite was the line was from Ray, the firefly, “Don’t you make me light up my butt!” Can’t beat basic humor with them.

No matter the age, elementary to high school, I think this is a good movie for you to open up discussions with your children about money, customs, our country’s sordid history, human rights, working hard for a goal, and choosing friends.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trust Your Gut

Yesterday I went to my post-operation check up. My surgeon asked how I was doing (feeling great), if I was taking it easy (ummmm, can you define “easy”), and if I’ve tested out the system with pizza (no, lasagna). I got a big check mark of health and my scars (there are 4) are healing okay. Then came the pathology report.

“Well, it says here that you had chronic inflammation and stones. I’m glad you made the decision to have us proceed. You must have been in some pain for a long time.”

I so badly wanted to say, “No sh*t Sherlock” but I refrained. He’s a nice man. Neither the swelling nor stones showed up on the ultrasound before the surgery, so forcing him to take my money and remove my gall bladder was strictly my doing. Woo Hoo – I’m not a crazy hypochondriac! And it’s not just A) stress, B) too much junk food, or C) too much liquor in college. Okay, I’ll give you the stress, but otherwise I eat a lot of organic foods and, believe it or not, didn’t drink in college, not even much pop.

What this is telling me and you is that as women we have a 6th sense and we need to follow it. Call it women’s intuition, gut feelings, instinct, para-normal, mother nature, whatever….we all know we have the ability to tune in and we need to pay heed to it more often. I knew there was something wrong with my body and I had to go to the extreme surgery to prove it.

I believe that sometimes we become so strong on the outside, especially to others looking at us, that we forget to pay attention to our insides. Not just our physical, but mental and emotional too. As you are reading this, start at the top of your head and work down, asking yourself “How does this feel?” Make an inventory of yourself. When you are done, make some appointments to correct/discover what isn’t right. If you regular doctor isn’t helpful, try an alternative. Be sure your hormones are level, your back is aligned, and your body is detoxed. Those three things are your solid foundation.

Trust yourself! You know you the best. There is no trophy for being in pain the longest, whether physical or emotion. It doesn’t make you a better mother or woman. I am learning the hard way about taking care of myself first, so if you can learn from my mistakes, all the better. I am rewarding myself tomorrow with a concert by Stephen Lynch. I plan to laugh for hours and flood my body with good, healing endorphins. Cheers to the power of laughter!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Simple Holiday

Well, it’s that time of year again. The hustle and bustle of the holidays tends to overshadow what the holidays are actually about = peace and giving. We are bombarded with a media blitz on the perfect table, perfect meal, perfect gift, perfect families who have perfect personalities…..But when asked “What is your favorite memory or tradition of the holidays?” it’s never any of those media “perfect” things. You hear a lot of “baking cookies with my mom”, “stringing popcorn on the tree”, “going to midnight service on Christmas Eve”, “the smell of the tree nursery”, “serving dinner for the homeless”, “playing cards until past midnight with my uncles”, “my grandma’s spiced apples and cider”.

We all say the holidays aren’t about money, but let’s not fool ourselves. Buying becomes a duty, rather than an inspiration of love. Spending money or lack of money is always on the brain. Kids may understand that the gift they want is out of the budget, but that doesn’t hide their disappointment. If there are divorced parents, many times the holidays are a competition for time and presents.

Collectively we can call a stop to the madness! We’ve just now skipped into December and you can start new traditions now. Think about your most wonderful memories. Now, think about the things that will need to change so you can incorporate the traditions you really love. Something has to be let go! Probably many things need to be let go if we’re being honest with ourselves. And nothing has to be in stone – you can try something else next year. Call a Cease Fire. Do some yoga and simplify.

Here are a few things we do with our family:
*Our kids get 3 gifts and a stocking. One from Santa (unwrapped), one from Mom and Dad, and one from siblings.
*We try to watch the 25 days of Christmas on ABC or supplement with our own videos.
*We cut out, bake, and decorate cookies with real pastry bags of frosting. Yes, it’s a mess, but the rule is you get to eat the broken cookies and every year there are pictures of dark colored tongues.
*Cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, which is spent alone at our house if at all possible, in PJ’s all day.
*We “adopt” foster children and load them up with the winter essentials and small toys.
*Check out holiday books from the library (okay, and buy from B&N, I’m a sucker for books). The Polar Express is still the favorite.
* I always loved spending the night with cousins after Christmas, playing with everyone’s new toys, and now my children are doing it. I love to watch them get excited about being with their cousins.
*Eating Kringles, Leftsa, German Almond cookies, Chow Mein cookies, and almond dipped pretzels.
*Going to see the Trans Syberian Orchestra.
*My mother-in-law’s side of the family do Christmas in the summer or fall. Everyone can fly/drive in nice weather and less risk of illness thwarting the fun.

Let me know what traditions you love, what you are proudly ditching, and maybe what things you want to start this year. We can all come together, share ideas, and make the holidays about peace and giving to ourselves as well as others.