Browsing the archives for the personal growth category.

Even when you don’t feel like it…

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just wanted to crawl back under the covers and bury my head instead of getting out and trying to make something good from this whole mess.

I mean, going from where we were to where we are now has been a major adjustment, a hardship, an insult, a learning experience and a major catapult for reevaluating life goals and priorities. Sometimes, if you aren’t careful, all you can see is the what-if’s and the down-sides to it all.

Shutting down and giving up is the easiest thing to do. So is blaming others and wallowing in the woe-is-me victim sorrow and self pity. The thing is, the easy way out usually doesn’t bring any further advancement or improvement. Heck, it can even bring a whole slew of new problems!

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

As hard as it is in times of struggle, I’ve always eventually found that getting outside one’s comfort zone and really pressing on despite it all brings many new opportunities.

Hauling my butt out of the house and making it out to an event back in August, despite my lack of motivation, was a life changing event that was unrealized. There I spoke out for a woman that I had no idea would later be someone helping me out.

I’ve got writing opportunities in the wings, website work is flowing in and I am even taking a dance class at a community dance school, that is more like an audition, with hopes of meeting others and potentially furthering my choreography and dance career.

All these opportunities do fill me with some anxiety and yes, they are outside my current comfort zone of mommy & wife… But I think it would be crazy to close myself off to these future possibilities! In the end we have no control or say in what life has in store for us, if we want to savor the good in life we need to gobble up all the chances that come our way. ‘Cause you just never know which opportunity is THE one.

If you get yourself out there, meet new people, learn new things and build relationships with community members you are opening yourself up to the new possibilities that may await you.

Often times the one thing we truly need is the one thing we aren’t allowing ourselves to receive. Just some food for thought.

Is it a trail of shit or sunshine? A crumb trail following wherever we go…

I read a blog the other day that discussed how all our experiences and encounters either leave us drained or energized. It was a reflection piece on how the blogger’s energy and frame of mind in turn impacts and influences other people’s own energy and frame of mind.

Obviously our energy around her is a cesspool these days and we’ve been working real hard to turn things around. Nobody enjoys being miserable right? So why choose to remain in a negative frame of mind? That is the question the blogger’s article posed.

I’ve been thinking lots about how drained or energized other’s have left me lately. The more I think about it the more drained I become because, honestaly, there are too many leaches these days.

Not only do we have the life stuff to work through right now but then we have all the other factors as well, specifically the miserable or drama driven people.

Remember that post I wrote about ethics and social media? I’ve still got petty blog & social media trolls challenging my OPINION that I shared. Isn’t it my right to share my own opinions, especially on my own blog? Who ever said my opinion had to be the same as yours and that if it is not you have the right to taunt or harass me until I change my opinion? What is so hard about agreeing to disagree?

Also, people on facebook are pissing me off. When people go on there whining and airing drama that isn’t our business it is annoying. What is even worse is when they later have the nerve to bitch about how others are getting involved in the situation on facebook, when they themselves opened the facebook can of worms to begin with.

Because I don’t want to make this blog post 100% draining for you I’ll stop my bitch fest about the selfish and draining shit going on around us.

Instead I want to encourage you to take a look at your everyday encounters. Are they leaving you feeling really good or really tired?

We can’t change how others act towards us but we can change how we choose to act. Are you leaving a draining feeling when you go or have you found ways to energize and boost those around you?

Did I mention that Everly is now running around the house? She carries this snack cup with her usually. It is filled with cheerios… She leaves a trail of them where ever she goes now. We all leave our own trail of positivity or negativity wherever we go just like her cheerios. It’s something we often forget when going about our daily activities.

Be honest, do you leave a trail of shit or sunshine? We are all guilty of leaving some shit now and then… What is important is that we focus our intentions on leaving positivity. Then we will begin to be able to turn our own perspective and experiences around.

In the spirit of focusing on the positive, I’d love to hear some stories of how people have left you (or how you have left them) feeling energized. Please share them below in the comments section.

All aboard! Now deaprting bummer-town…

Although we are now entering day two of unemployment, we aren’t crying in our milk or anything. It seems word is spreading to more and more people and everyone is really worried about how we are doing.

On Friday when we were broadsided at the end of the night it was bad times but over the weekend we did much discussing, brainstorming and networking. It’s not “all coming up roses” around here but it not “doom and gloom” either.

Things are uncertain and we don’t have much time to get another gig going but there are several good things that have already come out of all this.

Remember that vacation we were bummed to skip out on when I served up a whopping shitcake to you all? Well now we are enjoying unemployment an extended staycation. Yep, all three of us are home and free to do whatever the heck we want, for the next two months or until new employment comes along.

Remember that life’s priorities talk I shared with ya? Well N’s number one priority was to find a job that makes him happy. When we made the priorities lists we were thinking the job hunt would begin in a year or more… That meant sticking it out in the meantime and dreaming of the future possibilities… Funny how life works huh? Now he gets to go right to the possibilities and skip the dreaming and sticking it out. That is good right?

Other good things include me getting some help and backup in my parenting and homemaking duties. Shoot, I might even have more time and focus for writing on here now! Also, Everly will be getting more time with both her parents and not just her exhausted mommy.

We were joking about another one of our priorities on those lists we drafted. N’s work buddies jokingly call it “OTG” (off the grid), we’ll get to put our sustainable and frugal living to the real test. Can we really sustain ourselves using what resources we already have? You know the giant garden, the stockpiled pantry goods and all that…

On my priority list I was also questioning whether or not I would be able to lead a healthy, sustainable lifestyle when convenience and finances made it difficult. This is our test…

It’s like two weeks ago we drafted this list of life tests that not only related to everything we desired but now it ties those desires with the path we must take to achieve those things. Is that magical or what?

So now we focus on the immediate tasks ahead. Brainstorming job possibilities, keeping a open, positive frame of mind, putting ourselves out there in search of leads, enjoying the beauty of the days ahead, marveling in the apparent destiny of it all and trusting that things will work out just the way they are meant to.

My top 5: Life priorities

We are approaching a crossroads (again) and have begun discussions of future and goals. I know, we just did this how many years ago?

Well, lots has happen since we got ourselves all figured out and now it seem we need to start figuring out things again.

The thing is, it is crazy how easy it is to go through life day to day not fully understanding your ultimate goals/ hearts desires. I realized this when N and I began a dialogue about what was next for us.

Apparently after reaching many of our goals we’ve just sorted rested on our laurels and have been coasting through for a while not really thinking much about our next steps.

Sure, it’s way easier to just take it day by day and not look to far ahead. Especially after feverishly planning and working your butt off for so many years, but without knowing (and being able to define) your goals & priorities it’s pretty hard to devise a game-plan for the immediate future that will help you to reach those goals and fulfill those priorities. Doh! Time to get cracking again.

Since I am gonna pressure N to list his top 5 I figured it was only fair to make my own list too. Here is what I came up with for my priorities:

1. Raise my child in the best way possible.
2. Spend time with family and savor the moments.
3. Financial stability & comfort.
4. Self sufficiency, sustainability & reducing environmental footprint.
5. Lead a more healthy lifestyle.

The top three were easy but the bottom two required some thought. I wrote them in the order they came to me too. I would like to put healthy lifestyle further up on the list but I would be lying if I moved it up. I am lazy and when finances or energy is depleted I do eat like crap and treat my body badly, it is the honest truth.

Another thing I noticed once my list was complete is my lack of goals that relate to my own fulfillment. Notice how I am not concerned with growing myself in any way… The self sufficiency is a hobby so it kind of is about just me, I guess. I worry that not focusing on myself might leave me in a bad place later but my heart is in giving my all to the family I’ve longed for and finally have.

I feel like we are headed to moving our health and environmental footprint above the financial stability part in terms of being willing to forgo the cheapo crap foods and spend more money and even time acquiring safer, healthier better for us foods. Like the grass-fed, free range meat share we committed to and our switch to hormone free milk. We also beefed up our garden tons this year and have been enjoying much organic, self-grown produce.

Jotting down my top 5 priorities list really does bring fourth some interesting observations. I think there are many positive ways I could revise the list to turn out my goals and get me focused and heading the right direction.

I know I need to find a balance between motherhood and me, so I don’t lose myself. N and I need to make an effort to be a couple as well as parents. I really need to work harder at NOT taking the easy way out when it comes to my health and nutrition…

There are so many things I’d like to be doing differently but I won’t make the goals unless I am sure I am ready to commit to them 100%. It’s gonna take some pondering and weighing, I am one step in the right direction though.

Now to compare my list with N’s and see how we can mesh the two so that we are on track as a family.

So, what does your list look like? Care to share here or in a post on your own blog?

Life unfolds in unexpected ways

When I came home from last weeks Social Media Club of Evansville meeting I wasn’t in high spirits. I understood Blog Indiana was involved and I’ve been eager to venture in to the world of blog conferences for a few years. I ended up showing up late to the meeting, wasn’t happy about this.

After finding a seat in the back, away from everyone else (as to not totally disrupt the talk already under way) I learned the subject of the meeting was more of a intro to social media thing. Obviously I was already introduced to social media as I heard about the meeting via twitter… Anyway, the talk was still good to hear and I got to get a feel for the other social media attendees based on the question and answer that was going on during the presentation.

I was glad to meet locals and to have the opportunity to network. I was also eager to get the feelers out there for my new site ChirpCal.com that I am developing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find much good response about my ChirpCal venture. It was more like I wasn’t articulating my ideas in ways that others could grasp. It makes good sense in my head and in explaining it to N it seems great but it is hard to fully explain it in a nutshell to new people I meet.

Like I said, I wasn’t in high spirits after the meeting despite my meeting so many friendly and helpful people. N and I talked about it, I had some wine and went to bed.

The next morning I was surprised to find all these new followers on facebook and twitter, they were the people I had met the night before. They had given me their business cards but I didn’t have any to pass out in return. I fully expected everyone to forget all about meeting me, especially without business cards.

It was nice to find that simply attending a group meeting landed me many new followers and fans. Not only does this broaden my social reach on the internet but it also provides a great chance to make local friendships.

Friendships that proved to be helpful yesterday when I was curious about a spider lurking outside my home. I tweeted this photo and called for any ideas about what kind of spider it was.

Mary Biever, a new twitter friend and a local social media junkie, polled her facebook friends. About 30 min later we had the spider identified. It is an orb spider. Curiosity cured!

Sometimes we might think our efforts were wasted if the expected result is not received. However, life unfolds in unexpected ways and until you get yourself out there you’ll never know what awaits you.

Thoughts on punishment and expectations in students of the arts – Share your 2 cents.

Each batch of kids I teach is different and in order to effectively “reach” each of them I try to adapt my approach, so I can best help them. I’ve never taught the same from one year to the next because no two batches of students are exactly the same.

The ultimate goal is to leave the students with some life lessons in addition to teaching them how to do colorguard/ winter guard. Things like:

  1. You can do whatever you set your mind to.
  2. Discipline and hard work always pay off.
  3. Actions speak louder than words.
  4. It is better to try and fail than to sit on the sidelines scared.
  5. Without risks and hard work you have no chances for huge success.
  6. Life is not about the end result it is about the journey.

Of course I also want to teach them about showing up on-time, fulfilling commitments, being a team player, planning ahead, time management, setting goals and so on…

Each kids responds differently to various approaches. Right now we are tackling discipline and focus in rehearsals.

I’ve been toying with the idea of physical punishment (aka push-ups and so on). It is something many marching bands incorporate in to their rehearsals as a means to refocus the kids and to give them incentive to do their best.

For me it is something that I’ve never really been able to fully appreciate. Sure I was forced to run a few laps in marching band when we all were having a really, really bad rehearsal… it only happen like twice the entire 4 years of high school though.

Now that I am teaching in a totally different place (culturally) I am having to revisit the idea of forced discipline & focus as opposed to simply expecting it. Does that make sense at all?

I guess what I mean is I am used to just being expected to act properly or leave as opposed to being expected to behave improperly and then to pay for the misbehavior.

You know on the one side there is no room for acting up but with the punishment there is the expectation of acting up followed by a punishment. It’s a glass half full or half empty sort of thing… with expectation of good behavior as opposed to expectation of bad behavior

What are your thoughts? Do you think there is any benefits to one over the other? How do you think they translate in to life lessons and shape young people?

There is more to life than winning or loosing… Right?

Sure there is always the draw of winning, as a teacher of the competitive arts I know this all too well. Winning feels great and is fun right? Sure Does!

However, I’ve always totally believed that winning was only to be a bonus for my students, not the driving force behind their efforts. I know many more competitive people that do not agree with this theory.

I’ve had many students who were not the cream of the crop competitively speaking, that was okay with me though. I saw my chance to help them believe in themselves and to show them that hard work can help them achieve anything.

Often times this meant training, nurturing, building them up, guiding them and then pushing them to their limit. If you’ve got a good relationships with someone they trust your intentions and work harder for you.

Not everyone is born as talented at some things as others but that doesn’t mean you can’t try it, feel good about it and succeed.

I’ve noticed that so many kids these days are afraid to fail. So afraid that they are often too scared to even try new things.

Personally, if I never tried new things I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t be a dancer, a teacher, a writer, a mother or a wife… Those were all things I was new to that I could have potentially failed at.

It’s not about winning or loosing to me (or succeeding vs. failing) it’s about taking chances, working hard, loving and believing in yourself and others while they grow.

For me it’s more about how you play the game as opposed to weather or not you win.

I value effort, determination, work ethic, team work and the development of good character qualities over winning at all costs. That is just how I choose to see and approach life. Is that so crazy? Does that automatically make me destined to lose and always the underdog?

I mean if your kids were in a competitive situation wouldn’t you value the things they could learn about life through the activity versus whether or not they were always winners?

Blogging the real me to make you (and me) feel better.

While I was going through my feed reader last week I had a revelation (thanks to a post I’ll mention later) that could possibly warrant the changing of my tag line on this very blog.

Anyone who has been blogging for a long time knows that when our lives change often times so does the focus of our blogs. I know many bloggers who have been through this or are currently going through this right now (like her, her, her – awe hell the list could go on forever so I can’t possibly list all of you!).

This very blog has been through some of it’s own transformations in the 4 years I have been writing here. Back in the day the whole point of starting this blog was for marketing my business, then the economy slowed and so did my business sales. The focus shifted to me writing motivational articles and informative/ how to articles as I worked through a period of personal growth. Then I began writing sponsored posts for a while as I worked to monetize my blog and further my writing efforts.

Now I am more of a daily life blogger sharing all that is my life, honestly and sometimes boringly. Personal blogging is not only a venue for self discovery but as a blog reader I’ve found that it is also a comfort to find others who are or who have been in our same position.

This brings me back to the article I read that caused the revelation. It was a great read so click on over there and read it real quick! It said:

“ministry of mediocrity” – helping others by showing our real selves.

Yes, at times this blog is mediocre with it’s talk of poo and zits and other life events. I know we have enjoyed many dramatic – non boring things like the stove fire, the moldy basement issue, N’s job saga and moving cross country but the goal with this blog was never to impress anyone as I am sure you have already determined.

I think there is real beauty in realness which is why my writing style is the way it is now, it is also why I deeply love reading so many of your blogs. So much of society is about putting on your best face, we go around trying to make the best impression at work and at get-togethers. Soon life becomes this huge facade of us putting our best self out there which is fine but it also fuels the unattainable idea that we should all be perfect and “shiny” as the above referenced post puts it.

Bottom line is none of us are perfect, we can all try and try to convince others that we are but what if in doing so we forget to love and nurture ourselves, imperfections and all? I mean if we are so ashamed of the imperfect sides of us how can we truly love and accept ourselves? I guess that is why I am so open and real about things on this blog, ugliness and all.

So now I am taking an idea from Teeni and calling on my readers to help me come up with a new tag line for this blog, that reflects this idea. Also, feel free to chime in on this topic. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Remember when…

Remember when I outlined all N’s job uncertainty in this post back on May 2008? Back then we still had no idea where his job search would take us and we were pretty worried that we would end up stuck with the status quo if no better offers came along.

We were barely making end meet, were financially frustrated, itching to start a family, had no chance of buying a home and were ready for a little more job security. Too bad my lady doctor said I was not fertile because of my low weight and N’s job told him they really valued him but could not increase his salary from here on out. That was 5 months ago…

Can you believe how much has happen in 5 months? Holly crap! N got the job in Evansville, IN so we started planing our cross country move. We got engaged 7 days before we were scheduled to move. We made the week long cross country move with minimal drama. We were in our new home for 3 weeks, were planning our wedding for July 2009 then we found out we conceived our first child! I just did the bills and we actually have several hundred dollars left over after everything was paid oh and houses are damn cheap here!

That really is a ton of stuff that fell in to place all at once for us. I guess it makes up for the 3 years we spend in limbo land huh? I almost can’t believe all has worked out for us in such a freaking short amount of time.

Now I just need to master taking photos of water already (I didn’t forget Wordless Wednesday, just a bit late) Lotus says anyone can do it and my camera has a freaking macro setting but my water photos suck big time. I guess you can’t have it all huh? Here are my crappy attempts and a funny video!

Thoughts on struggle and peaceful garden photos

To me the hardest thing is to watch a loved one go through trying times and to not be able to help them. My brother is dealing with some heavy stuff right now. He had a child with a girlfriend and they have just come to terms with the idea that they can’t be together as a couple. His daughter and now ex-girlfriend just left his house to be on their own. He is not on his daughters birth certificate because his pregnant girlfriend was a minor when she gave birth.

Ugh, it is a whole slew of drama that I don’t want to bore you with. Basically sitting by and watching him make his choices and watching him struggle is killing me. As outsiders to the situation we can see what his next step should be and we have given him advice but he sees things differently than we do, he is doing what he feels is best. He is scared and overwhelmed, all we can do is support him and hope it all works out.

This quote reminded me of him:

We want facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don’t it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions. – Jessamyn West

He believes that he has no chance of gaining parental rights to his daughter despite the fact that he IS the stable parent. He believes that mothers have more rights than fathers regardless of the situation, we cannot seem to convince him otherwise.

Okay, enough of the family drama and stress talk. Lets spend some time in my garden!

Here is a wildflower growing in my yard that I like and managed to transplant into some pots. maiden53, this is the flower you were asking me about that I’ll have at the yard sale.

I have no idea what this flower is called but it is pretty and I like it! got any ideas what it is?

My lilies are in bloom! I believe these are tiger lilies, they don’t have a fragrance like my white stargazer lilies but they are so pretty!

Got any fun garden photos of plants growing in your neck of the woods?