Monday, November 16, 2009

In Good Company - Suzanne Evans

Are you in good company?

I've been on ah-ha moment overload all weekend! I went to see Suzanne Evans live on the Help More People Tour in St. Louis. I have to say, she completely blew me away! WAY beyond my expectations (and I thought she would totally rock, but WOW)!

I'm sure I'll be discussing a lot of ah-ha moments moving forward, but one of the things I realized is how important it is to surround yourself with like minded people. And not just like minded people, but people of greatness; people that have achieved and accomplished thing things in life you're bound and determined to achieve.

(I have to say, I started this post on November 1st when I returned home from St. Louis and obviously, I was interrupted! Five month olds can do that pretty easily!)

Back to the point. I've been meeting some really incredible people lately; people that inspire me, challenge me, motivate me, and maybe a few that somewhat intimidate me. All of those things are good! I want to be more, do more.

Now that it has been a few weeks after seeing Suzanne, I have a little different perspective on my experience there. Honestly, it was bitter-sweet. I was excited to mingle among high achievers, doers; people that make a huge impact in the lives of others. I was inspired and encouraged to see their transformations in their business make-overs.

I'm realizing I should side-step here. Suzanne Evans works with "helpingpreneurs" (entrepreneurs that are in the business of helping others) to effectively market and monetize their passions. She's extremely gifted with what she does!

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I'm watching all of this transformation in the room throughout the day. I'm seeing people cry because the light bulb finally went off and they know exactly what they need to do moving forward in their business. It was exciting!

Toward the end of the day, I started to have a little bit of a meltdown. How embarrassing. I was quietly tearing up in the front row as I watched the last business make-over. It hit me - I'm living at about five percent of my potential...if that. Holy crap! What am I doing? I've been allowing fear to hold me back for some time now. I've been making excuse after excuse to not take action. I started to feel angry, frustrated. Before long, I was just plain PISSED!

I saw people with established businesses; people that have already taken that leap of faith and put themselves out there. I've seen their websites. I receive the newsletters of some of them. It was pretty amazing to see this other side; to see their stumbling blocks, their fears and hang ups. It was nice to see that I'm not the only one with fears, insecurities, excuses holding me back. Although everyone was at different stages in their journey of entrepreneurship, we could all relate to the emotions that come with putting ourselves out there.

I think we all realized that we now have each other to learn from, to gain support from and even business partnerships and alignments.

What I'm learning is that when you have a nudge to do something in your life; if you're truly passionate about something; take that leap of faith and go for it!

Make sure you're in good company. Find a way to minimize or eliminate the nay-sayers in your world. Attach yourself to people that build you up, encourage you, teach and mentor you. Align with people that have common interests, values, beliefs and motivations in life. It's amazing how quickly your life can change and you just begin to start finding ways to make it all happen!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mushy Kisses

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will?!

family is FAMILY

I recently took a little trip to WV to visit some family. Let me just say, this trip wasn't easy, but I wouldn't trade those sleep deprivation filled days and nights for anything!

It was complete chaos. I flew out of Chicago Ohare (with little Brady) early Friday morning on a tiny commuter flight into Columbus, OH where my mom, sister and her 3 little ones picked me up in a rental van. We had 4 car seats jammed into this thing! I'm sure you can imagine what kind of noise and craziness might have occurred, but let me share a little with you anyway.

Although we used to drive from WV to Columbus (and vice versa) all the time to visit my cousins, mom decided to get directions from the guy at the rental car place, which turned out to be a HUGE mistake. We ended up driving across the entire state of Ohio the WRONG direction...with 4 children under the age of 4 years old!

I can remember asking at the 1 hour mark how we were doing on time. My mom was like, "Wait a minute, I don't remember Dayton being on the way to Parkersburg (WV)." "Well, mom, that's because it isn't on the way to Parkersburg. Please, don't tell me that you just drove over an hour the WRONG direction...please...."

Meanwhile, Jacob (4) is arguing with Grace (2) about sharing her blue marker for his picture because his blue marker was out of ink. Of course, Grace ONLY wanted to use the blue marker for her picture once she realized it was the only color Jacob didn't have and so desperately needed to complete his picture.

They ended up in a kicking and screaming match, which woke both Liberty (10 months) and Brady (4 months). Did I mention that Liberty HATES being in the car in her car seat? Did I mention she screams until she forces herself to vomit on herself and fall asleep? Well, yes. That's precious Liberty!

Six hours later, we arrived in Parkersburg at the Comfort Inn, a very plush Parkersburg hotel (well, okay...probably motel). We always stay there when we go for a visit. My great aunt Sarah has been living there for the past 10 years! They're really kind and helpful to her there.

I think I've failed to mention that it has been 10 years since we've had ALL (or almost all) of the family in town to visit at one time. Sadly, the last time we all there was for my grandmother's funeral. Sure, we've all been back for a day or two since then to visit grandpa, but never all together. He is approaching 90 years old (Sarah is too)! So we thought it would be really nice if we could all find a way to be there TOGETHER to celebrate moving into their 90's. Not to mention, grandpa has 4 great grandchildren and he has only briefly met 2 of them as babies.

From beginning to end, it wasn't easy. I had a joined room with my mom, sister and her 3 kids. Grace, Liberty and Brady don't all sleep through the night yet. Grace has night terrors, so she wakes up randomly screaming at the top of her lungs, which is AWFUL to wake up to. It's very difficult to wake her and soothe her after that. Then of course, the babies wake up afraid and decide, well, yeah...they're hungry too.

We packed a lot in those few short days. It was intense and exhausting. It was sad to see how they've aged; how lonely they are for family.

It made me realize, family is FAMILY. The good, the bad, the ugly; sacrifices are worth making to be there for one another. Memories of time spent together (even the stressful or sad times) are so worth making. We're all busy people in this day and age. We all have our priorities and immediate families to attend to, but I can say with certainty that being there to love and support family that's far away, aging, struggling, lonely or falling on hard times...WE are the ones that can truly make a difference. There's nothing like the love of a family.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I swear, I'm being PUNKED!

What kind of message am I supposed to be getting when I find myself asking, "Uhhh, am I being punked..." at least three times a week; sometimes three times a day?

Well, today is one of those days.

I was really looking forward to today. I had big plans to meet up with a friend for a fun "masterminding" session, then I was scheduled for a 3:00 massage and a 5:00 personal training session. Can't beat that!

I swear, the universe laughs at me when I actually schedule my day.

Of course, the minute I start to make my lunch, Brady is suddenly starving too. My friend called to see if we could meet two hours earlier. Being the people pleaser that I am, I started rushing around to make that happen.

I jumped into the shower with Brady screaming in his chair. I just fed him, so it has to be gas or teething that's making him so fussy. I hurry out to give Brady his bath. I leave the water running to fill his little tub, took him to undress him and take his diaper off. What does he do? Poops in my hand. Awesome!

I hear this barfing sound, turn around to see which pet is hurling on my carpet and actually step right into the mess my pug just regurgitated. Wow, can this get any more disgusting? I'm thinking, "Flip! I'm in a hurry! Throw me a frick'en bone here!"

As I'm bathing Brady, I hear the pug throwing up again in the office. Really?! The only two rooms in the house with carpet; the nursery and the office. I decide to just keep moving. I get Brady out of the tub, get him dressed and all packed up.

Now, it's my turn to finish getting dressed and pulled together. We need to leave in 15 minutes to have a prayer at being on time. I hear the pug AGAIN in the living room. Where? Oh, On the area rug underneath the coffee table. Seriously? He can't just puke on the wood floors?

Then I have a moment of compassion for him. He has obviously gotten into something that's making him crazy sick now. Crap, should I take him to the vet now? By the way, Brady is still crying. The chaos makes it so hard to think about what still needs to be done and what I should do.

Maybe I need to cancel my exciting day. In the process of trying to decide as I scramble around to get ready, the power goes out, the pug pukes a few more times in the living room and now in my bedroom.

On top of all that, my keys are missing. I've never lost them like this before. They are literally no where to be found. Now, I don't even have the option to go anywhere. (Turns out, my husband left them IN the car in the center console, which never happens. No wonder I couldn't find them!)

I called my friend to cancel. Hearing Brady scream in the background, she laughed a little and said, "Don't worry about it! Sounds like you have your hands full. I better let you go." I know she had to be thinking "Better you than me!"

"I give in, Universe. You win! Can I at least have a glass of wine and a deep breath? Is that too much to ask for?"

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Year Ago...

Isn't it amazing how much happens AND changes in just a year?

One year ago, my husband and I had been married exactly four months. We were settling into married life and making plans for our future. I can remember coming home from our honeymoon to Jamaica and discussing how we would love to start saving so that we could finally travel. We had been living on such a tight budget saving for our wedding over the last 16 months.

We were so excited at the thought of going to Greece in the summer of 2009. My husband, Chris is in sales and was aligned really well to win the President's Club seven day cruise. He watched the preview video more times than he would probably like to admit. It was his motivation to continue to work hard and go the extra mile.

One year ago, I can remember being really stressed out at work. I was working for our local Chamber of Commerce. Our director of events was out on emergency medical leave and I was asked to step in without any training or knowledge transfer of her role. This Chamber had roughly 6 - 8 big events a month! I knew I was in for a ride.

I can remember feeling really nervous at the first event I was running. We probably had a little over 100 people there. I couldn't eat (which is rarely a problem for me). I even got sick a couple times during the breakfast, which was really out of character for me. Was I getting the flu or something?

A few days later, I went to see my colleague after she was released from the hospital. We ordered pizza for lunch. I love pizza! On the way back to the office, I got sick again walking down the stairs in the parking garage. I thought, "What the heck is going on with me?"

I knew I was really stressed and felt the pressure. I wasn't sleeping very well. My anxiety was pretty high, but man, I've never been the type to get nauseated over this kind of stress.

I'll never forget, my co-worker/friend, Lisa said, "Kelli, you're pregnant. I suggest you stop by Walgreens on your way home tonight to confirm it and get yourself in to the OBGYN soon!" My mouth dropped. I thought she was completely crazy. No way was I pregnant! I have to admit though she had my wheels spinning a little bit. The vomiting was kind of strange to explain.

I took her advice and stopped by Walgreens. I remember joking to Chris that night over dinner, "Wouldn't it be crazy if we were pregnant right now?! That would be crazy!" I remember him saying.
"What makes you say that? Why would you bring that up? Are you thinking you're pregnant?"

"Slow down Killer," I thought! I told him that Lisa told me I was pregnant today and we both kind of just laughed it off. We totally let it go...until the next morning.

I got up around 6:00 a.m. to get in the shower for work. It was Tuesday, October 7, 2008. I remember thinking, "Oh, I have a pregnancy test under the sink. Let's just go ahead and rule that out." Without really thinking about what I was about to do, I peed on the stick.

It pretty much went down like this: "Umm, wait, that's a plus symbol! I'm pretty sure that means positive. Holy crap! Really? Wait...seriously? Uhh, what does this mean? (Counting on my fingers) May or June? Oh no, Greece. He's not going to like that. Okay, just get in the shower, wake up a bit and think about what this means. Well, at least I know I can get pregnant. Doctors told me I might have a tough time. Hmmm, WOW! Well, when my sister, Emily told me she was pregnant in April, I cried unexplainably. I think I was unknowingly jealous of her, so that must mean I want this. Every child is a blessing! This is our little miracle, right?! I guess this is just God's plan. Wow! Oh, crap. Did I shampoo yet?"

I remember getting out of the shower and deciding that I couldn't go through the day without telling Chris. I'm just not the type of person to carry that kind of news around all day at work and pretend everything is normal. I knew I needed to tell him right away, get his reaction and then, of course, tell my parents!

"Hey, babe! I need you to wake up." Of course, Chris didn't need to get up for another hour, but I told him we needed to talk.

"Now? What could possibly be so important right now? Let's talk later."

I told him that he better wake up because I needed to know how he would feel about being a daddy!

I've never seen the covers thrown so fast! He sat right up and looked at me with big eyes, then squinted and laid back down. "Why would you say that? You're messing with me. Nice try!" I said, well actually, I just peed on a stick, so no; I'm not messing with you. The stick says we're having a baby. Um, how do you feel about being a daddy?"

"Holy crap! Shut up! No way! Oh my God! ...Wait...let me see that stick. Are you sure? (Grinning)"

"No, seriously, I just peed on the stick right before my shower. It's positive. We're definitely having a baby. It turned positive right away."

"Wow! Let me see it. Oh, and grab the directions. Did you do it right? Maybe you did it wrong. You should go to the doctor and get tested. This is crazy! Wow, I thought it was going to be really hard to get pregnant. Geez, maybe this is why you've been feeling so awful. Holy crap, really? We're having a baby? So, when would we be having the baby? (Counting on fingers) Oh! Wow! So, like May or June. Our Greece trip is planned for beginning of July. Hmmmmmm. Wow, babe! We're having a baby!"

Two days later, we went to the OBGYN and saw our little pea size baby. It was amazing! And what's funny is that Chris asked the OB if she tested me again since I used one of those tests from Walgreens. Of course, she laughed. She decided that the ultrasound was necessary not only to determine a due date (since we weren't exactly planning and tracking for a pregnancy), but to also show Chris there is actually a little life growing inside of me. If you could have been a fly on the wall at that appointment, you would have been peeing your pants!

When we left the office, Chris decided it was actually real and we should probably go ahead and announce the great news to his family as well. Our lives AND our plans have been forever changed.

I believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Whether or not we have an understanding of the meaning and the long term impact, I'm confident in knowing that His plans are always a blessing.

Today, I look at my 4 month old son and smile with tears in my eyes. He's perfect. He is a true miracle, a blessing.

We may not have gone to Greece over the summer, or be saving for future travel opportunities, but I wouldn't trade my precious little family for anything in the world. I'm so grateful and blessed for the gift of our precious son, Brady!

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Gemini Twin

I've been thinking about starting another blog.

When I think about it, it's kind of ridiculous how many stories I'm just dying to tell, but can't because they are too embarrassing or unladylike or politically incorrect. The thing is, I'm not that proper. I don't have it all together. I don't embody the perfect domestic housewife and mom.

Although I know I'm not perfect, I'm just not willing to risk my reputation by talking about things "you're just not supposed to talk about." I'll be honest, I do worry way too much about what others think of me; BIG flaw of mine that I'll own up to. I actually really hate that about myself. But the stories I want to tell, I definitely wouldn't tell my parents or even some of my close friends. The overall feeling or feedback I would undoubtably get, would be "whoa, TMI (too much information)!" There would be some chuckles, but ultimately, these are just things that people I'm close to probably wouldn't want to know those kind of intimate details. In fact, I'm sure of it!

I'm tickled by some of these experiences and my husband is too. I think that people reading these stories would laugh histerically. They might even be able to relate on some level. I'm sure I'll be telling stories that are way more common than I even realize. Again, these are the stories and experiences of everyday life, but no one EVER talks about them.

I'm approaching this from the point of view of my "Gemini Twin." Yes, I'm a gemini and everyone knows that geminis are characterized as having two personalities. This "other" blog will be my "other" personality sharing blunt, hilarious, detailed life experiences about getting married, getting pregnant, living pregnant for 10 months (yes, 10 months folks - 40 weeks), living pregnant with dogs, living with a newborn, intimacy, and so much more.

I was so angry when I was pregnant. My sister has three children. I thought she shared EVERYTHING there is to know about being pregnant. I thought I knew what I was up against. WRONG! Not to mention all of the things I went through for the first 6 weeks of Brady's life. I was pissed off to be quite frank! I'll put the REAL deal out there for all to read.

I'm laughing just thinking of the first blog entry. This will be an interesting journey!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fight with Gratitude

After only two hours of sleep last night, a three hour visit at the doctors office with Brady, plus two hours haggling with Walgreens for Brady's breathing treatment, I find myself exhausted, overwhelmed and desperate for a turn around.

Maybe it's my mindset that has me unraveling, but I feel like we can't really win. We only had a few weeks (2-3) where Brady slept for 4-6 hours in the night. Now were back to the newborn schedule - sleeping for 2-3 hours at night, then up and feeding around the clock. It's amazing how much it wears me down. I feel like I'm not really able to get anything done since he requires so much attention. I really should be in bed sleeping right now, but I needed to vent a little. Maybe I'll sleep a little better. I know complaining doesn't really help matters, but I rationalize to say that venting will allow me to unload and walk away from the negative thoughts.

I have to think positive. I have to clear my head a little and take notice of the blessings. I have to find a grateful mind and heart.

There really are so many things I'm thankful for when I think about it. I think about the things we all take for granted like a roof over my head, a loving and supportive husband, a baby that will recover and live a healthy life. Taking a look at the big picture really does put it all in perspective. I just need to program that stuff into my brain and keep it right there when I'm feeling hopeless, frustrated and exhausted. Many have it so much worse.

One thing I'm so grateful for in this moment is that I reached out to my lovely social network of friends and requested prayers for my little Brady. Within moments, I received an outpouring of love and prayers. It really does blow me away to have such instant encouragement and blessings sent my way. Ask and you shall receive!

I just took a nice deep breath. I think I'll say goodnight with a smile and remember that "this too shall pass." I really am so incredibly blessed. My grateful heart will beat this!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh, What a Week!

What a week it has been! Last Sunday, we had to rush my lil guy, Brady to the ER because he was having difficulty breathing. Turns out, he has croup. Yuck! They gave him steroids, watched him for a couple hours and sent us home. I can't tell you how awful it feels to see your three and a half month old so sick and pathetic. We were expecting him to improve in a couple days; 24-48 hours they told us. Well, one week down and he still has the croupy cough. On top of that, he's teething, so his little gums are sore. He's drooling EVERYWHERE and biting on everything. We're averaging about two to three hours of sleep a night. Definitely, not enough sleep for momma. I'm actually planning to call the doctor in the morning to see if there's anything else we can do to help him get back on the road to health. This just doesn't seem right.

In the midst of the around the clock sick infant care, I knew I needed to figure out a way to make it to the very first Chicago Underground Social Media Society Networking BASH (Whew, that's a mouth full!). I had been planning to attend for a few weeks. I knew it would be an opportunity to meet some really wonderful entrepreneurs and social media gurus. Thankfully, my hubby, Chris was happy to be on daddy duty for the evening. Thank God he's so supportive of the things he knows are important to me!

I was honestly blown away! The turn out was spectacular; probably 120-150 people in attendance and there was plenty of time to network before and after the speaker. Bill Crosby was the presenter of the evening. He is the creator of the Twitter Traffic Machine (now off the market). He spoke about the "Seven Steps to Viral Product Development." Of course I took notes and brainstormed some ways I could apply this information to some of the projects I'm working on. Good stuff!

The best part for me though was that I was able to connect with some great people that I know will impact my future both personally and professionally. I'm so excited to think of how much I'm going to learn from these individuals.

I find it no accident that I met Mina Shah with Robbins Research International, Inc. (Tony Robbins) first! She happened to be in town for a training engagement (I'm pretty sure) and decided to come to the event last minute when she heard about it. The interesting part about this is that I've been praying to find a way to attend the Tony Robbins - Unleash the Power Within weekend at the end of October in Chicago. Two hurdles to overcome: Brady care and the cost of the ticket. I'm still not positive it is going to work out, but I felt that maybe it was my sign to work a little harder to MAKE IT HAPPEN. I've had this feeling that attending will transform my life and catapult in the right direction to live my purpose. I'm now refocused on figuring out a game plan.

I rarely win anything, especially when it comes to a raffle, but I suppose fate would have me "win a free one hour chat" with Gabe Strom. Gabe is a social media trainer and life coach of sorts. He is passionate about helping people become aligned with their purpose. We both share this interest, but it's so much easier to help others than it is yourself. Well, that's the way I feel anyway. For some reason, I struggle with "defining" myself and paving a clear path. I'm excited to see where my chat with Gabe takes me. I'm looking forward to gaining a little outside perspective and maybe refine my focus.

I finally met Brad Will or @BradleyWill. We've been chatting on Twitter and Facebook. I have enjoyed his blog and video content. He has been successful in the real estate business and is now focused on living authentically and helping young entrepreneurs find success. Love it!

Ray Smith of Infinite Horizons Design; we've been chatting on Twitter and Skype for a couple weeks now or masterminding some would say. I'm so grateful to him for helping me on my journey to overcome my fear of VIDEO!

One more. I met Amber Gallagher, a 26 year old single mom sharing many of the same passions that I do. Amber would like to help other single moms become successful entrepreneurs and thrive in all aspects of life. We've been masterminding a lot this weekend! Looking forward to aligning with one another to make things happen for many fabulous moms throughout Chicagoland!

I could probably go on forever. There really were so many wonderful and talented people in attendance. I went home with about 20 business cards and had even more individual conversations that evening. I can only imagine how this group is going to expand and impact lives. Very exciting!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Make It Happen Inspiration

I'm reading the September issue of O Magazine. This issue talks a lot about strong, powerful women. When I read the message from Oprah in the beginning of the issue, I thought "BAM, that's it. She said it! That's exactly what's rolling through my head."

"What I find powerful is a person with grace, with courage, with the confidence to be her own self and make things happen." - Oprah Winfrey

This quote articulates what I believe and what I envision for my Naperville Moms Network.

I know I haven't talked about that here yet. I've been trying to organize my thoughts and ideas on that for months now. It's pretty ridiculous that I have NOTHING on paper for it yet. It might have been a mistake (we'll see), but I went ahead and created the site, I haven't done much with it yet because I get so overwhelmed with where to begin. My mind is overflowing with ideas and aspirations. So much so, that I even have trouble verbally explaining everything I have in mind for NMN to where people will ACTUALLY understand the whole concept. I've gotta pull it together!

I can remember trying to pick a major and decide what I wanted to be growing up in college. The thought of determining a career that I would actually enjoy while also having a family one day really weighed on me. Can women really have it all? Can you have an enjoyable, successful career AND be a great mom and wife? My mom was an excellent example in my life. She's a teacher! It was nice because she had the afternoons off to be with us, holidays, summers. Every time we had off, she was there for us, yet she had a stable paycheck and was able to impact thousands of young lives. As a matter of fact, for many years, I wanted to be her. I thought what she did and the way she did it was the most amazing thing! Funny thing is, I let her talk me out of  following her path when I was going into college. She told me that she felt I could do something just as important and get paid better. Florida teachers are paid pathetically! It's a shame. I wish I knew the ratio of teachers leaving the classroom after a year or two down there when they consider their job versus what they're paid. It's really disgusting and sad when I think about it. Funny, Chicago area teachers are paid well. Had I known my future husband would have us living up here, I may have actually gone through with it! Ha!

Getting back to the point. I think it's difficult for women to decide what they "want to be when they grow up" when the consider the roles as "career woman" and "mom." How do you plan it out so that you can have it all? Maybe everyone doesn't hang on that question as much as I have, but for me, it has been a real struggle throughout my twenties.

There are those that don't really spend too much time on the question. They know that being Mom is number one. They work, then when it comes time to start their families, there goes the career. And that's okay, because all they've ever wanted is the husband, precious children and possibly the white picket fence. "I was born to be a mother" they say. "That's what I was put on this earth to do." That may very well be so and not to say that there's anything wrong with that mindset.... The one thing to keep in mind is that those precious children grow up and begin their own lives. What's left for that mother when their children leave the nest for college or marry off? Empty nest syndrome - I sure as heck didn't make it up! Women then struggle to determine their purpose, where they're needed and how they contribute. They're whole world has been wrapped up in their children and now what?

On the other end of the spectrum, we have those that are so eagerly career driven, that they have an entourage of people (nannies, grandparents, childcare centers, etc.) handling the daily care of their children. They might see the kids when they wake up or before bed, but don't always have the opportunity to share meals, make it to their sporting events or extra curricular activities. They aren't fully plugged into their children's lives. The years seem to pass by in a blink. All of the sudden, the children are off to college and there's no real relationship. The parental influence is not as significant as those that have had a hands on role in their child's upbringing.

Let me just say that in any scenario discussed, there's no judgment here. That's not the purpose. These are extreme stereotypes that exist in today's society. Obviously, not every mom falls into one box or the other. There's gray. I'm no psychologist, so I'm not trying to over analyze why people choose the path that they do, I'm just saying that I've seen or witnessed all of the extreme scenario's in the lives of people close to me. I've seen the damage it can have on women when they hit "mid life" and wish they would have done things a little differently.

We are all influenced in our beliefs about what we think our roles are and how we should fulfill them. I'm not trying to change that. I would like to bring an awareness to today's women, mothers in particular, about finding that balance, living at our individual optimum and truly having it all! I believe it. We really can have it all!

It's a matter of being mindful of our own needs. It's about recognizing our gifts, strengths, passions and purpose in our own lives. We only have one go at this (as far as I know)! We never know how much time we have. People have a tendency to put things off that they've always wanted to do, for a time that's better or when they have more money, whatever. We make excuses for why we don't have the things or elements in our lives that we truly desire. I'm not talking about material things either. That's just one piece. I'm talking about taking risks, putting ourselves out there when we're unsure, but have a longing for something. I'm talking about finding the time and making a few sacrifices for the hobbies and special interests in our lives. I'm talking about consciously making our individual health a priority. I'm talking about looking in the mirror and seeing what's really there. Not on the surface, but the whole person. Your spirit.

If we can be in touch with our true, authentic selves, I believe we can, as Oprah would say it, "live our best life." We can be better wives, moms, sisters, daughters, friends, teachers, mentors, and so on. The possibilities are endless! We can go and do things we would have never dreamed possible if we just allow ourselves the opportunity to dream a little bit and believe. Ultimately what I want, is that at the end of the day, not matter what age, we can sleep peacefully and comfortably in our own skin knowing that we're truly living. We're making it happen!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Put On Your Big Girl Pants!

I'm a little speechless right now...and embarrassed. Obviously, I haven't posted in a while (shame on me). I also just noticed that I actually have people reading and following my blog. I don't know what I thought was going to happen when I listed it on Twitter, but I really am kind of speechless and shocked if I'm perfectly honest.

So, I've talked about the whole fear thing before. I'm putting myself out there now in ways I never have before and I find myself frustrated with how much fear and intimidation get in my way. I find myself saying horrible things like "Come on ya big wuss, stop holding back. What are you so freakin' afraid of? Just DO IT!" And when I don't "Just DO IT"... When I freeze up, I get really ticked off with myself. I'm trying to remind myself not to be so harsh and approach my fears with affirmations or incantations instead. It's really a mindset change that I'm working on. What a battle though. Every day, facing new, uncharted territory. I just have to keep in mind what I'm working toward and take one hurdle at a time.

My new phrase is "Put on your big girl pants today and make it happen!" I have to laugh at myself when I say that and remember not to take any of it too seriously. I'm going to make mistakes. I'm going to get embarrassed. I'm going to feel stupid every now and then, but through it all, I will have successes that push me to the next level. I WILL see through to my dreams and live my purpose. I think I just have to remember at the start of the day to put on my big girl pants and know that I can do anything with the right mindset.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fear Factor

I have to be honest, FEAR is still a factor for me! Cliches aside, I really am facing my fears HEAD ON day to day now. I feel like I'm definitely being tested, but at the same time, blessed. I know that might sound weird.

Opportunities are coming my way beyond what I could have dreamt for myself. I think this is probably the second time HUGE opportunities have come my way when I've least expected it. We're talking life changing!

The first time around was when my (now) husband walked into my life. We met on the beach in Florida on a day that neither one of us planned to go to the beach. Each of us, for our own reasons, tried to talk our way out of going. All I know is that I'm so thankful that fate convinced us both to show up that day and come together in the ocean. I know...who meets their future spouse IN the ocean?! Call me cheesy, but I do believe in fate, destiny and most definitely a higher power. No question! I look back now (especially now that my 8 week old son is here) and am completely blown away at where my life has taken me. We have a little wall hanging (that he would probably rather not have posted in our kitchen) that says, "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all." That sums it up PERFECTLY. I know we'll look back on our modest beginnings with thanks and the fondest of memories.

And now... I've been praying and asking for answers about how I'm supposed be contributing outside of my roles as wife and mother. I've been feeling this strong tug. It's difficult to explain. I can pin point the actual day everything started to feel different; March 6, 2009. It may have actually started the day before, but SUNK in on the 6th. Either way, I had this overwhelming sense that everything was shifting.

For one thing, I walked away from my job, which meant that I was walking away from a paycheck in the midst of one of history's biggest economic crashes. I knew that my life was about to change in a huge way...and not just because I was going to be giving birth in a couple months to our first child; even bigger than that! I've had this unexplained excitement and sense of optimism...even with all the fears I've always had. It isn't like they just lifted. As a matter of fact, I still have them.

I guess I would say that my mindset is changing. I realize now that life is incredibly short. We have no idea how much time we have to live the life we're MEANT to live. If I allow fear to hold me back, I will have failed. I will have wasted my days on the insignificant and missed out on my true purpose. I will have settled on mediocrity. I will end up leaving this earth with regret and unfulfilled destiny.

We hear about that all the time...people on their death beds with regret. Quotes about living like we're dying. It's not a new concept by any means, BUT my gut is really feeling it now. I'm uncomfortable. I GET IT! I HAVE to overcome these fears and pursue what I'm meant to do here on this earth.

I'm learning. It's becoming more and more clear, but one day at a time. I can't "fix" it all and create it all in a day. It's all about perspective. I'm feeling it though! Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

If We Won the Lottery...

Last night, my hubby and I were discussing what we would do if we won the $27 million currently sitting in the Mega Millions pot. He said to me, "it's okay to dream up a plan, I actually played this week!" I remember thinking...we should dare to dream either way. Maybe it's completely naive of me, but I just feel that if you don't start dreaming BIG for your life, then the chances of BIG things happening are slim to none.

We talked about purchasing homes in multiple cities across the US. Somewhere on the coast of FL (my family is in Gainesville), Cape Cod (his family is in Norwell just outside of Boston), downtown Chicago (he loves the Cubs), San Diego (I've heard great things, plus, some of my favorite tweeps seem to reside there), and lastly, somewhere cool in Colorado (I first knew I was in love when we took a ski trip to Vail!)

Ultimately, the conversation wasn't about all of the material possessions we would purchase, but more about what we would do with our time. Don't get me wrong, a few nice things wouldn't be such a bad thing, but really and truly, we both talked about how we would love to have the freedom and flexibility to travel and experience more as well as spend more time with the ones we love.

I started dreaming up the non-profits I would like to start and small businesses too. Winning would give me the capital to make those things happen.

I began to realize something... If I believe in something enough and want something bad enough, God will help me find a way to make it happen. I truly believe that. More than anything, I want to help people. I want to impact the quality of others lives. That's something that literally keeps me up EVERY night more and more as time passes. I'm filled with ideas, but how do I know what the right one is? How do I know if any of them are part of my destiny or if that's yet to be discovered? How do I know what my "calling" or purpose truly is? I absolutely believe I have one, but for me, knowing with certainty is what plagues me.

Again, cobwebs...I feel like I'm all over the place with ideas, excitement, anticipation, uncertainty, fear, enthusiasm... so many overlapping emotions. At this point, I'm going to try to live in the moment and take notice of "signs" that can steer me in the right direction. It's only a matter of time before I know what direction to take things. My focus is to determine how I can best impact the lives of others and earn some income so that I can take care of my family too. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Speaking of Cobwebs...

I'm not sure if it's that I'm completely sleep deprived from new mommyhood or if I have ADD, but I'm having a heck of a time focusing and following through on anything these days. My mind seems to be running a million miles a minute and I rarely complete a task before starting another.

Earlier today, I left the water in the kitchen running so it could get hot (I was starting to clean bottles) while I went to change Brady's diaper, then I noticed the hamper of overflowing laundry as I walked by and decided I should go ahead and put a dent in it, so I started the washer and realized that I still had the water in the kitchen running, so I ran into the kitchen to get the bottles started. Then I realized that the washer was going to be full before I could get the clothes in it. Ugghh! Why does it seem to be so hard to complete one task at a time? I feel like I'm chasing my tail.

Don't even get me started on PROCRASTINATION! I've always wanted to start my own business. What better time than now to start one given that I have an infant to tend to. What am I thinking?! I know my timing isn't the best given the fact that I'm consumed in mommy duties around the clock. It would be a lot easier if we had family in town to tag team with, but that's not the case for us. All I know is that my wheels are constantly spinning. My brainstorming keeps me up at night. As a matter of fact, I seem to have my best ideas and the most clarity at night (so I believe in the moment), yet I don't force myself out of bed to write them down because "I should be sleeping." I tell myself that I'm going to write everything out in the morning so I have something to build on. Does it ever happen? NO! Cobwebs in the morning. I can't even think straight or remember half of what was rambling through my mind.

Enough is enough... When I have a solid idea, I'm going to get my butt out of bed and write it out. Let's see if it all makes sense in the morning!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Taking the first step...

I'm not exactly sure why it has taken me so long to take the plunge and begin blogging. I guess I've been fearful of embarrassing myself by looking or sounding stupid. I've caught myself thinking "I'm not interesting enough" or "who cares what I have to say." Whether any of that is true or not, I've decided that I will be blogging for me rather than for others (it's less scary that way)...and if others happen to relate or benefit by what I have to say, then GREAT, but what I've come to realize is that writing is very therapeutic for me. It helps clear the cobwebs.

I think back to my high school days when I used to keep a journal under my bed. I wrote in it almost every day. Some days, I went to it more than once to clear my head and work through my thoughts. Reflecting back on my writing helped me make decisions and know with confidence that I was moving in the right direction. I look back on those years and realize that was probably when I had the strongest sense of self, a deeper spiritual connection and a sense of overall balance.

I'm ready to claim my life and stop living in fear. Life is too short hold back any longer, so here we go!