Princess Leia and Wonder Woman Unite

23 Jan

It was a different kind of powerful that day … a surge of hope and promise among so many attacks and so much destruction felt good.

It was different this time, though.

My kids were with me and the connections to the movement much stronger.

Recently watching some of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and marches, encouraged them to come with me, which was a pleasant surprise. To march along with thousands of others at the Women’s March for the second year in a row this weekend and have them by my side pulled at my heart. I don’t know why I got so emotional marching with them and having them chant alongside me, marching for women’s rights, the environment, Dreamers, healthcare, people of color, education, and the First Amendment.

Everyone marched for different reasons, as every woman, and man, had different priorities. But everyone was there in solidarity because they all wanted one thing: change. Everyone united and willing to share their voices for a better future, and the fact that my kids were sharing their voices made me proud. Proud to the point where my heart felt it, the pit of my stomach felt it, the mom in me felt it. To know that they’ll look back upon it when they’re older and say, as a kid I did something to make my future better. I was part of something bigger than myself, I was part of something that helped register voters and make a difference for the better, I was part of history. That made me proud.

The fact that my daughter was among so many signs encouraging women strength and diversity was promising. Her biggest connection was the Wonder Woman force appearing throughout the march. Beginning to sow the seed of empowerment, self-esteem, and strength at an early age was important. And the wave of Wonder Women provided an eye-opening experience.

 

 

My son’s connection came through the Star Wars theme of course. He was unaware of all the Princess Leia signs he would encounter. He made a point to let me know that she was a general in the Resistance and a good one at that. Seeing Princess Leia’s signs everywhere stating that a woman’s place was in the resistance helped him relate to the strength and importance of a woman’s voice, of his mom’s and his sister’s, as well as his own. He mentioned that Luke Skywalker was also there and played a huge role in taking down Darth Vader.

So in a unification of super heroes and intergalactic leaders from galaxies far, far, away  we cemented our hope for the future through this ever growing grass movement. And I’m happy to say that I saw hundreds of voter registration forms being filled out all morning long.

Everyone there was ready for change, in every avenue of our lives. The time has come to make things better. United we stand for a better future, marching toward equality and justice. Hope is there in 2018.

Buen Camino my friends!

Advertisements

Make Your Own Momentum

15 Jan

image

 

This was the day about inspiration and dreams that are bigger than yourself. Learning to push forward when everything is pulling you back. It’s a time to remember that when obstacles seem insurmountable and destinations seem so far ahead, it’s important to remember … make your own momentum. You’ll get there. Slow or fast …  but you’ll get there.

I was inspired by this message. I felt like it would be my mantra for the 2018 year. And then today of all days it rang true. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Rigoberta Menchu, and Cesar Chavez … they all dreamed big dreams and had plenty of hardships along the way, but they found the ingenuity to make their own momentum and see things that others thought were impossible to be very possible. While creating their own momentum they inspired others to do the same, to unite for a cause, for dream, for a future.

And it is because of all of these leaders that I’m able to sit here and dream my own dreams. They faced the ugliness of this world and the worst in people and still came out with strength to do what was right. They made it easier for others to dream of impossibilities, to make people believe that something better was within reach.

When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t thinking of inspirational figures and what they did to make my life easier today. But I’m going to bed knowing that I taught my kids about them, heard their speeches and seen their faces and know that we’re resting on soft pillows and thinking about big futures because they paved the yellow brick road ahead. I’m thinking of the power of his words to create magic. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired millions to believe, even in the face of danger they believed.

So in thinking about all that today means the most important lesson would be not to waste it.

Can’t be waiting for things to happen … definitely have to make my own momentum.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

The Mountain Brought Us Cartwheels, Granola Bars, Hugs, and Stopping Time

8 Jan

We explored the hidden nature of our big city and found that there were still pockets of beautiful wilderness we had yet to climb.

It was a great adventure for the kids and a good way to start the New Year, or just start the weekend for that matter. I love it when I can find the nooks and crannies of a city that give peace and breath to people trying to find that kind of space.

I was in search of it and trying to get my kids to enjoy it. And to be honest, once we hit the steeper part of the climb my daughter was just about done with the entire thing. She was ready to turn back and start waking down the path. But with the help of a Nature Valley granola bar bribe, we encouraged her to reach the top … to push herself and try something new, something she hadn’t done before.

And so she did.

 

 

 

We didn’t walk up the last 20 yards, we sprinted our way to the top. And it felt good. I was hoping it felt good for them too. I really enjoyed this adventure and wanted them to have the same feel-good vibes I did. My son had his Indiana Jones mentality on and was ready to rock, even when the hike grew longer and steeper. I turned to my daughter. I thought she’d be burned as it was longer than anticipated, but once we reached the top of the mountain, she did three cartwheels and it was a moment for the Jar of Awesome. It was good to see the cartwheel victory and that smile.

We sat on the grass and had our little picnic along with all the other hikers who wanted to try the Great Outdoors that morning. It felt good to stop time for a bit. My son asked how he could do that. He used to always mention how bad he felt about how fast time was going. He felt his days go by so fast and it made him sad that he couldn’t stop it from speeding up.

I told him the only way he could stop time was by looking at his surroundings and taking three deep breaths, and then closing his eyes and taking three more. It helped to take it all in and appreciate the moment, that always helped.

And so we breathed at the top of the mountain, talked about our little adventure, and people watched. Some guy filmed himself flipping and somersaulting and doing his best parkour moves. Others just walked out to the edge and took pictures of the skyline and epic view. Some other dude knelt down, and pulled out a ring … his girl gasped in surprise and covered her mouth. She cried, nodded yes, and then hugged him. Everyone near them clapped and cheered. I smiled at the young couple and sent them good vibes for the new adventure awaiting them.

Everyone was there for some kind of adventure.

Ours was filled with cartwheels, granola bars, hugs, and stopping time.

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Friday Feel Goods

5 Jan

Now I would have been the first to doubt this mini-accomplishment. You know … because of my below basic book club member skills. I had two books on my GoodReads page all year and I didn’t finish them.

Sad. I know.

For being a writer I’m pretty lame at reading. But in my defense I am a kick-ass member of the Parenthood Book Club. I make an awesome chocolate cake and rock during discussions. The kids and I finished so many interesting books filled with funny characters and great stories. But our highlights were reading the series Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin, Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park,  Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis, All The Wrong Questions: Shouldn’t You Be in School?, by Lemony Snickets,  Grandpa’s Great Escape by David Walliams, and Wonder by RJ Palacio.

 

You see?

Kick ass member.

But when it came to being an adult and opening up my GoodReads shelf, I was super lame. So when I finished a book in three days, I totally got the feel good vibes! I felt all warm and fuzzy. It was one  in the morning and I was still turning pages, that’s how hooked I was on the book.

 

LBL_

 

I had heard of this book for some reason. I think a friend had mentioned it a while back when it first came out. Then I heard it had turned into a series with Nicole Kidman. I hadn’t watched it, but I thought if I need to open up the New Year with a good story this one might be it. I wasn’t into the hype or popularity of it. I just got drawn to it somehow. Strong female characters, someone said. And I was like … yeah. I need some strong, female characters.

Little Big Lies.

Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers in case it’s still on your to-do list, but if this book can be finished in three days by someone like myself you need to read it! Now granted it took me some time to figure out the beginning and latch on, but after a couple of chapters I was in. By the middle of it,  I couldn’t put it down. I was up passed my bedtime reading via flashlight, cozy under the covers, cracking up at times, exhaling in frustration during others, and gasping in surprise towards the end. It’s a story about three women and the “big little lies,” they have to tell themselves and each other in order to get through the days with ex-husbands, teenage daughters, encounters with the Gossipy-Mommy-And-Me-PTA-Mafia, unfounded accusations, and the school drama and scandal that brings everything crashing down at the end. The lies ALL COME OUT. Big and little.

It. Was. Awesome.

I got the feel goods after the big reveal and those warm and fuzzies continued even when I got to the last page. Finishing a book! Being engaged in this story in the lives of these women. It was a good way to end the week. You know, it was on my self-project list for the year. Read 12 books in 12 months. Could it be done by someone like myself?

Hmph. I wasn’t sure.

But as of today … things are looking good.

Finishing a great story just sort of feels like drinking the last drop of hot chocolate in your warm and toasty mug.

That’s how it made me feel. Not because it was a warm and fuzzy novel, far from it. There’s a murder in it. But it cracked me up and made me smile at times, because I could totally recognize some of these people. But it also frustrated me at times because I thought c’mon … you ladies are stronger than that. I was invested in the story until the end, until the last word.

I thought maaaaaaaaaaaaan! Friday Feel Goods feel great.

If you have any page-turners you’d like to suggest for my year long reading quest, feel free.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

On My 1000th Post I’m Keeping All of It … Because I’m Looking for The Power of Failure

1 Jan

What is it that finds you this year?

Last year inspiration struck after watching a Seinfeld episode. Kramer came crashing into Jerry’s apartment as always and he had his everyday balloons, not his New Year’s Eve balloons but his everyday balloons and I wanted that for myself.

And so in 2017 I went out to find them. And I did. My resolutions, my quest, my mission, my goals, my bucket list items, my journeys … Whatever I called it, I found it. And being the mother of two Nickelodeon-aged kids who go on adventures and try my patience on a weekly basis … It was hard. But I did it. I found the sparkle in the everyday shenanigans and they were there to help me. A lot of things managed to push the scales in my favor.

Podcasts became the X factor for me last year.  I found all these good nooks and crannies on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Conversations, The Tim Ferriss Show, The Robcast, This American Life, TED Talks Daily, and StoryCorps. These story whispers traveled through time and space to get to me and give me something I needed, just like reading books, articles, or WordPress blog posts or watching movies or shows on Netflix or Amazon reminded me of a lesson learned when I needed reminding.

Running  in The Great Outdoors was also a piece of the puzzle that helped me get it together. The magic of the path hidden among the trees and hills was the daily therapy to help me find my center.

And the thing is … I’m still going to need the same things this year.

I may find something new, but I’ve learned that this system works for me. It helps find the everyday balloons, pockets of happiness, silver linings playbook mentality necessary to thrive.

So I’m keeping all of it.

Yup.

I need it in 2018 as well because I realized what works for me when I’m trying to find the funny. And this is my formula, so I’m keeping it. All of it. Probably adding a few things as the months go by though, because this year I’m looking to find  the Power of Failure. It seems like a downer, but it’s a glass-half-full mentality. I know that with writing and parenthood, failure is going to happen. It’s part of the process, I’ve got to take my underdog mentality and find what the power of it is this year. In the midst of the heartache, tears, frustration, and gallons, upon gallons of Rocky Road ice cream, I’m gonna try to find the power of failure this year. Because most of the time I just think it just sucks. I get back up again and I’m ready for Round II, III, and IV but I still think failure sucks.

I’m gonna try to spin it around and see if it adds to the good-time-noodle-salad moments of life. That’s the the quest this year. It’s not going to involve comparing my failures with others, or seeing how further ahead others are on their life journey, but to see if the power of failure can help me in mine. I’m gonna wait and see …

Hamilton

I’m gonna wait for it.

So on my 1000th post of WordPress on this mini milestone of a moment, I’m gonna mark it with my quest to finding the Power of Failure this year.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

 

 

The Last Day … Don’t Forget About The Day

30 Dec

I got one day left in 2017.

One!

How am I gonna spend it? How are you going to spend it?

Lately I’ve placed an important chunk of feeling and expectation and emotion into what happens on the first day of the year. I think about day one, the start of a new adventure, of a new (or old) something that will catapult change into my life. But other than the party- or midnight countdown I don’t really place a huge emphasis on the last day of the year. And you know what? I should. It’s the last day. You’ve got to squeeze the juice out of every lemon.

So what’s the plan?

Am I going to wake up and magically take a trip to an awesome destination, making it the best day of my life? Probably not. Australia is too expensive on my starving-writer budget at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in my future again. So the last day of the year will be an in-house adventure. Something NOT involving laundry … doing it, folding it, putting it away. Laundry in any shape or form. I don’t want to be running errands or scrubbing toilets either. Things like this should be banned on the last day and first day of the year. I’m not saying I’ll be out on a second honeymoon getting waited on and tended to every minute of every hour. But let’s just have a day to do something you want to do and not something you need to do.

But if I’m being honest though, it feels like a let’s-go-down-with-the-ship kind of night. Not a Woo-Hoo-Times-Square-noise-maker extravaganza. But a day of sunshine and something and a night with a good story, something to be grateful for and Cup O’ Noodles. People can hate on Cup O’ Noodles all they want, but sometimes on days like this, or rainy days it’s comforting. It’s terribly bad for you and has like 500,000 grams of sodium but it’s on my agenda for tomorrow night.

And tomorrow day still holds an adventure for me. An outdoor adventure that will make me feel the feel-good-vibes that get me through the day.

I’ll start the day with a run in the natural oasis that sits in the middle of my city, surrounded by the sounds of birds, wind, moving branches and my breath. The sun will warm my face as I steady my breath, and I’ll gain a sense of peace looking at how its golden rays peak through the trees and wake up the leaves. A moment of Zen. I just need one good one, and I’m hoping that’s it tomorrow.

IMG_7882

And while I’m stretching and breathing in the fresh earthy smell of a freshly watered woodsy area, Tim Ferriss along with one of his Tribe of Mentors will be talking to me through my headphones filling the space between my breaths with positivity and the idea that IT is possible.

That’s how the last morning of 2017 will go … the rest of the day is set up for an ocean or water adventure, but that’s always up for grabs because with weather and kids, you always have to be prepared for a change of plans. The unpredictable happens often and go with the flow mentality is always helpful.

So … Buen Camino my friends!!!  I will see you again in 2018. Don’t forget about the last day, the night will be there to party, or sleep in, but don’t forget about the last day!

 

 

 

The Warm and Fuzzies Comeback Blessed Moments

20 Dec

The Underdog Gene.

I’ve got it.

Being able to get back up again … to turn the corner.

I think that’s the blessing I was given from birth … that and being able to find the funny in situations requiring a little light.

This year’s Blessed Project combines both of these. Susie Lindau over at Susie’s Wild Ride had this awesome idea last year to list the blessings and positives of your life that year. Things that gave you the Warm and Fuzzies and help vanquish the bummers of the year and focus on the good time noodle salad moments.

So she brought it back again and I’m up for a look back at these moments in time.

All these memories came during a comeback … comeback from rejection, comeback from failure, comeback from arguments, comeback from family  frustrations, comeback from life kicking my ass.

These blessed moments turned things around to the point where I didn’t feel the bitterness of the downward spiral, but an uplifting nature of turning the corner. I keep them close to help remember how blessed I am and to be grateful for the life I’ve got, because with scrapes and all I always get back up. Gratitude and laughter have been a big part of my Blessed Project this year.

 

Empowerment at the beginning of the year …

 

 

Adventures with my kids that made my heart much bigger …

 

 

Quiet moments of inspiration …

 

 

Finding the funny …

 

 

Bucket List Adventures …

 

Remembering I can always get up and knowing that my Dad is always with me gives me the warm and fuzzies comeback strength to keep going …

image

 

 

Buen Camino my friends!

 

Not A Lot of Luck, But Don’t Forget About The Heart

10 Dec

I thought I used to be somebody.

You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

When you’re at the bottom … that’s when big changes start.

For someone that didn’t have much luck he had a lot of heart, and that’s what made me root for him. He reminded me of me.

Heart can be the difference.

Recently I had forgotten how important that lesson was until I saw Invincible again. I forgot how important heart is,  not that I didn’t think it was an important value to have, I’ve always thought it was, I’ve always had it. But others hadn’t seen it in the same way.

There were people around me who felt that “resume” values had more weight in life than “eulogy” values. The corner office, the nice ride, the nice house, the big account … don’t get me wrong it would be nice to have that, and everyone strives for financial security and a stable life. Everyone is out there hustling for it, including me, but heart came in third or fourth for some of those people. Maybe because they valued it less.

I saw the movie at the right time and at the right moment. Just to set me straight. Just because others see nothing, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something there. Everyone has a comeback inside of them, behind the disappointment, bad luck, and heartache. Everyone has one.

One of my favorite moments of the movie was when Vince turned one of the most painful moments of his life into motivation. He turned it into something … into this force inside of him. He dug deep and found his heart.

His wife left him and in the empty apartment left a note … You’re nothing. Never gonna be nothing. Never gonna go anywhere.

He turns that into something.

He doesn’t throw the note out, or burn it. He brings it with him, and it stays with him when he tries out for the Philidelphia Eagles. He puts it in his locker. He looks at it everyday.  It drives him. When he’s at the very bottom he still has his heart.

Never really much luck, but a lot of heart.

I like that moment. I like that he turned something painful  into something good. He embraced that eulogy value when he had nothing, no resume values.

But in the end you remember what people were like, how they made you feel,  and how they treated you, not what kind of job they had, or how much money they made. You remember if they were gracious during good times, or spiteful and hurtful during bad ones.

Heart. And the power of the underdog. Those are some eulogy values I hope to pass onto my kids, the same values I hope not to forget again, the ones I hope will continue to drive me.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Pockets and Swimming In it

2 Dec

Sometimes it’s hard to even breathe with all the disastrous efforts attacking the  substance of our very own existence. You get so angry and enraged that you can’t even form sentences without profanity.

But sometimes there are moments of zen that give you an opening for happiness during the dark times in our country. Small moments that happen in your family, community, or city that make you breathe easier. I cling to these pockets of happiness. They give me hope that even though on a national scale my country is plummeting into the depths of disgrace and lining the pockets of big business and the rich, there are moments that can still bring positivism and light.

I’m a big fan of The Arts, most writers by nature are, but sometimes it becomes difficult to expose your kids to the world of art and all its dynamics. With budget constraints schools become a limited resource for artistic mediums. Most of the time you have to do it on your own, go to museums, or sign up for classes, or become a poor imitation of the amazing Bob Ross.

bob-ross-promojpg

🙂

He was awesome.

I make it a point to instill the exploration of science and the creativity of the Arts on weekends with my kids. I feel I’ve got to take a proactive approach in their learning development. And they seem to get a kick out of all the side projects. They’re confident, outgoing and bold with their ideas and opinions. So it surprised me when my youngest was a little hesitant to enter her work in the National Reflections Campaign organized by the PTA at school. I had my own reservations … you know how I feel about the PTA Mommy-and-Me Mafia. But art is art and I introduced her to this opportunity. My daughter wasn’t fond of the idea of people judging her work. I can totally relate to that.

What if I come last? She asked.

That was her biggest fear.

I said I didn’t care whether she came in last, what mattered was whether she enjoyed the process, whether she tried her best and enjoyed creating. I explained to her that a little courage goes a long way. She just needed to take a small step. That’s it. Not everyone is strong enough to take a chance on themselves, to believe in themselves, to submit something. Not everyone has the opportunity, so if you’re given one … take it!

Just a little bit courage goes a long way.

My son needed an extra push too, but nothing major. He seemed on board after I told him he could create a Lego Movie under the Film Production category. Lego and Movie. That’s all it took for him to find his bravery.  My daughter chose the Visual Arts category, and submitted her painting. She said she had a good time and that the use of glitter was a “awesome”.

They both used this year’s theme, “Within Reach”, differently as my son explained through his piece that Justice is Always Within Reach … whenever Batman is around. While my daughter explored Kindness is Within Reach through a dinosaur painting that sparkled with just the right amount of glitter.

Fast forward like four weeks and I get an email, two emails, informing me that both of my kids won first place in their respective categories for the entire school. Now they’re both off to the District Level judging.

Pocket of happiness. Right there. Swimming in it.

I was happy for them, really happy. But even happier because my daughter found her strength. She was brave enough to take a chance on herself, and believe. She learned that trusting herself and being courageous is a good thing.

That’s a happy mom moment right there. A huge pocket of happiness … The kind that gets me through rough days in this world. I was so grateful for courage that day.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

All Because I Dropped The Whipped Cream

25 Nov

It was the sweet, white, cloud of goodness you’d expect to melt in your mouth along with the pumpkin pie. The homemade tastiness of whipped cream, the kind that Julia Child and the whole Food Network crew would be proud to see.

And I thought it would be safe in the fridge.

I thought.

But as I opened the refrigerator door the large silver mixing bowl came tumbling down and plopping my fluffly delight all over the kitchen floor. It was like a slow motion car accident in a Michael Bay movie and all you heard was a distorted noooooooooooo coming from my mouth as I tried to prevent this kitchen catastrophe. But my reaction time was not fast enough. I couldn’t save it. It was 4:50 p.m. I’d have to go back to the supermarket and try to find some glucose infested spray can of Reddi Whip dairy topping.

And so in this defeated state, I prepared myself for the worst crowd ever. As I drove I turned on some tunes to try and find the bright side of this voyage and I caught a commercial that made me think of the most important dude on Thanksgiving.

My dad.

There I was crabby and irritated that there would be no whipped cream left on Earth and that the family would look at me with those I-can’t-believe-you-dropped-the-whipped-cream-on-the-floor-you-ruined-dessert-on-Thanksgiving look.

My dad on the other hand would have laughed about it, patted me on the shoulder, and then given me a ride. Just like that.

1A

My Dad 🙂

That would have been his attitude.

So it was fitting that on my way to rescue dessert I heard a commercial about the free-range turkeys my dad used to sell for Thanksgiving. Hundreds and hundreds of them stored in the large Rocky Balboa type fridge, and me freezing my butt off taking inventory and helping my dad. 10-12 pounds. 12-14 pounds. 14-16 pounds. 16-18 pounds. 18-20 pounds. All the way up to 34 pounds. Those boxes were heavy. I hated those boxes. Those boxes were my high school, college, and post graduate school life. I inventoried each and every one. I hated those inventory cards. Every year, those cards would come out and I would dread it.

And now that my dad passed away, the cards are gone, and so are the boxes. They are no longer a part of my Thanksgiving. We would have to buy the bird. Diestel of course. But everything else was gone. They usually don’t make commercials, I had never heard commercials for these birds, like ever … until Thursday.

And so I pulled over to the side of the road and listened as the universe sent me an extra hello from my dad. It was the smallest of the smallest things, but it brought him back to me again.

It was just a commercial … I know, but it was a commercial I needed to hear on Thanksgiving Day … a commercial I needed to hear as I was on my way to pick up some not-so-fresh whipped cream … a commercial that made me smile when I really needed it.

This is not to say that I wasn’t thinking about him, I always do, especially on Thanksgiving. It’s his holiday. But this was something extra. Something that might not have happened if the whipped cream disaster hadn’t taken place, and so that was something to be grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

Whipped Cream disasters, radio commercials, a supermarket parking spot at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and a can of Reddi Whip.

Buen Camino my friends!