Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's Get Moving! London is Calling

It's been busy around here! Last week my poor little pumpkin was down with one of those random viruses that knocked her off her feet all week. Fever and terrible hives that had her itching all over. Fortunately, big sis and little bro didn't miss a beat and stayed healthy and surprisingly helpful. Meanwhile, my husband flew to London for an interview and he got the job!

photo by: az1172 via
That's right, it's goodbye Michigan, USA - Hello London (area), UK! We are super excited and thankfully, so are the kids. They've lived in this house their entire young lives, but they are looking forward to a fun, new change. I'm thrilled to move to England and am happy that they're going to get to experience more of their European side and practice their French more frequently with quick trips through the Chunnel!

We're back to no income again for a few weeks, but this time selling off my stuff on Craigslist doesn't feel laden with desperation.We're clearing through the clutter and taking with us only the things that really matter, storing what we want to reunite with in the future and selling the rest! The list is long!

Take this journey with me. I'll post several times a week and bring you along on my international move with 3 kids, 2 cats and my french guy (sorry, fish and gecko - we're looking for good homes for you).

Have a beautiful week!

Challenge: Identify just 5 items in your house that you couldn't leave behind in a major move (little knick-knacks and photos don't count). What are they?

Friday, July 20, 2012

What A Difference A Day Makes - A Shift in Attention, Energy and Attitude

Yesterday I awoke grumpy, short-tempered and restless. Today, I can hardly stop smiling. I sold a table on Craigslist the other day and treated myself to a babysitter and a Peppermint Mocha with an acquaintance that I met at a Girl's Lunch last year. She is a Passion Test Facilitator. It's basically life coaching, but with a specific method.

A couple of weeks ago I received one of her newsletters that posed the question, "Are you who we're looking for?" Chris and Janet Attwood, the transformational leaders who developed the process and published the book, The Passion Test, were announcing the calendar of upcoming certification training around the world. This isn't the first coaching program I've felt drawn to so I checked out the book from the library, started reading and e-mailed her for a coffee date.

For years I've been interested in spirituality and new thought. Since the movie The Secret came out, I've studied the Law of Attraction and the works of the teachers that were in the film like Jack Canfield, Joe Vitale and Marci Shimoff, author of an excellent book called Happy For No Reason that everyone should read. Way back in my university days I studied with the goal to become a counselor, but then I met my husband and my life took a different path (to begin with, 5 years in Singapore... another story).

I've been seeking and searching all these years for something that felt just right for me. Like trying on shoe after shoe trying to find the perfect fit, I've worked in hotels, for non-traditional chiropractors, in women's organizations, as a Kindermusik educator, a wine consultant and a small retail business owner (wine again!) - all people positions. And as a writer, of course, which I am passionate about, but I've come to realize that I need more than my computer (see my Social Media rant of a few days ago).

As I traversed through all of these different avenues of employment and self-employment, trying to balance my desire to have a flexible schedule for my family and an income that has no ceiling, I asked myself the age-old questions: What's my purpose? My path? What brings me joy, or rather passion? What am I supposed to be doing, being or having? The Passion Test helps you figure those questions out and it is so much easier than it seems! 

After an hour with her I was able to clearly state that my purpose in life is to help women just like me - those of us who get sucked into the vortex of domesticity and mothering young children. We lose ourselves to the point where we can no longer even identify what lights our fires! What, besides our children, husbands and homes is important to us? A few weeks ago I honestly couldn't answer that question. Maybe I didn't have the answer, but more likely fear kept me from saying it out loud, just in case it might compromise the comfort of anyone else in the world, especially my nuclear family. 

My passion, my mission, my purpose is to help and inspire women to identify and then live their own passions. As I step into that role, I see myself working with young women as well, and eventually being a speaker. A big speaker... but first steps first, I am stating my intention:

I am going to become a certified Passion Test Facilitator. The amazing, liberating thing is that I don't have to answer the question of how ($$$) or even when. I just need to take one step at a time and trust that the next step will appear before me. (State the) Intention, then (give) Attention to the things that fuel my fire and support the intention. I'll get there, because this pair of shoes feels like it was made just for me. 

So that's what I'm doing. And I feel amazing (scared, nervous, exhilarated)! Love and gratitude to you for reading this entire post. 

(photo credit: Nina'H via Flickr)
What lights your fire?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't Let Pride Prevent An Attitude of Gratitude

Photo credit: KateWares via Flickr

If you've been keeping up with my blog, you know the past few months have been a struggle financially. And if you've ever struggled financially, then you know that puts a stress on everything else: marriage, kids and self-esteem included. It's been a challenge to feel grateful for what we still have even though they are the most important things (health, love, a roof over our heads) and I work on it every day.

Yesterday, I ran out of toilet paper. Drip dry or paper towel, kids. I didn't have the cash to go buy more. I didn't want to write a check that might not go through. Today is payday and it takes a few days for it to show up. Plus, most of it is already gone between gas, groceries and bills. Furthermore, it is not mentally healthy to attempt to take my 3 kids (7, 5, 2) to the store when I am highly stressed. A recipe for parenting disaster, that is.

A good friend of mine called - she never calls. We usually email to arrange in-person play-dates for us and our kids. After some small-talk I let loose and cried on her "shoulder" for a few minutes - vented is a more appropriate term. I'm not used to this kind of financial struggle; we used to be comfortable. So much for taking a chance on our dream business, but I refuse to regret it. Moving on...

She and her husband have big hearts. She emailed me later and told me she'd be dropping off some TP and asked if there was anything else I needed. Milk, cheese (it was homemade pizza night)... that's as much as I could bring myself to ask for (pride). A couple of hours later she shows up with the value pack of toilet paper, milk, cheese, bread, crackers, chicken, a few other food items I would never spend on right now AND two big packs of Legos for my kids!

A host of emotions rolled over me, gratitude being one, but shame and embarrassment too. However, I hiked up my big-girl panties and let those restrictive emotions pass on through. What I was left with was an immense sense of gratitude. I was humbled and so thankful.

Never let pride prevent you from feeling gratitude. Never let pride get in the way of accepting a friend or family member's generosity. Let love and gratitude flow through you - it feels amazing.

Do you practice gratitude?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Streamlining Stress, Trimming the Internet Fat and Kicking Social Media A$$

To the curb, that is. I'm done with the Internet, SEO, Social Media, Blog societies, affiliate programs and all that piling up on top of my shoulders. I already have enough weight to bear there. Remember when it was fun to get online? Social Media was posting a status update for family and friends who never really talked to to keep up with what's going on in your life?

Now, social media is a circus frenzy. I'm discovering that it isn't all that important at all. Not to me, at least. You know what? I don't want to have a wine Twitter party. I want to have a few friends in my living room, a decent bottle of wine and some cool jazz playing from Pandora in the background. That's the only social media I want.

Don't get me wrong; I love the Internet. I love Google. I love having information at my fingertips. I love discovering new blogs and reading a story that touches my heart or makes me laugh. I love "meeting" new people online, but frankly, social media doesn't meet my need for social interactions. I'm a people person. Not a screen-name person.

Motherhood is isolating enough. Why should I spend my days ignoring my children so I can get online to Tweet or Digg or browse through attractive pictures? I don't want to. I want to watch my children play, read a book, chat (in person) with a friend or a neighbor. Or GO to work. Make some people happy, provide a service.

I love writing, but I need a job, man! I need to get out of my house. I need to get away from my beautiful children on a regular basis and they need to get away from me too. That doesn't mean me on my computer and them in the yard. Would I be happy working from home if I made enough money to pay the bills plus hire a babysitter, go on a date with my husband or take a long weekend? Yes, I certainly would. But I don't right now and my social needs are not being met through Facebook or Twitter or CommentLuv.

I'm like a firefly caught in a jar. So much light in me, but trapped. Only my captors see the occasional glimpse of a spark. My potential is restrained. I want out. I want to break free. I want peace, abundance, people, fun and joy. I want fulfillment.

What do you want?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Toddler Toilet Tuesdays - Updates & Tips To Get Your Tot on the Pot

Good news! My toddler boy kept his pull-up dry this morning. Yes, indeedy! While I cleaned up the cat's business on the bathroom floor my son told me he needed to go potty. Then he did. On the kitchen floor.

Do those moments get you down and discouraged? I know the feeling, but the key here is to identify what part is great (you kept your diaper dry!) and where we can improve (next time let's use the toilet) and how to solve the issue at hand (put on your underwear/pull-up and let's clean this up together).

Photo by AndreChin via Flickr
Over the past two weeks we've made little progress in the toilet arena, but the "Gentle Encouragement" is still coming along. It's my son's choice to use his diaper (and when I write diaper, I mean the pull-up kind) or the toilet. I like to say to him, "Let's see if we can keep this dry until lunch!" But we just try again if he doesn't. This keeps the pressure off him and you out of "training" stress.

Consider it a successful week if your child has used the toilet once or twice a day and let's you know when he's about to, or just has, utilized the absorbent padding of his pull-up.

Until next week!
Let me hear how your child did on the potty train this week!