Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 1 Again and Again Until I Get it Right

Today's Mantra (Source FB)
Another day 1 to come tomorrow. I didn't make it through the school prep this morning. We are all so ready for the Christmas break (yes, I get to say Christmas in regards to school here!). I've spent an hour reading The Orange Rhino blog from this point in her challenge and my spirit is renewed. She repeated day 1 9x in a row before hitting her streak. I will hit my stride.

Yes, I will hit my stride. One thing I realized today is that during my 6-day streak of success I took better care of myself. I gave myself time outs and played calming music during the most stressful parts of the day. That music really helped, I tell you, so I'm back at it today.

This isn't a goal I set lightly nor some modern day anti-actually-parenting-your-children nonsense. No, I believe in discipline and limits. I have no problem telling my children "no" and I have high expectations for their behavior. Sometimes too high, perhaps and I struggle to strike a balance with my husband's more fun-based relaxed (cough*permissive*cough) parenting.

Sometimes too high because then I yell when my expectations of their behavior aren't met, yet now I realize that sometimes they're just being normal boisterous children and I need to let them be. From that I know that I am the one who I need to work on because they deserve that freedom of childhood. To be children. To play, to get loud and to get rough on occasion.

Nature Girl (now 8)
I have to learn to maintain my own sense of peace so that I can let "kids be kids." I have a lot of learning to do; thank goodness that I have three amazing young teachers.

How can I possibly yell at these incredible people that I produced?
The Boy (now 4)
Sweet Rose (now 7)

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Stopped Yelling and Here is What I've Learned (So Far)

I managed a whopping 10 days without yelling at my children. During that time, I only snapped at my younger daughter once (a "nasty snap," starting me over on the Orange Rhino challenge) and yelled at my husband twice (starting me over again). Then, between last night and this morning I pretty much yelled at everybody.

Oh well, I'm back on the wagon and sharing what I've learned over the past couple of weeks. In no particular order:

1. Yelling is a habit. Like any other habit, when we make a clear choice and decide to invest 100% of ourselves to changing a bad habit, we absolutely can achieve it.

2. Yelling is an addictive habit. We get hooked on the adrenaline that courses through our bodies in the build up of stress, straight through to the point of yelling, and in the aftermath of guilt. After not yelling for several days, and then choosing (that's right - choosing, or to put it another way, granting myself permission) to yell, I could feel that old familiar and luring rush.

3. Yelling is a choice. Like it or not, every response to any stimuli is a choice. "I don't have a choice" or "It's the only way I can get through to them," and "nothing else works" excuses are big, fat BS. Yes, is big fat BS! Are you going to agree with your 2-year-old that they had no other choice but to bite their brother or whack their sister in the head with that toy car? No. You tell them to use their words if they're upset. Not screaming words, either. Well, Mommy? Time to stop telling and do some showing.

4. Yelling is bullying. We all want to protect our children from the experience of being bullied, don't we? Well, what about when we are the bully? Next time you start yelling, try to step back and watch yourself objectively. Or go write it all down right after so that you can look at it later. Or set up your smart phone and hit record during your most stressful times and play it back later to see how you behaved. Yelling is bullying.

5. Yelling is part of a vicious cycle. You yell, you feel bad for yelling, you yell some more and your kids yell back. The worse you feel, the more you yell. I have good news, though - it works the other way, too. The more you keep your cool, the better you feel and the less you feel like yelling. Trust me - I have experienced this recently and it is glorious. Like springtime.

6. Yelling totally damages self-esteem - your children's and your own. I have clear evidence of this in my house and it is the number one motivation for me to stop. Being yelled at feels scary and dangerous to children. And yelling, the really big yelling, feels scary and dangerous when we're doing it, doesn't it? Ever lose it in such a big way you almost wonder who the hell this maniac yelling at her kids at the top of her lungs is? I have. It feels horrible and I lose all respect for myself. Then we go and tell them they made us yell, or made us frustrated or made us mad. They didn't make us do anything or feel anything. Only we can choose that. Own it.

Instead of, "You make me so mad when you don't listen," try, "I get so angry when I am repeatedly ignored that I feel like yelling!" Own your own feelings. That's they only way our children will learn to own theirs. We are their role-models, so model what you want to see because they internalize everything and then reflect it right back at us! They are little sponges and I can guarantee, that if you're a yeller, you have self-esteem issues and so likely do your kids. Sorry to be blunt, but it's my mission to improve lives and that takes getting real with yourself.

7. Yelling at your kids is both taboo and yet, strangely socially acceptable among parents. We all do it. "What else can you do?" we say to each other. I want this to stop. Not in a judgey-preachy way, but in a supportive, "Yes, you can keep calm!" way. Because you can. I can. We can.

8. You can stop yelling. Yes, you can. Didn't I just tell you that? If I can, you can! If a mother of 4 boys ages 6 and under can, you can. If a mother of a pre-teen girl and 3 younger kids can, you can! You absolutely can! It takes a willingness to take a good hard look at yourself, a 100% commitment to change and practice, practice, practice!

The good news is that dramatic shifts take place within just a few days. Give yourself a goal of just 3 days and I promise that you will see results you thought you'd never see! Even after 1 day you'll see results. Your kids will be happier, you will feel happier! I was surprised to find myself laughing more, connecting more, playing more... those results will drive you to do even better.

And when you mess up and yell or do what The Orange Rhino calls a "Nasty Snap," you will simply start over. You will start over until using "your words" in a reasonable voice becomes your new habit. Until then, scream in the freezer, another room or in the toilet, just not at your kids (or spouse).

Stop making excuses and stop yelling at your kids.

Have you joined the challenge? Share what you've learned below. Haven't joined? Be brave and share why.

Monday, December 2, 2013

No More Yelling!

I am proud of myself today. I haven't yelled at my kids since Thursday. This may surprise some of you, but I am a recovering shouter. It's true. Until Thursday, I yelled at my kids frequently, and especially in the morning during the get-ready-for-school rush and at bedtime, when I'm eager for the day to be done.

Thursday I dropped them off feeling horrible. Guilty. I had shouted, pretty much at the top of my lungs, at my eldest for her lack of motion when we were already running late. The need for punctuality is a trigger of mine, and it is no excuse to berate my children. Then, for basically the same reason (lack of motion) that evening, I shouted at my younger daughter to get ready for bed.

I don't say mean things, but I have had a tendency to say things meanly. I'll tell them once nicely, twice firmly, thrice with some spice and the fourth, well... the yell. For months I've been concerned about their self-esteem and too late, I have realized that it is directly connected to the amount of shouting that I do. Well, not too late. Just in time.

Remember when you learned that you could say pretty much anything you wanted to a young baby and the only thing that actually mattered in regards to their comfort (or upset) was the way you said it? It didn't matter whether you were spouting every swearword in the book or reciting Hush Little Baby, what counted - what counts - is your tone and body language.

So, I have finally chosen to stop shouting and yelling. I have made leaps and bounds in my own personal development over the past few years, and especially this past year (becoming a life coach and all that), yet I couldn't nail this parenting flaw. Or wouldn't. Wouldn't own up to the fact that losing my temper was a full-on choice.

Now I am. With the help of a website I happened upon several months ago, The Orange Rhino. Friday, I decided to take the challenge. Well, really I decided Thursday after drop-off, but then I lost it and yelled at Sweet Rose anyway that night.

Friday I committed to the challenge and I made it through the day without yelling at my kids. Then at the very end of the night I got annoyed with my husband over him disrupting bedtime (annoyed that my husband wanted extra cuddles with his kid because he'd been away again all week? Hello!) and yelled at him.

My kids agreed I had to start over. Today marks day 3 of successfully not yelling at anyone. Of course, all three are at school, but I made it through the weekend and the morning rush (we were running really late!) successfully.

It felt amazing this morning to notice that normally I would be shouting at my kids for not being dressed yet when we were supposed to be getting our shoes on and out the door. It felt incredible in that moment to observe myself actively choosing to be calm and present with them.

Yelling at them is a disconnect. A coping mechanism. A way to put the focus on their behavior instead of mine. What it actually does is disconnect them from me in a negative way, make them feel unsafe with their own mother and cause them to lose respect for me. In turn, I feel guilty and lose respect for myself. No wonder there are self-esteem issues in this house.

I haven't been the mother or the role-model I imagined I would be 9 years ago before Nature Girl actually popped out, followed very quickly by her sister. Now, I see that woman in sight. Very nearby, in fact. I know that this isn't something I can do by myself. That's why I'm publicly stating that I am no longer going to yell at my children. That is why I have enlisted their help and the help of a couple of mom friends, my NLP accountability partner (who is working process magic on me to help me change limiting beliefs and interrupt negative patterns in my behavior) and even a counselor to help me see more clearly what I'm modeling to my children.

Are you a yeller? Are you brave enough to stop? Take the challenge with me! Read up on the challenge details, including the definitions of yelling and the voice levels involved. Then let me know you're in and we'll support each other! Not a yeller or your kids are grown and gone? Encourage me! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Missing Thanksgiving

Hello dear friends,

I have fallen out of love with this blog as I speed purposefully onto my path. These days, I'm primarily studying for my NLP certification and preparing for my Passion Test certification, which will finally happen in January!!! You can visit www.affirmativethought.com or Facebook to keep up with me and be inspired!

Yes, I'm headed to Norway to achieve my biggest goal so far and my body literally shoots sparks with excitement! I'll need to do 10 complimentary tests (2 sessions of 1.5 hours) before I begin charging for my services. I've got a few people on my list, but if you would like to be one of them, please let me know! I'd be very happy to do this for a few bloggers in exchange for a link or review, or simply to take you to the next level in your life.

Life in England has its challenges, like anywhere else, but they are well worth meeting. My children are doing incredibly well in school. Parent-teacher meetings are events I absolutely love. My husband's periodic travels allow me to connect more with the kids and at the same time, focus on my studies and my new website.

The weather is cold, but the leaves are still on the trees and it seems as if they get more and more beautiful every day. In Michigan, Autumn comes and goes too quickly, with the most intense beauty in mid to late October. That gorgeousness has lasted here for the past 8 weeks. It's as if the changing of the leaves has been put on slow motion, so I get to see every subtle hue, slightly more intense each day.

I can see this effect nearing its end, as the gold shimmering upon some branches is turning to a pale yellow, but it has been an incredible tool in my gratitude exercise this month. Even as those leaves lose their luster, the deep salmon on others embracing the narrow, winding roads often leave me breathless with their exquisiteness.

It is my favorite time of the year, extended for my pleasure.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I miss my family, of course. It has always been my favorite holiday. Great food, good company and copious laughter. I long to sit at my mother's table among the best people I know. I wish so to meet my newest nieces and would simply love to watch the next generation play together.

This is the part that makes living overseas hard on my heart. Yet, as amazing and fulfilling as it would be to live right next door to the people I love, I know that the life experiences my children are gaining living in a multi-cultural family in another part of the world are shaping them to be who they are meant to be. None of this happens by accident, only grand design.

And the same goes for me. Every step that I take, every challenge or splendor, shapes me to be a better version of myself than the one who was here yesterday.

I love my life and I am thankful that you are in it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

K5 Online Reading and Math Programs are Open to Blogger Reviews!

I am very excited to tell you about K5! K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. 

I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

I will happily be testing this out with my 8, 7 and 4 year old children and look forward to telling you all about it! It's the perfect timing as the half-term break is coming up and The Boy is really ready to read!! I may even give periodic updates leading up to the full review, so keep watching! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today I was guided through The Passion Test. If you haven't heard of it before, you should head straight to the library or buy your copy online right now! I've included an affiliate link to make it easy for you. ;) Just click on the book.

The other day, as I sat at my desk working on my new website www.affirmativethought.com I looked up and saw the list I have taped to the wall. It's the list of my top 5 passions in life. I read the list almost every day as a reminder of how I want my life to be, but I guess I haven't really read it in awhile because suddenly I was struck by a realization.

I sent a note of gratitude to Michelle, the facilitator that guided me (find her at www.peaksofpossibliity.com). Then I posted this on my Facebook Wall:

Almost exactly one year ago I was guided through The Passion Test by a wonderful woman, certified facilitator Michelle Simons. I was homesick, relatively unhappy and feeling a bit lost. I was essentially a soul-searching housewife. Today I reviewed what I discovered then were my top 5 passions and I am happy to report that I am now experiencing 3 out of 5 and can practically feel the other two at my fingertips! It wasn't by dreaming or magic that my life has changed. It was by a few small steps every day focusing more on the life I wanted than what in life I didn't want. — feeling blessed.

Of the 5 items, none of which I was experiencing one year ago, I live 3 of them today. The other two are just a fingertips length away and it is so exciting to actually see the results that I am creating!

One of my friends asked me to share my top 5, which I did. Then she asked a follow-up question about the test being more than just helping you to figure out what your hobbies are or what you love to do. Here was my response:

The test goes much deeper. That depth is the essence of The Passion Test. I came to discover what those terms meant to me through the test. When you start you just write down everything you're passionate about - singing and writing were on my list. But as you whittle through what is most important, what you could live without and what you couldn't, a new picture emerges. So, I could say singing is one of my passions, it is, of course. But then, why? For what purpose? Joy. Singing brings me joy. I could say I want to be financially wealthy, but for what purpose? Freedom to do what I choose to whenever I want to do it. Abundance because I want more than stuff or experiences - I want to feel full and rich on every level of my life - health, love, spirituality. The fun part is that you do the test every 6 months or so because our passions change and evolve. I can honestly say that I wasn't hitting any of my 5 a year ago. I just knew that was what I wanted my life to be like. Now I'm on a mission to help every woman live her ideal life! The life she would choose - not just the one she's fallen into or ended up with.

The Passion Test helped me to figure out what I was here for - my purpose on this Earth. Now, with small steps forward every day (and occasionally a few steps backward), I truly am living the life of my own choosing. It's damn exciting to see that you actually can have any life you want to have. You just have to decide. 

*** I am now a Certified Life Coach! If you want to take a step toward your ideal life, I can help! Contact me for a free 30-minute consultation. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Delicious and EASY Homemade Bread

Looks good, doesn't it? It was delicious. So good, in fact, I made the very same loaf twice in one week and actually wrote down my recipe! Normally I just wing it, but the French Guy told me this was the loaf of loafs and a few of my Facebook friends requested the details, so here goes... 


3C Bread Flour
3/4C Plain Flour
1/4 C Whole Meal Bread Flour
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast 
1 TBSP Sea Salt (or slightly less, ground)
1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or so)
2C Very warm water (approximately)

The Steps:

1. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add the oil. I use a fork, though some say a wooden spoon is best for bread dough. 

2. Stir in the water slowly, mixing and shaping into a ball with your fork (you can dig straight in with your hands if you prefer). 

3. Once all of the flour is combined, ditch the fork and turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface (I use a large plastic cutting board). Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, adding pinches of flour as necessary, until you have a relatively silky ball of dough.

*** If you've never done this before, relax and enjoy the process. Remove rings first! Resist the urge to add too much flour - it will get less sticky as you go along. Also, I find that adding a touch more oil mid-way through the kneading process helps keep it moist (which makes for better bread) while reducing the sticky-factor. 

4. Return your ball of dough to the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel or cling film (that's what I use). Leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours in a warm (not hot), draft-free place until the dough has at least doubled in size.

5. Knock out the air (that means to gently push down the dough with your fist). Knead it again for 2 to 3 minutes.

6. Lightly oil your baking pan (don't use your good olive oil unless it's all you have - vegetable or sunflower oil is fine for this; you just don't want your bread to stick) and shape the dough into your preferred bread shape. 

***For this loaf, I did a standard bread loaf shape because I was going to use it for school lunch sandwiches. I used the same recipe for a pizza dough and that was delicious too (you just roll it out in place of step 7 below and you have enough for 1 pizza and bread-sticks, too!)!

7. Flour and Score: Lightly dust the loaf with flour and then slash a very sharp knife through the dough in your preferred pattern. Not too deep - just a few centimeters will do. Leave it to rise for another 30 minutes or just until your oven is good and hot; your choice. 

Now, for the cooking. My oven tends to burn everything! Knowing how your oven cooks things is important here, so you may not need to do exactly what I do, but here's what I do: 

8. Preheat the oven to 200°C/375°F using the Fan option if you have one. If you don't have a fan oven, preheat it to 210°C/400°F instead.

9. Pop your baby (I mean the loaf) into the center of the oven, ensuring there is enough room between racks for your bread to double in size. 

10. After 5 minutes, reduce your heat back down to 200°C/375°F and/or switch the setting to side-heat. Cook for a total of 40 minutes.

*** At the 20-minute mark, I pop a piece of foil over my loaf so that it the outside doesn't burn and the inside can fully cook. You may not need to do this - know your oven!

11. Take a few sniffs. Oh, there's nothing like the smell of baking bread! 

12. When the time is up, remove your bread. It should move easily, or at least with little effort on your part to move it, on the baking sheet. If it is still really stuck, pop it back in for 5 - 10 more minutes. Turn it on it's side and knock on the bottom of the loaf. If it is soft, put it back in for another 10 minutes. If it sounds hollow and is quite firm, it's done!

13. Leave it to rest for 30m to an hour if you can resist tearing into it right away. It will finish cooking during this period, so do try to leave it alone! ;) 

Now, this whole thing sounds long and complicated, but when you put it together it is really very quick and easy. I do the first steps in the early afternoon and knock it back down just before I leave to pick-up my kids from school (if you're a work-outside-of-the-home person, try it on your day off! It's good stress-relief!). Sometimes I even let it fully rise once more in the bowl and only shape it once I'm home, leaving it to rise again while the oven preheats. 

Baking bread is a creative process; an art more than a science. This is a very basic loaf. Once you've done it a few times you can experiment with your own combination of ingredients, shapes and sizes. It's fun and tastes better than anything you've ever bought from the store!! It's very nearly as satisfying as carrying and giving birth to a child. Really. 

Give it a go and tell me how it turned out!!! Baking bread rocks!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lovable Labels Spooktacular Sale!

I love, love, love Lovable Labels! Read my review to learn just how fantastic I think these labels are, or just visit their site to purchase your own during this fabulous weekend sale!!

ILovable Labels

*** Disclosure: I received an offer of free spooky labels of my own as compensation for sharing this awesome sale with you! I'm off to choose them now!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Oh My Heaven, Sweet Rose is Seven - A Birth Story

My Sweet Rose is 7 years old today. She's incredibly clever, focused, determined, talented and always ahead of the game. She's given me 7+ years of surprises, beginning with the pregnancy! Her big sister was a mere 7 months old when I found out I was pregnant again. Leaving it up to nature worked a lot faster the second time around.

39 weeks into a relatively easy pregnancy (if being pregnant when you already have a baby can be considered easy), my husband was making me dinner. He's an amazing cook and even though it was just roasted chicken, it was going to be delicious.

They say the second labor is usually shorter than the first. My first started with contractions 5-minutes apart and only lasted 9 hours. It would have been faster if not for an overzealous setting of pain control from otherwise wonderful Singaporean nurses.

Since someone would need to watch over Nature Girl when her sister came along, I had a good friend on-call as a back-up in case we had to head to the hospital before my parents could make it from Detroit to Grand Rapids. My mom had come up earlier that week as I'd been having contractions on and off, but went home when the baby was a no-show after a couple of days. She left on September 7th. My due date was still over a week away.

From about 7pm on the evening of September 9, 2006, I started having contractions every 20 minutes. I put my 15-month old first-born to bed and helped my man put the finishing touches on dinner. Around 8pm, just before dinner was ready (it smelled really good), I mentioned the contractions to my husband. They were getting stronger; having had fruitless contractions all week, I didn't want to tell him until they were actually regular.

As we sat down for dinner (it looked delicious!), the contractions suddenly started coming much harder and closer together. Your brain gets a little foggy in that kind of pain, so the events of the next two hours are a little fuzzy, but clear enough. Yes, I wrote two-hours.

I couldn't eat, so between contractions I called my mom instead and told her they'd better jump in the car. By 8:30, I called my friend and told her it was a high alert! My parents were on their way, but things were moving along quickly.

Minutes after I hung up the phone, something happened. Some fluid I thought must be my water leaking. No big burst, but something was going on and the contractions were now just a few minutes apart and I could barely walk. I still tried to clean the kitchen and load the dishwasher. I didn't want it to be messy when my parents arrived even though I couldn't stand up straight anymore.

I called my friend back sometime around 9pm and asked her to come over right away - I think I had 3 contractions during the 5-minute (or less) phone call. She arrived in 15 minutes flat. My husband grabbed my bag (I was prepared this time around) and helped me into the car around 9:20pm.

At some point, I can't remember if it was before we left or on the way, I called my doctor's service to tell her we were on the way. I would have the on-call doctor, they told me. No problem.

I can remember being on Michigan street around 9:30pm, just 5 minutes from the hospital. We stopped at a light and I noticed the pain of the contractions easing. Not the timing; the pain. I remember thinking very clearly to myself, "Uh oh, I'm in transition."

Transition, if you're unaware, is that short period of time between your body getting ready to push out a baby and actually doing it.

My husband dropped me at the ER door, they put me into a wheelchair. I think he went and parked the car, and then we were on our way up to the maternity ward. They checked me, confirmed that I hadn't actually broken my water yet, but I was dilated to a 6 or an 8, I can't remember.

It was around 9:45pm when we got into a delivery room. The doctor was on her way. The nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural. I said, "Yes!" Labor really hurts. They said they would check if the anesthesiologist was available. About 10 minutes later, still having brain-freezing-abdomen-stabbing contractions every minute or so, someone came in and started talking at me (yes, at me) about forms and epidural, blah blah.

I remember saying something like, "Never mind, the baby's coming!" Then hearing the nurses say, "Don't push! Don't push!" and me saying, "I can't help it! She's coming!"

I swear I hardly pushed at all. Sweet Rose tore straight out of me (literally - ouch!). It was like one long stream of contraction without any pause for relief and at 10:05pm she was born. The doctor arrived 10 or 15 minutes later.

After the usual Apgar and clean-up, they placed Sweet Rose in my arms and I nursed her with an ease that only comes with experience. They left us alone (my husband went for well-deserved cigarette). I remember mumbling to my new, little baby and sometimes realizing none of it made any sense. I think I was in shock and I was glad it was just the two of us.

From the pregnancy to the birth to her crawling at 6 1/2 months and climbing at 7 months, Sweet Rose has rocked my world. She's the child that pushes my limits like no one else can. I have to frequently tell myself that the things about her that can drive me nuts are the same things that will be exceptional qualities to have when she's an adult. So bite your tongue, mom, and find a way to parent without stomping them out.

Because she's amazing. Happy Birthday, Sweet Rose.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dear High-School Class of 1993

My 20th Class Reunion is coming up in just over a week. I thought I'd write my classmates a post! Enjoy.

Dear High-School Class of 1993,

Before I get started, if you don't know who the hell Tamara Vellozzo is, well, you knew me as "Tammy Zoner." I've been going by "Tamara" for a solid 19 years now. Don't bother telling that to my parents, cousins or aunties, though. ;) Do you remember me?

Back in high school when I thought of my future self, I was sure I'd remember every single one of you, but Facebook has proved me wrong (speaking of FB - If you friend me and I never reply, you're probably a guy. I only friend blood-related males in respect of my marriage - have you seen the divorce statistics siting FB? Anyway, you can always follow my public posts or author page).

Unless I knew you from elementary school onward, you were in choir with me, did the school plays or we frequently had classes together, I'm sorry, my mommy-mushy-brain has most likely lost too many active brain cells to recall you. That's why I don't feel bad if you can't remember me either.

The School Years
I can hardly believe it's been 20-years since we graduated; yet, there is proof. So, we are that old. One of our fellow classmates recently told me a funny story of how she'd heard that I'd married a crazy Arab and moved to Thailand. It's actually not that far off base, so let me catch you up on the past two decades of my life and dispel any rumors. 

After we graduated I spent the summer (and the next 5 years) shedding my good-girl skin and letting my free-spirit reign. I won't go into detail, my mom reads this after all, but I did have an awful lot of fun. I kept in touch with just a few of you as I spent a year at Wayne State and then transferred to CMU. There I switched from Theater to Family Studies, got a few tattoos and worked full-time for a Marriott hotel, studied, danced, partied and discovered who I really am.  

Instead of utilizing my education, I stayed in the hotel business when I moved to Grand Rapids in 1999. I've covered the front desk and HR. I met a (slightly crazy - usually in a good way) French man who swept me off my feet, took me on a tour of London, Paris and a gorgeous little village in Switzerland, where he proposed. We married 6 months after meeting and moved to Singapore for his job in January 2001. I've never actually been to Thailand (yet). 

There, I taught ESL, managed a chiropractic office and the American Women's Association office (not all at the same time) and sang my butt off in one of the most fun choirs in the world. With my hubs, I traveled to Tokyo, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Shanghaii and my fave, Australia. We climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, tasted fabulous wine in Hunter Valley and in the beautiful Margaret River where we hope to retire one day. 

On trips back home (my parents have never moved), we usually hit London or his hometown in France again and once had a wonderful trip to Edinburgh. 5 years later we had our first daughter and moved back to GR. Our worldly travels halted and very shortly after the first, we had a second daughter.

The Stay-at-home thing never fulfills me, so I completed a certificate course with the Institute of Children's Literature and wrote a picture book, which I later self-published (click the link and buy it! It's a great bedtime story for the 6 and under set). Then, feeling the need to do more (and get out of the house while still maintaining a flexible schedule) I got my license to teach Kindermusik and opened my own studio.

Gosh, I loved singing with those kids! It was fun, joy-filled, but totally not profitable, so I scrapped that business after my son was born in 2009. Never one to sit still (it's in my Zoner blood), I started this blog, wrote for parenting websites and did a bit of freelance editing, which I'm still doing today.

The Boy
Wanting to get back out of the house and pursue a different passion, I became a wine consultant and had an absolute blast conducting private wine tastings. It's so much fun when drinking wine is actually your job! My man and I both loved it so much, we decided to open our own store. That didn't work out as we'd hoped, however, and last year a new job for the hubs meant another move for us. Now, my sweet family of 5 is living an hour SE of London and next week, guess what? I'm going to Stonehenge!!! 

Being overseas means I'll miss the reunion. I didn't fret over the 10th, but I would have loved to attend this one (you know, before we all get too old to be recognizable)! So, I'm expecting to see plenty of pics on Facebook or perhaps even your own blog. Leave the link in the comments!

Life has had its ups and downs, but overall I've been healthy and happy and living life to the fullest.When we were kids, we thought at this age we would be so old! But you know what? I feel like my life is just beginning. The best, most fulfilling, breathtaking parts of my life are just falling into place. 

I hope to see you at our 30th reunion when that autograph on the back of the senior picture I gave you just might finally be worth something! Watch this space ;)

Your turn. Tell me what you've been up to for the past 20 years. I'm listening.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Best Drop-Off EVER!

The house is quiet. I'm writing uninterrupted... what is going on? Oh, yes! It is the first day of school!!! And do you know what? It was the best drop-off ever!!!

If you count the first day of preschool, this is the 6th year I've been doing this drop-off thing and this was the first time no one cried, no one hugged desperately begging to stay with me and no one had to be physically removed from my arms crying and sobbing while I tried to keep my own tears in check and b-line for the door.

It was amazing.

I went to the mall and shopped by myself. By myself. I know, it's only been 6-weeks since they got out and most of you lovely readers likely spent double that home with your kids, but that's still a long time without a break. Plus, you can't shop for kid's birthdays with the kids! Finally, I can birthday shop.

Just listen. The only sound is the hum from the refrigerator. And tomorrow, though my little guy will be at home, there will be only one child to care for all. day. long. One is so much easier than three.

School is bliss for the stay/work-at-home-mom. I think there should be world-wide celebration champagne brunches for all moms (or whichever parent stays at home).

Now, I'm just going to sit here and listen to the quiet.

School is Heaven for moms

*** Linking up with Mama Kat after realizing I had already written one of her prompts without prompting. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I Guess I'm Not A Writer After All

At least not a professional one. Yes, if you give me a topic I can pop out some decent text. Have a birthday or an anniversary? I can get pretty darn poetic. I have caused sappy tears and happy smiles. I've even written a lovely children's picture book that I'm quite proud of; good prose isn't easy, you know? I have more story ideas, even a couple of drafts... but I don't have the necessary persistence to get published.

I'll never be a money-making freelancer or copy writer. Nor will I be the next great novelist. It just isn't in me. I write when I feel like it and I write what I feel. It's a calling of my soul to put pen to paper or fingers to keys.

And I feel like blogging! I have missed this regular release. So, since I've always been at my best when I'm busiest, I'm going to start blogging (somewhat) regularly again. Reviews, advertisements and the works. And when I get brave enough, I'll start writing on my other site. When my confidence allows...

The lovely thing about living in Britain is that the blogging opportunities are actually much greater than in the US. So, even though the cursed Google stripped me of my page rank, I'll happily work to build my UK readership, do a little networking and possibly start to earn a little money to put toward life in general and my certification.

Plus, how can I say no to makeup and mouthwash? Things I hardly buy for myself. I can't (say no). It's a weakness.

See you soon, loves!

Friday, August 30, 2013

One Persistent Bug

The Toilet:
Where we've spent
most of our time
for the past week.
Ok, let's talk bugs. Not the kind with legs; the kind that knock you off your feet for days... or your kids off their feet (Warning: If you're squeamish, this is not the post for you).

I'm guessing we brought something home with us from a fun farm we visited last week. It also had an indoor play area that the kids loved and those places are teeming with germs whatever the season. Two or three days later, The Boy woke around 3:30am complaining of a tummy ache. He and I never really made it back to sleep that morning and around 8am he tossed his cookies all over the kitchen floor. He seemed fine after that, but on Sunday he spent the morning literally flushing out his system in the other direction.

Next, it was Nature Girl's turn. Tuesday night she complained of a stomach ache shortly after dinner, skipped dessert and returned what she had eaten to her bed sheets around midnight. I had left the designated "barf bucket" by her side, but she's never been a tidy one when it comes to getting sick.

Feeling rather sick myself, I spent the next hour cleaning up her room, washing out the carpet stains and getting her sheets and duvet cover into the washing machine.

The next morning, she seemed as good as new. I, however, was feeling wretched. So bad, in fact, that my husband came home early from work to take care of the kids for me. Two cups of chamomile tea finally helped things move along and I managed to eat a bit for the first time in 24-hours.

Between stomach pains and my husband's snoring, I hardly slept, so he stayed and worked from home yesterday and I stayed in bed until 11am. Being a mom, however, there was laundry to do. It takes longer without a dryer, so I needed to get on it.

By dinner time, I was feeling mostly recovered and it seemed we were finally free of this persistent, reoccurring bug. Snoring once again drove me to share Nature Girl's double bed in the middle of the night. That was fortunate, in fact, because around 6am strange, telltale noises pulled me from my dreams. I had left the bucket in her room (I always leave them near a sick kid for at least 3 days - see my guide to vomit), so I grabbed it just as she sat up and said, "I think I'm going to throw up!"

Thanks to my fast-as-lightening-mother-reflexes, this time the sheets stayed clean. The poor girl went on to try to rid her body of the bug in the other direction for the next two hours and counting...

Time to disinfect the house for the third time this week and pray to the heavens that Sweet Rose and Papa stay healthy.

Friday, August 23, 2013


It feels good to be back here. I've missed writing, but it's busy with kids at home. The hubs had 2 weeks off as well and he hardly lets us sit still. With school around the corner, you just might be reading me more often. Anyway...

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through job postings. Occasionally, I get tired of being stretched too thin too often and I see what's out there that might work around the kids school schedules. One job seemed interesting enough. It had the potential to be flexible, so I brushed up my CV (Resume) and hit, "Apply."

A few days later I received a call and after a couple of "informal chats" I had scheduled my first interview in nearly 10 years. 10 years! I had nothing to wear. Mommy-clothes fill my closet and nearly everything is either stained or old.

Interview Ready Selfie
The night before the interview my stomach was clenched and my anxiety was sky high. Friends and family on FaceBook made lovely, supportive comments and my husband talked me down in a rare show of true, deep attention. I reminded myself that I didn't care if I got the job or not, so there was really nothing to be nervous about.

The next morning I was ready. An 11-year-old dress with a new-ish pair of shoes and a cute cardie I got in France a couple of years ago did the trick. The interview went swimmingly and lasted over an hour. That's usually a good sign.

We had great rapport, the questions and answers felt more like a conversation and by the end of it I felt like the HR woman and I (who had a fabulous Scottish accent) would make great friends.

The next day I totally freaked out. I realized that I did not want a job at all! While I love working with people, I also love my freedom and flexibility. I've been a Kindermusik educator and a Wine-Tasting consultant over the past 6 years and both had me leading a crowd, loving what I did! Both allowed me to set my own schedule. This is vital, because putting 3 kids into childcare before and/or after school and during school holidays is freaking expensive. Plus, The Boy only goes 3 days...

I frantically searched for school admin jobs and scrolled through the work-at-home-mom sites to find something before I got a call telling me I'd made it to the next stage. Then, I stopped and took a breath.

A day or two of contemplation and the risk of getting a real job helped me clarify my direction. You've heard it before if you've been following me for long - I am going to be a certified Passion Test Facilitator. This is it for me. I'll get my NLP/Life coach certification to complement it, but I am going to be running workshops as a PT Facilitator!! Helping others to discover, embrace and courageously follow their passions in life! That's my passion!

Before now, I've gone back and forth between following my heart or getting a paycheck. Not knowing when or how I'll ever come up with the money for the certification or the travel to get there had me nearly giving up on my dream. But I won't. It isn't just a dream, it is my path. All this job stuff helped me to finally and fully embrace that. You might have thought I had done that a few months ago, right? But I waver in the face of a $0 balance in my bank account!

After nearly a week, I hadn't heard back from them, so I placed the follow-up call. "It's going to be a 'No,'" Darryl kindly told me. "Would you like to know the reason?" Of course, I would. Overqualified.

Overqualified. With all that I've done and the goals that I have with NLP and the Passion Test, they were quite certain I would be bored handling stock and customer service calls. He didn't say that outright, but I heard it nonetheless and they're right. Plus, the couldn't really accommodate the start and end timing I would need to get my kids to and from school. Shocking.

I'm so relieved I didn't get that job! Now I can put all of my focus and attention where it belongs - on my family, my own personal development and paving the way to my dream career.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One School Year Complete and Visitors Welcome

Today is the second day of summer vacation for my children. It's amazing to me that they've completed their first year of school in England. They've adjusted so beautifully and they are incredible students.

I'm a very proud mommy. The girls' report cards make me cry, they are so good! Both girls (if you don't mind me bragging a bit) are well above average in reading and writing. Sweet Rose is listed as "gifted" and Nature Girl is "accelerated". Not sure of the difference; it may just be the terminology that their two different schools use. Either way, they're brilliant. They literally excel in every area!

My little guy won't be any slacker either. He's well on his way to reading and can count nearly to 30. He's such a little character and he's grown so much in the past year. He thrived at playschool and I'm relieved that he will be going back to the same school, with teachers and friends that he loves.

We're just six-weeks shy of one full year in the UK. It's gone by so quickly. We've all made friends now and even have a fun play-date today. Well, it may not have reached quite the depth of friendship the adults, yet, but it's still someone to chat with and we have 3 important things in common - 3 kids the same age. Each pair were classmates this year. It's The Boy's first play-date!

Even so, I'm missing my family; missing home. I'm feeling lonely and disconnected. Skype is great, but it's no substitute for a hug. I miss writing here, too. Strangely, it helps me feel more connected, even if hardly anyone is reading it.

Have I mentioned the spare room? Private en-suite (bathroom) and less than an hour from Stonehenge and in the other direction, London? Not to mention the coast and the gorgeous countryside of Hampshire all around us. And yes, Starbucks is here, too. :) All friends and family welcome.

Gorgeous walks through beautiful forests are just around the corner from our house. Tempted yet?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Yo-Yo Me

I am tired today. The stress of the past few weeks bearing down on me like bricks; weighing on my eyelids, my chest, my usual spunk.

House-hunting, forced holiday planning, budgeting, packing, cleaning, clearing... not to mention bickering, demanding children (10 months and counting without a babysitter). Every morning, as we approach the last days of school, we leave just a little bit later, dragging our feet through the door for our 10 to 15 minute lovely, curve-filled, English country-side drive.

This past week we finally worked out all of the necessary details. How we would spend the three weeks between houses, booking non-refundable flights, securing a house (thanks to my amazing MIL) in France, planning the return. I got the residence visa application sent out, school place applications mailed, appointments for playschool viewings set.

I sorted the childrens' closets, recycled like a maniac and (usually) resisted the urge to play Candy Crush instead.

Everything was in place for the transition from one house to the next and all that goes along with a move.

Yesterday, we received an email telling us that our current landlord had accepted another overseas assignment and would not be returning to the UK after all. We could stay in this house if we wanted.

Photo Credit
My mind filled with images of Yo-Yos and Ping Pong matches. I was dumbfounded. So much back and forth. All that stress that might have been averted but was, instead, fully experienced. Another decision to make for a couple already completely fried.

Perhaps the relief of not moving will eventually replace the fatigue. I head to the garden now for renewal. Solace in the soil and stems of cherry tomatoes, basil and myriad other herbs that I can now continue to enjoy throughout the summer, save a forced two-weeks vacation in France.

So, dear friends and family, this means I'll still  have a rockin' spare bedroom for visitors for another year... unless Asia happens sooner than planned.

Don't get too comfortable in life; expect curve-balls. They keep you in a state of growth; personal evolution. Just the way I like it.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Travel Trips for Your Family Vacation

Just in time for the summer travel season, please welcome my guest blogger, Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3.

From Kendra: I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!

Traveling with children is always an adventure. But in order to make sure your next excursion is more of a success than a slump, you’ll need to be prepared for anything.  Here are some tips I have found to help you plan and execute an amazing vacation without the hassle!

1. The Early Bird Catches the Deal

When planning that special vacation for the family, be sure to book your trip as soon as possible. The truth is that the cost of airplane tickets, hotel rooms and entertainment increase the closer it comes to your vacation date. Take the time and book those necessities now. If you are unsure where to stay, ask a family member, friend, travel agent or go online to get some answers. I recommend using other families as resources as they know what you’re looking for and likewise what to avoid.  Sites like Gogobot allow you to seek advice from your personal network as well as other parents for lodging choices and insider family tips.  Even if you’re traveling to a kid-friendly destination such as Walt Disney World, be sure to read through recommendations by other families to find your ideal Orlando hotel.

2. A Pool Plan

If you’re like my family, a pool is essential when picking a hotel. But not all pools are created equal!  Check to see if your hotel has a lifeguard on duty at all times.  Slides and other water activities can also provide added entertainment for older children.  Prevent potential frustration by packing swimsuits on the top of your suitcase. It’ll be much easier for you to unpack on your own time then to have little ones rummaging through your neatly organized suitcase while you’re in line for check-in.

3. Planes and Motion Sickness

Air travel can be an excellent way to get you and your family to your vacation destination as soon as possible. But for little ones prone to motion sickness, it can be a nightmare. Combat this by following these four rules. 1. Get your child to a window seat. 2. Make sure your child has something to eat and drink before leaving the airport. 3. Make sure an air vent is pointing at your child all the time. 4. Consider consulting a pediatrician if the problem is persistent for a list of child-approved motion sickness remedies.

4. Boredom Prevention

Depending on the length of the flight, little passengers often become fidgety when having to sit still without diversions for long periods of time. A DVD player and favorite or perhaps new movie will fully engage the child’s attention. Be sure to take plenty of DVDs along with your portable player if traveling overseas, as DVD compatibility codes usually differ from country to country.

5. A View for Fire that Works

The fourth of July is an amazing time where people around the United States celebrate the birth of our nation. And fireworks are one of the best ways to celebrate! If you’re traveling this holiday, look into a hotel room that faces the fireworks. That way your family can see them from the comfort of your room without having to venture into the crowds. If your family has a baby, he or she can sleep while everyone watches from your balcony. (Editorial note: Whoops! I meant to get this posted before the 4th, but don't worry! This tip is useful  year round for any event involving fireworks!)

Thank you, Kendra!! Those travel tips will certainly come in handy for my crew in just a few weeks!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Perfect, Little Notebooks Make Great Gifts!

The English school year wraps up in just a few short weeks and has some parents thinking "Teachers Gifts!" But fear not, I have just the thing for you! A personalized notebook! I had the wonderful opportunity to review just such a thing from MadeByEllis.com.

The line I reviewed are specifically marketed as teachers gifts, but frankly, they make a great gift for anyone anytime! Made By Ellis also makes beautiful invitations and thank you cards.

The designs have a simple, hand-made feel to them, but have the quality of a professional printer.

Though I'm typically partial to wire-bound notebooks, which they do carry, I couldn't resist this cover design. Then, I chose my two lines of text and just a couple of days later the notebook was in my hands!

The notebook is approximately A6 in size and fits perfectly into the small purse I carry. It's just right for keeping on me at all times to jot down notes or ideas that come while out and about.

Plus, it has a bookmark and a little pocket at the back just right for receipts or business cards or whatever! I haven't left home without it since I received it a couple of weeks ago.

This is the kind of stationary that gets a writer's blood pumping. It feels like a book, it's of superb quality and it's just right for dreaming, wishing and writing. And the good news is the shipping is very affordable, even internationally!

You can view all of their products and designs at www.madebyellis.com and visit them on Facebook too!

Disclosure: I received this notebook free of charge for review purposes. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blooming Like English Roses

It's been just over two weeks since I blogged and a week since I vlogged, which I didn't bother to post on this site, but if you missed it, you can watch here and hear my updates on the blog, moving and a bit on Scarlet Fever - my girl had it!

It's been so refreshing and relaxing to step back from the blog and social media in general. I'm on Facebook more often, so if you aren't my 'friend' or you don't already follow me there, head on over! I'm posting mesmerizing status updates several times a day. ;) It's such a fun, easy way to stay connected to friends and family, plus follow my favorite blogs in one place. I have to say, FB still has it over G+ for me.

Doesn't that look fun? Thank you, Ikea (photo credit)!
We have finally settled on a house! The paperwork is in now, so hopefully everything will go smoothly and we'll be moving in August 21st. It's furnished, so we don't have to worry about buying furniture that we'll only have to sell or ship within a year. However, we will be going from 4 bedrooms to 3, so bunk beds are in order for the younger two; actually I think we'll be doing a reversible bed so they still have some room on the floor to play. If The Boy decides he doesn't like being up high, you just turn it over! Cool, right?

Nature Girl is going to be the one with her own room. She needs a quiet space to escape from her boisterous siblings!

It's a much, much smaller house, but I'm looking at the bright side - less to clean!!! And the garden is just as big, if not as beautiful and manicured as this one. The fun part to that, though, is that I get to put my stamp on it!!

I'll miss Pheasants in the back yard, though not their poop. I'll really miss the beautiful, winding roads that lead to school, yet I'll enjoy a much shorter drive in the next house; it's less than a mile from the school I am hoping the girls will get into. I'll miss the gorgeous roses that reach as high as the roof and how wonderful they smell in a vase on my kitchen table.

And I'll miss the friends that I'm just starting to make; the mums who have become my morning and afternoon drop-off and pick-up companions. Their children who sweetly wave at me and say hello. I am saddened to move my little guy from a school he has come to love and the friends and teachers he has become attached to there.

Yet, I know from experience, we'll all settle in again. This time for the girls and I, more quickly. We know how it works now. We'll be braver and more assertive as we take the step toward new friendships once more. I'll jump in faster to get involved because I know it's good for me and when Mommy is happy, everyone is happier.

Yes, the more you welcome change into your life, the easier it becomes. The more risks you take, the more often you step out of your comfort zone, the more you grow and bloom. And that's what we are all doing here; blooming like English Roses.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Direction Confirmed and Buckets of Gratitude

Wow! What a wonderful outpouring of support from faithful readers, friends and family. You are the ones who count, who matter. I write to and for you. You've listened (read), pondered and shared your thoughts and it has helped so much! I am grateful.

I knew my answer as I finished that post (need to catch up? Read that post), but through all of your comments and insights, a new, slightly altered, answer evolved. I thank you for that.

Survey Says (can't you just hear the guy saying that?):

Direction one: I'm keeping the blog! Thanks to you! You helped me see that shade of gray. I have decided, however, that I am no longer going to be promoting it or trying to build it. Of course, I'll still post my links on FB/Twitter/G+, but without the goal of building my audience. Now, it is just to share it with those readers who connect with me on a level that keeps you coming back here to read more.

I'll also be removing my review/giveaway tab soon. I have a few reviews in the works, so I'll complete those and then I likely won't do anymore unless it is for something I simply can't refuse! Like a steam mop. ;) I'm serious. Or fun ones that make sense for me to do with my kids, like one coming up on gardening with kids for BritMums. And Vlogging. I'll keep Vlogging because I just freaking LOVE to Vlog and practice here will actually help me down the road.

The blog will be just for fun now. I think I'll still switch the "A" part to "Adventures" though, because it fits better! It's easier to write here than to write letters individually to everyone back home and around the world that I like to keep in touch with. I think I may start a weekly (or whenever!) "Letters home" series.

Direction two is the winner!!! I have reached a point in my life where I can no longer ignore the call of my soul. You might refer to it as God's call or something different. But you know, at least if you've felt it, exactly what I mean. I have felt this calling for nearly 20 years. I'm coming back full circle now after being distracted for a very long time!

On Friday, after I posted and asked you for your opinions, I received confirmation of my path in two different ways. One was simply the way I felt when I wrote about becoming a Passion Test Facilitator. I felt alive, excited, vibrant, yes - passionate! I had a whole body "YES!" going on! (Don't know what the Passion Test is? Read about it here)

The second way was in helping two friends. One was inspired to step back into doing something she loves (and is damn good at) - writing. Like so many of us do, she had let life distract her. The "shoulds" took over. With a tiny nudge, from just a few interactions with me, she was able to grant herself permission again to start writing again. Yay!

The second friend needed to be heard, understood, validated. So, I listened, understood, and validated her. I could feel that I helped her and that felt good. Really good. It felt right. On Purpose. My purpose.

Fear is the Devil's work, some say. Today, I strip fear of it's power.

No longer will I be afraid of either failure or success. I will love myself and believe in my abilities and natural gifts. I will no longer fear what people will think of me. I know these fears will creep up now and then, but I vow to regularly practice losing these fears and loving myself. Practice! Practice! Practice! Those who-do-you-think-you-are voices that pop up from social conditioning will no longer rule my roost. 

I'm opening up here and telling you that I have this palpable fear that people (the ones that matter to me) will think I've gone woo-woo or weird as I begin to talk more about the Law of Attraction (an area in which I'm certified to teach), Energy, Spirituality as I experience it (not through my Roman Catholic upbringing), Personal Transformation and of course, how Affirmative Thought can change your life! 

Today, I embrace my path. My purpose. My future as a great Transformational Leader and Speaker here to make a positive impact on women and the world. First Stop: Passion Test Certification! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Change the Name or Scrap it Completely

Hi Friends.

I'm having a crisis of focus and clarity and I'm facing decision time. I am torn in two directions, but by splitting my focus I am stalling progress. Will you weigh in with your thoughts, please?

Direction one: This blog. 

The Pros: I love blogging. I love writing and connecting with so many other wonderful bloggers out there. I love documenting portions of my life here and having my family and friends (and perfect strangers) following along. I love getting free stuff to review! Plus, I can do this anywhere, anytime with no constraints.

The Cons: Time and energy are spent with little true, meaningful or monetary return. At three years into the blogosphere, I need to either move on or progress to the next level - a site change (you know it's Wordpress for the pros), a name change and a major makeover are required to turn this hobby-blog into a real business. A last major con is that I really need to be around people, interacting in person, to thrive. I suppose that can be done through networking eventually, but for now it's a very isolated venture. It's fun, but not fulfilling.

Direction two: The Passion Test and Affirmative Thought: 

The Pros: I want to be a Passion Test facilitator. I feel strongly that this is a vital step on my path to serve my purpose on this earth. I believe I am meant to inspire women. To help mothers rediscover the voices lost within the care-taking of their children and families. To guide them to find or reclaim their own passions and to assist them in giving themselves permission to embrace those passions! I want to do this one-on-one, but my real passion is in group work and speaking. I am great with small groups and the stage is where I shine. Affirmative Thought is the website/blog that will be devoted to this mission and my PT business.

The Cons: While I've got the "what" down, the "how" still eludes me. It takes planning and of course, money! My Indiegogo campaign was a flop and we're not in a position to spend anything extra when even groceries feel like a luxury at times. Plus, it's very tricky to schedule certification when I'm not sure where I'll be or when I'll be able to pay for it.

Also, it's a 4-day training, which means 6 days away from my kids(due to travel to and from the location, which occurs on specific dates in different areas of the world - I'm considering Tel Aviv in November or Norway in Jan, but that will change if my country of residence does). My husband will only agree with the travel if he can go with me and leave the children in the care of either his sister, his mother or mine (no judgments, please). Money and logistics are the only real issues here, but they are big ones.

Direction one or Direction two? Photo Credit
If I take direction one, it means committing myself fully to the blog, putting my business hat on and giving it a real go. Which means letting go of the PT dream for now. Success takes focus.

Taking direction two means letting go of this blog, which I'm emotionally attached to. But so much of me goes into it, that there isn't time or energy left for more. It means figuring out what to do with all of my content and make sure it's mine and not Google's.

And if I get really honest with myself, which I always encourage others to do, there's a big fear of failure and inadequacy blocking my way. What if I'm not good at being a Passion Test facilitator? What if I allow myself to get stuck in that fear state and fail because I'm afraid to take action to make things happen? I have a history of lacking determination and failing myself and it's all fear-based. What if I'm not really motivating or inspiring to others? What if most women really have it together and I just think I have a client-base or audience because I had a desperately hard time in the early years of my parenting journey? What if no one wants to hire me or hear me. What if? What if? What if? That's all fear.

Yesterday on my Facebook Page I posted this:

Sometimes the answers you come up with for your toughest life questions are hard to hear. 
Listen anyway.

You can probably tell that I already know my answers, but I am having a real challenge listening.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Vlog Talk: 6 Things I'm Looking Forward to this Summer

I'm looking forward to many things this summer! Like more trips to gorgeous beaches along the English Coast like this one, Barton on Sea. You can see more pictures and read all about that heavenly place here.

Coming Attraction: Cherry Tomatoes - lots of them!

Plus, there's tomatoes, moving and blogging to look forward to, so watch, learn, enjoy, subscribe and most importantly (aside from the watching bit), comment!

And of course, I'm linking up with Mama Kat, so go check out some other vlogs or make your own!