Month: November 2015

The Jewel Within

I was asked to speak at a small women’s event and thought I would share my thoughts on this most important subject.  Start by watching this amazing YouTube video about The Jewel by clicking on this link:
My birthday is right close to Valentine’s Day.  What that means is as I was growing up my seven brothers and one sister would be taken to the store to buy gifts for me and that the selection at Thrifty’s was mostly focused around the this holiday.  I would receive an extra large Hershey Kiss, teddy bears with hearts on them, heart-shaped pillows, you get the idea.  Some brothers would go in and buy something together, but one particular year, my older brother bought me something just from him.  He then proceeded to wrap that gift in a brown paper grocery bag.  No wrapping paper, no ribbon or bows, no card, a brown paper bag.
At first I was disappointed at the lack of time taken for my special day and was even a bit taken aback by this notion of not having my present wrapped properly.  This thought quickly left as I opened the gift to see what was inside.  The moment I removed the “wrapping paper”, I was blessed with a beautiful gift and promptly forgot about the ugly brown paper bag it had come in.
Why are we so critical of the gift wrap when we know that something beautiful is inside?
I have seen even little girls be critical of each other.  As teenagers it’s worse.  You might have a great sense of self and high self-esteem and then someone says something critical to you and the doubt easily sets in.  We then move into our 20’s and 30’s and for some of us that means child-bearing years.  Bearing a child is a beautiful endeavor, but it can leave rips and tears in our gift wrap that we forget to see as beautiful battle scars of the least selfish act in the universe.  If we are lucky enough to live through our 40’s and longer, gravity becomes your enemy and your metabolism goes in the toilet.  A bitter pill to swallow.
My gift wrap has changed over the years.  I came into this world with the biggest chubby cheeks you can imagine.  I didn’t like the dirt and when I crawled would literally stop and brush my hand off each “step”, which is ironic considering I mountain bike in the dirt all the time now.  I’ve broken bones, had a million different haircuts and lots of crazy clothes as I was a product of the 80’s.  I have given birth to three kids, been overweight and underweight, been in shape and out of shape, have worn make-up and haven’t worn make-up, got a tattoo, and have finally embraced my gray as I’m now a full-fledged Gram with 2 beautiful grandkids.  My gift wrap has seen some serious travels.
I recently have been studying and pondering women and positivity.  I’m so dedicated to this cause that I quit my full time position in a business my husband and I own to pursue a way to help women be more positive by taking practical steps in their lives.  I created a this blog to put my thoughts out into the world.  I created Lauri’s Lemonade Stand, A Positivity Podcast for Women to bring help into the women adventuring into the next chapter of their lives.  I wrote a book last year called Positivity Happens – all in the name of trying to uplift, inspire and bring hope to women.  I sometimes just look for things to laugh about because a good belly laugh is always a good thing.  In this pursuit I have learned a few things about myself.
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned:
  1. My soul is young and eternal.  My inside doesn’t feel old.  I feel young as a puppy playing with a new toy.
  2. I am the only one who can do my job here on earth.  There is no one else like me.  I am as unique as a snowflake and the world needs me.
  3. My experiences have refined who I am.  I have laughed, cried, been vexed in love, worried, fretted, been cheerful and full of happiness.  Not all of my choices have been good ones, but even the poor choices have helped mold me into who I am today.
  4. I can change my attitude and outlook on life.  I can gain new perspectives, learn new tricks, and change the things I want to change to create a better me.  Being happy is a learned trait.
  5. If I am ever in doubt of my divine nature, I simply need to say a prayer and my Heavenly Father assures me of my infinite worth with his sweet spirit.  He knows my fears, he knows my dreams, he knows who I am and who I am becoming.  He has been forced to be a patient teacher with me as his student.
We are all in a different stage of life and have diverse types and colors and patterns of gift wrap.  It would be rather dull and boring if all of our gift wrap was the same, wouldn’t it?  Let me propose that whatever gift wrap you are currently wearing that it is perfect and unique to you.  Wherever you are is exactly where we are supposed to be.  What if you don’t like the situation you are currently in?  I give you the words of
Jeffrey R Holland:
Don’t give up, don’t you quit.
You keep walking, you keep trying.
There is help and happiness ahead.
It will all be all right in the end.
Trust God and believe in good things to come.
There is a jewel in each of you. Jewels are only made through some sort of adversity.  Did you know that diamonds are formed at a crazy high temperature and pressure 87 to 118 miles down in the earth’s mantle?  The growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3 billion years!  Amethyst is formed in gas cavities of lava!  Lava!  Rubies are formed only when there is a small impurity of chemicals in just the right atmosphere.  Emeralds are created when exposed to extreme hot water, cooled down and then passed through hot water again.  LAVA HOT WATER from what my studies found.  Pearls are formed only when a grain of sand is embedded into a mollusk.  Then in self defense, the mollusk creates layer after layer of mother-of-pearl until the iridescent gem is formed.
Now I am not suggesting that we need to seek out tough times to cultivate our jewel within.  What I am saying is that nobody’s life or gift wrap is perfect, but that our jewel within is being created for the eternities.  We are not earthly beings have a spiritual experience.  We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience.  Be proud of your gift wrap, be patient with your adversities and challenges, be happy knowing that God knows you personally and has always seen the jewel within.  Cultivate your jewel by seeing the good in yourself.  Try to be more cheerful and positive.  Have hope that things will be all right in the end because they will.  Trust in God and in the good things to come.  Be happy and then share your happiness with others so that their jewels can also be cultivated.
Would love to hear from you about this article!  Please leave a comment – I read every single one!

5 Analogies I Learned While Riding My Bike

Analogies I Learned While Riding My Bike This Morning
Fancy’s Neptune’s Net Ride
     1)  Enjoy the Moments  My bike ride this morning took me through neighborhoods, long stretches of farmland where they were growing artichokes, bell peppers in yellow and red, celery, and acres of sod.  It went past a naval station, a shooting range, hiking and camping areas, and miles of beach along the Pacific Ocean where people were walking their pets or out in the water surfin’ it up.  Don’t forget to look up every once in awhile and enjoy your surroundings.  We get so busy with life that we forget to look up and enjoy these little moments of beauty that surround us daily.

Artichoke Field

     2)  Share the Road  This morning found me on a lonely 30-mile ride and while it was beautiful, it’s much more fun to bring a buddy.  I enjoy riding with my husband or friends or my daughter.  Due to different levels of fitness, I highly recommend a tandem.  It evens up the odds in a hurry and it’s easier to visit.  While tandems are certainly fun, you have to work “in tandem” or it’s literally a train wreck.  Which foot to have on the pedal when you start, which foot you will put down first when you stop, shifting your weight carefully so you don’t weeble-wobble and fall right over.  Share your life.  It is much more fun when you have a buddy to share the road or to simply go “in tandem”.
 Lauri & Eddy in Tandem
          3)  Think Happy Thoughts  Let’s face it, this life can be a cess pool of negativity.  Here’s an example of that on my ride this morning…it was 46 degrees and I hate the cold.  My Garmin wouldn’t work so I wasn’t able to see how far I went, how many calories I had burned, what time it was, and how my heart rate was doing.  There was a horrible head-wind that made me work much harder on the way home.  It took ten minutes longer than my ride out.  My fingers were freezing and at one point I couldn’t feel my toes.  Some of the drivers definitely are NOT observing the 3-foot rule and made me nervous coming so close.  And some parts of the beach ride just smell plain fishy…and I don’t like fish!  Why did I do this by myself?  I should have just stayed home.  Here’s what actually happened…I was cold for awhile, but reminded myself of how blazing hot it had been this summer and was glad for the change in season that finally appeared.  My Garmin didn’t work so I decided to just enjoy the ride and not worry about my heart rate or how long it would take me to finish.  I was cold during spots, but enjoyed the morning sunshine as it warmed me up to get through the next cold spell.  The headwinds are a blessing in disguise as while I’m slower, they make me stronger.  I was grateful for good health that allowed me the opportunity to ride my bike and for the quiet time it provided me to think of all these analogies!
 Positivity Face
          4)  Embrace Your Own Journey  While there were not a lot of other cyclists out as early as I was this morning, I passed a few.  And then one passed me!  My initial reaction is always, “Man, I’m slow” or “Speed up!  Quick!  Don’t let this guy pass you!”  Why?  Why do we compare ourselves to others so often?  I’m enjoying my Garmin-Free bike ride over here moving like molasses through this headwind…I don’t need to compare myself to the rest of the world.  Embrace your own journey in this life.  There is no one else like you, period.  So why would you want to take someone else’s journey?  This is yours…own it.
Mountain Bike Journey
          5)  Always Another Hill  My tooshie is sore after all the hills.  I admit it.  But there is always another hill.  Those hills build character, strength, resolve, and tighten my rear end.  That’s a huge benefit!  I ride with a group of guys on Thursday afternoons and one hill in particular is called “Power Line”.  It is insanely steep and it takes just plain power and grit to climb.  A few weeks ago, one of the guys told me he’d never made it up so I climbed with him and became the best little cheerleader you could imagine (without pompoms of course).  He made it!  And you know what?  Last week we went to that same hill and he did it again and it wasn’t as hard as the first time.  Those hills make you stronger and give you the confidence to tackle it again.  In life there is always another hill.  I enjoy the downhill and the coasting, but I know that hills are just a part of my life.  Just as in my bike riding (whether mountain or road), they are building muscles, creating experiences, and giving me confidence to tackle even bigger hills in the future.
  MTB Climbing Hills
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