Month: May 2017

Reading is a Magic Carpet to Unknown Lands

There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.   – Josh Jameson

It seems a bit funny to me to be writing an article on reading, expecting you to read it, because I love to read and want to inspire you to read more.

I am addicted to books and love to read.  I will admit however that I’m as picky about what I read as I am with just about everything else in my life. I like certain books, certain types of writing, certain authors.  I devour Louis L’amour, Nancy Campbell Allen, Josi Kilpack all of which write novels.  (Western, Steampunk Romance, and Proper Romance respectively)  But I also like Kristi Ling’s, Operation Happiness and Sharlene Hawkes, Kissing A Frog, or Dr. Julie Hanks, The Assertive Guide for Women just to improve myself.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook you’ve heard me talk about Ms. Penelope Pickwick and my weekly bookworm report that’s on FB Live on Lauri’s Lemonade Stand.  My goal was to read 10 particular books this year and it needed to have an element of fun.  Ms. Pickwick is my bookworm.  Made out of colorful circles and each time I finish a book, she grows by another circle.  She is beautiful and growing at an alarming rate!  I most definitely love to read!

This love of reading has brought me to loving libraries more, learning about book events and the best part?  Finding out about organizations like “Books on The Underground” in London, “Books On The Subway” in New York, and “I Believe in Book Fairies” which is now worldwide and will be featured later this summer on the podcast.

Do you like to read?  It’s time for summer reading picks and I would love to hear about yours!  Share your favorites and some that you might be interested in grabbing for those days on the beach or if you aren’t close to the beach, by the pool, or to my Arizona or Texas friends…inside a lovely air-conditioned home.  Enjoy your summer reading!

Hint:  If you click on the authors above it will take you directly to their links to buy those books!  Happy reading!

“The Big Fat Fail” – My Stab at Poetry

Poetry can be inspiring, motivating, heart-wrenching, powerful, but it always inflicts emotion.  It can pull at my heartstrings or just make me laugh.  Writing poetry is a hobby for me and have decided to keep a notebook in my backpack just for this purpose.  While sitting at the car wash a couple of weeks ago (why does it take them so long?) I penned this one I call The Big Fat Fail.

Enjoy and let me know what emotions you feel when reading it by commenting below.  Feel free to share your stories of taking your “sucking lemons” failing moments and how you turned them into “sweet lemonade”!

Fail Rubber Stamp

The Big Fat Fail

Fail forward, they say!  And I can’t disagree,                                                                                              but it’s hard to focus while nursing skinned knees.

Bumps, bruises, scrapes, the inevitable aches,                                                                                            the road rash of crashing, but that’s what it takes.

To live is to fail, that’s the lesson I’ve learned                                                                                    through age and experience, or just getting burned.

20/20 vision for me has ALWAYS revealed,                                                                                           every fail that I’ve suffered has earned me more steel.

Failure = Opportunity! To this I confess,                                                                                                         I love who I am now, having passed or “failed” each test.

Be sad in the moment, scream, cry or kick,                                                                                                 but look for the good, and lickety-split,

you’ll find your opportunity, practice!  Give it a whirl!                                                                            The Big Fat Fail can turn (I promise) into your pearl.

Want to read more poetry?

Check out Mary Oliver’s biography here and buy one of her books, House of Light here.

Negative Self-Talk – Reminders!

In April of 2015 I wrote the following article on Negative Self-Talk:

Negative Self-Talk

Listen to Your Best Friend

It took some practice to put this theory into motion for me, but like I always say, “if I can do it, anyone can do it!”  I have issues with negative self-talk about my weight.  I am not overweight, but I am hyper-conscious about my body shape.  I am a grandmother after all and body parts that were once perky are now sadly stretching for the ground and have declared gravity as their best friend.  As a friend of mine used to say, (who has since passed on, losing her battle with cancer), “I used to be a 36D, but now I’m just a 36Long”.  Once I applied the “best friend advice” theory – it made me see myself as my Heavenly Father sees me.  As a daughter of God who is beautiful.  Let’s try it out, shall we?

Take the first thing that pops into your head when it comes to your own personal negative self-talk.  It could be anything, but usually you are able to think about it right away because it has been your constant companion for as long as you can remember.  Now I want you to imagine that you’ve graciously gifted this negative thing or idea to your best friend.  She is now you.  (This works great if you do this in front of your mirror).  Your best friend is now telling you that she hates the shape of her body and that dimples are only cute on baby bums, and that rolls are meant to be eaten not worn.  What do you tell her?

I recently did this exercise in a group of about 40 women and I had the leader of the group play the part of “best friend”.  She was telling me how she was overweight and hated the way she fit in her clothes.  I then asked the audience what advice should I give her?  I panicked as the silence dragged on for just a little bit longer than anticipated.  I worried that people would actually start giving advice on weight loss ideas, diets that never really work, to fast, or to exercise like a maniac.  One woman in the front row saved me with the perfect answer:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!  There have not been a lot of perfect moments in my speaking career, but this one I will always remember.  She said the answer that I had written down in my notes and she said it out loud and clear:  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Ladies, try it out right this second.  Take that negative self-talk and hand it over to yourself as your own best friend.  What advice would you give that best friend?  It changed the way I view myself forever.  I am beautiful.  And not in some egotistical way, but truly beautiful inside and out.  Why?  Because that is how my Heavenly Father sees me, how my husband sees me, how my children see me, and how my best friend sees me.  My best friends would all come and tell me the same thing – YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

Reminder of Negative Self-Talk

The Power to Change

I had two reminders this week from gals that are awesome!  My friend, Allie Steele holds periodic bootcamps that run for 4 weeks, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and I usually cannot attend, but this one worked in my schedule!  So this last week I have sweat like crazy and walked around like I had a corncob up my butt with how sore I was on more than one occasion.  But I digress…the point is that during one of the workouts I let out a jokingly, “I suck” and was immediately told by my friend and another participant in the class to not think that way!  I was capable of hard things, I was strong.

I was a bit taken aback when that happened and realized that I indeed needed to change my self-talk to more positive words.  And then something else happened!  I was having lunch with a friend of mine from out of state, a surprise visit!  She was asking about how my business was going, speaking gigs, my writing and I must have been on overwhelm because she said, “I’ve never seen you so down about your work.”  What??  I’m the positivity queen!  I don’t get down about my work!  Hogwash!

Why was I having a poor attitude or negative self-talk?  I really thought about it quite a bit and realized that I was comparing.  Comparison is damaging.  If I compare myself to one out of the fifteen women attending bootcamp and focus on her doing things better than I did I create negative thoughts.  When I compare myself to other people who were already accomplished authors, writers, speakers, podcasters, I create negative thoughts.

How had that little bugger of negative self-talk sneak into my way of thinking?  I don’t know, but it’s about to get a swift boot along with an immediate eviction notice.  Now, I know that it will not be that simple, but awareness is the key.  I am practicing daily mantra’s that will bring a more positive light into my life.  Here’s two from Rebekah “Bex” Borucki (Check out her interview on my podcast here.) that I really like:

I say “no” when I don’t want to.  I say “yes” when it feels good.  I take care of myself through movement that makes me feel wonderful.  I eat foods that make me feel fulfilled.  I have relationships with people who love me as I am.

It is not my job to be in control.  My purpose is to be at peace and to be happy with who I am in this moment, to be loved, and to inspire love.

Want to learn more?  Bex has a 21-day Mantra Challenge that is Free!  Just click here and enjoy more positivity in your life, a break from the negative self-talk, a relief from stress, and experience more gratitude.  Listen to your self-talk this week…what is it saying?

I’m a Crazy Vegan! Are You a Crazy Vegan, too?

Vegans run the gamut from strictly raw, only eating eggs or fish oil supplements, SOS-free (salt, oil, sugar), paleo-type vegans to those who do this crazy vegan thing for health, the planet, or the love and welfare of animals.  There is so much debate out there on what the right thing is from the science to the popularity.  And there is so much shaming going on!!

The vegan who is earth-loving, tree-hugging, no-leather, won’t eat at a restaurant that even serves meat, never drinks from a plastic bottle…you get the idea who is shaming the vegan who is trying to just go meatless on Meatless Mondays.  Today’s blog is to declare my stance on veganism from what I eat to what I wear and tell you that wherever you are in your journey, you are loved and you should be proud of the steps you take daily to do the best you can by you and your family, period.

I did not become vegan to save the planet or rescue animals…at first.  I was in it for purely selfish reasons…I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself.  Looking back, it was a small step by small step journey.  It started with cutting our red meat and pork.  I then learned that chicken was just as bad or even worse so it was back to being a vegetarian which I had dabbled in before coming pregnant with my last child a million and a half years ago.

Vegetarian was pretty easy.  I was what they called lacto-ovo-vegetarian.  I didn’t miss the meat a bit, but I was still eating dairy products and using eggs.  It wasn’t until I read Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive that I began to believe that it was possible to eat only plants and do what the book suggested…THRIVE!  I’ve told this story before and remember lying in bed reading and leaning over to my husband and saying, “I think I need to do this” and him replying, “I don’t think I can go there with you” and I couldn’t blame him!

The thought of going vegan was scary!  I could cook and I mean COOK!  Chicken-fried steak with incredible gravy, white chocolate cheesecake with macadamia nuts and a pastry crust, key lime pie, quiche, pancakes…you name it!  I later learned that this was the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) and it was killing us and most of the US population at large. What would I feed my family?  How would I cook without dairy and eggs?

But Brendan Brazier wasn’t just an ordinary Joe like you or me, he was a professional Ironman Triathlete who was quite literally THRIVING on a plant-based diet without any animal products whatsoever.  I continued to learn and found Scott Jurek, author of Eat & Run who was thriving on a plant-based diet and running ultra-marathons and 24-hour races – crazy!  If those men could do it with the expectations they had on their bodies, I could most definitely do it!

The research began.  Trust me when I say that I flubbed up A LOT!  Some nights were disastrous and some were big hits, but I kept plugging away and never looked back.  That was 5 years ago.  I’ve learned a lot since then!  I was certified in The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall and started teaching vegan cooking classes along with the science to back it up.  I received a certificate in Plant-based Nutrition from eCornell University, and became a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York.

I have taken classes from Chef AJ and began a Facebook page called VeganMormon that has almost 1000 followers that get posts from me daily.  I joke that I should have named it VeganMormonRepublican because then I could offend just about everyone.  Let’s face it…when it comes to conversations that ignite a defense mechanism almost immediately…let it start around food, religion, or politics!  Right??

My actual diet has been refined and after speaking with leading experts in the field of nutrition realize that I am not alone.  We are all constantly changing our minds on what we want to tweak next, but I do stand behind ZERO animal products.  My diet is pretty simple these days.  Delicious, but simple.  No oil, no sugar, no processed food of any kind.  I limit my flour to almost nothing to help with brain fog and my hypothyroidism.  I just eat food…real food.  Rice, potatoes, beans, greens, veggies, fruits, nuts, avocadoes, seeds…all amazing and wonderfully yummy foods.

Since becoming vegan I have watched powerfully moving films and documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and What the Health?  I have subscribed to nutritionfacts.org with Dr. Michael Greger (even had the pleasure of speaking with him at a conference here in California..he is awesome!) and continue to read books and articles that will help not only me, but my audience on their journey.  Try out the 21-Day Kickstart program with PCRM – uh-mazing!

I don’t buy leather products, but I didn’t throw out what I already owned because that just seemed silly to me.  I know there are those out there that will judge me for that, but that’s on you.  I don’t buy down pillows because I have seen how the down is “collected” and it’s gruesome.  I don’t buy anything wool because despite what you may think about it not harming the sheep…guess what?  It does.

I am not perfect as I still buy plastic containers or water bottles sometimes, but by me not eating meat or animal products I truly feel like a super-hero and that I’m saving the planet!  Not to mention, saving a crazy amount of water!  Where I was once vegan for purely selfish reasons, I am now out to save the world!  By not consuming anything from an animal, I am more healthy for sure, I am not harming any animals, and I am quite literally helping to save our dear planet earth.  Will you join me?

Wherever you are on  your journey, I encourage you to soldier on.  Keep up the good work and know that you have a safe place here to talk about it.  If you are further along in your journey, DO NOT SHAME OTHERS because of where they are on their journey.  Only reach out to help them with love, compassion, and kindness.  If I had been shamed by others in the beginning there is no way I would have made it this far.  Be encouraging.  Be loving.  Be careful with your words.  Do your best and then help others to do their best.

Have questions for me about my vegan journey?  Send me a message and I would be happy to answer, but please be kind!  Bringing others down is not my goal and I don’t want to fight about it.  You’re either in and curious, or you’re not and you stay silent. Don’t argue for argues sake.  I will answer any questions that are respectful, curious, and can be helpful.  Good luck wherever you find yourself on this crazy vegan path!!

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