Ditch the Negative Self-Talk by Listening to Your Best Friend
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By Lauri Mackey — 4 years agoA Letter to My GramBeing Sad and MadOur name for her was “Gram”. She was my mother’s mother who was born September 3rd, 1926 and adopted from an orphanage in Los Angeles when she was 5 years old. Her adoption records are sealed and so we might never know who her birth parents were, but the couple that adopted her were ever so kind and she grew up with loving parents in a beautiful home with lots of opportunities.She married, had four children, two girls and then two boys with a big gap between the girls and boys. For example, my uncle was in kindergarten when I was born and he had to bring something to class that started with the letter ‘B’. He brought me because I was a baby! She had a love for horses, dogs, and cats and made the best snickerdoodles you ever tasted. She always had cars that were fast and usually red even though she didn’t drive them fast. She didn’t have a lot to say, but I loved it when she laughed.Her house was always neat as a pin. We visited her more often as children and she always came to our house for Christmas bringing McDonald’s gift certificates for all of us. I have pictures of her at a few special occasions such as my 8th grade graduation and when I was first married. I remember meeting her for lunch at the Smorgy or The Depot in Oroville, CA for lunch.She was not what I would call a playful grandma like my mother is now for her grandchildren. In truth, it is because my Gram was not very involved that I believe my mother has been so determined to be in her grandchildren’s lives and is doing an incredible job…she makes me exhausted! Being a new Gram myself, I appreciate her efforts even more.This last Sunday morning I received news that my Gram had passed away. I was surprised that I was sad. I was more surprised that I was mad. Over the last 15 or so years, my Gram had alienated every single one of her family members and any friends she may have had.I am mostly sad over the years that were already lost. I am mad that she let this happen. I am confused because I simply don’t understand it all. I’ve sent birthday cards every year, emailing her on her birthday as well. I sent Christmas cards, all with no response.There will not be a funeral, no one would come. She pre-paid to be cremated and have her ashes spread over the fields where some wild horses roam around the place she last lived.In the wake of her passing the last few days, I have thought much about the circumstances that brought her to such a sad place. How awful it must have been to lead such a small and selfish life. It also got me thinking about all the good she brought into this world.She was an excellent mother to her children. She sewed beautiful dresses for my mom and aunt. She took them on camping trips and supported them in all they did. My aunt had excellent advice to remember her how she was and not who she became. On that note, I add a story she wrote to her granddaughters when I was 12 years old. It shows how much she cared in those days to be a wonderful Gram.She was my last living grandparent. I am her first grandchild and oldest granddaughter. I am here because she lived. I am grateful for her love of life in her younger years. I am grateful for her quiet moments. I am grateful for the afghan she crocheted for me. I am grateful for a couple pieces of jewelry she thought to give me about 20 years ago. I am grateful for her talent in the kitchen and what I hope I have inherited of her talent for storytelling.Thank you for being patient as I write this on my blog this week. I promise to have some more uplifting thoughts next week, but such as in life, there are ups and downs. Please take a moment after reading my Gram’s little story, The Day My Dolls Danced, and get in touch with someone you haven’t talked to in much too long. You know who it is…please do it. Leave a mark…no, leave a legacy.May 13, 1983To my sweet granddaughters: Lauri, Holly, Heather & Sarah.In this, the Springtime of your lives, may you still enjoy a fairytale.Much love from your “Gram”
THE DAY MY DOLLS DANCEDIt had been a long and busy day but the house sparkled and the clothes were washed and put away. There was an apple pie fresh from the oven, warm and spicy, for special dessert that evening. There was some time left before I needed to start dinner so I decided to take a little rest. I went into my bedroom, took off my shoes, closed the drapes and lay down on the bed.As I always do before closing my eyes, I looked at each of my little dolls, 14 in all, that stood on the shelf above my vanity. There was another larger doll that stood on the vanity. They were all dressed elegantly in long gowns of pink, blue, green, yellow, and lavender and I had given each of them a name; Jasmine from Japan, Heidi from Holland, my Irish girl Colleen, Cherie from France, Ann from Israel. Joining them were Leah, Honey, April, Sarah, Shirley, Lauri, Heather, Sunshine, Holly and my tall Southern Belle – Elaine. They were my little girls, dainty and sweet and beautiful.My eyelids grew heavy and just as I was drifting off to sleep I heard faint tapping sounds coming from where my dolls stood on the shelf. To my astonishment, the tiny ladies had come to life and are taking off their shoes! I wondered if perhaps I were dreaming but I lay very still and waited to see what would happen next.After each girl had removed her shoes she placed them side-by-side in the exact place that she stood on the shelf. Then one-by-one they tiptoed to the ends of the shelf and let themselves down the turned posts on either side of the mirror to the vanity below. Each girl in turn went to a small cart of silk flowers that stood on the table, selected a flower that matched the color of her gown, and laid it at the feet of Elaine, as though she were their queen. Elaine smiled and nodded to each lady in acceptance of their tributes.After their acknowledgement to their queen, the girls became carefree and playful, darting among the bottles of perfume and playing hide-and-seek with one another. While they were occupied with their games, I very quietly turned on my radio to music that seemed to match their bright spirits. They were startled and seemed almost fearful at the sound. Then, quite suddenly, my vanity became their stage and I was about to become an audience of one at a Ballet of the Dolls!Their tiny bodies moved with charm and grace and their joy at dancing was reflected in the sweetness of their faces. I was completely absorbed in the performance when suddenly, outside, a dog barked rudely. The dancing ended abruptly and the little ladies glanced my way, but I stayed very still. I was hoping they would decide it was safe to continue to dance, but the spell was broken. They scurried to put everything back into proper order. One-by-one, they returned to their Queen Elaine, curtsied and picked up the flowers and put them back in the cart, then made their way up the turned posts to the shelf. Each girl returned to her own pair of shoes, slipped them on, smoothed her gown and hair, smiled sweetly at their queen, then became motionless once again.Quietly I turned off the radio and marveled at the sight I had just been privileged to see, and hope that sometime I will see them come to life and play and dance on my vanity once again. Perhaps I had just dreamed the whole interlude. It would be quite fantastic to see dolls come to life and dance on the vanity. It must have been my imagination working overtime.Several days passed and one evening as I prepared for bed, I noticed a tiny object lying on my vanity. I picked it up and discovered that it was a shoe! I was very excited because I realized that I hadn’t been dreaming and it wasn’t my imagination and that my little ladies did really come to life after all! I laid the tiny shoe carefully on the shelf above, turned off the light and went to bed. I wondered if, perhaps, they would dance this night.The next day was house-cleaning time and as I reached up to dust the shelf where my girls stood, the little shoe was not there! I carefully picked up each doll and to my amazement, their shoes were all on their feet! They had indeed come to life and danced again while I slept. I felt a little sad that I hadn’t seem them. However, my ladies had known that once I had watched them dance and play, for as I turned to dust my radio, there, lying on the top was a lovely silk flower, a gift from my little girls!
By Lauri Mackey — 4 years agoWho I AmLearning to Sleep in the Bed that I MadeNo TV. Ok, well I do own a TV and am honestly a huge movie buff with lots of movies and some sitcoms, but I do not have a cable network of any kind. No channels. No commercials. Been that way for over 20 years now. I still get hooked on sitcoms! I owned every season of Gilmore Girls and if Agents of Shield has a season on DVD, I’ve bought it and watched it in marathon order over a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long).My current addiction is Arrow. In a recent episode I learned the origins of the character, Felicity Smoak. (Third Season in case any of you are Arrow buffs, too) While it wasn’t anything too horrific…think Bimbo mom and illegal computer hacking stuff, it was something that she was embarrassed and ashamed of.One of the point’s I’d like to make is that we all have things in our past that we are both embarrassed or ashamed of. The first of those are the decisions that we have no control over. Felicity did not choose her mom or her circumstances growing up. The second are decisions we make that may cause shame as we see them as mistakes or just plain ugly bad choices. In Felicity’s example it was creating a super crazy computer virus from her college hacker days and nearly spending her life in prison.But where is she now? Working for a millionaire dude (who’s handsome and sexy by the way) and The Arrow as a computer genius who is calm under pressure, knows her stuff inside and out, and has made herself indispensable. She is also friendly and is loved by just about everyone who meets her (except the bad guys, of course).Which brings me to my second point. Her upbringing and her so-called “mistakes” brought her to this part of her life. Her life is not without mistakes now and it’s not perfect, but those life experiences made her who she is today. They shaped her into the woman she has become.Your life up to this point has made you who you are today. Right now in this present moment. Who are you? Where did you come from and where are you going? I’ve been pondering a lot about this lately in my own life.
This is WHO I WAS:I believe my upbringing was pretty darn good. My mom taught me to choose the right and how to be strong. She showed me that she was human and made mistakes like everyone else. I learned to ride horses, ride a bike, and do good in school. I loved to read and compete in spelling bees! In unfortunate typical fashion, my parents were divorced when I was 11 and my mom re-married a wonderful man with 5 boys. As per usual in most divorced families, it’s just tough. Tough to figure out your identity, tough to reconcile your mom and dad not being together. Tough to adjust to doubling your family size and learning to get along with not only 2 brothers, but 7! (It’s just a flat out miracle that mom was never committed to a looney bin. She gets huge props for that.).Imagine 9 kids; 7 boys and 2 girls all under the age of 11. I know I had it tough, but my mom and step-dad are down-right saints in my book. We were all on the local swim team and all of us did some kind of sports. I remember doing basketball for 6 years, soccer for 3 and swim team for 3. I was also in the band with a killer marching ensemble for parades and half-time shows. My parents did the best they could and honestly, even though I might not have agreed with my mom and dad’s “parenting skills” (what child does??) if I had followed their advice, my life would have turned out better than the decisions I made for myself.The rest is all me. I made my bed and I laid in it. Every good and bad decision was up to me. It still is. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I love to work outside the home. I love the challenge of new opportunities. I’ve been a property manager, an Ombudsman to a Naval Ship during the 9/11 conflict, worked for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, made burgers as the Drive-Thru Queen of Burger King (age 18, cut me some slack for that one), lasted one whole week at Taco Bell, sold MaryKay and Pampered Chef, and yes, even the dreaded Amway for a spell. I’ve owned my own business for a lot of years and was even a stay-at-home mom 9 years straight which was the hardest “job” I’ve ever had in my life.I’ve been married more than a few times with the common denominator of failure always being me in those relationships. My two older kids are no doubtedly scarred for life due to my inability to have, find, and keep good marriage relationships. While it is not an easy thing to talk about or simply admit, it is most definitely part of my past that made me who I am today.
This is WHO I AM:I am in a beautiful marriage relationship with my best friend and hero, Eddy. He has given me a safe place to grow and learn about myself and who I have the potential to become. I will forever be indebted to him.I love to sing. I like to knit and hate to scrapbook. I love riding my mountain bike and I love to cook. I like making my house feel like a home where anyone that comes in will feel comfortable and at ease. I stink at keeping green things alive. Many a plant has died at my hands over the years. I love to read Louis L’amour and I love to watch action movies and chick flicks. I love to speak with people and connect with them. I love the mountains, but don’t much care for the beach.I believe in God and love my church family because they show love to me unconditionally. I am a WFPB health crusader (yes, I eat plants and yes, I get enough protein). I have two dogs that are sweet as pie. They are both black and both boys. It seemed only fair as I have three daughters and my hubby was the only testosterone representative in the house. I love making goals and then checking them off my list. Did I mention I was a list-maker? I LOVE LISTS! The best part of my lists is marking the things off I’ve accomplished.Some of my favorite things are freshly cleaned sheets, new pillows, the sound of the dishwasher or dryer running, Kelly Rae Roberts, my courtyard fountain, the smell of jasmine in full bloom, Brooks Cascadia trail-running shoes, and getting packages in the mail.
This is WHO I AM BECOMING:First and foremost, I am always working on being more kind and being of service. First to my husband and children, then my neighbors and then my community and ultimately the world. I’m also working on being more cheerful and not complaining so much about bad drivers. 🙂I’ve recently started collecting pull-over hoodies…don’t know if that trend will stick, but it seemed worth mentioning.I want to learn how to pop a wheelie on my mountain bike. I want to replace the rest of my VHS tapes with DVD’s. I want to take a trip to Whistler and ride some killer trails up there. I want to find out who my Gram’s biological parents were as she was adopted at age 5.I want to write a book, public speak to women who need a confidence boost and power uplift in their lives. I want to do a weekly podcast starting in February of 2016 to support these same women to help them believe they are capable of more than they think.I just had to highlight this last paragraph in orange because I’ve accomplished it since I wrote this post in October of 2015. My book came out in 2018 and the podcast is now over 2 years old – go me! I would like to do more speaking to women, but I have done that as well. Setting goals is oh so important! Party in the house right now after reading this again!!!Oh, and I want to own a Model X Tesla…
Please comment below and tell me some things you already know about yourself. Be proud!
By Lauri Mackey — 1 year ago
3 foolproof ways to make healthy eating really work for you
by: Samantha Russell with LiveTheWhole.com
Healthy eating is hard to stick to. Sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you, with birthday parties, food-centered holidays, and potluck parties every second weekend.
I recently did a bunch of interviews with hard-working and accomplished women who all struggle to eat in a way that feels good to them. The number 1 thing they identified as getting in their way the most was consistency.
They all have so much knowledge about health, nutrition, and the way the want to be eating – but feel like life just constantly throws them curve balls and encourages them to eat more cake, buy more ice cream, and make exceptions to their plan all the time.
So, how can you make healthy eating actually work for you in a consistent way? Here are 3 foolproof ways to make healthy food choices your automatic ‘go to’ every day.
Step 1: Set SMART goals
Goals are great – you probably have them for your career, and maybe even your relationship, but have you stopped to formulate some great food and eating goals as well?
Just like any other goals in your life, healthy eating goals need to be SMART, or
Resonates with you, and
This means you have to think hard about exactly what you want to do, how you’ll measure your success, how to make the goal realistic for you and fit into your life, and when you’re going to pause and assess how things are going.
The problem with most healthy eating goals is that they go something like “I’m going to start eating better”, or “I’m going to cut down on carbs”, or even “I’m quitting sugar from now on”. There’s nothing wrong with trying any of these, but you’re going to need a better plan if you want to succeed.
For example, a SMART goal for “I’m quitting sugar” is:
“For the next 2 weeks (time managed), I am not going to eat or drink any sugar or added sweetener (specific + measurable). Instead, I’ll have a piece of fruit and drink green tea if I feel I need a little something extra (resonates + attainable).”
Step 2: Plan your meals the night before
Meal planning is the most helpful action step you can take to make healthy food choices easy – because you’ve already made them.
Simply sit down for 5 minutes before you go to bed and write down exactly what you’re going to eat the next day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks.
Yes, even if it involves looking up the menu of a restaurant. By making food decisions when you’re relaxed, not hungry, and can give them your full attention, you’ll make way better decisions that are more in-line with your goals.
Now, with the food decisions already made, all you have to do is stick with them. If you feel like you’re going to struggle with that, this is where step 3 comes in.
Step 3: Have an emergency recovery plan
No matter how SMART your goals are, or how much planning you do, there are definitely going to be times when it’s still hard to make healthy choices. Consistency is really key when you’re habit building, so I like to use the superpowers of
- The bigger picture,
- Meditation, and
- Switching gears
To help stay on track.
No matter how dedicated you are to changing your eating, stress, tiredness, and social pressure (to name just a couple of things!) can all make some really convincing sounding arguments as to why you should choose fast food tonight and “start eating healthy again in the morning”. Sometimes that’s ok, but when it’s happening multiple times a week, you’re not going to reach your goals.
So, when you can feel temptation or stress getting the better of you, take a moment to think about the bigger picture of why you want to eat healthier. Is it to be a good role model for you kids? Feel better in your body and be confident you trust yourself with food? Or to avoid carrying on the family history of type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure? Thinking about this bigger picture helps keep you motivated and on-track.
Some Lauri’s Lemonade Stand Podcast episodes that are great for this:
Interview with Katie Arms – take a moment out of your day to find out how Katie took a massive life-curveball and made it work for her on every level.
Interview with me – learn more about my struggle with change, eating, and consistency and how I personally made lasting change.
Interview with Makeda Pennycooke – learn how to transform you fear and make yourself feel safe.
The second secret weapon is meditation. You’re not going to want to do it – but trust me, put an app like headspace on your phone and when you feel yourself going off track in a way you don’t like, pop in your earphones and take a 5 minute timeout. Sometimes that’s all you need to refocus and get on with your day (and stick to the food plan you made the night before).
And finally, when you feel cravings creeping up on you, try mentally switching gears. Research shows that taking a break and doing something totally different with your brain reduces the intensity of cravings. In fact, the research was done using the game ‘Tetris’, which you can put on your phone right now. Fun, and helps you stay healthy.
The process of making healthy eating a habit is really all about practice, but it’s also about being prepared. Don’t expect (or even aim for) perfection, but you can definitely make healthy eating easy and automatic if you follow the 3 steps outlined above. Every great choice you make creates a positive cycle of self-trust, momentum, and motivation that can move your forward each day – towards a happier, healthier you.
About The Author:
Samantha runs Live the Whole and is certified by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in the US, has a certificate in clinical and pastoral counseling from the University of Glasgow in the UK, and has a degree in psychology from Massey University in New Zealand.
Sam specializes in helping clients manage and heal their relationship with food, body, and self. She uses a blend of positive psychology and mind-body-nutrition connections, along with traditional coaching and counseling methodologies. She works together with clients to uncover the root causes of unwanted eating so they can feel happy, free, and in control.
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