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By Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoYou Are a Super HeroSuper Heroes vs VillainsI am a crazy movie addict. I will just admit that now and get it out of the way. I also am admittedly an OCD organizational freakazoid. That means that not only do I love movies with super heroes, but I had shelving built on one wall around my TV to house them, separated by genre AND alphabetized within their genre. Crazy, right? (Wait until you learn about how I send my birthday cards every year) Not only do I have them organized in such a way, but I have a list on my phone called “Movies”. Within that list are movies coming out that I want to see and the date they debut, movies I want to add to my collection, and a list of VHS tapes I have left to switch over to DVD’s. I love movies!
I am a sucker for a good tear-jerker, love the action films and chick-flicks, and Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley is the one I’ve watched the most. Not only am I addicted to movies, but I believe I’m simply addicted to happy endings. I want to fly without wings, make people laugh like Lucille Ball, have magical powers like Samantha from Bewitched, be strong and have courage like Cinderella, sing like Queen Latifah, and kick ass like Lara Croft. That’s not asking too much, right?One of the things I’ve learned is that you cannot have heroes without villains. If the villains did not exist, super heroes would not be discovered or needed. The super heroes themselves might not ever know that they are super heroes because nothing challenged them to become more than they already were. In the latest Cinderella movie, her mother charged her to be strong and have courage. This was simply a dying wish of a mother to her daughter until the wicked stepmother and stepsisters entered her life to test her and try her. Wonder Woman (Linda Carter) was living an oblivious, innocent life in the Bermuda Triangle on an island paradise knowing nothing of the outside world until she took her invisible plane to the United States and discovered she could make a difference there and not let bad guys win. The Bionic Woman, Emma in Once Upon a Time, the latest Maleficent, the list goes on.
I believe so much in happy endings and in super heroes, that I’ve decided to create my own happy ending and become a super hero myself. A lofty goal you say? Mock me if you must, but I’m living the dream. No, not a dream…a reality. 20 years ago if you had told me I would grow up to be a super hero I would have laughed right out loud. Heck, even 10 years ago would have had me doubting through and through. But here I am, a living breathing super hero. Guess what? You are, too! Or can decide to be if that is your goal and that it’s what YOU want to be when you grow up.The good news is that it is never to late to decide to be a super hero. You cannot say, “I’m too old, or too worn out, or too many bad things have happened to me, or I’ve caused too many bad things to happen”. Those are just excuses that need to be kicked to the curb where they belong. Faith wins over fear if you will let it.Does being a super hero free you from ever having bad things happen to you again? NO! Superman had kryptonite and Lex Luthor. Lara Croft had the Luminoti, not to mention her own heart to worry about. Batman, The Arrow, X-Men, Wonder Woman, The Incredibles all had new villains to battle. I suppose that’s job security. Or, it is how you too can continue to learn that you are capable of more than you could ever imagine. I’ve watched The Flash get knocked down time and time again and still that dude is optimistic – how does he do that? Just when you thought you had learned every lesson, there was more of you to discover. Things you never knew you could do or imagined were possible. These villains make us stronger.So, who is your villain right now? For me, I might not have known I was even fighting a villain until the battle was over. Sometimes, I could see the villain coming from a mile away and I had to choose to run or stand up and fight. Other times it was a crime against my heart that hurt so bad I could barely breathe, or eat, or sleep. Others still were crimes brought to me unbidden, but had to be dealt with just the same.
Let me share one of my oldest villains with you. Teenage pregnancy. I don’t think any little girl sets her dream to be pregnant by the time she is 16, especially one that has a future as a super hero. While I do not have anyone to blame but myself, it is a fact that “most people end up in this situation in a misguided attempt to fulfill some pretty basic human needs. We all have a need to feel loved and worthwhile. We all seek to have joy and happiness in our lives.” (Ezra Taft Benson) If those needs are not met, we seek them in places that are unhealthy to ourselves and others. (Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that your decisions effect only you…just like positive choices leave ripple effects, so do poor choices.)My villain changed my life and the lives of those around me. I was married at 16 1/2 years of age, having my first daughter at age 17. I did not finish high school and I did not attend Prom. My love for playing on the high school basketball team was squashed and my flute would gather dust for years. I had disappointed my parents and ignored all advice from people who were trying to help me take a better path and who cared about me a great deal.My decisions led me to many more poor choices in relationships for lots of years, but as I’ve told others before, I would rather change my course than be completely derailed. Because inevitably that is what happened…I was completely derailed, lying on the floor, unable to make another decision in my life, good or bad. All of my choices had led me to the side of my bed, on my knees, praying for help. Help to loosen these chains of bad habits in the area of my love life. I asked God to let me be happy with the life I had with my three beautiful daughters as a single mom. To be content with who I had become as a woman even if my relationship woes were unsightly to say the least.And you know what? He did so much more. Not everyone believes that there is a God and I’m not out to convert you with this blog, but I want to be honest in my story-telling here. When I turned my life over to Him, instead of pushing my own agenda, things changed. He was incredibly more kind to me than I ever had been to myself. He led me and guided me to a path that led to a beautiful marriage. A safe haven to figure out how to be a super hero despite any human frailties I may have experienced in my life to date. Just like SuperMan had to go away for awhile to get things figured out and learn of his true potential, I was given the gift of another second chance.
Just over 8 years ago, I married my hero, my best friend. My heart has been healed and my capacity to love has grown. While I had earned my GED as a teenager, I wanted my high school diploma because it was something I had deprived myself of. (As a side note, don’t try this at home…it is SO MUCH EASIER to pass high school as a teenager than an adult…TRUST ME!!) I went back to adult school and the math that I hated with a passion and earned my diploma. Not only was that super, crazy kind of hard, but I took graduation pictures, attained a class ring, and even spoke at my graduation where lots of friends and family were in attendance (including my tutor I had to get to pass math!). They didn’t even have the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) when I was in high school! It seemed so unfair, but I passed! I graduated at the ripe old age of 41!Conquering a villain is an amazing feeling. After I graduated high school I felt like I could take on the world! I could do anything! Be anything! I took certificate courses online, became a Certified Holistic Health Coach, started teaching cooking classes locally. I just can’t stop! It is part of the reason I am writing this blog and pursuing a career as a public speaker. To help women realize their potential and to believe in this small, four-letter word…hope.There will be many more villains that will need their ass kicked and the only one to do it will be me because those villains are mine to fight. Whatever or whomever your latest villain is in your life, I want you to know that you can be the super hero in your life. You can have your happy ending. It will not be easy and may involve a lot of hard work. Learn to love work. Do something! If all you can do is just think it, think it. But then say it, whisper it if you need to. Then say it out loud. Now louder! Now take that first step. What action can you take to begin your journey?I believe in hope. I believe in faith. I believe in love.I believe in you. I believe in us.
By Lauri Mackey — 11 months ago
Taking Out the Trash
For Real This Time…
I don’t know how many of you are Mac Users (I’m a Mac, not a PC), but there is a little to-do item that I sometimes forget about. It’s very important to do, especially on my laptop where I do all my work where there isn’t a lot of disk space to mess around with. It’s a little chore called, “Empty Trash”.
I delete stuff all the time on my computer! From emails to tossing out documents or photos or videos. Memes I’ve downloaded and used and then no longer need. Photos of items I’ve put on Craigslist and sold…months ago. Screenshots I’ve taken for a specific purpose and now that purpose has passed. I created a word document for a to-do list and now that chore has passed so I toss it out. I put it all in the trash. Out of sight, out of mind.
But just like the trash we throw into our trash cans outside for the garbage man to take away, it’s not like that stuff just disappears. In the case of our household trash, it ends up in a landfill doing damage to our planet earth. And the files in my computer? They sit in the trash until I go take one more step and EMPTY THE TRASH!
I’m not sure why we have to throw out the trash twice, but we do. Of course, in the case of our household trash, I try to limit what goes into the landfill. I try to reduce, re-use, and recycle as best I can so the impact I have is less. And on my computer, I try to make a habit of regularly taking out the trash so that stuff is not just out of sight, but permanently gone.
Sometimes we need to mentally take out the trash.
First, IT IS a good idea to simply reduce, re-use, and recycle the mental garbage. Trying to put better things into our creative and mental space is definitely the first line of defense. Does watching scary movies give you nightmares that keep you up at night? STOP WATCHING THEM in the first place! Stuck in a bad habit or need to simply create a new one like flossing twice a day? Take the first step towards either one. Remember that it takes baby steps…moving forward, however small, is the key.
Second, we may think that we have taken out the trash but just like my EMPTY TRASH button you may need to permanently take it out. Setting it aside is not enough. Sometimes we need to take that extra step and permanently let it go. Here are a few examples:
- You’ve quit coffee, but still own a coffeemaker and coffee is still in the cupboard.
- You’ve forgiven a friend, but are still hanging on to hurt feelings that we can’t quite release.
- You were in a horrible relationship, got out of it, then are still mentally bashing that other person or worse, ourselves for being in the relationship in the first place.
- How much mental space are you taking up by not permanently deleting the trash? By taking that extra step to let go for real this time?
I’m not saying it’s easy, but this blog is just about awareness. If you are in a situation where you haven’t permanently deleted your trash – you are the only one who truly knows. If you read this blog and instantly thought of something in your life that this applies to – then this article is for you.
Do some mental decluttering, some soul-searching, some meditation, whatever does it for you to start taking baby steps towards healing – and EMPTYING THE TRASH.
Would love to hear from you! Please comment below and let’s start some chatter!
By Lauri Mackey — 5 years agoI 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:
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 ofJeffrey 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!
- My soul is young and eternal. My inside doesn’t feel old. I feel young as a puppy playing with a new toy.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.