You Might also like
By Lauri Mackey — 3 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.
By Lauri Mackey — 3 years agoI’m Not That SpecialStan Lee – “Well, you just think about it! You just sit down or walk around and probably have a big, dumb look on your face and you wonder, “What would I like to read? What kind of character would interest me?” I’m asked a lot what tips I would give to other writers. The truth is: I don’t know any tips. I can’t think of a single tip. Now I’ve been writing long enough to have met an awful lot of writers who sit down at their computer or whatever and say, “OK, now I’m going to write the story for young ladies, aged 17 to 26.” I don’t have a clue how to do that. I don’t know what other people want. So the only thing I can say when answering that question is: Please write stories that you think are great. Write to please yourself. That’s how I’ve always done it – not because I’m so desperate to please other people, but because I feel very genuinely that if I really love a story, then there must be a few other people out there who would love it, too. I’m not that special.”I took this excerpt from (believe it or not) my December’s Costco Connection monthly magazine. It is honestly one of my favorite magazines for articles and business tips! You never know where you’ll find the inspiration you are looking for and didn’t know you needed.As you know, I absolutely love movies and I have collected all of the Avengers, Captain America’s, Thor’s and now recently Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man and Stan Lee is the creator of them all! How wicked cool is that? When I saw that Costco had conducted an interview with him I was really excited to learn more about his story, but what he said above truly touched me.I write this blog not just to hear myself talk, but because I’m guessing that there are others out there like me who need a repetitive dose of positivity in their lives. I’m not that special. I write because I truly enjoy the process. I write because it feels like I’m leaving a legacy of my thoughts and way of thinking. I have looked forward every week to sitting down and putting my words in print for the world to see…unapologetically and crazy authentic.
How do you create positivity in your life?
Gumption, Bandaids, Slapstick, “Wash, Rinse, Repeat”.The first thing you need is GUMPTION. By definition, gumption means courage and confidence. This is not only faith in yourself that you are capable of hard things, but a continuous amount of courage and confidence in one’s self to accomplish the things you set out to do.The second thing is a lot of BANDAIDS. My husband and I help coach the local high school mountain bike team and I always tell the kids that it is not a matter of if you will crash, it is only a matter of when. From newbies to pros, everyone crashes. If you can accept this fact before your journey even begins and keep bandaids at the ready, it makes the falls more tolerable.The third thing is SLAPSTICK. Now this is the one that I am not as good at as the other three…I admit it. You must be able to laugh at yourself or at the situation. You need to solidly believe in horseplay. Give yourself permission to laugh and be happy. We were meant to be happy! Don’t forget that once you find that happiness to share it with others. And as James Altucher advises: If you’re having a bad day, just chalk it up to a bad day, don’t make any major decisions during that time and wait for it to pass.The fourth and last tip is to WASH, RINSE, AND REPEAT. Repetitiveness is the key to learning anything. Practice makes permanent. You must practice positivity. If you don’t even try it out you’ve already lost the battle with negativity. I promise that if you practice baby steps that you will soon be walking, running, and then sprinting with positivity.I admit that my thought process is not within the “norm” of what you may be used to hearing, but it is uniquely and authentically me. I’m guessing that a few other people might relate, love it, and be able to incorporate these steps into their lives for the good of themselves and ultimately the good of those around you.
Practice Makes PermanentIn the end, I believe that Stan Lee IS special. I believe that YOU are special. We are all unique and the only ones here on earth that can fulfill our potential to the best of our ability. My goal is to have you believe that you are capable of more than what you may think. Collect your gumption, a box of bandaids, your sense of humor and practice it over and over again!
By Lauri Mackey — 2 years ago
5 Ideas for Self-Dates!
It wasn’t until I read the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron that I truly embraced self-dates. And to tell you the honest truth, the first one stunk. It was supposed to be for 2 hours and I don’t know why, but I chose to go to the beach and people-watch. I don’t even like the beach. I live 15 minutes away, but I’m more of a mountain girl. I sat on that beach for 2 hours! Doing absolutely nothing! Lame, but lesson learned.
I was so mad about my first date going so horribly wrong that I was determined to make the 2nd one more fun. I planned a trip to Ojai which is about 30 minutes from my home. I went on line and picked two new stores to check out and then had lunch at my favorite vegan restaurant called Hip (highly recommend it!). The first store turned out to be closed, but the second one was an open air bookstore – really! An outdoor bookstore and I bought more Louis Lamour books – it was fabulous!
As of this writing, my 17-year old has now taken herself on her first self-date. She got treats for the movies and watched Wonder Woman at the theater. Dollar treats, bargain day at our local theater – perfect for the teenage budget!
I truly recommend self-dates! The ultimate would be once a week, but if you can pull off once every two weeks or even once a month consider it a huge accomplishment as you will have gone from zero to something! Here are 5 Self-Date Ideas to get you started. Re-instate #Recess for Adults!
The 5 Senses Date
#1 One of my favorite self-dates was last month when I decided to enlist the 5 senses and create a date around it. Touch, Smell, Taste, Sight, and Hearing. Start by making a list of your 3 favorite in each category and then pick your favorite from each one. Here is how mine played out: Touch – my favorite comfy afghan my oldest daughter made for me while dressed in my night shirt and slippers. Smell – wild orange essential oil in a diffuser to remind me of the orange blossoms in the local orange groves. Taste – what else? Sweet Potato Fries from Veggie Grill, of course! Sight – sat in my favorite room of the house and grabbed my favorite book by Josi S Kilpack, The Vicar’s Daughter. Hearing – gonna love this one…I ran the dishwasher. Weird? It is a childhood sound that I love because whenever we went to bed, my mom or dad would start the dishwasher – love that sound! Best date ever!
#2 This one was simple. I live on a University Campus with a beautiful library. There was a traveling exhibit featuring this area’s local agriculture history. Other than the one gentleman who talked my ear off for about 30 minutes, it was fascinating and I even toured the library for the first time after living here for the last 6 years! Check your local library or museums to see what’s on exhibit now or coming soon.
Something Old, Something New
#3 When I went up to Ojai, I picked my favorite restaurant Hip because I was familiar with it and then coupled it with something new in visiting the outdoor bookstore. The restaurant made me feel warm and comfy and the bookstore made me feel adventurous. Is there something you can couple with something old and familiar and still taste some adventure?
It’s Elementary, My Dear
#4 This one seems silly at first blush, but it is oh so fun once you’re into it. Collect at least 10 magazines and grab your scissors and a piece of poster paper from Michael’s or Target. Cut out anything that you like or strikes your fancy and then paste them with a glue stick on to the poster paper. Proudly hang it up in a prominent place in your home for as long as you can!
#5 Sometimes you just need a solid time-out. What is your sacred space? A temple, synagogue or church? Perhaps the library or a special place on your favorite hike? There is a choice of a couple of things you can do. One is that you just go sit and be. Take this time to simply be still, quiet, and savor the silence. Two is that before you head out to your sacred space, write down a burning question to take with you. Write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket. Once in your sacred space, open it up and lay it beside you. Don’t overthink this. Don’t make yourself think about it, just knowing it’s there will help. Is there a solution or at least a next step that comes to mind? I will tell you that the times I’ve done this, I either think of a solution or a next step OR I get a feeling of peace that I just need to be patient and that the answer will come in time. Either way, I feel immensely better for having taken this time for myself.
Pick a date, set the time on your calendar, fulfill the date, then come back here and comment to let me know what you’ve done. Others will appreciate hearing back from you and get more ideas – remember, we are all out to help each other!