Psychological

“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.

The Power of Negative Energy VS Positive Energy

Negative Energy VS Positive Energy

Trip to Boise 3/3/16

It was the best of positive times and the worst of negative times…
After being in airports for over 14 hours I have come to the conclusion that they bring out the best and the worst in people. Negative Energy VS Positive Energy.  This story is one about my journey from Southern California to Boise, Idaho for a Women’s Conference I was booked to speak at.
My husband and I own our own business and it was already going to be tight having me gone for a couple of days and my hubby started to not feel well.  The morning I’m flying out he woke up with 102 temp and flat on his back in bed.  Just touching my hand to him made me draw back sharply because of the intense heat.  He was my ride to the airport.  I drove my daughter to early morning seminary calling a shuttle on the way.  Luckily they could come and get me, but it was an hour earlier than I had anticipated so I rushed home, finished packing, made breakfast, walked and fed the dogs and smiled when my chauffeur came to the front door.  I was sweating as I (very unladylike) got into the van.
On my way to the airport I am frantically texting to take care of things for the day.  Texting our employees (who handled it magnificently by the way) to hold down the shop that day and what would continue to the next day as well, text a friend and neighbor to walk the dogs again after lunch, and call yet another friend to pick up my teenage daughter after school.  I then go through my bag only to realize that I have my very cool Freska mango knife with me.  The driver is grateful to acquire such a lovely trinket.  At least it didn’t get thrown in the trash when trying to go through security.
I get to the airport an hour and a half before my flight and after about 30 minutes of waiting my flight gets delayed and then delayed again.  I end up leaving almost three hours after the original time.  This is where you start to see the true characters of those around you.  While I am concerned and it’s a bummer, I decide to use this block of time to answer emails and polish my speech intro that I wasn’t totally happy with.  Trying to be productive in what for me is this rare opportunity of nothing else tugging at me for my time.  Unfortunate, yes, but not life-threatening.  The flight attendant assures me that my connector flight has also been delayed due to the weather in San Francisco.
One lady is deciding if she should get a rental car and drive to Vegas which is her ultimate destination.  I chat with her a minute about the price and time cost and she decides to wait it out.  One gentleman with his wife is making a joke at every turn and I dub him the “unfunny” comedian.  I listen to a young man on the phone with his mother in San Francisco and he is complaining loudly that he just wanted to watch a movie while on the flight but due to the crappy airport wifi that it will never happen as his computer tells him it will take 7 hours.  He is irritated and has nothing positive to say.
As I wait at the “electronic” plug-in bar so I can charge my laptop and phone I experience positive, caring, even trusting people.  Half a dozen people are trying to charge their devices.  Each of them make room for the others and exchange kind words.  One lady older than me asks if she can plug her phone in beside me.  I tell her I would be happy to watch it while it charges and she trusts me!  Her phone cover is leather and has a pocket on the outside holding cash and her driver’s license and she sits it by me and goes to read her novel two rows away.  I renew my faith in humanity as people care about other people and she is so trusting of a perfect stranger.
And then there is the angry redheaded dude.  He was the one in line speaking to the attendant at the counter, visibly upset.  Everything about his demeanor suggested irritation, irritability and a terribly poor attitude.  His actions were jerky and full of negative energy.  I’m not sure what his rush is to San Francisco, but in his mind it must be urgent.
And then we board the plane and who is my aisle partner?  Yep…the red-headed angry dude.  He exuded the most powerful negative energy that I’ve had the opportunity to be so close to in a long time.  Every time the captain came on with an update he would jerk the headphones off his head to eagerly listen.  When the captain would then say there was another 15 minute delay or anything at all he would be slapping his hand on his leg or just into the air and uttering curse words under his breath.  I almost said something to him, but felt that it might make him even more angry.  It was an incredible reminder how negative energy can physically be felt when it is pouring out of someone in such abundance.
I get off the plane in San Francisco and literally run past everyone trying to go down the ramp off the plane and then up the ramp into the terminal only to find out that I had missed my connector flight and would then be in San Francisco for another 6 and a half hours.  Yes, I’m sweating again.
After a couple of hours and finding vegan food to eat in the airport I glance up at the screen at my gate and it shows the next two flights out…neither of which was mine.  I calmly ask the gate attendant if my gate had changed and she said it had changed to gate 70 in another wing from gate 79 where I was currently standing.  I finish charging my phone and head across the airport.  I get there and it it doesn’t have my flight on that screen either!  That’s when I ate an entire bar of chocolate.
All of the big screens showing all the flights still say my original gate so I gather up my things and head back.  That screen still doesn’t show my flight, but I feel like I’m in the right place.  Now I start thinking about Boise and how I’m going to get to my dad’s house in Caldwell.  My dad was originally going to pick me up, but that was earlier in the day and now I wouldn’t be arriving until 10:30 at night and after a nasty fall and hip surgery he just isn’t feeling up to it.  I call a shuttle, turns out it’s just a charter, but they are friendly and give me the local taxi service.  Called them, but WOW!  Huge price tag.  I considered getting a hotel for the night when my husband suggests Uber.  I download the app, arrive in Boise, grab my bag and the driver arrives in 4 minutes.  I reach my dad at 11:30pm. 7 1/2 hours after I should have arrived.
Traveling by plane, shuttle, taxi, Uber…ok, all traveling modes can bring out the worst negative energy in you or the best positive energy in you.  I hadn’t traveled by plane in over 2 years and this was a gentle reminder that people are always watching.

My conclusion?

There is simply no way to avoid bumps in the road.  They are a part of life.  Delays, setbacks, moments where you will be forced to wait when you really just want to take action, moments people send you on a wild goose chase that accomplishes nothing.  How you REACT to those bumps is a test of your true character.  What will people of observe of you when the next bump comes along?

Favorite Things

 Heaven is…
 
Do you have those fun little things that just make you smile?  Of course you do!  I found a list in my notebook today that must have been written a year ago about a few of my favorite things.  It totally made me smile and so I figured I would share it with you today!
 
Updated February 2019 and added my current list!  Check it out below!
 
After reading my list, please comment below on at least your top 5-10 favorite things.  
Can’t wait to hear from you!
 
 
2015
butterfly kisses
brace-face smiles
someone else folding laundry & doing dishes
reaching a milestone
a really good haircut
mountain bike rides
hugs (I’m a firm believer in hugs!)
new workout clothes
just-washed towels and sheets
new pillows
a long, unhurried visit with a friend
babies laughing
my favorite book
Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley
singing along with my favorite song
electricity!  (power was out last weekend)
jeans that fit just right
a clean, organized house
waffles on Sunday (A Mackey Tradition)
empty laundry hampers
 
2019
Bedhead
Gray Hair
Mountain Bike Rides
New Clothes/Shoes
An Inspirational Quote
Synchronicities
My Sweetheart Smiling
Friends
Making Someone Laugh
Homemade Food
 

 

NOW YOUR TURN! 
 
Smiling is contagious…can’t wait to smile with you!

I’m Not That Special

I’m Not That Special
Stan 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'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 Permanent

In 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!

Anticipation

The Gift IS The Anticipation

     As I have mentioned numerous times before, I am a complete movie nerd.  I’m not good at movie trivia or remembering actors or actresses names or what year this or that movie came out, but I can watch them until the cows come home (and secretly I hope they don’t!).  The movie industry has me hooked with anticipation.
     In my phone is a list called “Movie Fun”.  At the top of the list are movies coming out that I want to see.  I’ve seen the trailer, loved it, and it goes on my list along with the day it hits theaters.  Next comes the movies on my wishlist for my home library.  If the movie isn’t out on DVD/Blu-Ray quite yet, the day it does come out is listed right next to it with eager anticipation!
     What is it that gets us hooked?  The excitement leading up to our birthdays.  The eves of holidays, especially Christmas.  The sequel to your favorite book or movie.  The sequel to your favorite television series (even if it’s Lost and the ending really didn’t tie up all the loose ends that they had promised).

Anticipation is Powerful

     The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it is almost more exciting than the actual event.  Anticipation is powerful.  Inevitably, the actual event is much shorter than any waiting I did leading up to it.  I literally have a movie on my list right now that doesn’t come out until Summer and it’s already been on there a couple of months!  That is a HUGE anticipation period considering the movie will be less than two hours.

I’m spent weeks preparing for Christmas.  Even if I counted the full 24 hours of Christmas day instead of the 16 or so hours I will actually be awake, it’s a lot of prep time in comparison to the actual celebration.

Anticipation IS our Journey

     If all of what I said holds true, than the excitement of anticipation is our journey.  What is your current journey that fills you with anticipation?  Are you embracing your journey towards your ultimate goal?  What is your ultimate goal?  How far away is it?  Can you see it as a trailer in your mind of your very own movie?
     The journey can require hard work.  Learn to love this work.  It is our anticipation journey to be embraced, loved, and smiled at.  I believe anticipation is the motivating factor for me trying so many things in my life.  I have done so many awesome things.  I am collecting experiences. It has been an incredible journey and I can hardly wait to see what’s around the corner for me.  I can hardly wait to see where your journey takes you.
     May your journey be filled with anticipation.  Enjoy it, set a goal to achieve, start your journey now.  May it be a healthy, happy road less travelled.

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!

Who I Am

Who I Am
Learning to Sleep in the Bed that I Made
     No 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…

Dream Car Tesla

Please comment below and tell me some things you already know about yourself.  Be proud!

Breaking the Rules

Bright Lines

     I have friends from many different faiths.  Some of my friends and even strangers have asked me how I can be in what they deem such a “rigid” faith.  So many rules…so many restrictions.  But I believe that rules bring freedom.  Enter in:  Bright Lines.

Line in the Sand

     The proof is in the pudding…or jail.  Yes, jail.  Very simply put, there are rules set in place that if you break, you go to jail.  In jail all of your freedoms are taken from you.  Now, someone else is in charge of what used to be your decisions.  They decide what you get to eat, to wear, and where you can and cannot go. You no longer have control over your life because you broke the rules.
     Just recently I was introduced to the concept of Bright Lines.  I looked it up on Google and here is what they had to say:  “A bright-line rule is a clearly defined rule or standard, composed of objective factors, which leaves little or no room for varying interpretation. The purpose of a bright-line rule is to produce predictable and consistent results in its application.”
     Let me give you a few examples of Bright Lines in my life so you can see that you have Bright Lines already established in your life as well.  I have a Bright Line that I have drawn about never consuming alcohol or doing drugs.  I will not eat any animal products or watch R-rated movies.  I even have one for never driving over 37 mph in our neighborhood because the cops are always perched somewhere and I don’t want a ticket!  These particular Bright Lines keep my body happy and cheerful physically, my brain happy and cheerful mentally, and my bank account happy and cheerful for not getting that speeding ticket!
     There have been times in my life that even though those Bright Lines were established in what I thought to be in stone, I broke.  I’m not talking about coming up and putting my toe right against the line.  I’m talking about wiping the line away, jumping completely on the other side, feeling a moment of exhilaration for having broken the rules, and then eventually feeling guilt over my decision and the inevitable consequences.

Consequences Ahead

     You have every freedom in making your decisions, but you are not in charge of the consequences.  Good or bad, you do not have control over the consequences of your decisions.
     The reason I am introducing this Bright Line concept to you today is that no matter what your past has been and the rules that we have all broken, we can begin today to set up new Bright Lines for ourselves.  Maybe it is something as simple as developing a habit to brush your teeth in the evening and not just in the morning.  (My dad is a dentist and I’m still working on this one!)  Maybe it is to not say something critical to anyone today, especially your loved ones.  Maybe it is not to have critical thoughts towards yourself.  Maybe it’s a bigger goal that you have in mind.
     Whatever your goal is, draw a Bright Line and as my friend and mentor, Susan Pierce Thompson says, “Simply Resume”.  Don’t beat yourself up over having crossed the line.  Just draw another one and resume.  I wish you good luck with your Bright Lines!  Sending love to you wherever you are in your journey.

Superheroes vs Villains

You Are a Super Hero
Super Heroes vs Villains
 
     I 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?

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Super Heroes

     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.

Original Wonder Woman Super Heroes

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.)

Black Widow Marvel Super Heroes

     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!

Lauri's High School Graduation 2012

     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.

Fighting Back When Depression Seeps In

A Story of My Best Friend’s Depression
The Back Story

     Have you ever had one of those days?  Or maybe one of those weeks, or months, or a year?  How about multiple years?  Well, this is a story of my most precious friend in the entire world who was in his second year of things not going well at all and me being in such a dilemma watching him suffer that I just had to figure out some way to help.  My best friend is my husband and he was drowning.

Eddy in Thought

     The back story all started when his mom passed away in March of 2014.  No, I think it actually began around December of 2013 so let’s begin there.  Our family-owned business was doing great!  While we are a very small company, we had always seen an increase every year or at least stayed level, even during the recession.  We had been in business for ten years and decided it was time to expand our space.  We spent quite a bit of money with upgrades and of course the new rent amount, double the utility bills…you get the picture.  Not two months later everything stopped.  Quite literally stopped.  I swear that our clients were abducted by aliens and left the planet for at least six months.  Business was that bad.  That’s enough to cause anyone stress, right?
     Enter mom falling again and going into the hospital.  She was in ICU for awhile, began to get better, was moved to the rehab facility that we didn’t like much and during this whole transition, my hubby contracted bronchitis.  Not only is bronchitis a knock-down, drag-out illness, but it rendered him unable to visit his mom for fear of getting her sick in her current condition.  While he was on the mend with crazy antibiotics and rest, mom took a turn for the worst while still in rehab by catching a deadly form of pneumonia that put her back in ICU to what would become a fight for her life that she was unable to win.
Loss of Mom
Not only was business bad and he was sick, but his mom had passed away which is always a heart-wrenching thing.  He was close to his mom, taking her out to dinner on Wednesday nights and us having family dinner with her and the rest of the family every Sunday.  While after 5 weeks of her being in the hospital it wasn’t completely unexpected, it changed everything.
A couple months of sadness pass and we enter the summer months.  Business still isn’t going as well as we would like and while his mom and dad had a trust (WHICH I HIGHLY RECOMMEND) so that things run more smoothly, you still have to take care of things…lots of things.  Bank accounts, the house, furniture, knick-knacks, jewelry, the dog, and enough Christmas decorations to light up the White House…you get the idea.  That’s when the shingles hit.  More antibiotics, more rest.
Then come your first set of holidays without your mom with whom you’ve spent every Christmas with the exception of maybe one or two from the time you were born.  No one feels like celebrating, much less decorating, even if you have White House worthy decorations.  That can just be tough.  Really tough…more depression.

Tentative Eddy
January rolls around and he feels a little ambitious.  The business picks up just a tad and he starts riding his bike again, but this time he isn’t recovering very well.  Gym workouts?  Same thing.  Sore for too many days than you should be sore.  He hates going to the doctor so he toughs it out for a few months to around the one-year anniversary of his mom passing and takes a little fall on his bike.  Nothing major, just a little “owie” on his elbow that starts to get better until about two weeks after when the scab gets bumped off and it gets infected.  So infected that his one arm looks like Popeye (no joke!) and of course we were out of town so you end up at an unfamiliar urgent care.  Dual shots of antibiotics in both butt cheeks (writhing on the bed kind of pain for those shots!) and oral antibiotics just for kicks….let’s just knock this out along with any good flora you might have had left in your intestines up until now.

     That was the last straw.  He felt so miserable, so depressed, couldn’t work out, didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything.  I imagine that this is the definition of a permanent funk that just won’t go away.  It was awful to watch.  It didn’t matter what I did or how much I tried to “pump him up” as Arnold Schwarzenegger would say…it just wasn’t enough.  I felt completely helpless as to how to help.

     As a last ditch effort, we tried what I call a “voodoo doctor”.  Tons of blood tests run, loads of supplements taken (and when I say loads…I mean LOADS), more blood tests in certain intervals.  No dice.  My man was shot so full of holes you could strain spaghetti through him.  His body had been hurt multiple times, his heart hurt over the loss of his mother, he couldn’t work out because it was debilitating which left his self-esteem in the toilet, and work wasn’t altogether going well either.  Sleep was the order of the day and the more of it the better.  I had to do something!

The Physical Plan

I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, have taken classes through Dr. John McDougall and received a certificate in plant-based nutrition through eCornell University.  I started researching everything I could about healing your immune system while my husband started reading books on the subject.  While there is a ton of information out there and only varied opinions on the subject, we made a plan to repair his health.

     We started a 5-day juice fast following the incredible recipes out there by Joe Cross from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.  (He has the best ones out there, hands down…although anything that juices a turnip ends up like smelly gym socks or disgusting body odor, so I don’t recommend anything with turnips in it!).  Admittedly, after day 2 we were so sluggish that we decided to add a light, healthy dinner as we just couldn’t function at work without more food in our guts, it was wonderful and it made me feel great!  It was the perfect re-boot for our bodies.
We then followed up with a 21-day elimination diet that took out known trigger foods.  All that means is that while you may not have a specific allergy to a food, you could have some sort of reactions to particular foods.  We eliminated gluten products, corn, and soy because while they recommend also nixing dairy, we are already vegan so no worries there!
We then followed that up with a 2-week round of Arbonne’s pre-biotic/pro-biotic packets once per day.  Needless to say…it worked!  While it took several months to re-gain strength and endurance (imagine not working out for 18 months…you’re a bit out of shape), but he’s doing fantastically well physically.  He’s not 100% yet as I can still beat him uphill on a mountain bike, but he’s sticking right with me now so I know it’s only a matter of time before he will be kicking my rear end again!

 

The Emotional Plan
What happened with the emotional part, though?  I can hardly wait to tell you!  This is by far the most interesting and fun endeavor I’ve undertaken…all in the name of love and hope!  I call it Eddy’s 60 Days of Sunshine and it brought my hubby’s soul back from the dead…literally. (You can download it for FREE when you sign up for my weekly emails on my website HERE)
I got to thinking that the only way to reverse engineer something is to do the opposite of what got you there in the first place.  The negativity had built up over a period of time.  It snuck in until it had taken over the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual body.  While we had fixed the physical part which in turn helped the mental state, the emotional and spiritual still needed a tune-up.
Enter a plan that included friends and family.  I printed out 2 months worth of calendars for a total of 60 days and made a list of all friends and family members I could think of that cared about my best friend.  The list totaled over 80 people.  I then started making phone calls, texting, Facebook messaging all of them.  I assigned one person each one day and the only guidance I gave them was to just check in, see how he was doing and let him know they cared and loved him and why.
At first I decided not to tell him what was happening.  Let’s just say that he was so far down what he would later call a “wormhole” that he didn’t even figure it out or get suspicious until day 16!  Day 16!!  I was at my mom’s and out of town for the weekend when he called me and I had to confess what I was doing.  When I told him it was day 16 he was flabbergasted.  I had to tell him who had been assigned which day just to convince him.
He will admit that at first it seemed a bit saddening to learn it wasn’t the “universe” just reaching out to him in his time of need, but I figured we are instruments in the Lord’s hands and he has a lot to do so he uses us to answer others prayers for help.  Even if they don’t realize they need the help.
Some sent him texts or emails.  Some took him to lunch or dinner.  Some called and visited for an hour.  It was an awesome experience to watch that much love being shown for one individual.  And you know what?  It worked!  The 60 days ended with a trip up to San Francisco for him to play a golf tournament with his buddies and visit old friends.  The perfect ending to a perfect 60 days.

     My only dilemma as the days were coming to an end was how to keep the love going.  I created a Facebook page dedicated to him and invited all of his friends to post about their experience they had on their assigned day.  On day 60, I added my hubby to the group and he was able to read their messages.  He will then be able to go back and read them when he’s feeling blue.  He is also more connected to some long, lost friendships that had needed some attention.

Eddy Smiling

     The best side effect getting out of this depression was the reaction from the friends and family I had asked to participate.  I did not anticipate the good will felt, the love felt of service being rendered.  The gratitude of those people that they were made a part of something bigger that quite literally saved a life.
Today I am grateful again for my husband who supports me in all I do, even if it’s off-your-rocker kinda crazy (which lots of my ideas are).  I am grateful to all who pitched in to make this project work.  I am grateful to my daughter who would help me text and make some calls while we ran errands to set up the next week’s participants.  It worked!
Eddy & Lauri Cycling

While I am not a clinical psychologist and you should seek professional help if you are depressed,
this worked for us and I am so happy it did.

 

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