Psychological

Ms Penelope Pickwick’s Books 2017 – What Books are on your bookshelf?

I am a New Year’s Resolutions kind of gal.  I am that crazy, somewhat OCD person that makes a goal list every year and does her best to get ‘er done.  At the beginning of 2017 I realized that my goal sheet needed some sprucing up…it was BORING!  I renamed categories and just added a healthy dose of fun into the titles and the goals themselves.  Today, I’d like to share one of those goals about books I wanted to read in 2017 with you.

I created a stack of 10 books to read throughout the year.  That was it.  Boring.  Snore.  Probably not going to happen even though they are staring me in the face every. single. day.  And then I remembered something.  When I was in 3rd grade my teacher held a contest.  She created a bookworm for each of us and for every book we read (think Golden Books back then) we added another segment to our bookworm.  I adore reading and my bookworm went around at least two of the walls in our classroom.

So that’s what I did!  This year I created a bookworm and named her Ms Penelope Pickwick and she is beautiful!  I’m not a crafty person, but I AM creative.  I cut out circles on pretty paper and every time I finish a book I add a segment to Ms Pickwick which now goes along an entire wall and started onto the next wall here in my studio.

In honor of it being November and I’m down to my last few books for the year, I’d like to list the books I’ve read here for the year and give you a little rating (solely my opinion, of course) from 1-5 stars and why.  Enjoy and happy Reading!  If you have any comments on any of the books listed here please feel free to let us know so that everyone can decide which one to buy next!  (Links to buy included below and the order is in what I read first, second, etc.)

Books I’ve Read in 2017 (So far…)

Beauty and The Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5 Stars!

This was the first steampunk proper romance I had ever read and devoured it with ease.  Mystery, fantasy, love, women who kick-ass and take names.  This is an incredible read!

The Love Dare for Parents – 2 Stars!

I am a HUGE fan of the movie, Fireproof and the workbook available called The Love Dare so when I started having some trouble with my teenager it seemed like a good fit, but while I am Christian this book seemed a little too fire and brimstone for me.  There was some good advice, but I would not recommend this book.

My Fair Gentleman by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5 Stars!

After I read Beauty and The Clockwork Beast, I wanted more Nancy Campbell Allen (you can listen to her podcast interview with me here) and this was the next one.  While not a steampunk romance, it is a play on My Fair Lady and devoured this one in 24 hours flat.  Yep, it was that good.

The Assertiveness Guide for Women by Dr. Julie Hanks – 5 Stars!

Dr. Julie Hanks was a guest on the podcast (listen here) and her method is pretty much foolproof.  Loved her interview, loved this book, and believe it can help you learn more about yourself and finding the strength to be assertive in your life.

Louis L’amour Favorites: Bendigo Shafter, Borden Shantry, Brionne, The Broken Gun, The Californios, Callaghen, Catlow – All 5 Stars!

This year I completed my collection of novels by Louis L’amour via second hand stores, thrift stores, used book stores, and finally some on Amazon.  He is one of my favorites and I never tire of the good guy winning!  Glad I didn’t live in that era of old western towns, but can’t get enough of these!

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron – 5 Stars!

My husband bought this book for me Christmas 2015 and it took to the end of 2016 to crack it open.  I was really interested, but other books came first  What I didn’t know is that it was a workbook and would take weeks to complete.  I learned more about myself during those weeks than I have over the last decade.  It is a MUST READ and is phenomenal in its content.  It was through this book that I got the idea for #PlayDates and #Recess and was a influence in me finding my creativity and learning that I was actually creative!  Who knew?

The Mismatched Nativity by Merrilee Boyack – 5 Stars!

This is truly a children’s book, but because I had Merrilee on the podcast (listen here) and we talked about this very book, I had to get it and read it for sure.  I highly recommend it for your young’uns!

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann – 5 Stars!

“A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea” is so good that I still have the 5 steps of business on my dry-erase board in my studio.  Want a teaser?  The first one says, “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment”.  Get it, read it, enjoy it, implement it!

Kissing A Frog by Sharlene Hawkes – 5 Stars!

This was recommended to me by my best friend, Elizabeth and not only did I read it, enjoy it, and implement parts of it – I then asked Sharlene to be on the podcast and you can LISTEN HERE!  Miss America 1985 and the first foreign-born Miss America ever – you will love her!  There are only 95 copies of her book left in print and if you click here you will be directed to my website where you can get an autographed copy just for yourself!

The Conference of The Birds by Peter Sis – 3 Stars!

Given to me by a friend, it is beautifully illustrated and hard to understand.  Maybe I am just too simple to get all of it’s deeper meaning, but it is now my coffee table book because the artwork adds beauty to my home.

The Vicar’s Daughter, A Heart Revealed, Lord Fenton’s Folly – all by Josi S Kilpack – All 5 Stars!

Josi stole my heart long ago with her recipe/mystery novels featuring Sadie Hoffmiller and I’ve never looked back.  I was so deeply honored (and am a crazy huge fan!) that I asked her to be on the podcast and she accepted!  (Listen Here!) These three are some of her best proper romance books to date and I fall in love with her all over again every time I read them.  I went on a bender here obviously and read three in a row!  Highly recommend all three, but would read A Heart Revealed before Lord Fenton’s Folly – interconnected just a bit, but still can be read as stand alone books so pick your favorite!

You Have 4-Minutes to Change Your Life by Rebekah Borucki – 4 Stars!

This is an insightful book on how you can fit meditation (even four minutes) into your daily schedule.  It is definitely a way to do that, but found myself only giving four stars because I’m not very woo-woo…sorry ladies!  I loved the stories and indeed love Rebekah “Bex” Borucki so much that I had her on the podcast and had an incredible interview!  (Listen Here!)

Strong Is The New Pretty by Kate T Parker – 5 Stars!

If you need a Christmas present or birthday present or graduation present for any girl or woman in your life, look no further…this is it! There are not a lot of words, but little there are makes an impact.  Even more impactful are the images.  Kate’s photography in this work is worthy of any bookshelf or wall.  I found myself going from laughing to crying to being all out contemplative as I consumed the photos that fill it’s pages.  A must have for you and anyone else you can think of.  Want to learn more about Kate?  Listen to her podcast here!

There Is No Good Card For This by Kelsey Crowe, PhD – 5 Stars!

Another guest on Lauri’s Lemonade Stand The Positivity Podcast for Women (Listen Here!) Kelsey has empathy down to an art and in fact teaches it to other via her workshops.  In all honesty, I didn’t read the book before our interview.  Then this happened:  One of my closest friends started going through a divorce that still isn’t over as I write this and I felt like I could be a better friend.  I then devoured the book within a couple of weeks and started using its wisdom immediately.  It’s worth every penny – get it!

The Secret of the India Orchid by Nancy Campbell Allen – 5 Stars!

Don’t need to say another word more than what I did on her first two books listed above other than I can’t wait for her next steampunk romance coming out in 2018!!

Money, A Love Story by Kate Northrup – 5 Stars!

Ladies, this book is tailored just for you and your dirty money secrets you might be hiding.  Don’t hide under the covers about your finances any longer…Kate take you through her own experiences and what you can start doing right now today to make a difference in your personal finances.  True eye-opener and guess what?  She tells much, much more during our LLS Podcast interview (Listen Here!).

Choose Yourself by James Altucher – 5 Stars!

This book is all about possibilities.  Believing in possibilities.  Coming up with new possibilities.  It was so fun (even hysterical in some parts) to read and chock full of knowledge about how to Choose Yourself in this world in the best possible way.  Implementing even one part of this book could seriously change your life.  Try it out!

Books I’m reading right now (Unfinished)

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown

Maybe It’s You by Lauren Handel Zander

Bragg’s Healthy Lifestyle by Paul C Bragg, ND PhD and Patricia Bragg, ND PhD

Better Each Day by Jessica Cassity

What’s on your bookshelf?

Would love to hear recommendations on new books, give me your two cents on any of the books written above and let me know if you purchase any of these based on the above reviews.  I would love to hear from you!

25 Kinds of Journals to Keep

25 Kinds of Journals to Keep
In a recent podcast interview with Laurie Blackwell (Episode 27), we talked the inside out and sideways of journal writing.  Upon finding out our mutual passion of the subject, Laurie created this amazing list that includes 25 different kinds of journals you could create.
Laurie also teaches online journaling classes at www.laurieblackwell.com.
Check out the podcast interview here.  Enjoy and get journaling!
25 Kinds of Journals to Keep
  1. A Diary :: a fictional pen-pal to write to about all of your happenings and feelings
  2. Historical Record of Days :: think Lewis and Clark, complete with weather reports and sketches of objects encountered
  3. Art :: filled with pages of color, collage, drawings
  4. Travel :: a reflection on and memories concerning a trip away from home
  5. Pen-Pal :: You complete a page, send it to a friend who makes a page and sends it back to you
  6. Grief :: a way to remember and honor someone you loved and now miss
  7. Positivity :: a book to keep all happy thoughts and good happenings in so you can remember how wonderful life really is
  8. Wish :: a place to keep all those things (thoughts, clippings, pictures) of the things your heart desires
  9. Dream :: record the subconscious happenings in your mind while you sleep (upon waking up, of course)
  10. Family :: a place where everyone in the household can express themselves whenever they like (such a keepsake!)
  11. Letters :: where you write all the letters you will never send but have to put out there
  12. Book :: a record of all the books you read – when, what, and your own personal review
  13. Bullet :: the ultimate “get it done” way to organize
  14. Relationship :: a place to store mementos, dates, and details about your life together
  15. Wonderful Words ::  put all the words that sound beautiful or mean something special to you in this book, including their definitions
  16. Poetry ::  write down all your favorite poems, the ones that really move you, all in one journal
  17. A Place to Vent ::  All the stuff you’d like to get off your chest;  write it down here and when the journal is full, throw it away!
  18. Things I Never Want to Forget ::  memories throughout your life that you want to treasure forever
  19. My Favorites  ::  a place to record all those things you love the most, like your favorite restaurant, movie, song, scent, season…
  20. Recipes :: all the tried and true yummy food and the ones you’d like to make
  21. Patterns :: patterns you love – pieces cut from cloth, magazines, catalogs, and drawings of patterns that you’ve seen or from your imagination
  22. Healthy Me ::  what you eat each day, goals for being healthier, an exercise log, etc.
  23. Doodles ::  a place to draw to your heart’s content
  24. Money ::  where you record all the money that comes into your life and how you spend it;  a pretty and concise way to watch your pennies
  25. Reflections ::  an account of things you do and how they could be improved in the future;   this is a game-changer

The “To Don’t Do” List

Doing vs. Being

Inspired by this beautiful video from the UK, #letgo, I contemplated the wisdom of a “To Don’t Do List”.

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to race mountain bikes.  I’m over 40 and I ran in the beginner class, but I felt on top of the world (not to mention the podium) while I did it.  It was an 8-race series that ran in the summer where most racers wore a bandana over their mouths to keep out the dust while racing in 100-degree plus heat.

Nothing feels quite like racing.  It is tough, exhilarating, and I don’t ever see my heart rate that high.  And then last summer, the race series was cancelled.  I was so sad as I thought I would try the next level up to see how I could do.  Bummer!

Then three days ago I got the email.  My race series was back!  It starts next month on May 19th.  I was super excited until I started to contemplate where my life was right now.  The family business was in trouble and has barely come back to life and it’s needed my help.  Lauri’s Lemonade Stand is finally moving forward and the interviews are happening to launch my podcast (which has me flying on top of the world!).

This morning, I was thinking about it so much that I talked with my hubby as he’s the wise one in this family…grounded and more calm than my thinking.  He supported me in my endeavor to pursue this race…he’s awesome!

Then I watched the video.  I thought about “Doing vs Being”.  I thought about how good I am at making to-do lists, but have never ever created a “to-don’t-do” list.

I looked at my to-do list carefully and thoughtfully.  I then created my “to-don’t-do list” and here is what it looks like:

    • Don’t make plans during weekday evenings outside of my family if at all possible.
    • Don’t over-commit my time so much that I don’t have time for me or my family.
    • Don’t focus on things that don’t matter in the big picture of my life.
    • Don’t let negativity or negative people take up too much of my headspace.
    • Don’t worry so much.
  • Then I asked my 16-yr old daughter and here is what she said:
    • Don’t eat as much junk food, criticize others, or bite her nails.
  • Then I asked my husband and here is what he said:
    • Don’t sweat the small stuff (and it’s mostly all small stuff).
    • Don’t worry.
    • Don’t be afraid to try new things.
    • Don’t judge myself so harshly.
    • Don’t compare myself to others.
  • Then I went to family dinner and here is what a few of them said:
    • Don’t procrastinate.
    • Don’t make excuses…They are like ****holes, everyone has one and they stink!
    • And my personal favorite from my PT Assistant niece:  Don’t get poop on your lab coat while working ever again!

In the end, I decided that I would not race, but only for this year.  Our businesses are in critical condition and the timing is off.  So it may be on my “To-Don’t-Do” list right now, but I plan on it being a break and coming back next year to race my little heart out as it will end up on my “To-Do” list once more.  It felt good to give myself permission to say NO.

What can you put on your “To-Don’t-Do” List?
I would love to hear from you!

Embrace

Embracing (ALL OF) You
I’m a ball-baby, a boob, a serious cryer.  I cry when I’m happy and full of love.  I cry when I watch movies.  I cry when little things have added up over time and it brings a sweet release that only crying can achieve.  I cry when I’m sad and I cry when I’m mad.  I am a cryer.
I know I’ve written about my sweet husband a bunch, but he made me see my crying in a different way.
Several years ago (more than I want to count, actually) I was crying over something or other and throughout my whole life I had fought being a cryer.  In the midst of my frustration and more crying I told my hubby, “I’m sorry, I’m going to learn how to control this, I will figure this out and I won’t be such a boob”.  What he said changed not only my view about my crying, but in every other aspect of my life.
He said, “Sweetheart, I’ve known you for a long time and I believe this is a part of you that I don’t think is going to change.  I think that you are a cryer and that’s ok.”  WHAT???  It’s ok to I cry?
I had always seen my crying as a negative that I needed to change to a positive.  The thought had never crossed my mind that it was simply a part of who I was and that it was perfectly fine to embrace that as a part of me and MOVE ON.
Since that time I have never worried about my crying.  It has even made me view other people’s crying in a whole new light.  Here’s an example: My daughter was having a particularly hard day yesterday and she stopped by my work for a “cry session”.  She apologized for half a second and I just told her to let it all out.  She did.  She knew I was a cryer and she knew that I would understand.
Being a cryer and embracing that part of me has made me empathetic to others and has made me see other parts of my life that I viewed as negative, as just a part of who I am today.  I love that!
There are still things that I want to do, accomplish, and be.  But this one moment in my life has changed my view of who I am and has led me to accept things about myself that are just fine, thank you very much.  🙂

Tears

What can you embrace in yourself starting right now as being a part of what makes you uniquely you?  Recognize it, own it, embrace you.  Change what you want, keep what you want, but embracing you is a beautiful step towards freedom.  Love to you, my tribe of Lemonader’s!

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!

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