Thursday, October 4, 2012

Been Thinking Too Much...

So the last couple weeks have felt very heavy to me.  I finally had to sit with it for awhile 
and think about why I was feeling this way.  So many things are happening all around me. 

There's been lots of changes.  Allison transitioning into kindergarten 
has meant a transition for the whole family.  

It seems so ordinary because almost everyone goes through it, but if you pick it apart, 
there are so many changes!  A new schedule, changes in our sleeping, our eating, 
our interaction time, our down time, our shopping, our just about everything!  

Not to mention, the new attitude, the new behaviors, the new tests of my parenting!  Whew!  
I need a glass of wine just thinking about it!  :)  But everyone goes through it, right?  
So I just keep doing my best and moving right along.

Then there's the big election that's coming up.  I AM NOT political.  However, 
I want to be informed.  I want to be educated.  I want to stay in touch with what's going on 
in my country and I want to use my voice as an American and a woman to stand up 
for what I believe in.  So I've allowed a lot more time for articles, 
and tv time, and things that are helping me to be informed.  

Since I've exposed myself to this bombarding of so many negative messages, 
I've felt a little disconnected from the light.  And the truth.

I've never been able to see in black and white.  
To me, it's always a shade of gray. (or is it grey?  :)  
I actually prefer to see things in rainbow colors.  Makes more sense to me that 
things fall somewhere along the spectrum.  My brain can't rest in trying to believe that 
there's only one "right" way of doing and being.  It's just not true.  

There's exceptions to almost all of it because so much of it is opinion and perspective.  

My dream is that we could all start to focus on how we're connected, 
how we're the same, and the common goals we all share.  
Even if you're a die hard lefty or righty, could we give up trying to prove 
to the other how much they're wrong and how much we're right?  
Don't we have a common core that we could all focus on?

Oh, and have you heard of GMO's?  
I can't even get started on this one because it gets me so... so.... 
disturbed?  disgusted?  frustrated?  So many emotions!  
Isn't this what government is for?  
To protect it's people?

All this heaviness, all this seriousness, 
is starting to feel like too much burden.  

If I'm feeling this way, I know others must be too!  
Are you feeling this way?  

Being educated, being informed, and being called to take action is one thing.  
Feeling anxiety, worry, overwhelm, and fear is when you know 
you've shifted away from the truth.  

So it's time to lighten up!  

Take a break!  Have some fun!  Have a drink!  Blow something off!  

Do something spontaneous!  Or crazy!  Or both!!!  

Call an old friend!  Take a dance class!  Take an art class!  

Go buy a new book!  Try on some new clothes!  

Go for a walk!  Ride your bike!  Do some YOGA!!!  

Laugh with friends!  Enjoy your family!  Go for a drive!  Go to the beach!  

Sit in the park.  Listen to the sound of life all around you!

Let go of the clutter!  Connect to the stillness.  Trust in yourself!  Trust in mankind.

Restore your faith.  Remember your truth.  Allow peace to envelope you.

~HDR Photography of Doyle Lake, Midforest Lodge - Michigan

Let it all FALL AWAY!!!!!!  Isn't that what fall is for?  
To shed the exterior, get to the core, and prepare for new life?

Ahhhh.....I'm feeling better already!

Love to You!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

39 Things I've Learned in 39 Years and How They Help Me Live My Best Life Now!

I turned 39 a couple of weeks ago and I've had so many thoughts about my life running through my head.  For one, I can't believe I'm 39, because I feel at least 10 years younger!  It seems like just yesterday my friends and I were all turning 30 and we were excited to move out of our 20's and into a more stable 30's kind- of- life!  For me, the 30's have been awesome!  Lots of dreams coming true, lots of realizations, and finally feeling like I've become the person I set out to be.  I've learned so many things about myself and so many great lessons about life.  I have one more year left in the 30's and I'll be consciously practicing each one of these 39, making this year the best one yet!!!!  :)

Here are my 39 things in 39 years in random order:  

1. The Golden Rule.  Treat people the way you want to be treated.  This one is easy when people are nice to you but when they're not... well, you should still do it!  :)  If you want respect, be respectful.  If you want people to listen to you, be a good listener.  If you want love, give love.  I have watched the crankiest, moodiest people transform by getting a random compliment or an unexpected gesture of kindness.  BE the change you wish to see...

2. Thoughts are things.  When you think about something, different areas of your brain fire up.  This can actually be observed and measured during a brain scan.  When you think of something good, you feel good.  When you think of something bad, you feel bad.  When you become conscious of your thoughts, you have the power to change your thinking for the better and when you do that, it changes your life for the better!

3. You can have everything you want, just not at the same time, and it's better that way!   What if all of the sudden you got everything you ever wanted all at once?  Do you think you'd be happy?  How long would that last before there was something else you wanted?  Enjoy the things you have in your life today and look forward to more great things in the future.  Learn to prioritize.  Ask yourself questions, what do I want more?  What do I want now?  We don't really want it "all" anyway, it's just a saying!  We want everything that would make our lives feel happy, full, satisfying, and inspired!  Find out what that means to you and you will have your own version of having it all!

4. Letting go is hard, but let it be easy.  This applies to everything.  People, places, stages in our lives, our stories, houses, relationships, feelings, guilt, worry, everything!  In order to make room for something new, we have to let go of something.  Learning that letting go is a necessary part of living and growing can be tough.  Let it be as easy as possible and keep moving forward!  I'm experiencing this now as my first baby goes off to kindergarten to create a life of her own!

5. Babies and children are magical, like fairies.  They're beautiful, sparkling little miracles, full of pure potentiality!  They need to be loved, they need to be cherished, they need to be respected, they need to be loved!  They remind us everyday how to live life in wonder and excitement!  Let's remember to nourish that spark.  Let's learn from them, while also teaching them to believe in themselves and in the good of the world.


6. Marriage is a choice.  It's so awesome to have a sizzling falling in love story with lots of romance and fun, but after time goes on and life gets real, what really matters is that the two of you are in it together.  And by in it together, I mean you keep loving each other, listening to each other, supporting each other, and growing together.  It's "I've got your back," and "I'm here for you."  It's "We can do this," and  "We're a team."  It's "I love and accept you for who you really are," and "I will help you be the best you can be!"  It is NOT always perfect, but there are many magical, beautiful, perfect moments to enjoy and to look forward to creating in the future!

7. There's nothing like a good girl's night!  Us girls need time to get together and just be girls!  We need to get all dolled up, talk about everything, eat fantastic food, drink lots of drinks, laugh til we cry and/or pee our pants, dance like we're Britney, and do really embarrassing things that we'd probably never do in the daylight but it's totally acceptable and in fact, encouraged on girl's night!!!  I love love love them and now that I'm thinking about it, I need one soon!

channel your inner britney!

8. It's your show and you're the star!  This is your life.  You write the script.  You can be the lead in a fun, exciting, adventurous and fulfilling romantic comedy, or you can be the lead in a dreadfully sad horror/drama where the hits keep coming.  Most of us live somewhere in between.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but we always have a choice.  We are responsible for ourselves and our lives.  We all have the power to create the life of our dreams.  The question is, will you go for it?  :)

9. Sleep is your friend.  I have always felt better, performed better, and achieved more when I've had enough sleep.  I'm not talking about everyday having to be 8 hours because I know some days it's impossible  especially when you're excited for something happening in the morning, but getting a good nights sleep most days is ideal.  Not only do you feel like smiling more and doing more, there are many health benefits associated with getting enough sleep.  I hate when people say, "You'll sleep when you're dead!"  Um, no you won't!  You'll be dead!  I appreciate having a zest for life but living it like a zombie or a cranky b*#$%  isn't cool.  Try to get the sleep you need to be your best as much as possible!

10. Dogs are awesome!  I love dogs.  My dog, Peanut, is my first baby.  She's been in costumes and hats and sweaters and sleeps in our bed under the covers.  She wakes up every morning excited to start the day (and get her treats).  She is always happy to see me and has been there for me through so much in the last 14 years.  She's faithful to our family and loves the babies.  I've cried in her fur and she's licked my tears.  She never judges me, even when I'm wrong.  She doesn't even care if I haven't showered yet.  Dogs are the best!  I'm so lucky to have her in my life!

our angel and lil devil

11. Sometimes life hurts.  If you want to better yourself, you need to open yourself to the possibility of it and when you open yourself up, you may get hurt.  Being vulnerable and allowing yourself to fall, make mistakes, and even fail, offer you some of the greatest opportunities for growth.  Don't let your fear of getting hurt hold you back and don't let the fear of hurting someone's feelings keep you from doing what you need to do to be your best self!

12.  "Up North" Michigan is one of the greatest places on earth!  Anyone who's from Michigan or has visited Michigan knows that "Up North" is a little piece of heaven!  Michigan is, of course, surrounded by the beautiful crystal blue waters of the Great Lakes and it's also full of many inland lakes, rivers, and creeks. You can find fresh water just about everywhere in Michigan which means up north could be a lot of different places to a lot of different people!  As a child, I wished I could live up north and I feel so happy and blessed that I was able to make that dream come true!  Up north is permanently engraved in my heart!

  lake michigan near petoskey

13.  It's not all about getting "there," you're already there!  At one point in my life I realized, when am I going to feel satisfied?  When do I get to feel good about what I've accomplished and where I'm at?  Then the answer came...anytime I choose!  Celebrate the steps!  We tend to ignore how great right now is and wait to be happy when we do this and accomplish that.  Celebrate each step on the way and once you do reach a goal celebrate even more!  Celebrating the steps also helps you to keep going when things get tough and when you're trying to do something great, there's always going to be at least a few (or many!) shaky spots!

14. Take life seriously, but not that seriously.  I used to worry, A LOT!!!  I used to try so hard to plan and control everything and be perfect.  I thought I should be able to do everything and anything I thought of and that I could always do better.  I felt like I was slowly torturing myself with this incredibly high standard of perfection that I could never live up to.  I was taking life too seriously and I had to stop because it was affecting my happiness and my health.  The good news is, I did stop!  It's great to have goals and high standards but if you're spending too much of your life worrying instead of enjoying it's time to reflect, refocus, and redirect!  Life is good!  Life is fun!  Don't worry, be happy!

15. Three words that changed my life:  small - frequent - meals When I was in college I met a person who had lost over 100 pounds doing one simple thing.  He ate 5-6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 (or 2) big meals. At the time I was skipping breakfast, eating a small to regular lunch and eating a huge dinner because I was so hungry by the end of the day.  Instead, I started eating a small breakfast, a snack, a small lunch, another snack, and then dinner.  I would have a small snack in the evening if I needed it but I didn't always need it.  I lost 15 pounds in a month doing this and now it's become my lifestyle.  Whenever I get off track and need to lose a few, I always turn to this and it works every time!

16. Quitting my job to stay home and raise my daughters was the scariest, riskiest thing I've ever done but it allowed for priceless, immeasurable rewards!  It was a dream I needed to fulfill but I had no idea how it was going to work out.  I still don't know how we've managed to pull it all together but we have and we're so much happier for it!  Not only have I been able to spend this precious time with my daughters, I've learned so much about faith, love, trusting myself, being open to help, enjoying the simple life, and stretching every penny!  And there is no doubt, even when it's gotten really really hard, for sure, it has all been worth it!

 proud big sister!
17. YOGA is one of the best things that has ever happened to me!  I tried my first yoga video about 15 years ago.  It was way too advanced and I didn't really get it.  I tried again a couple years later, using a yoga routine printed in Shape magazine.  This was a little more my speed, just enough of a challenge, but totally doable.  By the time I went to my first class a year later I was already in love.  The benefits of yoga go on and on.  It's calming, it's strengthening, it's challenging, it's grounding, it's centering, it's exhilarating!  It reminds me to stay open and present during my practice and in life.  I'm a stronger, more confident, open and flexible person.  It has taught me focus and has helped calm my busy mind.  What I love about it most is that anyone can do it!  There are variations to every pose so you can always honor your body.  I could go on and on but I'll save it for another post!  :)

18. I have the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for!  My family and friends are so supportive and loving.  I grew up with a family who constantly encouraged me and helped me become the person I am today.  I'm grateful that I always have someone to turn to when I need it and I know that I've been blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing, giving people.  I realize that not everyone has been born into the kind of family I have, but I believe that if you seek out people that are loving, kind, and supportive, you will find them!  

19. Perfect is a matter of perspective.  This was another big one for me!  I used to be such a perfectionist that I felt super stressed, had frequent migraines, and feelings of depression.  I still have high standards for myself and my life, but since I've broadened my horizons, I've learned that everyone's idea of perfect is different.  This really surprised me!  I don't know why but somehow knowing that perfect is in the eye of the beholder really allowed me to let go of some of the anxiety I had about doing everything so perfectly.  Now I just do the best I can do in the moment and let any worries about doing more go.  As a result I'm rarely over-stressed, have very few headaches, and only have blue moments when I don't get enough time to myself.  (which I take care of asap!)

20. Never give up!  Sometimes you gotta do things you don't want to do so you can get what you want in life.  This means pushing yourself through when things get tough.  It means having faith even when others may have doubt.  It means taking a break when you need one and getting back up as soon as possible.  Whatever you do, don't ever ever ever EVER give up!  EVER!  :)  Your dreams coming true may be closer than you think!


21. Value yourself!  People might not see the value in what you do and how you see things.  You have to do that for yourself!  Don't look to others for validation.  Validate yourself.  You do matter!  What you think, say, and do matters!  Instead of trying to convince others that you are valuable, value yourself.  You'll feel more confident because of it and others will respect that in you!

22. Being a Mom is harder than I thought.  I love being a Mom more than any other role I have and I knew that being a Mom wasn't going to be easy.  But let's be honest here, until you know, you just don't know what being a mom is like!  The love you have for these beautiful babes is unbelievably huge and in all of that loving and giving and caring, you can so easily forget all about yourself.  Taking time to be myself outside of being a Mom has been an important part of my staying a happy, healthy person and it's definitely made me a much better Mom!  And of course, I appreciate my Mom even more now and am so grateful to her for all she has done for us and still does!  Thanks Mom!!!

happy moms!

23. Living in the Now  It took me a while to understand living in "The Now."  I thought it was a way for people to be irresponsible and ignore that their actions were affecting other people.  Then I read a book called, "The Power of Now," by Eckart Tolle.  When I opened my mind to what it really meant, I realized that it's a simple truth.  The past is gone, the future has yet to arrive.  Be the best you can be and enjoy the beauty of life right now.  Someday, you'll be gone.  Everybody dies and we don't know when. Don't let another minute pass without saying I love you.  Don't let another minute pass without doing what you can to make the most of your life.  You never know what's going to happen tomorrow.  Live your life now!

24. I'm more of a beach bunny than a snow bird.  So there's a saying up in Northern Michigan, "It's never too cold, you're just not wearing the right clothes!"  So I've done my fair share of layering up (and sucking it up) and investing in cold weather gear so I could be somewhat comfortable when there's 2 feet of snow and a windchill of -15* and I will admit, it does help.  But I LOVE my new outfit of a t-shirt, shorts/skirt, and flip flops!  I can wear this 85% of the year, maybe more!  My feet and hands are hardly ever cold anymore and I get to enjoy seeing the sun so much since it's out most days!  I will always have a special place in my heart for my gorgeous home state of Michigan,  but I LOVE living in Texas and the weather is just one of the many reasons!    

25. I love pink.  I can't help it.  I just do.  There was a short time in my life when I tried to toughen myself up a bit and I kind of denied my "pink-ness."  I wanted to be taken seriously and didn't want people to think I was too soft.  It didn't last long though and now I fully embrace it!  I love being feminine and I love doing things that are considered tough and if I can wear pink doing something tough, even better!  I'm not one of those moms who decorates their house with Hello Kitty or anything like that, but if something comes in pink, I probably like it!

allison's pretty pink big girl room

26. Breathe  When in doubt, when you're stressed, when you're scared, when you need help, when it gets to be too much, when you're running, when you're happy, when you're frustrated, when you're meditating, when you're praying, when you're loving, when you're appreciating.  Breathe.  Just breathe.

27. Listen to your body.  I can do the things I put my mind to but it's important to listen to my body and how it's reacting to it!  This is a big one!  It's great to push past limitations, but it's important to be respectful of your body and where you are physically.  I'm talking about how your body feels in daily life as well as how it's reacting to exercise.  If you have headaches, backaches, digestion problems, or other pains, your body is signaling a problem.  I used to have all of the above on a regular basis.  Now I have an occasional headache, but that's about it.  Don't accept that your fate is to live a life of pain!  Changing your diet, changing your stress level, having fun, living a life of purpose, doing things that are good for you and feel good to you, are all ways to relieve pain.  Listen.  What is your body trying to tell you?

28. Sometimes you just gotta dance!  I love to dance!  I think it would do everyone good if they did it more in their lives!  My favorites are: dancing with my besties at girl's night, dancing in the living room with my two girls (and sometimes 4 if my nieces are over!), dancing with hubby - anywhere!, dancing at someone's wedding, dancing in the classroom, dancing in the kitchen, dancing while cleaning the house, dancing at parties, dancing on stage, dancing on the couch (that was back in the CMU days!), dancing in my best friend's basement, dancing on the table, dancing on the bar (though it's been a long time!), spontaneous dancing, dancing where you're not supposed to dance, and dancing to forget it all for a while!  Oh, and don't forget to sing too!  :)

29. Be.  Just Be.  Sometimes, I get really caught up in the doing.  I used to feel like I always had to keep going, keep moving, keep thinking, keep doing, always always always, without stopping.  I really wanted to enjoy my life and I knew in order to do this, I had to slow down.  Moving up north and being in nature, being near so much breathtaking beauty allowed me the perfect opportunity to do it.  I would lay in my bed at night and gaze out the window at all the magnificent stars, amazed that there were so many more stars there than any other place I'd ever been!  I saw more shooting stars and made more wishes in those 5 years than in my whole life combined!  We would take long peaceful walks through the woods and along the beaches of Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.  I learned to let go of the to do list, the pressures, the chores, everything, for at least a while and long enough to appreciate and thank God for the magnificence of the moment.  When I learned to do that, to just be, I learned what freedom felt like.  That's where the name for my business was born.  I felt happier and more at peace than I had been since I was a child when I learned how to Be.  Just Be.  

my bestie and I in our "be" shirts
(right before we went wine tasting!)

30. You must make time/space for what you want.  If there's something you want to accomplish and your life is already full, then there's no room for it, is there?  It's important to carve out time in your life to do the things you need to do to get what you want.  I'm still mastering this since I have a million things I want to do everyday, but I've learned how to prioritize better and I'm able to accomplish the things I feel are the most important.  This also applies to other things.  If you want to renew your life, clear out the clutter!  Let go of things that aren't helping you meet your goals and make room for new blessings to arrive.  If you want to have loving, supportive people in your life, let go of toxic relationships and focus on allowing great people in.  Make room for what you want in your life.

31.Teachers are amazing people!   I'm so over people blaming teachers for what's wrong in education today!  Are you kidding me?  Anyone who thinks that has NO IDEA what teachers are really all about!  I have met hundreds of teachers who give so much of themselves to make sure that our children are loved, encouraged, and prepared with as many of the skills they need to be successful in life.  Teachers sacrifice their time, money, health, sleep, and general sanity in order to give big to our children!  Teachers are always working, even on vacation!  I have met so many amazing teachers that teach me, inspire me, humble me, and make me a better person.  Even the ones that people think are crappy, often have done lots of awesome things too!  Let's give our teachers a break and support them.  Without them, where would we be?

32. Big dreams+ Faith + Inspired Action = Amazing Life  Once you stop limiting yourself and allow your dreams to get bigger, things start to change.  When you start to really believe that your dreams can come true and you take that leap, and you trust yourself, and you trust that you'll be guided by something much bigger than you, things begin to manifest.  In some ways I can't even believe all the dreams that I've made come true in the last few years but then again, I can!!!  It wasn't just me, it was many things coming together and an ultimate faith that dreams can and do come true!  Try it!  You'll see!  :)

33. The quickest way to my heart is through my funny bone!  I love people and things that make me laugh!  I love that kids find so many things in life hilarious and a person with a big hearty laugh is always my friend!  Laughter eases stress, releases endorphins, changes your state, and just plain feels good.  I get a great dose of it everyday from my funny man Brad and his two silly sidekicks.  One of my favorite things to do is go to comedy shows and my hubby surprised me on my birthday with tickets to the beautiful Majestic Theater in San Antonio to go see Brian Regan.  (He was super funny, if you get the chance, check him out!)

34. Guilt and worry won't change anything!  Guilt and worry are two things that indicate you're not living in the present moment.  Instead of wasting your time feeling this way, take action!  Do something about it.  Sometimes, the only thing to "do" is to let it go because nothing really can be done.  Remind yourself that you're here now and all any of us can really do is make the best of right now.  I've become a lot better at letting these thoughts drift right out when they pop in.  Practice letting go and keep moving forward!


35. Pushing my body past limitations has strengthened every part of my life.  The biggest examples I have of this are having my babies and running the half marathon.  When you challenge your body physically, you learn what you're made of.  So much of what's happening in our physical body is related to what's going on in our minds.  If you can push past your mind's nonsense..."I can't do this, this is too hard, I can't breathe, this hurts too much," you can achieve a greater physical strength and endurance than you ever thought possible.  There's no way that I would've thought that I could run 13.1 miles, IN A ROW, ten years ago.  Now that I have, I know I can do so much more!  I'm empowered by that accomplishment and my body looks and feels the best when I'm taking good care of it.  This empowered feeling trickles into all other aspects of my life.  I know that I can accomplish other things that are challenging if I set my mind right and just do it!

36. Writing and Reflection are two of the most effective tools for personal development.  I started journaling when I was about 10.  I wish I still had some of those journals.  The journals I do have begin in 1997.  Through reflection, I have been able to identify some key areas in my life that I needed to improve.  I also have documentation of personal growth.  It's weird to read some of the things I wrote 14 years ago.  I've learned so much.  I've changed so much.  It almost doesn't even sound like me, yet I remember feeling that way.  Writing and reflection has been a really important part of my transformation into a healthier, happier person.

37. Gratitude and Appreciation  I have always appreciated the people and things in my life but about 4 years ago, I started writing in a gratitude journal.  Every night I would write 5 things I was grateful for.  I did that faithfully for a year.  That could have been one of the most difficult years of my life because so many crazy things were going on, yet it wasn't.  It was a great year and I think a big part of that was because I was very focused on my blessings and the things that I appreciated in my life.  Take time to appreciate what you have. Be grateful for all the wonder and beauty in your life and your life will begin to feel beautiful even through the hard times.  I still keep a gratitude journal though I'm not as consistent in writing, but I do take time every morning and every night for thanks and gratitude.  

i love jack canfield

38. God is everywhere.  God is love.  God is peace.  God is light.  God is good.  God is infinite.  God is the Creator.  God is in all of us.  God has many names... Spirit, Universal Oneness, Source, The Universe, Father, Infinite Wisdom, etc.  A super big A-ha for me:  God is NOT an elderly Santa Claus looking man lurking around everywhere, waiting for me to screw up, judging me, so he can write it down in his giant book of the life of Kristie and hold it against me.  This was a conflicting limiting belief that I held since I was nine and had my first confession.  The sinning thing really got to a sensitive girl like me and letting go of worrying about sinning all the time has transformed me!  It's allowed me to be so much more connected, so much more in spirit, and so much happier and freer in my life!  And no, it doesn't mean that I feel free to run around and do a bunch of bad things now but it means that I live my life consciously and free of all that guilt and worry.

39. Happiness is a choice.  If you truly want to be happy, it's simple, be happy.  If you're unhappy, try to figure out why.  What are you missing?  What do you need?  What do you want?  Focus on the good things around you, dream big, love much, and know that you can make a positive difference in your life if you decide to Just Do It!!!!

Love to You!


P.S.  If you like this and think someone could be helped by some of these things please share!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Being a Champion

     Amazing things have been happening recently!  Have you been watching The Olympics?  How exciting!  World Records have been broken and bodies have been pushed past limitations.  I sit there and watch in wonder at these amazing athletes and think, "Wow!  I could never do that!"  Lol!  I know, I know, it sounds pessimistic, but really, there's no way!  You really have to make a commitment and dedicate to your sport and nothing ever really grabbed me like that.  Sure I had dreams of doing tricks on the uneven bars or completing a fabulous floor routine when I was a little girl.  They made it look so easy!  So graceful!  So cool!  I used to wish that I was better at gymnastics, or volleyball, or the high jump, or something, but I was just okay at most things.

I just love gymnastics, don't you?

     I was an A student until high school, then I was a B student.  My grades weren't always a reflection of what I knew or what I was learning, rather a reflection of what I was interested in and talented in naturally.  In college, it was pretty much the same.  I did great in my teaching classes but unfortunately had to take PSC 105 (Intro to Government) twice.  Oops!  I guess that means I'm not very political.  I guess I could've tried to work harder but I felt like I was doing my best.  Juggling my time with classes and studying, working, and my busy social life was enough for me.  I was enjoying my life and didn't have any regrets that I didn't have that one special thing that I was really good at, a winner, a champion.

     I did start to wonder if there was anything that I was good at, I mean really really good, like award winning good.  I noticed that many people were very competitive and being the "best" at something seems to get a lot of people's attention, but I'm not very competitive at most things.  Some may label this as not having passion or drive or whatever, but for me, I'd rather have fun playing and doing rather than worrying about trying to beat everyone.  (Yes, I'm one of those.)   It's probably because when I'm trying something new, or even when I'm just doing something that I'm only mediocre, I don't need that added extra pressure.  It's not enjoyable to me to try to learn to get better at something while in the back of my mind thinking, I must beat someone at this!  I appreciate that other people have this drive, this competitiveness, but what if I just want to have fun?  What if I just want to do something because I like it and I don't even care if I'm super good at it or I win?

     When I became a teacher, I decided that was my niche.  I was going to be the best teacher!  I worked hard, did everything I could to be organized, created engaging lessons, encouraged and motivated my students, and loved them like they were my own.  But like most teachers, I didn't get any awards.  Sure I got lots of love notes from my students and even some parents wrote me letters of appreciation (which honestly is even better than winning an award and I still have many of them in a box in my closet!), but I never won teacher of the year or anything like that.

It would've been cool though!  :)

     I guess you could say I'm pretty mediocre at almost everything!  I don't have any awards.  (Except for maybe one in art and oh, ya, one in writing from high school... or was it junior high?)  I don't have any trophies.  (Although I did have a bowling trophy or two from 4th/5th grade)   I don't have any medals.  (Well, I do have a medal from my half marathon last fall, but everyone got one, so does it count?)  I could sit here and feel bad about myself, and act like I suck, and whine about how I didn't win this or that, and pretend I'm not good enough.  But what good would that do me?

     I know that hands down, I'm the best Kristie Ignash that I can possibly be!  That means that some days I am like Superwoman and I do five hundred things before noon and there might not be a single shred of evidence to prove it!  Hahaha!  My house might not look any cleaner, my kids might still look the same, and even I might look all disheveled and out of order!  Some days I can't keep up with it all and just need to take a break, refocus, and refresh.  That's usually when I go outside and clean the garage or trim the hedges or work on my website.  For me, doing something different, like working on a new project is refreshing!  My daughters and I play and laugh and read and dance and create and clean up and start all over again.  No trophy for all of that, but the spontaneous, "I Love You Mommy!" and "You're the Best Mom Ever!" and "I'm so glad God picked you to be my Mom!" are better than any trophy I could ever receive!  Sometimes one person's "mediocre" is another person's "livin' the dream!"  Maybe I'm really really good at something after all!

The best reward I could ever receive!

     I love that The Olympics are a time for the world to join together and celebrate in the victories of our countries.  I love that we get to watch the power, grace, determination, and focus of the men and women competing, as well as their coaches and families.  I love that children and adults watching will be inspired to work toward making their dreams come true!  I also love that this is an opportunity for all of us to ask ourselves, are we bringing our best to our lives everyday?  Do we push ourselves to learn, grow, and develop?  Do we have fun, work hard, play hard?  Or do we hold back, afraid we won't be good enough, afraid to try for fear of not being enough?  We might not all be made to be Olympians or award winners or considered the "best" in what we do, but we always have the opportunity to be our best selves.  Take advantage of every moment, every day, to be your best, whatever that means and you can be a champion too.  A champion of your life!

Happy Monday!  Make today a great day!

Love to You!


P.S. Check back soon for information about my new class for women, "Living Your Life Inspired!"
I'm so excited!!!



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Never Good Enough

It's been awhile since I've written, but I've had a million posts run through my head!  So many things have happened in the last couple of months and it feels like finally, after throwing all the glitter in the air and taking another leap, the pieces are slowly falling beautifully into place.  Or something like that, depending on how I'm choosing to look at things in the moment!

Remember how happy and perfect everything fell into place in my last post?  I was literally walking on sunshine!  I was so totally excited!  When we first moved in, it was perfect.  I put everything in the room it needed to be in and the move was pretty easy.  I scrubbed and cleaned and organized.  I was in heaven.  But it didn't last.

The girls got sick for a couple of days so I had to slow down to take care of everybody.  Then Peanut, our little dog who will be 14 in August, followed me up and down the stairs too many times and started limping.  She needed to be carried up and down the stairs, outside, etc.  She lost her appetite and I seriously had some moments where I thought, "Oh No!  Don't die now!  We just moved into our new house!  I can't lose you now!"  Allison didn't help with her questions.  "Is Peanut going to heaven soon?  Should we give Peanut a bath to get her ready for heaven?"  Seriously, I am NOT ready for Peanut to go to heaven yet so can we please talk about something else?  

Then I noticed how the windows needed to be cleaned and the blinds looked dingy and the weeds needed to be pulled.  I needed to go shopping, do the laundry, and clean out everybody's drawers.  I had to steam clean the carpets, wash all the floors, and the bathrooms needed cleaning again.  Oh and there were birthday presents to buy, and Brad went out of town a few times and this is all in addition to normal everyday life which includes crafts, books, songs, nagging (me: get dressed, brush your teeth, eat your lunch, be nice to your sister, etc.), playing (we had some fun too!) and all the other stuff that we do everyday.  Not to mention the challenges of having a five year old and an almost two year old who are both in their own stages of learning, growing, whining, and testing!  :)  In normal everyday life the days are pretty full.  In "we just moved into a new house" life, there's a million extra things to do and well, the days don't get any longer just because I have more to do!

I kept going but was starting to feel stressed.  I skipped yoga a few times.  Okay, I actually skipped it more than a few times.  I just didn't have anything left in me to do it.  At night my feet were feeling sore and a couple of my toes felt numb and tingly.  Finally the day came where I just couldn't keep the tears at bay anymore.  So I cried.  Then I cried some more.  This doesn't happen too often but when it does, I know I've gone over the edge and I thought, what am I doing to myself?  Where in the hell did all my happiness go?  Why am I letting myself get all whacked out?

I decided I needed some clarity and took some time for reflection.  I grabbed a glass of wine and read some old journal entries.  I love how this happens!  I opened a notebook and found just what I needed.  I came across an entry from 2002.  At the time I felt overwhelmed by life.  I felt like I could do my best all day everyday and it would never be enough.  I could always do more.  I could always do better.  Which led me to feel like I could never do enough and I would never be enough.  This, of course, wasn't good.  It scared me.  It made me wonder if this was what being an adult was going to be like forever.  I definitely didn't want that!

Although I believe that sometimes you need to push yourself to do things in life in order to achieve success, I know now that there's a line that can be crossed.  There's a fine line between motivation and self- sabotage.  I didn't even realize it until I found this book called, Never Good Enough:  How to use Perfectionism to Your Advantage Without Letting it Ruin Your Life, by Dr. Monica Ramirez Basco.

This book was the first "self help" book that I purchased and it really helped me!  I learned how the thoughts I was having about myself and my life were connected to how I was feeling and how I could change.  It helped me to understand where these feelings were coming from and also led me to seek out a deeper connection to the bigger picture in life, to God, The Universe, and spirituality.  Obviously, I'm continuing to learn this because here I am, ten years later, revisiting these lessons yet again!

Why am I suddenly struggling when I was just so happy?  I'm striving for perfection.  I still hold onto the thought that if my house is super clean, and everybody eats perfectly well balanced yummy meals, and my kids are super smart and creative, loving people, and I blog regularly and grow my business, and I see my friends and family regularly, and I pursue my passions, and I do everything PERFECTLY, then I will be satisfied.  I will feel complete.  People will see me as successful and I will see myself as successful.  But I know better than that!  I know life is about the journey!  I know it's about the process!  I know perfection is really a matter of perspective.  I know this stuff!  Hello!  UGH!  Relapse!

My life is what I make it everyday.  I get to choose which lens I will view my life through each day, each moment.  The windows need cleaning, yes, and they will be dirty again as soon as they are clean.  They are windows.  Accept it.  It's not a big deal.  The dishes need to be done, yep, they are dishes.  As soon as they're clean we will eat again and they will need to be washed again.  It doesn't mean I'm a horrible mother, homemaker, person.  Whatever.  If someone comes over and I have a sink full of dishes then they will know we eat.  (How awful!  Really?)  If they judge me, I can't do anything about it.  I probably won't even know!  So I didn't blog for a couple of months, this is true, but my mind is overflowing with ideas and insights.  I'm excited to let them take on a life of their own and here I am, taking the time.  It's all going to happen, it just can't ALL happen at the SAME TIME!!!  It's all good.  No worries!  Things could be so much worse...

When I take away all the self- induced pressure, I feel free.  When I let myself enjoy the process, I do.  When I celebrate the steps, it feels awesome!  When I appreciate my blessings, I see more things to appreciate.  When I let go of the negative judgement, I feel like I can do anything!  This includes my own negative judgements and any judgement I think others may impose on me.  Remember, what other people think about you is none of your business!  Nobody's life is perfect, even if it seems that way from your perspective.  It's all in how we choose to think about our life and it's circumstances that make life wonderful or overwhelming.  It's hard to see sometimes but it really is a choice.

So instead of spending any more time being annoyed with myself for these transgressions, I choose to celebrate the steps.  We really have gotten so much done around the house and had a great birthday party for Allison!  I made it to yoga and have been out for a couple of runs this past week.  I've spent quality time with family and look forward to spending some time with friends.  I have major plans for this blog and my new website that will be coming soon!  We have come so far in the last few years and life keeps getting better.  Now that I know better, I'm doing better.  I'm doing the best that I can.  I am good enough.  I am doing enough.  I am enough.  Period.  And so are you!

Can you relate?  Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed in your life?  Do you fall into this trap where you feel like you're never doing enough?  I encourage you to take some time for yourself to see what's up.  Be still.  Meditate.  Write.  Read.  Pray.  Reflect.  Seek.  Whatever it takes.  Life is meant to be beautiful!  You might find you want to do a complete overhaul in your life or maybe all you need is a simple shift in perspective.  Allow your life to get better and it will!  Know that you are worth it and that it's never too late to make a positive change!  :)  You can do it!

Love to you!

P.S.  Peanut is doing much better now!  She has almost stopped limping and is her normal happy self again.  I'm grateful she's not ready for heaven quite yet!  :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Place to Call Home

The only way to get what you really want, is to know what you really want.

And the only way to know what you really want, is to know yourself.
And the only way to know yourself, is to be yourself.
And the only way to be yourself, is to listen to your heart!
I do,   
 The Universe
~from Notes from The Universe

This is my favorite note from the "Notes from The Universe" by the fabulous Mike Dooley.  Since it came to me a few years ago my life has been forever changed.  The words are so simple yet so powerful.  What do I want?  Who am I, really?  What is being myself?  Am I listening to my heart?

I've definitely been listening to my heart.  All of my big life decisions were made by my heart first, logic second.  But what do I want?  Who am I outside of the roles I play like mother, daughter, wife, friend, teacher, consultant, etc.?  And what is it that I want again?

I've never been one to focus much on the so-called materialistic side of things.  When I quit my job to stay home with Allison I knew I was giving up my comfortable lifestyle.  I really didn't care.  I knew what I wanted.  I wanted to be home with my daughter.  As a teacher I had pretty much expected that I would only make so much money and get to do things "within reason" in my budget.  When we became a one income family, I knew we could cut back and I knew we would figure the rest out.  But after you keep cutting, and cutting, and cutting your budget you start to feel... well, deprived.  We were happy in many ways but life wasn't as comfortable as it used to be and it started to get old.  We were ready for a change.

The entrepreneur in me was awakening.  I started writing.  I wrote about what I wanted.  I focused on the abundance of the Universe and the fact that God would provide.  I started to let go of the thoughts that I had about material things. I knew that money and things didn't bring about happiness but having things and enjoying the abundance that life has to offer is a good thing!  I knew that if I figured out what I wanted, I could achieve it.  I trusted the process.  We decided to move to Texas.

Let's just say things worked out the way I expected them to with some exceptions and allowances.  I wanted to sell our house.  That was the best case scenario or so I thought.  The one showing that we had in 5 months and the one offer that came in was just not reasonable.  I knew it was a tough time to sell but I didn't want to give our house away.  I started to worry a bit about what we were going to do.  I knew I wanted to move and be in Texas by Thanksgiving.  Brad and I talked about it and we decided to rent it out.  Within 45 minutes of placing the ad we had a response.  We ended up having to turn people away and chose the first responder.  It was so EASY once I let go my idea of what HAD to happen!  And anyways, we had always talked about having rental properties as one of our MSI's (Multiple Sources of Income).  Texas, here we come!

We have been very fortunate to have my family here in Texas.  My parents are the best people I know and are so very kind and generous!  They invited us to stay with them until we settled in.  We have lived across the country from one another for about 15 years.  There was lots of catching up to do!  They made space for my family of four plus our little toy poodle, Peanut.  They welcomed us and treated us and helped us make a life here.  I am so grateful for all of their kindness and graciousness.  I admire their love (40+ years of marriage) and I appreciate that now I get to have them in my life on a regular basis.  

When you live with your parents when you're an adult it conjures up a lot of interesting feelings.  When I left the house as a college freshman, I came home every other weekend or so.  By sophomore year it was once a month.  By junior year I had a weekend job and a pretty active social life so....I rarely came home.  How was I to know that they missed me so much?  DUH!!!  I really had no idea!  I was just into my own life.  Now that I have my own daughters, I get it. 

Over the last 20 years I have seen friends that have lost their parents, their spouses, their grandparents, their pets, and even their child.  I have known people around my age and younger who have lost their lives.  Something has changed in me and I realize the preciousness of life and all the special moments.  I appreciate that I have been able to wake up in the morning to chat and have coffee with my Mom.  I love hearing my Dad in the morning and the garage door opening when he gets home from work.  The sounds and smells take me back to a place of my childhood and the "good old days" when life was easy and I didn't even know what stress felt like.  I love that we have had this chance to grow close again, for them to get to know my daughters, for us to be a family.  But now, it's time to move on.      

In my head I've had this timeline.  I wanted to be in our own place by April 1st.  I wrote it down on a sticky note and put it on my bedroom wall.  Allison turns five at the end of April and she'll start kindergarten in the fall.  I wanted to be in our own house by then so we could have her birthday at our house, enjoy the whole summer, and be ready for kindergarten in August.  I started looking at houses online.  I love Smartphones!  Every night before bed I would look at houses and think about what I wanted.  I wrote down all the things that I wanted and I tried to be very specific and detailed.  We started looking at houses.

My mom has told me stories of her and her brothers riding their bikes to their grandma's house to visit.  When I was a high school/college student I would smile and say "that's nice" to my mom, thinking ok, sure, that's nice, not gonna happen!  I don't even know why, I guess it's just that gaining independence thing.  (Please remind me of this when my daughters do the same thing!)  But 20 years later, there I was with a house for sale in my parent's neighborhood that I couldn't wait to see!  I dreamed about it and looked at the pictures so I could visualize us living there.  When we went to see the house it was so disappointing!  Too much work, amongst other issues and I knew instantly it was not the house for us.  But the seed was planted.  It would be so cool if my girls could walk and ride their bikes to their grandparent's house!

The house hunt continued.  There are so many houses for sale right now!  It truly is a buyer's market and the interest!  It's such a great time to buy!  I kept telling myself that the right house would come to us, we just had to find it.  One Saturday we went to look at some houses and although I liked some things about them, I just wasn't feeling like any of them were the right pick.  I started to feel discouraged and we ended up looking at a model home.  Instantly, we felt a connection.  Wow!  We really liked a lot about this house, maybe we should consider building.  When we started thinking more about it though, we knew we didn't feel ready to commit to a builder, a neighborhood, or a house that was in our budget right now because we know that our budget will be bigger next year!  But we're ready to move now!  I could feel the stress starting to creep in.  And then, a brilliant idea!  Let's just rent for now and build our dream home later!  Ahhhhhh.....relief washed over me and I felt like a million pounds was lifted off my shoulders (that I didn't even realize I was carrying!).  Perfect idea!  Let's do it!

Sunday I took the girls for a walk and there it was in front of a gorgeous house right around the corner from my parent's house, a sign that said FOR LEASE!  What?????  Is this for real?  As soon as I got home I looked it up and there it was!  It looked perfect and the asking price was $5 less than I thought was reasonable for our budget.  I sent an email requesting a showing. 

Wednesday morning we checked it out.  What an awesome house!  It has so many of the things that I wrote down that I wanted!  Lots of space, open floor plan, office space, pantry, kitchen island, fireplace, deck, balcony with a view, master bathroom with a double vanity, his and hers walk-in closets, large bedrooms for the girls each with a walk-in closet, and a gameroom!  The agent told us others were interested so we took the application and I got right to work on it!  When I turned it back in I chatted with her a bit, I wanted her to know how much we wanted it!  Later that day I thought of a few other things I should've said but decided no, if it's meant to be, it will be.

I talked to Allison about it and we were getting all excited.  I asked her, wouldn't it be nice if you could go to the school around the corner and we could walk you to school everyday?  I started to say more but she said, wait a second, I have to talk to God for a second. 

Dear God, Please let us live in the house close to the school.  Thanks God.  Love, Allison Amen. 

I love the way she prays!  I told her that it was a great idea to ask God and she interrupted me, wait a second, I need to tell God one more thing,

Dear God,  Please come to my birthday party.  It's at Chuck E. Cheese.  You can follow us.  Thanks God.  Love, Allison

Awww!  I just love her! 

On Friday we went to run some errands.  I was cashing out at the register when my phone started playing Jingle Bell Rock.  I totally forgot I had set that tone for unidentified numbers back around Christmastime!  It's rare that someone I don't know calls me and this time it made my knees go weak and my heart get all fluttery.  I knew it was the agent.  When I got to the car I listened to the voicemail.  Yep, it was her and her voice gave no indication whether she had good news for me or not.  I took a deep breath and called her back.  She asked me, are you guys ready to pack?  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!  We got the house!  

In less than a week after making a decision about renting, we found the perfect house!  The house was actually listed the same day that we made our decision and the agent told us that five other people were denied...the owner picked us!  I am so excited about how it all worked out! 

I have learned so much from this experience and these are the biggest things:  THINK about what you want.  WRITE down what you want.  DREAM about what you want.  BELIEVE you can have what you want.  And BE READY to take action when the opportunity comes!  TRUST YOURSELF and KNOW!  Also, appreciate, appreciate, appreciate!  This helps you to be in vibrational alignment with what you want and who you really are! 

Ok this post was long enough!  :)  Thanks for sharing this awesome experience with me! 
Has this kind of experience ever happened to you?  I'd love hear about it!  Please comment or email me!

Love to you!

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