December 30, 2013

A Reminder To Be Grateful In Just Under Four Minutes...

For those of us who are healthy and thankfully able to navigate our way through the day with little difficulty, we still fall into the trap of critically examining the reflection that greets us each day as we look into the mirror.  By no means would I ever consider gazing at my image with carefree exuberance. Although, after taking the time to watch this four minute vignette, I will definitely look in the mirror with a little more kindness and appreciation for the simple things that we take for granted as we buzz through our busy lives.  I hope you will be as enchanted as I was while watching the moments of sheer happiness during an otherwise difficult time.

December 21, 2013

Who Wouldn't Love To Get A Farm Animal For Christmas...

As Christmas Day draws near, the pressure of gift giving continues to cause many to stalk websites and the local mall for last minute thrills and deals that will bring their loved ones joy and happiness.  Although, if you're like me, you probably could do without another blue sweater that will likely find its way to the back of the closet.

Well have no fear, your own personal Christmas elf is here.  For years, we have incorporated the gift of farm animals under our Christmas tree.  There are many non~profit organizations that would love to see your tax deductible donation fund their efforts to improve the lives of animals and communities.  If a combo gift is to your liking, you could always make a donation, and couple it with a small gift that represents the animal you are giving or adopting.  For example, one year we adopted for our niece Cueball the seal from the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.  An organization that rescues and rehabilitates our struggling water friends.  With it we sent along a book about a seal.  A perfect surprise for the kiddo in your life, who will be able to enjoy your gift with a nice reminder that part it went to save the life of a seal.

If land mammals are more up your alley, there are farms throughout the U.S. that offer up the same gift giving options.  And then there is, of course, the international rockstar Heifer International.  After quickly perusing the site, you can purchase an animal (or a portion of an animal) that will be donated to individuals in third world communities to generate income to sustain their families.  But more importantly, the end result of Heifer International has been proven to change the dynamics of underdeveloped countries, provides woman and girls professional opportunities, and gives communities the pride of learning new ways of utilizing an animal as the ultimate catalyst for independence.

If you would like to visit a few sites for your last minute holiday gifts, I have linked my top three favorites below.  Wishing you a lovely holiday and a super 2015.

December 16, 2013

How Big Is Your Brave...

Last week when I picked my daughter up at her friend's house after another epic stay awake-over, the conversation in the house surrounded the impending college tour for the older sis of my daughter's BFF.  For those of you with teenagers, you probably would agree that the discussion of post-high decisions come much sooner and with more frequency than they did 20 years ago.  With an eye roll, my daughter's friend offered up her annoyance with the choices that face her in the coming years.  I smiled while simultaneously asking her what she wanted to do.  "I like to stay inside and sit", she replied.  It was at that moment that I realized I was asking the wrong question.  So I said,"okay, tell me what you love."  Her whole demeanor changed as she told me how much she loves to cook. I took the opportunity to point out to her that coupled with her uber sassy, highly cerebral, wickedly hilarious personality, she might just have something special to "cook up" as a life goal.  I didn't want to harp on it, but I did leave her with this thought. "The world is your oyster, sweetie.  Don't forget to tap into the things you love, and then it won't seem as daunting."

I couldn't help but think, are we asking our kiddos the wrong questions?  After all, why should a teenager be expected to have any clue what they want to do?  Their brains haven't fully formed so why do we expect them to make decisions in the same way an adult would?  Maybe we, as a society, should be more concerned with cultivating what our children intrinsically love rather than what they should do.

Last month MORE Magazine featured an article about the art of failure. Something that we have been taught to avoid at all cost.  I say that we should fail occasionally, and encourage our kids not to fear failure.  Why?  Because if you're not failing, you're not learning and growing.  I took the liberty of tearing out a list of what they call "The Failure Hall of Fame."  A list of distinctive individuals, who have publicly failed.  Going on later to achieve great accomplishments.  After scanning the list, it made me consider how sad it would be if the failures of those on the list would have caused them to abandon their dreams.  So, without further ado, here's the list with #mycomments...

1919 Walt Disney is fired from his newspaper job for "lacking imagination." (#magical  #beyondhistime)

1926 Lucille Ball is told by her acting coach that "she's wasting her time and ours." (#myhero #funniestwomanofalltime #beyondhertime)

1936 John F. Kennedy runs for president of the freshman class at Harvard~and loses. (#heshowedfancypantsHarvard #beyondhistime)

1960 Steven Spielberg is rejected by the film school at the University of Southern California. (#USCmadeabigmistake #beyondhistime)

1962 The Beatles are turned down by Decca Records. (#deccarecordsmissedout #beyondtheirtime)

1968 Vera Wang doesn't make the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team. (#hadbiggerfishtofry #beyondhertime)

1973 Hillary Clinton fails the D.C. bar exam. (#FLOTUS #Senator #SecretaryofState #President 2016? #beyondhertime)

1975 Anna Wintour is fired from Harper's Bazaar because her shoots are too edgy. (#Voguerulesfashion #beyondhertime)

1977 Oprah Winfrey is fired from her news-hosting job for getting too emotionally invested in her stories. (#sheshowedthem #beyondhertime)

1980 Bill Clinton loses re-election as governor of Arkansas. (#comebackkid #beyondhistime)

1981 Michael Bloomberg is fired by investment bank Salomon Brothers. (#philanthropist #MayorofNYC #beyondhistime)

1985 Steve Jobs is fired from the Macintosh division of Apple. (#brilliant #changedourviewofmusicandtechnology #beyondhistime)

1996 J.K. Rowling is turned down 12 times for her Harry Potter manuscript. (#bestseriesofalltime #inspiredkidstoread #beyondhertime)

1990's Sara Blakely (future founder of Spanks) bombs her LSAT's~twice. (#makesthedimplesonmyassdisappearunderapencilskirt #beyondhertime)

After my unexpected encounter today, I will never again ask someone what they want to do.  Instead, I will always ask," What do you love to do?"  In the wise words of the amazing Sara Bareilles, "Show me how big your brave is..."

December 8, 2013

A Challenging Christmas Moment Can Make For Funny Future Memories...

In honor of "challenging holiday moments", I am reposting one of my blogs from last year.  I received lots of comments and emails from readers about their own funny stories.  Honestly, I feel for parents of little ones, who spend every waking moment from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve in search of the "it gift" of the year. In the event that you come away empty handed, please know that you will one day laugh about it...    

                                                               ~ ~ ~

This morning I was working on a project in my kitchen while listening to the adorable Kelly Ripa talking in the background about the must have toy of the season. I immediately went to December 2007 when my daughter desperately wanted that year's coveted toy. We are happily beyond that phase, but I remember all too well the pressure that a parent feels when you go from store to store only to find that dreaded empty shelf.

Not knowing what to do when I realized that I had exhausted all of my resources, I decided I only had one option. A handwritten note from Santa with a valid explanation about why it was he could not produce the requested gift. After all, I was fairly confident that my bright nine-year-old daughter could assimilate the issue of supply and demand. Sadly, the note was not received well. You should know there were tears coupled with a long discussion about what was believed to be the magical abilities of Santa and why it was that he had failed. We managed to salvage the day, as there were family festivities that luckily overshadowed the disappointment of the morning.

I have taken the liberty of sharing with you the poem that greeted Kate as she woke up on a chilly December 25, 2007. You should also know that Kate is now a teenager and has forgiven the events of that day.

The story begins with a girl they call Kate. She was smart and funny and all around great!

Her parents once adorned her with a dress and a bow. Until one day she said, with her head hanging low,"I don't like dresses and big fancy bows! I am my own person, if you really must know."

Her parents stood shocked and said, with great interest, "What else do you want~for next month is Christmas." The girl they call Kate said, "Let me see...the item I really want is a Nintendo Wii."

The investigation ensued and Santa was called, for this game they call a Wii was nowhere to be found. The elves were amused that Santa would request a Wii so late in the season. You surely must jest! They thought and they thought and they thought a little more. But it still was no use. They were sad to the core.

"Christmas must go on", Santa said with great zeal! "Perhaps if you wait, you will get a better deal." So off to the mall Santa directed the elves. Although it was tough with the dwindling shelves. They stood in line for what seemed like days. When at last it was time. They had conquered the maze. The elves promptly told the story of Kate. And the man, half-listening, said, "Sorry, too late." But he did have an idea, which didn't seem hard. "What about giving her a Best Buy card?"

While it's fun to play on Christmas Day, there is simply no possible way. But it won't be hard to use the card when December rolls away. The Wii will be in stock and then you can flock to the nearest Best Buy Store. Until then we respectfully suggest that you play on the one next door...


Santa and the Elves

December 2, 2013

Bend The World To Your Vision...

I have not been shy about blogging about my admiration for Robin Sharma.  He is a writer and speaker, but more than anything, he is simply inspirational.  To me, anyway.  I receive periodic emails and Facebook posts, but I stumbled upon a video that he made a few months ago.  Nothing flashy, just words of wisdom from his hotel room one day.  I got to thinking, though.  What if every pre-tween to post-teen in America saw this video and, as a result, were inspired to find their own extreme achievement formula?  The results would be extraordinary!  Just think of all those kiddos out there, who are missing one important element~the courage to bend the world to meet their vision.  So, I say to all you tweenybops*, find your passion, seek out people who inspire and support you, and then conquer your dreams.

*tweenybop is a made up word, which includes children of all ages.