Riley and Davis at Silver Dollar City

Riley and Davis at Silver Dollar City

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Independence Day thoughts

I love the Fourth of July. I enjoy the sun, the outside time, the universal sense of relaxation. I like fireworks too. But this year's wet and cold weather gave me time to think.

Maybe it is the election year, but it feels like not everyone who is blessed to be American is loving America right now. So often we hear or see the phrase, "Land of the free, because of the brave". And it is true that we are fortunate to still have men and women willing to serve and protect.  It is also often voiced that we are a free country because of our constitution. But that's not correct. We are a free country because we have never allowed ourselves to be governed by the thoughts and ideals, or physical presence, of someone else. When our forefathers first took up arms, there was no Constitution. They didn't have to constantly have to hear about one person telling another person that they feel oppressed because someone said they shouldn't have this gun or that gun, and someone else didn't go running to the nearest newspaper crying that their right to free speech was infringed by their neighbor.  Whatever someone's political views, I struggle most with people who aren't thankful to be Americans. Can you imagine if we were invaded by another country and forced to adopt their governing style? There would be op-ed pieces popping up all over telling us that at least it wasn't a Democrat/Republican/Libertarian. Some 24 hour news channel would pop-up telling us how great our new ruling body was, and so many people would blindly follow it those who weren't fooled wouldn't be able to stand up the new government.

No matter our faults as a country, it would be really nice for people to be proud they are Americans. No matter our political beliefs, it would be really nice for people to be civil to one another.
No matter our paper laws, it would be really nice for people to do the right thing because they are guided by morality and kindness, rather than fear of consequences.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Kids new approach

A few days ago I ran into a former coach, just a chance meeting, but we had time to have a conversation with each other rather than a passing hello. And since then, something she said has stuck with me and given me reason to think on it.

She said "Boys play sports to feel good and girls have to feel good to play sports".

To feel the best about themselves they have entirely different needs. And it is so true. At least it is in the small sample size in my home. When Riley is feeling good, feeling supported and loved and encouraged, she is capable of playing sports beyond her baseline capability. Davis feels better about playing the more he plays; anything that happened prior to that doesn't impact his outcomes.

This theory caused me to think back on when I was most successful in sports. I was at my best when I was surrounded by positive people who I knew believed in me. Coaches, teammates, other families. When we were all able to feel good about what we were doing, we felt good and we played well. Even if we weren't always winning.

I adopted the habit of telling Riley after every game or practice, "I am really proud of you, I love watching you play". End of conversation. I will occasionally add, that if she has any questions or wants to talk more about a game or theory of the game, I am glad to listen. And sometimes she will open up and want to talk about it, others she make think on for days before she is ready to talk. I know that since I have started this she and I have a better relationship and she has more positive feelings about sports.

I think that sports are especially important for girls. It promotes more positive body image (something that is critical in those difficult developmental years), it encourages leadership skills, it teaches discipline and focus.

Davis isn't very far into his explorations of sports, but he is already completely different to work with than his sister. I have been operating under the assumption that it is because they have different personalities. But what if it is deeper than that. What if it is truly a different brain chemistry that is satisfied by playing sports?

I believe that once we know better, we are obligated to do better. I now know better how to support my kids as athletes, and especially my daughter, so now I have to do better.

I hope that we have the chance to work with coaches who are willing to understand the psychology of working with young athletes and are willing to differentiate the needs of various people to help them feel their best and perform their best.

Each year of being around youth sports makes me feel so naive. I very much want to believe that their are people involved in youth sports who want the best for every child on their teams and who want to find the key to success for everyone.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Finding my writing groove

A big part of wanting to blog again, is that I realized that writing matters to me. I like writing. It makes me feel good. It used to at least. I am having a hard time getting a groove. I don't like the way my writing sounds anymore. So, I am going to write my way out of it. I am going to write something in this space everyday. And eventually I'll find the voice that I am missing. Hopefully.

When my kids were little and I ended each day drained from feeling like I had given myself to them fully, I thought that there was no way that any other phase of life could be that difficult. And then my kids grew. And I no longer need to carry them from place to place or cut their food into bits, or even give them a bath. Instead I have to help them learn what genuine friendship looks like and how to know what sacrifices are most beneficial, even learning how to cope with the results of making a decision that didn't work out. I know that the hard years of social media, and driving and academic rigor are ahead.

I hope to focus on showing them what real friendship is by modeling that behavior, by having conversations about the difference in friends and acquaintances and how I vary what I share with each. I hope that by letting them be a part of the big decisions we make, I can minimize the fallout from poor decision making, and if I can't that I can show them how to bounce once you have made a mistake.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

How I use EOs

After I mentioned Essential Oils yesterday, I was thinking of ways to share them and how I use them. I think that sometimes people assume the EO use is on the hippie/crunchy side of life. And for a lot of users that would be in line with their thinking. I don't really see myself that way. We are just run of the mill average family. We eat pizza and McDonald's (on occasion) and we have fruit snacks in the snack drawer. I drink wine, we have soda in the house. I've never eaten a chia seed. Or had a desire to try kombucha. But EOs fit in my fit-ish lifestyle.

Yesterday evening, I started to get a sore throat. Then I noticed an bit of a body ache and slight headache. A couple years ago I would have immediately run to the medicine cabinet and popped some ibuprofen followed a couple hours later by some acetaminophen. Now though, instead of  a medicine cabinet, I have an EO shelf. I was worried that this was more than just a simple sore throat, it felt like I was coming down with something more than that. So, I made a capsule of Rosemary, Oregano, and Frankincense. I put Lemon, Lavendar, Peppermint, and Cedarwood in the diffuser and I topically applied OnGuard to my feet and throat. I woke up this morning completely symptom free.

I didn't start off using them so liberally, or being so willing to rely on EOs solely. I maybe would have used some OnGuard or Peppermint and probably would have still taken an ibuprofen to be on the safe side.

To make sure that nothing will rear up again, I will have another capsule today, and will apply OnGuard to the feet. I won't have to just treat symptoms. I can actually help my body to perform at an optimal level to eliminate the attack. I can make myself better.

I think over the next few days I will post more ways that I use essential oils and how we use them when we are well as part of a daily routine too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Small bites of life and a recipe

Did a bit a of calendar and planning session this morning and realized that we are going to be home in our own beds less days in July than we are going to be other places. I am so thankful that I have the summer off to be home with the kids and that we are able to give them new experiences. But I freaked out a bit too.

When I freak out I make lists. Packing lists, menu lists, shopping lists, to do lists. It gets a bit out of hand, really. And I used to let the freak-out and panic take control and I ended up freezing and not getting anything done. However since I added essential oils to our lives, I can use their support to clear the fog and focus on accomplishing the things on the list (s).

So, I rolled on my stress relief and focus oil blends, made my lists and realized that I don't need to eat the whole elephant today. Instead, I looked at the next three days, reorganized my thoughts and focused on what I can do, rather than what I can't.

One of the goals I have for myself over the next few months is to remember that I have tools to cope with a great many things. I have changed so many things in our lives because of essential oils and I want to keep making those small changes and keep relying on them as important tools in our lives.

Anyway, I am sure that I will be talking about my oils journey in the space again. They are practically a member of the family at this point.

So, back to the plan for the next few days. I LOVE the Independence Day holiday. Everyone is outside, relaxing, hanging out. No one makes anyone else feel guilty for how they celebrate. We all put on a bit of an air of pride at our patriotism and we celebrate. It helps that I also happen to really like fireworks too. We're not going to do anything fancy or special. We are going to relax. Then when the weekend is over, I'll focus on the next little piece of July.

When we get really busy, I try to have healthy and easy snacks on hand. My kids are definitely meat eaters, so I often make beef jerky for them. I have a batch on the dehydrator now, so I wanted to share our recipe. I prefer eye of round and have it sliced thin at the meat counter of our locally owned grocery store.

Beef Jerky
1 pound, boneless, thinly sliced beef
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of liquid smoke

Combine all ingredients and soak meat overnight.

So simple and delicious.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend filled with relaxation!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Defining my Circles

I recently had the chance to watch an amazing Periscope that really gave me some inspiration to be a better version of myself. And while the point of the 'scope wasn't about this at all, a moment in it spoke to me. It was about defining your circles of priority.

I go through most days with the whole world, and all of the hustle, and all of the noise, and I treat all of that input as having the same value. And that creates a constant sense of panic for me, because I try to respond to all of it. So, I sat down and wrote down who and what is in varying circles of priority.

In my primary circle, it is my husband, my children, our home and our families. That's it.
In my secondary circle, it is my close friends, and my work commitments.
In my tertiary circle, is everything else. Email, texts, social media, TV, acquaintances, and everything else.

But here is the challenge. Until the primary circle has been taken care of, you don't give time and energy to the other things. So, no email, no texts, to TV, no noise and input from anywhere other than my family, until they have been taken care of. Once they are all ready for their day and I have gotten our course set, then I can look towards my work commitments for the day, or reach out to a friend. Then once work is over, and I am back home with my primary circle, and I have carefully committed to them, I can look toward those least meaningful things.

I started to look at tangible ways to do this. Because it isn't easy. It turns out that I am capable of taking a cute picture of the kids, and not posting it to social media immediately. I can get up and take my shower and cook breakfast and plan dinner without looking at my email first. I can let text messages wait until I am not with my primary people.

This is all about forming new habits for myself so that I can feel more present and more calm.

I know that there are a lot of people who are great at keeping themselves focused and centered and present in a moment. I am not. I am determined to feel less like I am living my life like a squirrel, darting about from thing to thing and thought to thought.

How do you turn off the noise in your life? What are your circles of priority?

Friday, June 24, 2016


So, obviously, it has been a long time since I have written anything here. I kind of had a wake up call this week. I realized that when I am at my best and most energetic, I am doing the things that I enjoy and not just trudging. And writing is one of the things that I enjoy.

I have been and done a lot of things in my life. And this blog has been a lot of things.

Now, it is going to be my outlet. My positive push into the world.

I am going to really focus on picking up on the good things around me.

I am going to share the heck out of the things that are making me happy.

And I am going to revitalize.