Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Shifting Gears

Now that Christmas has passed, the inevitable task of facing forward starts... For me, Christmas is about celebrating, creating memories and of course, remembering.

With all the presents put in their respective new homes in toy chests, jewelry boxes, and closets, we take down the ornaments and wreaths and tree for another year.  Once the tasks are complete, we all begin shifting gears to stare down the New Year.

The New Year - wow.  Another one.  Then the questions start:
  • What's this year going to be like?  
  • What am I going to learn?  
  • What am I going to impact?  
  • What am I going to change?

I began my day today by meeting my trainer for a surprise trek she'd mapped out through a canyon.  It was up a steep hill, then through leaf covered twigs and limestone rocks -- down and up, zig zagging, sprinting, jogging, hopping across a stream, then walking to recover only to come face to face with a little lake and a wooden dock where I was to do sit-ups, planks and mountain climbers.  This of course was followed by more running, jumping up to hit tree branches along the way, tricep dips on a bench, and last the hike straight up the rock hill to the car.  I've gotten used to something different every time with Erinn but this was the most fun.  I do love being outside verses in a stuffy, sweat-filled gym!

I survived another day with her.  (That's my only goal these days...)

Mentally at times I'd think she was going to kill me as my heart races wildly trying to understand this new routine called exercise.  I said that to her out loud one day and she just smiled and said,

"No, I'm not gonna kill you - we're going to CHANGE you."

...we're going to CHANGE you...

Suffice it to say, those few words have STUCK with me.

The thing about shifting gears after the holiday is that we are all mentally and physically preparing ourselves for the next phase... the next change.  We write our New Year's Resolutions outlining our goals.

Note:  Hmmm - wonder why we write them??  (Food for Thought)

Yea, okay, I know I have a one-track mind.  The point is that we make new mental notes and try to reframe what and sometimes who we are.  It's the time of year when we ALL think about what we WANT.

What do you WANT?

I know many have the usual lists saying they want to lose weight, spend more time with family, balance work with an actual life, maybe get a raise, start a business, plan a vacation, etc. etc. etc.

The thing to consider though are the DETAILS - the SPECIFICS about HOW and WHAT you actually truly want.  Not generalities.  If you're speaking or thinking in ambiguity, you'll never reach whatever goal you think you have.  [See Post:  Being Specific, part 1-2]

So DO shift gears - but challenge yourself to change at least one thing - and write down what that is!  Write down your vision for yourself specifically.  If it is to lose weight, say how much and by when; then outline your meal and exercise plan that is realistic for you, join a group or get a trainer - make the choice to set yourself up to be successful.  If it is to spend more time with your family, decide to get to work earlier so you can leave by four or five -- set your boundaries, make a plan, tell your spouse so s/he can hold you accountable.

Again, be specific!  Think about the details and WRITE them down...

At times, you may feel like the choices you've made that step you forward toward your Vision will kill you -- but the Truth is that it's not going to kill you, it's going to CHANGE you.

And THAT will be a beautiful thing!

Are you READY?

(Cue Rocky theme song for inspiration!)


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve!

It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year!!

There is no more special time of the year than Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah... people all over the world pause to celebrate with those they love.  

My wish for everyone is to have a happy, healthy holiday season and that we are all on our path to achieve our individual dreams in 2011.  Today, I am most grateful to the Lord for all the unbelievable blessings I've received and continue to receive this year.

Welcome to the King of Kings, EMMANUEL - God with us!

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" 

And Mary said:
    "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me-- holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers."
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home (Luke 1:26-56).  [Jesus'] mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."  When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus (Matthew 1:19-24).

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
    "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." 

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:1-38). 

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." 

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
    'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son." 

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead." 

So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:1-23).

{Story reprinted from James Watkins}

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leaning In...

It's the time of year when most have a full heart - we give more, volunteer our time, cook, spend time with friends and enjoy family again... 

It's the time of year when we cherish the things and people we love SO much that we overlook the quirks that drive us nuts the rest of the year and tell ourselves how endearing it all is...  ;)

It's the time where the world collectively hopes for Peace on Earth and Good Will!

But it's ALSO the time of holiday blues because it's the time when we FEEL loss so acutely of those who are no longer with us.  And that's hard.  I like to tell myself sometimes that "Time heals all wounds" but the truth is some wounds simply don't heal.  Sometimes the loss is so great, it simply must be endured.  And THAT is okay.

The thing I've learned lately though is NOT to try to dismiss or bury those feelings.  Sometimes, the thing to do is to lean into the pain and allow it to wash over you - to FEEL it.  To cry... sob if necessary.  To allow the grief or hurt or loss to simply have its due...

When you DO that - when you actively choose to allow the pain - you give yourself permission to grieve and to experience life in its fullest sense.  I have found lately that our ability to EXPERIENCE profound JOY can and may be directly proportional to our ability to experience profound sadness or loss or anger also.  Hmmmm....

FEELINGS are what they are... and if you put a lid on any one, you may inadvertantly be putting a lid on them all restricting yourself to mediocre middle. 
Neither Hot, Nor Cold. 

When was the last time you allowed yourself to have a FULL ON BELLY LAUGH??  The kind that makes your eyes water uncontrollably and your ribs hurt?

When was the last time you allowed yourself to truly MISS someone you LOVED??  The kind that makes your eyes water uncontrollably and your heart hurt?

For me, lukewarm is not how I want to be. 
That's not a criticism of any one but rather a personal observation and goal.

This holiday season - allow yourself to LEAN IN to your emotions.  FEEL whatever you feel FULLY.  And if the emotion is one where you feel loss, then cry.  But follow that set of tears with the flood of HAPPY memories that is what caused you to feel the loss in the first place.
 REMEMBER those you've loved and lost this season, but make sure the last memory is a beautiful one because that's how THEY would want you to remember them.

I miss you, Gram. 
Every day.

Thank you for that... you made me who I am and helped shaped the heart I have.

All my love, always -

It's good to Lean In and Remember.
Happy Holidays

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where's Your Place?

The cliche' goes that 'home is where the heart is... I believe that's absolutely true.  I think this time of year more than any other we all get nostalgic because we're reminded of the good, kind, and positive in all of us.

My Christmas Home will always be my grandparents basement.  Every year on Christmas Eve our entire family - aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends - would gather in the basement of my grandparents home.  My gram and Uncle D would start cooking around noon and the rest of us would travel up and down the creeky stairs, ducking at the low overhang just before the bottom step toting plates, bowls, serving utensils, and FOOD down to the serving table one by one by one...

Everyone arrived.  Hugs and Kisses... and presents!!!!!!!!!!!!

We'd finally eat all together around a HUGE table with Pap on one end and Gram on the other... then we'd open the mountain of gifts.  After the exchange, we'd eat again usually pie or cookies, etc.  Finally we'd all pack up, drop the gifts home, and then head as a clan to Midnight Mass at St. James Catholic Church.  The sky was always that incredible midnight Christmas blue with stars twinkling... and of course, SNOW!

After church, we would walk or go around to visit family friends until nearly 6 am... It was a beautiful, wonderful, magical tradition that I now cherish in my memories.  

Where's Your Place?  

I'd love to hear your favorite memory place.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Weighs You Down?

So, I've been getting up and working out most days with my new found hero - my trainer, Erinn.  Despite these efforts and the fact that I really do NOT eat a lot, I still find myself far above my BMI and far below my own self standards.

Recently, Erinn informed me that when you're working out, as you do, it can release a lot of emotions:  laughter, anger, etc. whatever is bottled up inside is gonna get stirred up.

Being the supremely logical person that I am - despite working in the behavioral health industry (ironic, I know) - I completely dismissed this whole emotional element thinking I could simply WILL my way through and conquer myself through appropriate diet (not dieting) and exercise.

Surprise. Surprise.  That's not been working...

The EMOTIONAL thing keeps surfacing.  So yesterday I got down right angry at the whole notion.  The internal and sometimes external self dialogue went something like this:
  • Maybe I don't want to remember certain things!
  • I dealt with all that junk years ago - what's the point of thinking about it now???
  • Just  L E T     M E     B E!
  • Enough already....................... nothing good will come of bringing up the past.
  • Stop
And THEN - like the proverbial flood when the gates start to buckle and ultimately break - the memories came back with full force in 3D, High Definition, and surround sound. 
The images and feelings...
The anxiety...
...and of course, the tears.

I realized that when I'm running and my trainer is running backwards in front of me, 
it reminded me of the first time someone I loved taught me to ski.  
He took me to Wintergreen.  The show-off skied backwards in front of me as I held onto his ski poles down the mountain.  The good memory mixed with the pain of loss...

The loss though was of more than just him... it was the loss of that life.  The loss of the entirety of that life - marriage, children, some semblence of what most consider 'normalcy' - and THAT was painful.

The truth is that I've never allowed myself to FEEL that loss.  I refused to let the painful circumstances of my life beat me... regardless of what event happened, whatever illness, whatever words spoken over/to me - I would simply ABSORB it and keep moving forward.

Time after Time.
Loss after Loss.

I never explained anything to anyone.  I stopped talking.  I created a mental wall around my being.  Self Protection 101 taken to the mental extreme.

I simply did whatever I felt I needed to do to stay alive... I would pray.  I would fortify my mind.  I would buffer my thoughts against the onslaught of emotions.

I refused to break.

Problem is, if all you ever do is ABSORB the pain, it stays with you.

It  Stays  With  You...
It  Stays  With  You...
It  Stays  With  You...

The truth is that unless you experience the emotions - allow yourself to FEEL what you're feeling, whatever it is - then all that pain, all that hurt, all those things you don't want to feel will lie in wait somewhere deep inside you.

It  Stays  With  You... until you LET IT OUT!!

What I've discovered is that no matter how strong you are, no matter how talented, how logical or formidable, no matter WHAT you do - at some point, you have to deal with your emotions. 
The Real Emotions...

And until you (or I) do, your journey toward your vision will continue to be just that - a journey - not a destination. 

You can't get to where you want to be without first dealing with where you actually are.

It's time for a cleansing... a release of what weighs you/me down.

I think I'm finally ready.  I'm certainly going to try!  I have no idea what it means or how to do it but I'm not going to run from it all or bury it any more.  I want to be free...

How about you?


Monday, November 29, 2010


Have you ever watched SMALLVILLE? or read a Superman comic?  I love the whole 'Man of Steel' theme and how he's only got two vulnerabilitiesKryptonite and Lois.

Every hero has at least one flaw.

In every episode, our character is tested... and at times fails.  S/he fails and makes mistakes.  Yep - that's right.  Mistakes.

As a self-acknowledged perfectionist, even the word 'mistake' makes my jaw tighten.  I hate the notion that we learn the most through the mistakes we make... and all the lessons and teachable moments that can sometimes only come from the opposite end of success.  (See the visible shake of my head and shoulders as I type this...?)

Despite knowing this reality, it is STILL hard.  And why is that?

I believe it's because of the weight of expectation... not necessarily expectation itself and I believe it's because of certain inherent limitations designed into the life process.


Our own kryptonite...

I think every journey toward your Vision or dream is exactly that - a journey.  It's as much about the process as it is about the goal... and for that reason, we will all be plagued with certain limitations along the way.  WHY?  For the previously mentioned, incredibly annoying clichés listed above.

To learn.
To make mistakes.
and to learn from them...

Relatively simple concepts - but incredibly powerful truths.  

For me, somehow knowing that the mistakes I've made and will no doubt make in the future (despite best efforts to the contrary) help ease the jaw tension.

Now as to the expectations part -- I think we all have to EXPECT the best.  EXPECT our vision to be fulfilled.  But that is entirely different than being weighed down by expectations.  It's the fine line between positive and negative.  A nuance - yes - but a distinction nonetheless.

When your own expectations become a weight verses a help or something to drive you, then question them.  Question the thoughts and the voice and tone... Write down the thing(s) that are weighing on you and decide if they are real and true or simply fear.  Test it.  Sift the thoughts and the words to find the truth.  And then apply what you learn.

We all have limitations.  We all make mistakes.  I think the key to obtaining your dream is to recognize both and in time LEARN how to balance our expectations.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

There's nothing like spending a beautiful Fall day with the people you love...

Be thankful for the little moments.
I am.

Spend the time LIVING!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Word Choice

Don't you get tired of all the endless speculation about everything?  It would seem as a society we've given credence to every opinion possible and depending on the day, points of view change with the prevailing wind.

Not sure about you but I crave some stability - some consistencyWhatever happened to universal truths?  What happened to civility in debate?

I remember how we used to sit on my grandparents porch, particularly in the summer and just talk... how neighbors would see us out there and come by for a chat and some tea.  And we would TALK about everything! and at times, even argue... but then the parties would wave good night and walk home.  "See ya tomorrow, Frank.  Night Millie..." neighbors would say to my Pap and Gram... even when they told one another in no uncertain terms they were each full of sh*t or simply dead wrong.  ~LOL~

Somehow there was an honesty and an honor among neighbors... same thing with family and the dinner table.  We could just talk and often, laugh.

Today though, that seems to have disappeared.  We've forgotten how to "talk" AND "be neighborly" at the same time as if it's an oxymoron of sorts like walking and chewing gum.

I miss that.

Now, there's never any backing down or agreeing to disagree.  It's all out war with no regard for anything less than absolute victory... and the truth, civility, and a willingness to consider alternatives are all casualties of our word war.

And that makes me sad.

Words are powerful.  I fully believe that.  I believe they are tools that can be used to build or destroy and everything in between.  For me, that premise alone is a universal truth.  And because of that belief, I watch what I say.  I always want to be deliberate in what I convey and not reactionary.  Now that is not to say I can't be spontaneous or enjoy a good discussion.  No.  It means I try, generally, to simply be thoughtful in what I speak.

It's also why I write.  I believe in writing things down as you know.  :) 

Writing can often help frame or clarify thoughts.  It can provide stability because it allows the author to come back and re-read or edit as needed... because it's THERE.  You don't have to try and remember what you thought or said, it's tangible.

I like tangible.  Concrete.  Consistent. 

I was raised Catholic.  Growing up, the incredible monotony of the traditions and prayers like the Nicene Creed or The Lord's Prayer drove me crazy.  I could repeat those words asleep.  Now that I'm older - despite having studied numerous religions, attended countless non-Catholic worship or other services, etc. - I APPRECIATE the words... the faith... the focus and the tradition.

The words matter.

Words form those universal truths.  Words - whether written, spoken, or thought - shape who you are and what you do... what you believe.  And what you don't.

Think about your words. 

Do you know what you say?  Do you mean what you think?  Consider what your words convey about you... your family... your choices... your dreams.

Who do you say you are?

Take a moment to simply put your thoughts or the things you say on paper.  One or two phrases you say or think frequently.  Now look at those words.  Are those words representative of who you are and what you want? what you actually believe in your heart of hearts?

If yes, whoooo hoo!!!!  You're speaking your Truth and hopefully your Vision for yourself.

If not, choose differently.  And start saying what you mean to say...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breathe. Release.

I wonder sometimes what it takes to "get over" something.  I write about VISION - your Dream.  But sometimes, we all just get stuck.

Every one I know seems to have the one or two things that hold us. 

For some it could be eating - snacking late at night, improper diet overall combined with lack of movement = weight gain.

For others it could be a lack of focus - you like so many things or are good at so many things, you do nothing.  Stay in the same job, hobby, bad relationship, etc.

Still for others, it could be any number of negative behaviors from being a shopaholic to a workaholic and everything in between.

In every case though, we are doing something or allowing something to keep us somewhere we do NOT want to be.  It may just be habit.  It may be fear (my perennial favorite).  It may be a lack of tools to effectively handle the ineffective coping mechanism we've created...  ;)

Regardless though, we all have SOMEthing.  So what to do?  How do you get UN-STUCK?

Well, here's what I've recently started to learn:

Sometimes, you need a coach and a support group:  people who truly SUPPORT your goal, your vision.

I recently joined Austin Adventure Boot Camp (highly recommend it, by the way) and also requested some personal training.  I wrote my vision for myself here since my move and part of that was to learn how to put myself first.  To find time to exercise, eat better, and generally be good to ME.  And man-oh-man has THAT been HARD!

It feels selfish.  It feels awkward.  It's hard to FIND THE TIME!  Those old excuses had worked for me for years.  Somehow though, when I put this latest hope / vision down on paper - lo and behold - God started bringing FANTASTIC people into my life.

First I was given the greatest trainer (Erinn) that I've ever had - literally in 20 years!  She's got the best attitude.  She's sort of like Jillian meets Kelly Ripa.  She gets down to brass tax but most importantly, she listens and she teaches.  She's challenging, encouraging, and willing to work WITH me...

I've also been given incredible people to work with at my job.  One-by-one different individuals have come forward to buy me coffee or a healthy lunch... teach me yoga exercises in my office... or bring me a home-cooked meal.  All making the effort to HELP me.  To support ME.

And of course, you can't really do ANYthing without support at home too -- from your family (spouse, parents, kids, dogs... etc).

Talk about humbling...

The cool thing here is that I'm not STUCK anymore I'm LIVING.  I'm moving.  And with all this activity comes the reality that when you get UN-Stuck, you often uncork some bottled up emotions. 

And THAT's OKAY...

It's the "breathe...and release..." part that we all have to do.  It requires action.  It is a physical act.  With that physical task of filling your lungs up with oxygen and then exhaling fully in repetition, something happens. 

It is the ACT of letting go:  RELEASE

What do you need to release today?  
Is there something holding you back from your vision for yourself?

Consider what exactly will get you moving in the direction of your dream.  Think on it.  Write it down.  Believe you CAN accomplish what you want - and if you can't believe for yourself, find others who will believe for you until you can!  And finally... ACT accordingly.

You'll be amazed at the result and how God will LITERALLY bring people into your life in support of your vision when you choose the path you are meant to walk.  ;)

And when you're ready, you'll experience that real release!  Importantly though, remember too that the lesson for me here was also that I needed to realize to get to the "release," I first had to BREATHE.

Monday, November 1, 2010

V O T E!!!

Tomorrow is election day. 

It still remains the one opportunity for a single voice.  It's a right... a privilege that so many people around the world would literally die to have.

The combination of voting privileges plus a free press are the cornerstones of a free society, a democracy.  Even though it often feels like your vote doesn't matter, please believe that it DOES.  It always does.  A waterfall begins with one raindrop.  Without every voice, we are left with rule by the few who may or may not understand, let alone represent our collective voice.

I personally feel that if you don't vote then you don't get to complain either - about how the country is going to hell in a hand-basket; or how so&so doesn't know what he's doing, etc. etc.  

You forfeit your right to b*tch. 

SO, yes, that means we all have to educate yourself about what these politicians and their parties represent (and for me, that means READING what their platforms are not simply allowing the talking heads to TELL me).

So check them out and decide for yourself who will BEST represent you:
  1. Democratic National Committee
  2. Independent(s)
  3. Republican National Committee
I challenge everyone to READ the national platforms of all the parties.  Learn what each are saying.  You may be surprised.  I was.

At the end of the day though, I just hope everyone votes.  And I hope we all vote simply because we CAN in the greatest nation on earth.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mind Traps

A hero is made in a moment.  How do you decide what to do in a given moment? 

You can't question the past or spend your life worrying about the future.  When you expend that much energy in either of those states, you risk the moment.  In the moment is when you make the choice(s) that determine the course of your life.

Moment by Moment.

So then where does VISION fit?  How can you live and BE in the moment and still have a vision, a dream?  Is it a contradiction?

Of course not.

How do you define  your vision?  In today's headline-driven world, when and how do you find time to think? to be still? to contemplate what you want.  My premise here is that you can't get what you want unless you KNOW what you want.  Often we define it by what we don't want... choosing the negative in an effort to rule out certain options.  I believe negative begets negative so get outta there!!  The list of things you don't want could be limitless but the critical things that you DO want may only fill up a few sheets of paper.  Go with what you know, not what you don't.  The reverse (the negative) is a mind trap.

What's a mind trap?

A mind trap is something I call the negative thought onslaught that happens to prevent you from moving forward - from acting rather than waiting - from believing, choosing, doing.  It's the deception that negativity introduces telling you that you "have more time so do it later" or that lulls you into listening ONLY to the negative words.

It's the voice that says:  "You can't..." and "Don't bother..."  In short, it's the Fear Factor.  It's a decepticon!  It's the LIAR and THIEF of your dreams... and the mind trap is its tool.

So, what's a hero?
How do you define a hero?  Generally, it's a person who displays courage in the face of danger or adversity, who may sacrifice themselves for a greater good.  A hero can be many things depending on your point of view -- a teacher who shows up day after day to teach high school English; a firefighter or police officer; someone in the military; a foster parent... or simply a parent.

BUT, No Where in any definition does it say a hero is someone without fear... it says, a person who displays courage.  Courage is not the absence of fear, rather it is a choice to act in spite of the fear.

Now, stay with me here:  If the mind trap is fear actively working against you - teaching you to dwell in the negative - then a hero is also someone who actively resists that fear - any fear - and ACTS in spite of it in the positive, right?  hmmm.  Yep.  I think so.

What will it take for YOU to be the hero of your own life?

Every moment of every day you make choices.

Take a moment and identify your thoughts.  What are they saying TO you?  If there's something telling you 'this is stupid' or 'you don't have time for this' or any number of a 1000 other NEGATIVE phrases that would prevent you from considering a possibility:  TELL THOSE THOUGHTS TO STOP!

Resistance is NOT futile.  It actually works.  It just takes practice. We simply have to re-train our brains to accept the POSITIVE.  To recognize the positive... and to SPEAK the positive.

The mind trap is relentless though so we have to be vigilant.  Battling for control of the words running through our mind.

A hero really is determined in a moment.

THINK about who and what you want to be.  Now BE that.  

If you want to be a Super MOM then be the Mom your kids need STARTING NOW!  If you want to be better at your job, then DO IT better!  If you want to live a better life, then LIVE!  Don't wait.

Your VISION for your life starts NOW - with one choice at a time - moment by moment by moment.  Start walking in the positive and before you know it, you'll have become what you always wanted to be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Memories Remain...

Have you ever been stopped cold by a memory?

These can be good or bad.

It struck me how often the past resurfaces... if we're not careful, the past can and will dictate the future.  How?  You can become so consumed with what WAS, you confuse it with 'what you think might have been...' and miss your chance to choose your dream NOW.

To be clear though - now - does not mean status quo.  No, on the contrary, it means choosing IN THE NOW to follow your dream.  To follow your heart and not be bound by perceived obligation or fear.  It means make decisions right now and then again and again and again to stay - or get back - on course!  Moment by moment.

As for others,

most people need their comfort zone.  They need for YOU to be who they think they know.  They need you to stay in your box:  to remain who you were because IF they acknowledge that you are changing or have changed then their own decisions can be called into question. And unfortunately, most refuse to change a decision or an opinion once it's made.  They can confuse that refusal as loyalty, experience, or any number of other things.  The truth is that it's often fear or stubbornness.

It's often something inside them 

Why am I saying that?

Because this is a reminder that You can only control YOU... you can only choose to control your own thoughts and the words you speak, the actions you take.  Don't allow other's PERCEPTIONS of your truth to shape your choice.  Acknowledge your own change!  Live in each moment.

Dare to always be who you are and to follow YOUR vision!  

We are all changing every day.  There is nothing in our world that is absolutely still unless it's frozen and even then the molecules may still be in motion.  - Embrace  the  Possibilities -

I asked if you ever had a memory stop you cold?
Often a good, beautiful memory can become a source of heartache if you've lost the person or thing that brought you that joy.  If that ever happens to you, work toward reclaiming your memory.  Recognizing the beauty in the moment by choosing to shut out the pain of loss while you re-experience that loved one or that event again.

Don't allow any form of negativity to disrupt your mind and afflict your heart.  You can still LEARN from your past without being haunted by it.  You can still Love and Cherish those you've lost and their amazing presence in your life without being tormented by sorrow in the present due to their absence.  [Note, I'm not talking about typical sadness or grief or loss but on a long-suffering circumstance that can be debilitating, tormenting, or prolonged to the point that it is affecting all you do].

Work toward speaking, believing, and thinking positively with regard to your past and those memories. Reclaim them!  The more disciplined you can become with your thoughts, the more likely you'll be to challenge yourself to be better, to be more... to achieve your vision for your own life.

Live in the Moment Today - making memories - but don't be afraid to decide to change or to follow a different path if that different path is your True Calling.


Monday, October 4, 2010


Interestingly I've come to realize how infrequently we all actually ENGAGE.

If I can text a number and donate $5 in under five seconds - you GOT me!  It meets my time criteria and 'action' level so therefore involvement is authorized.

If I have to DO anything that requires thought, input, negotiation, coordination, or INTERACTION of any kind whatsoever (no matter how seemingly simple) - Forget it!  [sound annoying buzzer please followed by The Voice in Jim Carrey-esque tone saying: "Thanks for playing..."]

At first, I was a little hurt.  I took any lack of interaction personally.  I mean, hmmm - I asked seemingly thought-provoking questions, right?  I gave good directions.  Left time for questions.  Walked through the process (the "how to" piece).  So what then?  What was I missing?? (I wondered)

I was missing the basics.

I've come to realize that in America at least, most of us are just tired.  Tired of making decisions all day.  Tired of running errands.  Tired of dieting.  Tired of exercising.  Tired of never going on vacation for more than a long weekend.  Tired of walking the dog(s).  Tired of old mattresses and lumpy pillows.  Tired of getting up at 4 am and working till 8 or 9.  Tired of grocery shopping.  Tired of Male Enhancement and other Drug Commercials.

Tired of just about everything................

... so we can ONLY 'give' the $5 in under 5 seconds because at LEAST then we can feel like we engaged in something MORE.  We can feel good about that one small contribution, right?

Who has time for ANYthing else?

The truth is that none of us HAVE the time.  But some make time.  And we marvel at their generosity, how they champion those who have been hurt, are poor, or suffered.

Eventually though, if we're honest, we get fatigued by it all -- remember Haiti?  Fundraisers at work?  Darfur?  New Orleans?  now floods in Pakistan?

There's nutrition issues in schools, overcrowding and bullying.  There's political crises everywhere we look with ALL sides shouting that the SKY IS FALLING!  the SKY IS FALLLLLIIINNNNGGGG!

Everybody has a cause.
Everybody has a story.
Everybody has an opinion.

Is it any wonder then that the only thing we can stomach more than one day a week is a so-called REALITY TV show where people who've had their 15 minutes of fame learn to dance for 15 more? or nostalgic shows where we can get lost for an hour in another time or place?

Not really.  We're bombarded all day, every day.  Our minds pulled literally in about 100 different directions at any given time.  Information Overload.

HOW then could anyone possibly have a real, honest-to-goodness discussion about anything that isn't because of a conflict or advertisement:  something we're trying to prove vs. learn?

Who has time to think, let alone engage or truly interact?  Our lives are reduced to headlines or the 140 character limits of a Twitter response.

At this point, cue music / video:  "CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY!" and we smile.

We smile because we all know it's true and we long for peace.
We long for a MOMENT

But, so what?

The so-what is that life actually occurs in MOMENTS!  ...and usually in those oh-so-precious QUIET Moments that we never seem to get frequently enough.  And again, I wondered "why is that?"

Hmmmm?  And then I started to get an idea:

Instead of being on the receiving end of Information Overload, what else could I do? What ACTION could I take?!  ahhhhaaaa!

I challenge us all to ENGAGE in THREE Quiet Moments at least ONE day this week.  And yes, all three need to happen in the same day, not spread over three days............... !  ;)

Here's the Schedule:
  1. In the Morning -- whether it's when you're in the shower, drinking your coffee, or that 60 seconds right after the kids leave for school or before you get in the car to drive to work, take a MOMENT - at least 90 whole seconds - for yourself to be QUIETSTILL NO TASKS, NO ISSUES, NO NOISE. 
  2. During the Day -- at some point between the morning and PM Rush Hour Traffic, take another whole MOMENT - this time at least 120 seconds - for yourself.  Same deal - QUIETSTILL NO TASKS, NO ISSUES, NO NOISE. 
  3. Before Bed -- take 180 seconds -- but this time INTERACT with someone else.  Someone you care about, someone you love.  Take a Moment to just be WITH them.  Stroke your child's hair or massage your spouse's shoulders.  Or simply, just sit with them.   Just BE in their presence... and BE Present.  NO TV.  NO COMPUTER.  NO VIDEO or AUDIO of any kind.  NO TECHNOLOGY.  NO QUESTIONS.  NO ISSUES.  NO TASKS.  No Noise.....................!
Now, before you close your eyes and go to sleep on your Interaction Day - think for just a moment about how you FEEL...  about how those three individual MOMENTS felt...?

Breathe in those moments.
Relive the memory.

and allow your mind to RELAX.

Just for this one day there's no pressure to have it all figured-out or be all things to all people or even to really DO anything.  Simply empower yourself by allowing these Quiet Moments.

because it's the Quiet moments that will give voice to your Vision!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anybody Got a Story?

I thought I'd start this out with a Question today:  Does anybody have a story to tell where you wrote something down that you wanted or needed or prayed to get and then GOT?

I'm curious if I'm the only one?

I've had friends tell me they have and it worked!  So it got me thinking...

Please post a comment if you've ever written something down and then received or experienced what you requested or wrote.

Inquiring Minds Wanna Know!?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

What have you written?

Things have been so chaotic lately... This week I will have moved four times in four months.  I've changed states, changed jobs, homes.  It's all good but seriously out of control, crazy!

Different times throughout the process I've felt excited, angry, thrilled, frustrated, scared, lost, found, whole, empty, and just about every other emotion.  That's what you feel when you're in the midst of incredible change - incredible growth.  It's a ride like the Amazing Race through your own life.

I found myself drawn to familiar things:  I've watched MAD MEN (great show by the way) because it reminded me of how I grew up.  I remembered those homes, that wallpaper, paneling, old appliances, clothes...  I watched BAND OF BROTHERS about WWII because I love history, and because I love the camaraderie...  I'm even more attached to my car - I love just sitting in it.  I like just seeing my guitar in it's stand.  Couldn't WAIT for college football to start!!!


What's important?  

When you don't have familiar things, what do you hold onto?  What do you VALUE?  You'll find out quickly when you have none of what you know...  what brings you COMFORT?

I go back to what I'd written before.

Why am I here?? I'm here because I ASKED for this - I wanted something different.  I wanted a change.  When I think of it that way, I can't help but laugh!  I asked for this..............  God really DOES have a sense of humor.

When things get crazy in your life - even in the day-to-day activities you do - if you find yourself asking "How did I get here?"  or "Why is this happening?" or even "Wow, I'm so grateful..." THINK about the things you've SPOKEN:  either in prayer, in the midst of frustration.  THINK about the things you've WRITTEN:  lists you've made, notes you've jotted down about what you want!

If you keep track... If you go back and look... you'll find the VERY things you wrote or spoke may actually BE coming true!


You may be surprised to find that you're right in the middle of your own dream!

  THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Never Forget...

At 10:48 am this morning, I stopped.  I lowered my head and couldn't help but cry.  The emotion is still there... It's September 11th.

New York City - The World Trade Center's Twin Towers
Washington DC - The Pentagon
Shanksville, PA - A field...

2,977 heroes lost
Thousands injured

A nation broken-hearted at the cruelty, the depth of evil...

As an American, as a Christian, as a citizen of the world, as a human being - I will always mourn this day.  Yet, I also feel unbelievably proud of the first responders, those who rushed TO the danger... all those who gave their lives to save others.  For the incredible men and women of Flight 93, I cried the hardest for you - so proud.  I remember, through tears, raising my fist in the air and saying "YES!" because YOU stopped them.  You gave your lives to STOP them... YOU won.
Thank you for that...

It is 'evil' we must hate.  It is 'evil' we must fight against, resist, and refuse to accept.  Sometimes evil does come in the embodiment of other human beings, but that should be as heart-breaking as anything because those souls are so so lost.  They are deceived.  Evil can be subtle in its brainwashing cascade.  The words and commands that run through a mind and twist the truth.  We are all susceptible to its lies... it's goal is to incite.  It's goal is to create chaos.  It's goal is to facilitate hatred.


Get angry at the evil... and vow to NEVER allow IT to win.


Sites to record your stories:  
   Remembering 9/11, National Archives
   I Remember 

Monday, September 6, 2010

To Change or Re-live?

A friend of mine posted an interesting question on FB today.  She asked:
 "If you could go back in time only once, 
would you choose to re-live something or to change something?"

It really is a profound question that speaks to heart of who we are and how we choose to live.

Do you live with regret?

In my 20s, my motto was "No apologies.  No regrets."  Somehow as the years went on - I lost that focus, although on the whole I have been incredibly blessed... and I have come to realize that the mistakes I made truly were the things that opened my eyes to my own shortcomings and pride.  The mistakes were actually the events that taught me the most and shaped who I am today as much as anything.  Those mistakes showed me the value of love and loyalty, honesty and trust, and true faith.

So when looking at my life in its totality, I would not go back and change most events or choices - even though many were painful.

I lost the first person I truly loved to fear.
I lost the person I admired most to cancer.
... and I lost myself for a time as well.


As I thought deeper about the question - would I choose to go back and change something or relive something - I came to some conclusions:
  • My memories are so incredibly strong, I can go back and relive beautiful moments in mind whenever I want.
So while it would be unbelievable to be back in the arms of the person who taught me to love or thrilling to relive certain moments, they would just as quickly become memories again and be gone.

With that reality in mind then, I chose to change something...
  • There are two fundamental decisions I made in ignorance that dramatically changed the course of my life - either of which I would absolutely go back and change.
Despite that fact, I still recognize those two events forced me to my knees.  Those two events introduced me to my character, my will, my unshakable faith, and my absolute belief in destiny and love.  Both times I was given the gift of seeing another person's reality as they saw it.  Seeing the impact of my choices or more aptly the impact my fear had - when I refused to chose or ACT because of fear.

Two decisions broke me as an individual and from that shattered heart each time came a newly formed, more formidable person - 10 times stronger than what I was before.

In fact, the very soul of my own Vision for my future is directly tied to reclaiming what I lost and teaching others about what I learned.

I've rewritten the ending to my own story and am awaiting the manifestation of that blessing.
I now live each day EXPECTING...
I live each day fully AWARE...
I live each day BELIEVING that my dreams - my vision - will come true.
...and because of that Faith, I make choices each day to BE the person I want to BE.

I do this because I am SPEAKING my own Truth and ACTING on my beliefs.

...because I refuse to BE anything less than what I am meant to be and I refuse to allow fear to steal one more moment from me.  I am determined.

If you don't have any regrets in your life, then God bless you!  Keep that sense of self and focus!  For anyone else who does have regrets - no matter what it may be - this is your chance to CHANGE! 

Choose to Redirect.

Refocus that regret into something positive!  Redirect those emotions, those lessons learned into your Vision for your future.  Apply what you know... and Expect your future to be better than your past!

WRITE what you want... not what you don't want!
SPEAK what you've written so you can hear your own words and BELIEVE in them!
ACT on what you expect not on what you fear!

Your Vision is worth your Faith.  Your life is worth living without regret.  No one can go back in time,  so make choices each day that move you forward toward your dream and each present moment is precious.
       THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dreaming Today...

I woke up this morning with thoughts, images and words running through my mind so quickly I had to shake myself fully awake to keep up...

and I realized that today was a day for dreams.

Do you dream?

So I thought I'd run through my stream of consciousness with you because I've often been asked:  "How do you write?" and/or folks say "My mind goes blank when I try to write..."

Here are my words today:

Nature   trees   the wind   -  I miss the mountains.   Cardinals and black bears, the river running through the mountains between Staunton and Elkins on Rt 250SchoolThe FALLCollege football. ESPN.   Sweatshirts and shorts.

Go Mountaineers.  Hook 'em Horns.  Gotta buy tickets -- to the games, to the music festival, to fly to Indiana.........

Family.  I miss Gram.    Lord, keep my family safe today - give them peace, show them joy, deliver them from fear and illness, bring us all closer however You can.  Remind them I love them as much as You do...

Hurricane Katrina:  5 years today.  So many families in need, so much hurt, frustration, and anger still and yet beauty, change, growth, community.   I miss community -- I miss Clarksburg, those WV hills.  Smile.  It was a wonderful place to grow up.  I want to visit New Orleans...

Love Alexander McQueen.  What a loss... someday I'd love to own one of his coats.  His work always gave me cold chills.  Amazing.  Genius.  Impact.

I want to make an impact... that's my real dream.  I don't know how yet, don't know where yet - but someday.

One person at a time.

At the end of my life, I want to know that the world, my family and friends were better for my having been in their lives.  That's my vision.  That's my dream.

What's yours?

Please comment because I'd love to know... ;)

     THINK.    WRITE.    BELIEVE.    ACT.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Remember Me...

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. -Eleanor Roosevelt

Today is the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote... how special is that???
It made me think about the beautiful, wonderful, powerful women throughout my life beginning with my Mom and Gram.  While my life and dreams are mine, I am the embodiment of all that they are too:
  • Mom's smile and mind - her intellect, love of history and teaching, her intensity
  • Gram's heart and ability to laugh - her humor, love of hugs, her presence
I think of teachers like Mrs. Grant in 6th grade who made me read "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Illiad..."  Mrs. Burnside who challenged me though high school English...  Molly Petty and Mary Hill Cole who loved history and creative writing in college...

I think of my Aunt Jeannie who taught me about faith and belief in God.

I think of my Aunt Mary who challenged me to LIVE because each day could be your last.

I think of my grandmother Benson who taught me about strength in humility.

Consider the phenomenal women in your life from your past and your present - think of who they are and the difference they've made in your life - and for just a moment:   APPRECIATE THEM and their Dreams for you.  For those of you with daughters, teach them about the power of the past and remind them of the power of their own mind, their own abilities, and that their dreams ARE attainable!

Teach them to THINK.
Teach them to WRITE.
Teach them to ACT.
Teach them to BELIEVE...

and for the husbands, sons, and brothers out there -- remember Tennessee Legislator Harry Burn:
Thank you to Harry Burn who in the end changed his mind and cast the last deciding vote for suffrage because his mother asked that of him.  In today's politically divisive world, we could all learn from Harry's choice.  Although he didn't necessarily understand nor agree intellectually, he voted with his heart.  He realized the impact his decision would have on others and chose to give rather than deny...