Friday, December 31, 2010

It's a love story ...

My mom loves to drive around to see Christmas decorations in people’s yards. That’s one of her favorite things to do this time of year. The gaudier it is, the better she likes it.

There’s a house in our neighborhood that has so many lights on it. I’m pretty sure it can be seen from Mars. My mom commented as to how awesome it looked. I told her that I felt like it was a little over the top and I wondered how the people slept at night with all those lights. Her answer to that was, “It’s a love story.”

I have thought about that comment since she said it over a week ago. The idea that a love story is lights on a house is amazing to me. I have to agree with her. Those lights were put up with so much love and thought that it is nothing short of a love story.

Our Christmas tree

I’ve started to wonder about all the love stories that are surrounding me daily and what they are. Our Christmas tree is an example. My husband and I put up our first Christmas tree together 12 years ago. Our theme was red and gold. We bought fancy ornaments from places such as Neiman Marcus. Our tree was fabulous.

Over the years, the fancy ornaments have broken to be replaced with jewel and glitter laden cinnamon stars and felt ornaments made by our kids. We have ornaments from places we’ve visited as a family. It’s truly an adventure and a story to be told when we put up our Christmas tree. Most every ornament has a wonderful memory attached to it.

What else?

Our garden is a love story in the summer time. We start thinking about what we’re going to plant from now. We think about how juicy the tomatoes are going to be and how we can’t fathom eating cucumbers or zucchini in the winter, because they are just not the same.

Our boys’ birthday parties are a love story. They are both born in March so we start planning our fun from now. Zack wants a big bounce house again and Louie changes his mind daily.

I’ve never thought about how many love stories surround us until now. The anticipation of a joyous event, along with the fun of putting it together is all it takes to have an awesome love story!

I’d love to hear your love stories!

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Wishing you a Healthy, Prosperous and Happy New Year!


Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

On Facebook, someone commented about the dreaded New Year’s resolutions the other day. The point was that we always make these resolutions that are too hard and somewhat unreasonable. Most resolutions last about three to five weeks, then we’re over them and back to the same old ways we were before.

I don’t believe that is totally unrealistic. Why would it take for one day out of the year to be our motivation anyway? Plenty of people have gone on diets in April or started an awesome workout program in October or they stop judging in June and so on.

One resolution?

What if you gave yourself only one resolution to work on this year? That resolution is having joy. What if everything you attempted to do started with the question, “Does that make me happy?” if yes, then I will do it and if no, then I won’t. I had to throw in an “if, then” statement for you. I am an engineer after all.

We do so many things in our lives just because that’s what we’re used to doing or that’s what is expected of us whether we enjoy them or not.

I have to go back to the teachings of Abraham channeled by Esther Hicks where they talk to us about having joy be the only manifestation we desire. Therefore, if something brings us joy, then it will come and if it doesn’t then it won’t.

Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy the moment

I’ve had plenty of times in my life where I’ve attempted to diet without being successful at it and others when I don’t even try and I lose a bunch of weight. What’s the difference? I think it really falls back to how I feel. At times, I don’t really feel like indulging in sweets and fattening foods while at other times I do. At times, I’m in a great place to work out daily and others I am not. It’s never been about the day or the week.

I have a friend who says, “When I decide to lose weight I will, it’s just a matter of deciding.” I say, “Why swim upstream? Just go with the flow and enjoy life as it is.”

Life is truly about enjoying the moment. I often ask myself the question, “Does it really matter?” I find that the answer nine times out of ten is usually “no, it doesn’t.” Try it. It’s liberating.

Make it fun

Rather than making something a resolution which carries with it a burden and judgment, make it fun. Playing tennis is much more fun than committing to 30 minutes on the elliptical every day. I feel the tradition of resolutions is fun and we ought to keep it that way.

My resolution is going to be to keep it up! I have asked myself the question of “does it make me happy” for over a year now and that’s been working great. It makes my decisions so much simpler and easier to make.

Your thoughts … I’d love to hear them

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About to indulge in a chocolate caramel Ghiradelli! Have you tried those things? It's like a little piece of heaven.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

The 24 days of Christmas

My husband’s family tradition is to open gifts on Christmas morning. It became the day I dreaded. My kids would have so many gifts to open that wrapping paper, boxes and little pieces would go flying everywhere. After a little while the inevitable melt-downs would happen because the boys were simply overwhelmed and over-stimulated.

Trying something new

A few years ago, I decided to try something different. If my husband and I were going out to dinner, I’d let the boys open a gift each. They loved that idea. Which one would they open? What wrapping paper caught their attention? Oh the anticipation of what their aunt or uncle got them?

They would then proceed to play with that toy all night long and not give the babysitter a hard time over anything. They would also remember who got them that gift forever.

This year we got to the point where all the gifts were opened before Christmas morning. The excitement of Santa was that much more; all they had under the tree were Santa’s gifts. Now, Christmas morning is so much more relaxed and enjoyable.

Santa and Mrs. Claus have also gotten smarter about the toys that they buy as well. No more plastic! Everything is made of nice wood that helps keep everyone grounded. Marble runs, cherry blocks and gnomes were among the gifts that made the cut this year.

I’ve been thinking about Christmas and the whole gift giving concept. I’ve realized that the simpler something is then the better a person likes it. The more thought that goes into it, the better it feels.

Our traditions

Christmas used to be a lot more stressful a few years ago. It takes a while to figure out your own tradition and how you’d like it to be. We decided a few years ago to always be home for Christmas. It just feels better to wake up in your own home on Christmas morning. That by itself has allowed us to have traditions that we’ve come to love.

We now have the 24 days of Christmas where the boys get to open a gift prior to Christmas Eve as long as there's one under the tree, we have a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner with seven different kinds of fish, we open Santa’s gifts on Christmas morning and laze around all day and we thoroughly enjoy our leftovers while slightly hung-over. It has become such a rooted time of year for us that it brings with it peace that is inexplicable but totally tangible.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We totally enjoyed every moment of it. I hope you did too!

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Looking forward to a wonderful New Year's Eve!


Thursday, December 23, 2010

On strike for Christmas!

I absolutely love watching Falalala Lifetime movies. I always pick the happy go-lucky types. I watched a movie called “On Strike for Christmas” and absolutely laughed to my heart’s content.

It’s about a woman who is married with two boys. They show you the progression of their lives through the Christmas seasons. When the boys were young, everyone helped her out by decorating the tree, labeling Christmas cards and generally helping with Christmas.

Christmas must go on

Then they show you the present; her boys are in their senior year and very busy with their lives and so, quit helping her with any of the Christmas preparations. However, they all want Christmas to still happen the way it usually does.

The boys ask her to host a party and make Christmas cookies. Her husband asks her to host his work party. Scene after scene, she’s shown asking for her family to help get the Christmas tree, bring down decorations from the garage, and buy Christmas lights and so on. Finally, she decides to go on strike for Christmas and that really gets their attention.

On strike for Christmas

I’m sure you know the ending by now. Her husband and boys start doing all that it takes to put Christmas together and they do a fantastic job. She realizes that she was a bit of a control freak and they realize that they really all have to do their part for this to work.

In the movie, they show that all the women in their town go on strike as well because they could all relate. I could totally relate to this movie. There’s a part in particular where she says, “Don’t make me be the nagging wife and mom, just do it.” I sometimes have to say the same thing a few times before it gets done.

Must I nag for it to get done?

After watching the movie, I’m starting to wonder if that’s really a necessity for me to do. If I want all the boxes cleaned out of the garage, should I do it or nag my husband to do it? If I want lights on the trees outside, should I do it or should I nag my husband to do it? And really, is it a big deal if the lights don’t go on the Christmas trees outside? Is it a big deal if the garland gets put up or not?

Does it really matter?

Christmas is about being together and having a great time. We’ve made it so big that it’s become about having everything perfect. My sister-in-law wanted some pictures of our family. I started looking through all my old pictures and files when I discovered all these movies I had taken of my boys when they were little.

We started watching them together and truly laughed. I told them at one point, “All I can say is that there was never anything to complain about.” No matter how hard it was when they were little, every minute was worth it. They are truly awesome and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Zack was two in one of the movies where he was singing the "car song" and "dinosaur song" and he was truly adorable. Louie was in a phase of playing the guitar and making up songs using his hockey stick. Those memories are just amazing to have. That’s what it really is about.

We have a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition where my husband cooks an incredible meal. We have all stopped eating from today knowing that we’re going to be stuffed silly tomorrow. We have a few friends coming over. My father-in-law is here. My mom is here. It’s going to be an awesome evening and really nothing else matters.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season. I wish for you memories and moments created that will keep you smiling for a long time.

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I can’t say I don’t love my lights outside and a clean garage, but there’s got to be a better way than nagging my way through it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hand-addressing Christmas cards!

My printer broke a couple of months ago. I really can’t tell you why I haven’t gone out to get a new one yet. Anyway, my Christmas cards came in the mail the other day and I realized that I couldn’t print the address labels anywhere.

I was talking to my friend about it and she suggested I could come to her house and print them. Then she said that she always hand-addresses her cards. She felt that was the way she added her personal touch. She said that she used to write notes in each of her cards, but that got to be too time-consuming.

Hand-addressing my Christmas cards? Really?

The thought of hand-addressing over 125 Christmas cards seemed daunting at the time. I realized though, that by the time I emailed her the file, went over there and printed the labels, I’d probably be done addressing all the cards. Plus, I wanted to do it. I felt like maybe I wanted to add a personal touch to our Christmas cards this year as well.

So many memories and great thoughts came to mind

It was fantastic! With every card that I addressed, I thought about the people I was sending the card to. I thought about our friends who just had a baby girl this past summer and how they would celebrate Christmas this year with two little kids. That made me remember when my boys were really little and how much they enjoyed everything about Christmas.

It reminded me that it’s the simple things around Christmas that matter. It’s the tradition of hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream in it while putting the ornaments on the tree that make it special, not how perfect the tree looks. My boys ask for that every year. Honestly, the thought of drinking that makes me gag, but it is a wonderful tradition for my boys to grow up with. It’s simple and it’s Salfi.

I thought about a friend I worked with at Nortel in Dallas. I haven’t seen her in about 10 years. I wondered how she was doing and how her family was.

Around the world and back in one evening!

Hand-writing the addresses actually allowed me to think about each of the people we were sending a card to. I thought about their kids, where they are living and what they are doing.

It made me think of how many places my husband and I have lived and how varied our Christmas list is. We have friends in Canada, Brazil, the Emirates, Lebanon, England and the United States. It made me remember all the places we’ve visited either together or separate and how awesome those memories are.

What a great little adventure this was for me. Who knew that addresses a few cards would take me all around the world!

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I am definitely hand-addressing envelopes every year!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Is it bought or is it sold?

A house was bought in our neighborhood about a month ago. Normally, when a house is bought, the sign on it says “sold”. The sign on this particular house is “bought”.

I pass by that house every day, so I’ve been thinking about the difference between the two words. One would argue that they are one and the same. I disagree.

“Bought” implies a new family is coming. I started asking myself all these questions: do they have kids? I wonder if they have boys that my kids could play with? Maybe they are newlyweds? Where do they work? It represents the possibility of making new friends and memories.

Sold is a period, a final reaching point. I’ve never thought about who was moving in when I saw a sold sign. I’ve always thought, I wonder where these people who lived there are going.

With bought, I’ve thought about who’s coming, with sold, I think about who’s left. It’s a huge difference. Think of positive and negative connotations, which word is more positive?

The impact of words

Mother Teresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” Think about that.

I attended a weekend workshop with Wayne Dyer in Maui last year where he announced that he had been diagnosed with leukemia. He said that he has asked the leukemia to live peacefully in his body or something along those lines. I feel that is so much more powerful than waging a war against the leukemia or fighting it.

“Race for the cure” is so much more powerful than the “fight against cancer.” The choice of words is incredible.

Am I inspired?

We are launching our annual giving campaign at my kids’ school. The goal is to achieve 100% participation, so we have formed a task force to figure out how to achieve our goal.

The idea presented was to change the name to be “Inspired Giving” because when you’re inspired, you give more and you give happily.

We went through something called an appreciative inquiry process. The thought being that when you think about what you love and appreciate, then inspiration is the result. When you take that inspiration out into the community, then the energy of that will take care of achieving 100% giving.

After going through the appreciation process we decided to drop the “giving” part and just say that we are inspired! It’s so powerful. I am inspired; I love our school, I love the education being provided to my kids, I appreciate the teachers, I appreciate that music is part of the curriculum, I appreciate that art and drama are part of the curriculum and so on. I am 100% inspired!

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Thinking positive!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Allowing yourself to be human

I love this time of year! I love the Christmas music, the hustle and bustle of trying to find the right gift, I love the holiday parties, and so on; I really love it all.

I was listening to the radio this morning where they were talking about how this time year stresses people out. The lady was talking about how the baking, entertaining, shopping, parties and all that could lead to stress. I had to laugh. All the things that bring me joy were actually named as being stressful for so many.

Joshua Bell goes unnoticed

My friend forwarded me the story of Joshua Bell playing music at a Washington D.C. metro station. Joshua Bell is one of the most famous violinists in the world. He played for 45 minutes in the metro while over a 1000 people walked by with only a handful ever stopping to listen to his music.

His concerts sell out with ticket prices of $100 per ticket, yet he made a little less than $40 for that entire 45 minutes. The article talks about the fact that we have gotten to a point where we can’t even stop for a moment and allow ourselves to listen to one of the most famous musicians in the world.

In other words, we have forgotten how to stop and smell the roses. Of all the people who even glanced at him, the kids were the ones who wanted to linger the most while their parents dragged them away. It’s really a fascinating article written by the Washington Post.

Timing is everything

I say to all this, allow yourself to be human. So if you missed an incredible opportunity to see one of the most famous musicians of all time, then so what. The people who didn’t stop may have had a deadline for work or had to drop their kids off at school or had a doctor’s appointment.

Sometimes things have to happen at the right time for us to enjoy them. Shopping for Christmas gifts in July just doesn’t seem appropriate. There’s a time and place for everything. When things are done at the right time, they are enjoyed so much more.

Those same people, who missed the opportunity to listen to Joshua Bell in the morning on their way to work, would probably enjoy him tremendously if they bought a ticket to his performance and went later on in the evening. There’s something to be said about the anticipation of a fantastic evening and being prepared for it.

Allowing yourself a break

I believe the reason I love this season is because I allow myself to enjoy every moment of it. If I’m shopping and I need a break, then I sit at the nearest Starbucks and enjoy a latte.

All that being said, if you were to talk to my husband about our Christmas card this year, he’d probably have a different story. I wanted our Christmas card done and ordered so I got everyone to cooperate; the boys took their showers, got in the clothes I had laid out for them, I took their picture, went on to Shutterfly and ordered our Christmas cards. Done!

That’s also why I don’t get overwhelmed; I actually do things ahead of time and therefore, I enjoy it.

We could all use to give ourselves a break every once in a while. Work hard and get what you want to get done and then reward yourself with an evening out or a lunch with friends. Make it fun and if all your shopping doesn’t get done, send a gift card instead.

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Heading out to Barnes and Nobles to buy my nephew a couple of books! He's going to love them.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Human resilience

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I wrote my last post. This blog gets inspired by things that I have been thinking about. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my sister-in-law and her family. I wasn’t really contemplating anything much other than how to cook a 20-pound turkey. That was something that my husband and I had never done before! I have to say that it was delicious and the whole meal was a great success.

We find a way to take it to the next level

Last night, my husband and I were watching the movie “Eat, Pray, Love.” At one point, Julia Roberts, who was playing Elizabeth Gilbert in the movie, was talking about how from ruins things get built. I have been thinking about that phrase a lot since I heard it.

I thought about the fact that so many of us when faced with hard situations and really feel like our lives are in ruins, actually truly find ourselves. From the depths of grief, we find a way to rise and step it up a notch. So many people talk about a severe illness or experience being the best thing that happened to them, because it gave them a different perspective on life.

I, for one, feel that my life has been very different since losing the baby last summer. It seems like things just don’t affect me much anymore. I go with the flow a lot more and allow myself to enjoy the moment I find myself in. I also refuse the experiences that bring me anxiety or generally don’t make me happy.

My experience fast-forwarded me to a happier place

I often wonder if I would be as decisive about life had I not had my experience of losing a baby at 20 weeks last year. I think that I would have eventually gotten there, but I do think that this experience eliminated at least 10 years of the process.

I often say that the experience is bigger than the actual gain, but that’s because I’m only a little over a year removed from it. As time goes on and I continue to live peacefully and happily, I find that I appreciate it more. I don’t wish to repeat any part of this experience or any other hard one for a long time, because at this point my roller coaster ride is going up! I often say life is up, down and everything in between. When it’s going up, enjoy it, because that too will change someday.

Giving thanks!

It’s been a fabulous Thanksgiving week. I truly enjoyed having family in town. That was such a treat for us to get to see our nephews, niece, my sister-in-law and her husband. We shared tons of great family moments and it was truly awesome!

I love this season! It’s a season of appreciating what you have and what’s coming. We are looking forward to having my father-in-law in town for Christmas. He’s truly a great guy and it’s always wonderful getting to see him.

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Time for some hot chocolate, Christmas music and hanging ornaments!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There are no coincidences

I graduated from college on May 11, 1996. One of my friends gave me a book called The Celestine Prophecy. I still remember the moment she handed it to me; the sun was somewhat setting, the light shown through the clouds and while she was giving it to me she said, “I’ve heard this book has changed people’s lives.”

I knew that moment was a huge one for me. I really didn’t know why it was huge, but I knew it was.

No coincidences

I started reading it that same night. I can’t tell you that I remember that I remember what the book was about right now, but I do remember one part very vividly. The author was talking about the fact that there was no such thing as coincidences and that there was a message in everything.

He said that anytime two strangers lock eyes, then that is a sign that they must meet. He gives the example of being in a restaurant and locking eyes with someone who is sitting at a different table, you need to get up and introduce yourself. I have found that to be impossible to do, let alone pretty unacceptable in our society.

What I have gained from it though is that idea of “no chance encounters.” I belong to an enhanced book club of sorts. We may get together for an evening of painting, or to chit chat about metaphysical experiences we’ve had, or listen to a guest speaker and so on.

Last night, we had a guest speaker come in to talk to us about meditation and her spiritual journey. I had this incredible feeling that I had to go to this meeting. At one point during the evening, I thought to myself that I knew pretty much everything she was lecturing about and I practice it.

I meditate a few times a day; I meditate every chance I get. I turn the music and my cell phone off in the car all the time and take the few minutes I have to calm and center. I meditate while folding laundry. I meditate while waiting at a doctor’s office. I meditate before I have a meeting. I truly meditate all the time and the benefits are tremendous.

I wondered why the feeling of being there was so incredible. Earlier that day, while shopping at Vitamin Cottage, I ran into a friend of mine who had led a book club a while back. We started talking and I told her that she would love the meeting I was going to tonight and that she should come. She actually did come and it was fantastic to have her join our group. I thought to myself that maybe that was the reason for it, yet I felt that something was still missing.

My guided encounter

After the lecture was over, a few of us started chit-chatting about various topics. I was telling someone about the committee that I am a part of at the Waldorf School. We are putting together what we’re calling a student conduct code. Our school lacks any resources for both the parents of the bully and their target.

I expressed that the research I’m doing in this area has been tremendous in helping me understand why children bully and how to identify their targets. Kim John Payne’s work in this topic is amazing. I was saying that it’s funny how I started this group and then I’m faced with a situation that I could have used some help, but I didn’t know where to go.

One of the ladies standing there shared with me her story of how her son was a target for years and how eventually, everything settled for him by virtue of him remaining strong in the face of what was going on. Her words were comforting to me. I thought to myself that situations usually have a way of working themselves out.

The other person happened to be a member of the board at our school and took a great interest in what I was saying. I ended up talking to her for the rest of the evening about the issues we were facing.

I left there realizing why I had the urge to attend this meeting. Had I called her to talk about these ideas, I may have not presented them as well as I did in a more casual social setting. The thoughts were presented and received very well, because we were both in the right frame of mind for that conversation.

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Pretty amazed by the encounter I had!

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's a first for me

I had an epiphany this morning. I had decided to slow down doing readings and teaching classes for a while to see how I would feel. After my experience last year of almost losing my life, the thought of maybe not being around for my kids totally freaked me out.

I decided that I wanted to be more available to do things with them. Since my business was mostly part-time, I thought of eliminating the classes and readings to see how things would work out.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally love doing readings and teaching classes but it just didn’t feel like it was the right time. I didn’t realize that by doing that, I was giving motherhood a chance for the first time.

Making the decision to quit my job was difficult

It is so hard to be a working professional and then to become a full-time mom. I felt like I had lost a part of me the day I decided to quit my job to stay at home with my newborn son. I didn’t realize that it would be greatest gift anyone could give me.

On some level, I still fought the idea without even knowing it. I went to homeopathy school while I was pregnant with our second child. I attended spiritual classes while my boys were one and three for a total of three years. I started my business while my boys were two and four. I felt at the time that I had a balance of career and motherhood, but now realize that I really didn’t.

I was always struggling to find time to do things with my kids because I was always trying to catch up. You’ve heard the saying “there’s a time and a place for everything” and I wasn’t giving motherhood the time that it needed.

Giving motherhood a chance

I was talking to a friend of mine this morning when I told her that this was the first time I was giving motherhood a chance and it really feels great.

I have plenty of time to go on every field trip that my kids have, I volunteer in the classroom, I am part of a group working on a student conduct code for our school, I have time to grocery shop while my kids are in school, I cook about five times a week a fantastic dinner for them and all of this feels so good and so right.

I’m still very much needed at the moment

I will come back to readings and lecturing, but when my boys are a little older. I feel the older my boys get, the more time they need and not the other way around. They may be able to entertain themselves by playing without me now, but they absolutely need me to help them with their lives.

After a couple of weeks of volunteering a lot at their school, I asked my son if I could skip one of his events and his answer was, “Mom, that’s your job. It’s your job to go with me kite flying for Michaelmas.” I told him that he was right and I was going to be there.

I was doing laundry yesterday and thought to myself that I really ought to find a day other than Sunday to do laundry. My mom never does anything other than have fun on Sunday. She feels that it is a day of rest that is necessary for everyone. I thought to myself, how many American families devote a whole day to be a family day and a rest day? I would guess that not one family does that.

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Getting ready to bake pumpkin bread for my boys! Oh, the wonderful smell of pumpkin bread in the oven, snow outside, fireplace on, life is definitely good!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Theosophy by Rudolf Steiner

Waldorf schools are based on the philosophy of a man named Rudolf Steiner. My kids go to the Denver Waldorf School. I figured it was time to read works that were written by the man whose philosophy our school was founded upon.

I’ve tried to read some of his books before, but I found them to be too difficult. It’s almost as if I had to read the same sentence twice and the paragraph more than that to even get the gist out of it.

Reincarnation and Karma

I decided to read a book named Theosophy by Rudolf Steiner, a book that is considered an introduction to his philosophy. Some of the concepts in Theosophy, I have read before such as those of reincarnation and karma. Steiner explains them in a slightly different way that has made a lot of sense to me.

I read my first book on reincarnation about 15 years ago. It was definitely something that I didn’t accept or deny at the time, as I do most things. I never judge a book by its cover. It was an interesting concept for sure and definitely something that made sense to me. I used to always wonder how we could possibly accomplish all that we’d like to in the span of 60, 70 or 80 years, if we were lucky enough to live that long.

“Yesterday’s actions are now the conditions I must abide by in what I do today; through what I did yesterday, I have created my destiny for today” from Theosophy. I love that sentence! Every person owns their life and all the events in it. “Through what I did yesterday, I have created my destiny for today.” I’ve thought about that a lot since I read it. Yesterday’s actions could be 250 years old; they are still yesterday’s actions.

He says, “Sleep has often been called ‘the younger brother of death.’” Death seems final, but is it really? Maybe we could look at it as “sleeping in” instead of never waking up again.

Past live regressions

I’ve attended a couple of Dr. Brian Weiss’ workshops on past lives. I’ve seen a few of my past lives that have explained a lot of what I was feeling at the time. I’ve often wondered if they were really lives that I lived or were they scenes I saw to help me move forward with my current issue. I don’t really think it even matters.

I remember a past life regression where I saw my youngest son being swept away from me in a tsunami. I had always had an incredible fear of losing him prior to that regression. It was fascinating to me that since then my fears have totally subsided. We do carry with us impressions from past experiences into the cells of our being.

Remember my last post, just the fact that it was Wednesday, made my senses heightened. What does a rose or the song “Brick House” signify to you? Think about when you were eight, how did you feel? Things, events, periods of our life, they all leave an imprint in our being somewhere.

Great reads on the subject of past lives and reincarnation are Many Lives, Many Masters and Same Soul, Many Bodies by Dr. Brian Weiss. They are absolutely fascinating. I also enjoyed Past Lives, Future Healing by Sylvia Browne.

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Enjoying the concepts in Theosophy!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pavlov's dog

Have I mentioned that I love Tuesdays! They are the day that my cleaning lady comes and pretty much the only day that the house is guaranteed to be clean for a few hours before the kids come home from school.

She used to come on Wednesdays, therefore Tuesdays used to be the worst day for me. I would be a total nut; cleaning for my cleaning lady. Tuesday night in specific, I’d make my husband go on a cleaning frenzy with me. We’d have to pick up toys, put laundry away, clean the kitchen, pick up the main level and the list went on before going to bed.

Then I would get up extra early on Wednesday morning to make the beds and completely make the house spotless before Rosa showed up at 9 am. How exhausting!

Cleaning day is switched?!

I didn’t realize how much of a nut I had become until Rosa blindsides me one day to say that she can no longer come on Wednesdays. I had a moment of panic, but she quickly saved me to say that she could come on Tuesdays.

The first week that she came on Tuesday, I hadn’t trained myself yet to switch my nuttiness to Monday night, so I didn’t get my usual cleaning frenzy going however, amazingly enough, she was able to clean just fine. That morning, in a very slow and non-panicked mode, I made beds and picked up toys or whatever without any stress.

I am an example of behavioral psychology

The panic did set in on Wednesday morning though. For no good reason, my heart started beating a little faster in anticipation of Rosa coming. I realized that I had become Pavlov’s dog. The thought of Rosa coming to clean immediately implied a state of panic. I had to remind myself that she had come the day before and all is well.

I actually went through it again the following week. Tuesday came and I hadn’t panicked. I was on to something. I could actually enjoy my cleaning lady coming without the panic of “the toys aren’t going to be picked up and the beds aren’t going to be made.”

She’s been coming on Tuesdays for a few months now and I have to report that I am still doing ok. I realized that I was a little more heightened than normal on Monday night, but I’m going to say that was because I was just a little more tired than normal. Yeah, that’s it. Do you believe me?

Your Pavlov stories

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It's Wednesday morning and it's just so peaceful in the Salfi household!


Monday, November 1, 2010


I have written about boundaries many times. I often refer to them when I am talking about contracts or soul lessons. I believe that we all come to earth to grow and therefore, take on different lessons or contracts.

I also believe that we have a bigger purpose or what I call a world contract. This world contract could be something that you do for a living or it could be something that you are passionate about. I am passionate about the environment for example. I donate, I recycle and so on.

A world contract doesn’t have to be a cause; it can be anything that you are absolutely passionate about. The criterion for it, I believe, is that it must benefit others.

Life lessons

Life lessons or soul contracts, on the other hand, are for your personal growth. Examples are: having joy, trust, giving, receiving, balance, relationships, and abandonment and so on.

One of my soul contracts is setting boundaries. I realized that about five years ago when I first learned about contracts. It was such an “aha moment” for me. I realized that I had been dealing with boundaries my whole life. People would ask the most ridiculous things of me and I never said no. I definitely would get frustrated with them, but it’s only when I realized that one of my lessons was boundaries that I actually appreciated them for helping me learn it.

Setting boundaries is as much about saying no as it is about respecting other people’s boundaries. Every lesson has its yin and yang or balance to it.

Boundaries … they never go away

I have gotten a lot better with boundaries but they have definitely not gone away. I realize now that they may come through my kids and their experiences as well.

Zack, my five-year-old, had an issue about a month ago with a little boy in his class. We had a huge discussion about it at school and I thought that it had been resolved. Last week, he comes home telling me that same little boy was inappropriate with him again. It has been on my mind since then.

I have brought it to everyone’s attention at school, but I realized that there was a piece missing for me. I believe that what’s been bothering me the most is the lack of respect this boy continuously displays towards Zack.

I always say that our kids have their own journey in life and we must respect that completely. I don’t believe that this is Zack’s journey as much as it is mine. It is my job as Zack’s mother to stand up for him and to say that this little boy cannot continuously disrupt his rhythm at school.

We cannot worry constantly as to what behavior will come out of this other boy. It was bothering me all last week until I realized that it was about setting boundaries as to what is and is definitely not acceptable.

Is it a big deal that he took candy out of the bowl?

Last night, I was handing out candy to some trick-or-treaters when a little boy reached into my candy bowl and took what he wanted. I didn’t say anything to him, but it really bothered me. I told my husband about it later and he said that I said the same thing last year. That is an example of a boundary as well.

Is it really a big deal that this kid reached into the candy bowl? At this point, I would say no, but I do believe he’ll grow up lacking respect for other people. You can see trends in people at every age, but especially when they are little.

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Saying no to the behavior of a little boy that is totally unacceptable!


Monday, October 25, 2010

The balance of giving and receiving

My birthday was this past Saturday. I got to sleep in without any interruptions from my two adorable, but very rambunctious boys. Had the day ended right then, it would have been enough. Those of you with kids, “Do you remember the last time you really got to sleep in?” It is fabulous!

Allowing myself to receive!

I was going down the stairs to eat breakfast when I saw my brand new bike with a huge bow on it right in the middle of the living room. I squealed with joy! It was exactly what I wanted. I was tired of riding my mountain bike around town, I wanted a cruiser and I got one that was incredibly cute!

My husband made an incredibly delicious breakfast (have I mentioned that he is a fantastic cook) and then we went out for a bike ride with the kids. We cruised all around the neighborhood. We went to two of my girlfriends’ houses to say hi and show them my new wheels. It was so fun just to cruise around and spend a relaxed morning. We ended up taking the kids out to dinner and for dessert, we had a great cake that my husband had ordered from my favorite bakery.

Love from my friends

We belong to dinner club in the neighborhood. It is a fantastic group of people and we look forward to this awesome evening. It just so happened that the dinner club this month fell on my birthday. I opted to go out with my kids and mom instead of going to the dinner club.

Our friends called us on our way home from dinner and asked us to stop by for a drink. It turns out that one of my friends had baked me a delicious chocolate cake with caramel filling. They sang happy birthday, we had a piece of cake, great wine and awesome company.

Allowing myself to receive

It was truly an incredible day for me. I felt loved and appreciated all around. Ever since Saturday, I have been thinking about the concept of receiving. I allowed myself to receive that day and it was fantastic. People love to make others feel good and do nice things for them. The key is to allow people that opportunity.

I used to be horrible at receiving. If someone gave me a compliment, I’d squirm, gifts were not received well and so on. I’ve learned to allow that to go away and just enjoy it. What goes around comes around. I’ll have my chance to return the favor, but in the meantime, why not enjoy it.

The opportunity to give came today

It’s my mom’s birthday today so I spent the whole day giving. We had a wonderful day together where I got to spoil my mother and let her know how much I loved and appreciated her. It was great to give today. The balance of giving and receiving is much healthier than it’s ever been with me.

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Enjoying the birthday gifts and wishes I have received!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I went to see Kim John Payne speak at The Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder last night. It was the first time I had heard him speak and it was a fantastic experience. The topic last night was about simplicity parenting. It was centered on creating a safe-haven for kids to grow up in where they weren’t inundated with hundreds of toys, tons of books, loads of clothes, too many extra-curricular activities and so on. It was really about allowing kids to have the room to imagine and create.

I had been purging for a couple of weeks

On Monday night, my husband and I had taken out three garden size trash bags full of toys to go to Goodwill. At one point, we looked at each other to say that we were embarrassed to have these many toys and we still have a whole closet full!

My friend came to visit a few weeks ago and I was shocked that the guest closet was full of stuff. I can’t even tell you what was in there. The day after she left, I went in there and got rid of everything that we didn’t use anymore. I did the same for another closet that was just storage space. I actually started to go into those rooms just to look at the closets because they made me feel so good.

I told my husband the other night that the house is slowly but surely getting lighter. I would walk into certain parts of our house and feel suffocated. I’ve purged the basement mostly, the garage and now I’m going to tackle my closet and my boys’ closets.

Realizing when we need to stop

I thought about what Payne was saying as to how it also ought to apply to adults. It’s amazing how instinctively we know what’s best for everyone around us but not ourselves. If my husband is coming down with something, I know it’s because he’s been working too hard and his body needs a break.

How come I can’t see that for myself? I feel it’s partly due to what we have come to accept as social norm. It is perfectly acceptable for someone to go to work from 7:30 in the morning until 5:30 at night, go workout, go grocery shopping, go meet friends for drinks, come home watch a little TV, go to bed right before midnight and get up the next morning to repeat the whole process over again.

Why did we ever eliminate the siesta anyway? I have to say, if you do have the ability to take a 30 minute nap in the middle of the day, it may be the best thing you can do for yourself.

Simplify to allow your genius to shine through!

Kim John Payne said, “Simplify to allow your child’s genius to come through.” I immediately thought about my pantry and freezer, both of which feel like they are going to explode from being overstuffed. I realized that I haven’t had the desire to cook anything in about a month. My cooking genius was stifled with too many choices!

He also talked about the fact that we give kids way too many choices that they don’t want to be bothered with. Here’s a typical conversation I might have with my kids at 7:15 in the morning, “Would you like ham or eggs for breakfast? Should I can make you French toast? or waffles? How about a bowl of cereal? Why won’t you answer me?” and I proceed to get frustrated. Whereas the day I make something for breakfast without asking my kids, they eat it without complaint and the house is peaceful.

I can’t say that I heard anything new last night. It was just great to be reminded. I have to say that I purge my closet and the house every few months now. I used to purge once a year if that and now once it gets to be a little chaotic, I know it’s time for a spring cleaning. I always remember not to overload my children with activities. I don’t allow play-dates during the week, I let them play only one sport and never say yes to video games or TV. I just don’t feel it’s healthy for their soul. I have given in to football though. I have to maintain the peace with the biggest JETS fan in the world; he is my husband after all.

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Even more excited to purge now!

Monday, October 18, 2010


I've been thinking about fate a lot lately. I’m wondering if our lives are somewhat mapped out before we come to Earth? Do we have a game plan prior to incarnating? When something doesn’t go our way, we usually hear the phrase, “It just wasn’t meant to be” or “It just wasn’t in the cards.”

Can we change our fate?

Maybe this is where the Law of Attraction comes into play. Maybe at one point, something wasn’t meant to be, but if we believe it enough, then we do change the outcome. It would be hard to think that the Law of Attraction doesn’t work. Are all the philosophers and spiritual teachers who have preached the Law of Attraction wrong? I believe if nothing else, the Law of Attraction helps us stay positive.

We also talk about “contracts” or “life lessons” that we’ve come to Earth to master. Examples of contracts are, setting boundaries, having joy, practicing patience, trusting, relationships, abandonment and so on. Let’s say our heart’s desire is to get married and have kids, but what if remaining single allows us greater spiritual growth? Do contracts and the Law of Attraction contradict each other at that point? Do contracts come before the Law of Attraction?

Law of Attraction versus contracts

It’s interesting to debate both sides of the story. The thing that makes the most sense to me is remaining positive and asking God, Spirit, The Universe (whatever resonates with you as a higher power) for what you want. I believe though that if it doesn’t go your way, then maybe that was for your best anyway.

This is life at the end of the day, people are going to die, tragedies are going to happen, earth quakes are going to hit and so on. Maybe the whole point is to lighten up some and just enjoy every day for what it is. If it’s a day that something sad happened, then be sad and if it’s a day to be happy, then be happy.

Is it meant to be?

I was at the Jets-Broncos game yesterday. The half-time show was dedicated to breast cancer survivors. They had truly wonderful stories of women who overcame such a tough event in their lives. One woman said that she is thankful for cancer because it has changed her for the better. Another survived breast cancer but now is battling terminal liver cancer. I wondered about her and fate. Can she change the outcome of what seems to be her destiny? It can be done, that I do know. I do pray that in her case, "It is meant to be that she is cancer free!"

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In thought about this!


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Your brand

I’ve been thinking about being authentic lately. I’m reading a book called, “If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You” by Kelly Cutrone. It’s a really interesting read. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favorite books, but I have found certain parts of it to be thought-provoking.

I’m at a part of the book where she talks about “your brand” and what it is you’d like that to be. I like to think of that as the question I ask my clients all the time, “Who are you?” She describes someone’s brand as pertaining to business and how they’d like to be viewed, but I’m taking it one step further to say, “What’s your brand in life?” If you’re authentic to your core values, then that brand carries with you in every aspect of your life.

Honesty … in everything!

I believe that honesty is the best policy and especially with yourself. If you can admit to yourself who you are and what it is you’d like to achieve in life, then it becomes easy to carry that torch into the world. Most of the time, the issue is that we don’t know what it is we really want and therefore, have a hard time “branding” ourselves.

Is there such a thing as too much support?

This author mentions in the book that she feels kids come into the business world with too much confidence due to their parents sheltering them and making them feel like they can accomplish anything. She feels that kids then get into the real world and are shocked. I totally disagree with that. I believe that was her reality and not necessarily the general rule. Support is necessary in life. If you feel supported, I think you’re more apt to accomplish.

I tell my kids that they can accomplish anything they’d like but most importantly they ought to love what they are doing. If you are doing something you love, then branding yourself is easy. It’s only a struggle when you’re struggling yourself. The easiest way to figure out what it is we really want is to spend some time in silence contemplating. Anytime you feel the downward spiral heading your way, take a break and meditate. You’re not doing anyone any favors by not figuring out what it is you’d like to accomplish in life.

Who do you want to be?

I find such inspiration from movies such as The Blind Side. I thought that was an amazing movie. I love the part where Michael Oher’s mother tells him that he can do with his life what he wants. She says to him, “It’s your decision, it’s your life” but she also says that she will support his decisions whatever they may be. That is support!

Support is allowing others to be what they really want to be without judgment. Now, do that for yourself as well. Really allow yourself to be the brand that you’d like to be.

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Have I mentioned I love writing this blog!

Monday, October 4, 2010

It was nice to see that ...

The other day, I observed an older gentleman holding the door open for his wife and her friend while they got in their car. First, he held the back door open until the friend got in and then he moved to his wife’s side and held her door open. I’m sure this man has opened the door for his wife every day of their lives together.

I grew up in Lebanon and men always opened the door for the ladies and never called shotgun. When I moved here at the age of 19, I remember not understanding what that was. I was naturally going to ride in the front seat as I was accustomed to. I also was shocked that none of the guys around would offer to carry something heavy.

My feminist phase

After living here for a certain amount of time, I didn’t expect it anymore and then I went to the other end of the spectrum where I did not want to be treated that way.

I totally take the blame for my husband not opening the door for me in our household. I went through a phase of being a feminist to a certain degree. He would open the door for me all the time and although it made me feel special, I remember rebelling somewhat against it. If he offered to carry a heavy for me, I’d get offended. It became my job to clean the garage because I could do it and it wasn’t only a man’s job.

I’ve softened my stance tremendously

It’s a total bummer for me that I went through that ridiculous phase, not to mention how confused I keep my husband. One year, he can’t open the door, the next he’s totally expected to. Who can keep up?

After seeing that older man treat his wife with such kindness and respect, I’ve realized that I crave that too. My husband is the ultimate romantic and I’ve always said that it was wasted on me, but not anymore! I feel it’s especially essential for him to treat me this way in front of our boys. Only if they see their dad treating their mom that way will they understand how to treat their wife later on.

My husband reads all my posts and I’m sure he’s rolling his eyes after this one, but I’m also sure that he will gladly start opening my door again. I feel that’s something that is part of his being and would gladly bring it back.

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Waiting for my hubby to get home so that he can lift the heavy boxes in our garage!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Knowing when to stop

I’ve been thinking about the title to this post for a while now. I went to the Broadmoor with three fabulous women this past weekend for a tennis camp. This weekend was a gift from my husband for Mother’s Day. We drove down there early Friday morning, had tennis drills from 9 am – 12 pm and then had a round-robin from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. We woke up the next day to have drills from 9 am – 12 pm again. When it got to the last hour of the drills on the second day, I was toast. I was so exhausted that I opted out of that last hour. That is what made me start to think about this post.

Identifying your limitations

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about the concept of homeschooling. While I admire those people who do it, that is something that I know is beyond my capabilities. I told her that for me, a huge part of parenting, is knowing your limitations and that is certainly one of them for me.

While some things such as homeschooling are easy for me to identify, others such as how much volunteer time I spend on something I enjoy is not. I love volunteering at our school. I love getting the opportunity to drive my kids to the Berry Patch Farm, or kite-flying with them for Michaelmas, or going on their hiking field trip and so on. The things that we enjoy the most are the ones we tend to have a hard time finding the balance with.

“I love me some ____.”

Zack’s new favorite phrase is, “I love me some ____.” I truly think it’s adorable and was totally taught to him by my husband. So, I’m going to use it to say, “I love me some great wine, I love me some fabulous cheese cake, I love me some tennis.” These are the ones that are a little harder to identify as to when we need to say “no” too. Part of me is so relieved that the tennis season is over, I don't even have to make the choice of whether to play or not.

I love writing this blog. I’ve said to myself that I will write at least two posts a week. I have not been able to do that this week. If I look back on the week, I’d say I spent it mostly at school, on kids’ sports activities, grocery shopping, laundry, and I cleaned two fridges and freezers among all the other household chores I did. I actually went to be at 7:30 pm on Tuesday night because I was so exhausted.

Just say no!

I wrote a blog a while back about moderation but this is more about when to say no. My friend Casey says, “No, is a full sentence.” Isn’t that fantastic! I use that all the time to people who are having a hard time saying no. There’s no need to justify or explain why you say “no” to something. When it feels like it’s too much the just say no.

If it feels like you’re already tipsy, don’t pour yourself another drink, it will only lead to a bad hangover. It is plenty to have a few bites of a rich dessert, more than that will make you sick. Let someone else volunteer for some things even though you may love doing them, it’ll allow you to have more time for others things that you also love doing.

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Feeling awesome that I got to write a post this morning!

Monday, September 20, 2010

What if?

I was contemplating the “what if” idea this morning. I wonder how many people shy away from doing something they would love to do because of the “what if something went wrong” statement.

How many things have we held ourselves back from because we are afraid that the outcome is not what we’d like it to be? Instead of asking, “What if I don’t get what I want?” maybe ask, “Well, what if I do?” The Wright brothers would have never flown an airplane with failure in mind.

Tackling your fears

I took a few years of classes with a spiritual teacher in Denver. One of the exercises she had her students do was something that was outside of one’s comfort zone or something that is a fear thing for them. So for instance, a fear thing for me would be to go up to the top of a three-story building and look down. I don’t have any problem looking down from an airplane or the Empire State Building, which I have been to the top of, but I do have fear of heights when there is depth perception. Some of my friends, who were challenged with this exercise, went skydiving.

I have been skydiving and paraponting. Paraponting is where you are attached to a parachute that is laid out open on the side of the mountain, when the wind is just right, you start running, the wind picks up the chute and then it’s just a matter of gliding down to the bottom. What a fantastic experience they both were! The scariest thing about skydiving was riding up in that dinky little airplane. I thought that thing was going to fall out of the sky at any moment.

Are we wiser?

The question is, “Would I engage in any of these activities now or would the ‘what if something went wrong’ statement get me?”

Certainly, things change when we get older. We are wiser and more mature so therefore don’t engage in some of the crazy activities any longer. I wonder if some of the joy of life gets sucked out that way.

My husband wants Louie to play tackle football. I’m pretty sure that Louie would love the opportunity to play but he can’t even imagine it because I am so against it. Am I being fair to him by imposing my fears on him? What if he totally enjoys it and has a blast?

The return policy does not apply to life experiences

I have a hard time buying something that’s a final sale because I love the return policy. I love buying something and trying it out at home to see if it truly fits. Life, fortunately, does not come with that same return policy. The only way to see if something truly fits is to try it out. The only way to experience something is to actually engage in the activity.

What’s holding you back from running a marathon, taking a month vacation in Indonesia, applying for a job that is not your specialty, starting your own business, surfing, skydiving, and the list goes on? Why wait until these become part of your bucket list? Go for it now!

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Maybe I will go skydiving again!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wisdom from a seven year old!

Zack, my five year old, has been having a rough go of it at school these past few weeks. He talks about hating school and never wanting to go back. As a mother, when I hear things like this, it certainly is a flag for me to get to the bottom of what’s going on. Of course, I started asking questions and trying to understand the source of my little guy’s anxiety.

A trouble maker in my son’s class

One of the reasons was that one of the little boys in his class has been bugging him lately. Louie, my oldest, used to be in the same classroom a couple of years ago and had the same little boy in his class. Louie remembers that little boy spitting on him and causing all sorts of trouble. I guess this same little boy hit another child with a shovel as well. I find that behavior outrageous and was very upset to hear that to be allowed at our school. Our school's kindergarten is play-based and all I'm asking is that my son go to school and be allowed the opportunity to play peacefully.

Louie and the Law of Attraction

I had to keep Zack out of school for a couple for a couple of days. I wanted his senses to calm down and make the school experience a good one again. While on our way back to school today, Louie was explaining to his brother how he needs to think to make his day better. His words went something along the lines of, “Zack, if you think you’re going to have a bad day then God will send you a bad day. If you think that someone is going to mess with you and make you miserable then that’s what God hears and for sure you will have someone mess with you and make you miserable.” He went on to say, “Zack, what I think you should do is say to yourself that you’re going to have a fantastic day and then that’s what God will definitely send to you.” He also gave me credit for being happy all the time and he thought it was because my thoughts were about being happy and so therefore, I was.

I was speechless. I couldn’t believe that a seven year old innately knew the Law of Attraction and was able to articulate it so amazingly. Jerry and Esther Hicks were in Denver this past weekend, I am sure that the attendance in that conference was a few hundred people who were all trying to learn, understand and apply the Law of Attraction.

Remembering the power within

I really do feel that the answers to anything that we are seeking are all within. Somewhere along our journey we forget to ask for what we want and truly believe that we can get it. If we can go back to that conviction that my seven year old has and truly believe that God, the Universe, Spirit, whatever name resonates with you is here for you and for your happiness, then I’ll bet life becomes a whole lot simpler. Sure we are often faced with situations that allow us to doubt that we can get what we want, but that is life; keeping the faith while facing life is huge.

The conversation with my boys today served to remind me of the power we have within. Whatever our “want” may be, nothing is too big for the Universe to deliver. Allow yourself to meditate daily so that the thoughts you put out there are the purest and truly reflect what it is you’d like to attract.

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Meditating on Zack having a fantastic kindergarten experience!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Going back to the basics

What a day with my kiddos today! They were both super cranky after school. My oldest son, Louie, hasn’t been eating enough at school and that is always a sure recipe for disaster. My youngest son, Zack, has been complaining about everything lately. He doesn’t want to go to school because he doesn’t like going on a morning walk, or his neck hurts, or he didn’t get a bagel in the morning and that means he can’t go to school and the list goes on.

Back to the basics

Rather than getting aggravated with them this evening, I decided to go back to the basics. My mom made them their favorite spaghetti and meat sauce dinner, Lebanese style. Louie’s exact words were, “Zack, how often does Teta (grandma in Arabic) make us American food. It may look disgusting, but it’s delicious.” He gobbled a whole plate full and his brother did the same. When bellies are full, life is good in my household.

A soak and a magazine?

They were starting to ask for popsicles and football after dinner but calmly told them we weren't going to do that tonight. I told them I was going to let them soak in my bathtub with their favorite bath toys. They love the idea of a bubble bath, so they were all into that. Louie asked me to turn the lights off and light all the candles. I turned on the jets and just let them soak away. At one point, they were laying side-by-side all relaxed in the tub. I felt all their tension from the day melting away.

After the bath, we went back to their room and read the latest “Humpty Dumpty.” They sat there mesmerized by stories of corn mazes and autumn moons. They asked me to read a few more books to them to which I answered, “Of course!” They chose books that I used to read to them when they were two and four. I must’ve read these books over fifty times to them, yet they both sat there listening as if it were the first time. It was time for our nightly prayers and lights out. No one of them fussed about anything and having been sleeping soundly since.

A quiet evening goes a long way

I think my boys needed a little quiet and normalcy. Transitioning back to school is tougher than we allow it to be for our kids. After a few months of summer with no schedule, having to get up and be “on” all day is tough. I think I’m on to something though. Louie asked me if they could have another bubble bath tomorrow night.

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Maybe, I ought to go sit in the massage chair right now and allow myself a little quiet time too!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

He can't possibly be in that box

For those of you that don’t know, my dog, Bones, died June 1st at the age of 17. My husband and I decided to have him cremated. It just didn’t feel right not to bring his remains home. I picked up his ashes a few weeks back. They put his ashes in a box that I have on a shelf in my room. Every once in a while, I look up and see them.

The other night I thought to myself, that’s not Bonesy in there. Bonesy is so much more than just ashes at this point. He is a spirit who has moved on to the afterlife and still in a huge way takes care of his family. I still see a yellow butterfly every now and again, a sure sign that my Bonesy is very much alive.

Do they really care what happens with their bodies?

I started thinking about all the rituals we’ve created around death as humans and the true significance of them. I’m wondering if Bonesy really cares about his remains and where they are?

I think it’s significant for us, those left behind, to do something for our loved ones who have moved on. It feels good to me to have Bonesy’s ashes in our home.

Friends of ours, who lost their dog this past year, planted a dogwood in their yard in memory of their pup. I thought this was a great idea and I think we’ll do the same for our Bonesy Bear.

The spiritual experience on Earth

I have always loved the expression, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. I totally believe that to be true. We are so much more than this lifetime that we are currently experiencing.

I feel like we come in and out of lifetimes on Earth to experience all that Earth has to offer us. In one lifetime, we may tackle the idea of learning how to have healthy relationships, in another, we may decide to learn how to trust, and in another, we may learn how to have balance and so on. I believe the overall theme for our experiences in every lifetime is joy.

We are here to experience life to its fullest with all of its richness. So why waste any time doing anything else? Let your desires be your guide in life and just do what it is you’d like to do. You’ve all heard the Nike slogan, “Just do it!”

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I’d love to get a workout in right now, I’m going to, “Just do it!”


Thursday, September 2, 2010

There's something to be said about paper ...

A while back, I switched to a paper calendar rather than the calendar on my phone. I blogged about how I felt about that switch at the time. There’s a whole other aspect to this that I hadn’t even realized until recently. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always had a fantastic memory. I never needed a calendar for anything; I would just remember everything that was coming up for me. For the longest time, I couldn’t remember a thing. I thought it was because I had kids and I was keeping track of more than one schedule. I have to say that ever since I’ve been writing things down, I remember everything again. There’s something to be said about using a pen and paper and how that gets imprinted on the brain.

A pen and paper …

I’ve always thought that there are great benefits to technology. I feel things like writing essays or books may actually be easier if written on a computer because of spell and grammar checks. However, there is something to be said about using your hand to pen something that is heartfelt. I love journaling as a guide to my inner thoughts. When I journal, I always hand write what it is that I’m feeling. I notice that if I’m feeling blue, then even my handwriting has a different look to it than when I am feeling bubbly and great.

I love Mandalas as a tool for meditation as well. Mandalas are beautiful drawings that are colored with coloring pencils. They are in the shape of a circle and while you are coloring, you are also going within. They are fantastic. It’s amazing when people color them in my meditation classes how much they get out of the exercise of coloring for 20 minutes. Now, after my calendar experience, I feel that the benefits of mandalas are also due to the contact with paper.

Handwritten notes

I love getting handwritten thank you notes. I will sometimes keep them to read over and over if the message was a heart-warming one. I will always praise the person who emails holiday cards or thank you notes if they are doing that to be eco-friendly, but I still love getting a handwritten note. I feel that contact with paper is tremendous for me. I always handwrite my thank you notes. I make myself a great cup of tea and truly enjoy the process. When I’m done with the stack, I have such a great feeling of accomplishment.

Wrapping paper

We are in the process of launching a Sally Foster fundraising campaign at school. There are so many debates going on as to whether that’s a true representation of our school and whether it’s eco-friendly and so on. I am extremely eco-friendly, but I have to say that I love wrapping paper. I especially love pretty wrapping paper. I love wrapping a gift for someone; it’s like my little stamp of love on it.

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Off to fill my new calendar that just came in the mail. It’s so pretty with beach images on every page!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. I usually am really good with change and love taking on new ideas. The change I’ve been pondering is a little different this time. It’s more about the seasons and how they affect our moods, rhythms and ideas.

Summer is winding down

I received an email from a friend of mine yesterday where the opening line was, “Hope summer went well and was fun and everyone is back to their regularly scheduled routine!!” Summer is about being laid back, having fun, not being on a schedule and so on. It is a time to unwind and be carefree.

During the summer, I never worry about schedules and routines. I just want my family to totally decompress. I never had to pack a lunch box for anything and honestly, that felt great! Towards the end of any school year, I’m always ready to stop packing lunches and having to worry about time schedules and all that.

Fall allows us the opportunity to start going within

The beginning of a school year represents the time of year where we start thinking about all we want to do in the next few months. A routine has been established for us and now we just need to figure out what to do with all the time. Think about school zones, they force the driver to slow down and pay attention to his surroundings.

Fall is right around the corner, the weather is getting somewhat cooler, garden vegetables are starting to wind down and I’m canning like crazy. There is such significance to canning zucchini, tomato sauce and peppers. It’s more than just saving some veggies for the winter, rather I feel it’s a time to preserve what we have and save it for later.

This is the time to begin the process of going within so that we can understand what it is we’d like to do. My friend’s email was about getting revved up on your yoga practice again. It may be the time to start that diet and exercise routine you’ve been putting off because summer is just so much fun and you don’t want to be bothered with it. It may be the time to write that book you’ve wanted to write. It may be the time to really get serious about finding that job and the list goes on.

Taking care of the light

We have a festival at the Waldorf School that my kids go to known as the Lantern Walk. The Lantern Walk takes place in November as the weather is getting colder and the days shorter. The kids create their own lanterns that are always so amazingly beautiful. We all gather at the school right when it’s getting dark to share a potluck meal together. Amazing soups, breads, apple cider and cookies make for an amazing feast. Then we go out with our children and the lanterns to walk around the neighborhood in silence. We end up at a local park where the kids sing songs in hushed voices.

I love this evening more than any other. I probably don’t know the true meaning of this night but for me, it represents an evening of being in silence and going within. It represents that light in the lantern being the light within us. That little light is enough to keep us going throughout the dark, cold winter. I love the significance of the light within. We all have that light within and tending to it is a must.

What am I going to get myself into?

At this point, I’m starting the process of going within. I am realizing what I’d like to sign up for as volunteer activities at school, what exercise program I’d like to take on and how to go about expanding my business. I like to do a check of how I’m performing as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I love this time of year. I’m looking forward to the leaves changing color and how that will affect what I ponder next.

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Off to help with the Sally Foster fundraiser at school. Have I mentioned that I love wrapping paper!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

I may have to practice what I preach

I've been a little discombobulated lately. I think it’s a combination of school starting for my kids, my husband being out of town quite a bit and me hurting my back. I was trying to reach for an overhead while playing tennis when I twisted my back and then landed on it twisted. It’s the pain that is constant and just wears me out.

My son’s prayer to Jesus a couple of night’s ago was, “Dear Jesus, please help mommy to calm down so that we can have some peace” or something along those lines. I had to laugh because there’s nothing like a seven year old putting me in my place.

Spiraling somewhat …

I had to go to my room after that comment and regroup. By the end of the day, my back hurts so bad that I just want an ice pack to numb the pain and a box of tissues so that I can cry. I realized that part of my stress is the lack of a meditation routine that is reliable.

Towards the end of summer, my kids’ demands become more pronounced and urgent in their minds. The first few weeks after school is out, they are content to play with their toys quietly while I meditate or get things done. These last two to three weeks, that certainly has not been the case. They constantly bickered and fussed over anything and everything. I have to say, it was really starting to get on my nerves. I found myself spiraling somewhat out of control.

A Reiki session – the perfect remedy

I love having energy work done on me. My friend came over yesterday and gave me a full Reiki session. I had never had one done before and I have to say it was fantastic. She is super intuitive, so together we were getting all sorts of great messages. It was such an aligning and balancing experience, I finally feel like my old self again.

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Meditation every day, here I come!

Friday, August 13, 2010

23 years ago ...

I've written about my dad so many times in my blogs, I'm sure you've realized how much of an influence he was and still is in my life. I love my dad so much and miss him so much all the time. He passed away 23 years ago on August 14, 1987. It seems like it was such a long time ago and yet I remember the details of that day as if it were yesterday. I was 13 years old at the time and thought the world of my dad. I can’t say that it came as a shock to me that he passed away since I’d been having feelings about it happening for about six years prior to the actual day.

I totally knew it was going to happen …

I have always been intuitive and I believe one of my earliest memories of getting a “hit” was knowing that my dad would pass away. I actually remember being about seven playing in the sand and I just knew. It made me sad for a whole lot of years. I never was able to tell anyone my feelings or fears because I didn’t know how to describe them myself. About two months before he passed, I would hear a voice in my ear telling me that it would happen. I remember moving my head and expressing, “NO!” Yet the feeling never went away.

My dad was the coolest!

I must’ve cried for four years non-stop every single day. I remember being in an extreme state of sadness all the time. My dad was the coolest. He was the dad who would leave work to oil my roller skates. He called the school principle once and told him that we all needed to go on a field trip to check out the icicles that had formed on the trees along the median right by our school. It was one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen until this day.

I have memories of my mom and dad holding hands and taking an evening walk together every day. He was always helping someone or doing something for someone. He was the guy who made the salad in our house. He always made a great lemon, olive oil and garlic sauce to go with it, we call that “zoom” in Arabic and he always scooped the zoom for me in pita bread to eat at the end because I loved it so much.

While in Lebanon this past summer, I went to go visit my aunt (my dad’s sister) who had just suffered a stroke. While sitting there, her husband asks her to look at me and tell him who she saw. He told me that whoever knew my dad would know that I was his daughter because I looked so much like him. He told my brother and me that he had lost a lot of people in his life, but only two people’s passing had affected him greatly, one of which was my dad. He told us the he has a picture of my dad in his home so that he could remember to live his life with the highest ethical standards and morals because that is what my dad represented to him. I felt honored to listen to my uncle talk about my dad in such a fantastic way. I am always eager to hear stories about my dad, because I was so young when he passed away.

I have accepted it but it doesn't mean I like it

I read a book called, “Healing Grief” by James Van Praag about four years ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with grief of any kind. It helped me move through the phases of grief with my dad to a much healthier one which is where I am at right now. I don’t know that I’ll ever be fully “over it” or healed, but I can say that I have accepted his passing but I miss him all the time especially the night before the anniversary of his passing.

I miss you and love you dad more than words can express! I am patiently waiting for the huge bear hug that only you could give.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"I would never want to deprive anybody of the learning experience of losing"

I just finished reading Andre Agassi's book Open. It is a fantastic book and captivated me from the first chapter. I really could not put it down; I took every opportunity I had to read it. I finished the book in less than a week and its almost 400 pages.

I enjoyed seeing him evolve as a person

A lot of people I’ve talked to it didn’t like how negative he was about playing a game he was amazing at. He talks a lot about hating tennis throughout the book, but that didn’t bother me at all. I felt that he was a troubled person trying to do the best he could in the situation he was in.

I empathized with him having to do something he didn’t totally enjoy because he was good at it and didn’t feel like he had an alternative. I enjoyed seeing how he evolved with from being a confused or maybe lost boy, to a rebel teenager, to an adult, all the while trying to find himself. I loved the fact that he ultimately channeled his passion into building a K-12 charter school for underprivileged kids. I find that to be an incredible quality to admire.

Career ups and downs

He had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He went from being number one in the world to not being ranked, back to being ranked and etcetera. During one of his upward slopes, he beat a guy in the first round of the 2005 US Open in 61 minutes. The following is word for word from the book:

“Reporters say it was a massacre. They ask me if I feel bad about beating him.
I say: I would never want to deprive someone of the learning experience of losing.
They laugh.
I’m serious.”

You would have to have read his book to appreciate how great that was to come out of him.

I’ve never really thought about losing being an ultimate win

Agassi talked a lot about his tournament losses and how they shaped and affected him. I’ve thought about that line a lot and I believe it to be really true. I feel losses make us exponentially better. The losses could be sports related as were those mentioned in Agassi’s book, but they could also be life losses or any other kind.

I believe that at the heart of every loss there is a win for us if we can see it. I feel that losing sometimes allows us the opportunity to see how much we really had wanted something and therefore appreciate it when we do win. It may also make us work harder and give it our all. I belong to a tennis league and I always joke that the social hour is so much more fun after a win, but I can’t deny the benefits of losing as well.

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Going to give it my best at tomorrow night’s match!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I still don't know how I feel about it ..

My son is in tennis camp this week. He is seven years old playing like a 12 year old. He’s doing amazingly well. He loves playing matches, he loves hitting the ball hard with his friends, his serves are amazing, his net game is fantastic … it really is such a joy to see. The only problem is that he’s got so many emotional issues to go with that fantastic game, that I don’t know how to deal with him half the time.

He’s so complex, who knows what he’s thinking?

I constantly joke that I need to go back to school and earn a psychology degree to deal with my son. He has been a challenge from day one. He’s super smart and extremely talented in everything he does, but he’s wound up so tight, we fear he may explode one day.

I embarrass my son, really?

My other little guy had a play date today with one of his buddies. We had to take that little guy to swim lessons and wait for him to finish. We thought that we’d go watch some tennis while waiting. It just so happened that my oldest and his team were on break while we were there. My oldest looked visibly disturbed. I asked him if something was wrong and his answer was, “Well, I don’t know if I want to tell you because your feelings might get hurt.” That’s when I realized that he was embarrassed by me. He didn’t want me sitting in the same area he and his friends were, and he certainly didn’t want me talking to him at all. He eventually told me all that, so I decided to move. I decided to move because I didn’t want to deal with it right then and there. I wanted him to go back to his lesson without falling apart, because he had started crying already.

I still don’t know how I feel about it?

I was very upset to say the least. I thought to myself, “If he doesn’t want me around at seven, what’s in store for me when he’s 14?” I’m writing this over 12 hours later and I still don’t know how I feel about it. When we came home, I explained to him that it wasn’t nice to be embarrassed by your mother. I told him that he was to value his parents and grandparents, not feel like he didn’t want them around. He’s displayed such behavior before around my mother as well. He said that he felt bad about it and he was sorry, but I’m not sure I believe him. I’m not sure that if I come around tomorrow during his tennis lesson, he won’t be the same exact way.

Appreciation is not demanded

Part of me feels like we can’t make people appreciate us or respect us. Respect and appreciation are earned or given, not demanded. Maybe I just have to wait for the day that he loves having me around, regardless of what crowd his hanging around with. Or maybe, I should give him the silent treatment for a couple of days to make him come around. Hmmm ... something to think about.

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Going to bed a little sad tonight,

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why worry about the fish?

We were at a fantastic birthday party the other night. My friend is turning 40 this Christmas Day, so decided to celebrate her half-birthday in July. They had a Christmas tree, gourmet turkey sandwiches (which were incredible!) and a fabulous Christmas tree shaped cake. She wanted her night to be special and it truly was.

Her mom had put together a slide-show of pictures of her throughout her life. It was fantastic to see pictures of her when she was a baby and then pictures of her babies. It made me think about the circle of life and how it is truly continuous.

My husband is the “ultimate environmentalist?”

My husband was talking to some other friends, while I was hanging out with a different group. He comes back to tell me that he got accused of being “the ultimate environmentalist.” I was very proud of him and told him that’s the greatest compliment. Apparently, they had been talking about the oil spill in the gulf and offshore drilling. One of the guys, a big oil guy, told my husband that we need to worry about people getting to work, not the fish. Obviously, my husband wasn’t of the same opinion.

Humans depend on one another for survival

I’ve really thought about that statement for a couple of days now. I thought about how my friend was a baby and now has babies herself. I thought about the fact that we are all inter-connected and how we all depend on each other to exist. I thought about how, “It takes a village to care for a baby.” I feel that no human can truly survive on their own. We are all dependant on one another. Each of us has a role that we play and if we don’t, then it will absolutely affect humanity.

Humans fully depend on the environment

We are not only dependent on each other though. We are 100% dependent on our environment. We breathe the air, eat the food and drink the water. Everything that is needed for our survival comes from our environment. If we’re polluting our oceans with oil, ultimately that oil is getting ingested by us. One way or another, that circle will come full-circle right back on our plates.

Yes, I’m still on the environmentalist kick, but hey, when things make me think, you usually hear about it.

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Extremely thankful for the clean water I will use to water my vegetable garden!