Friday, October 23, 2009

scrumptious morsels of food for thought...

Today I did something that the 'old' me would NEVER have done for so many reasons. I painted. It started out like this:

I had an old flower pot that one of my friends gave me. When she gave it to me there was a plant in it...a plant that I really loved, but I went out of town once this summer and forgot to ask Jeff to water it, so it's dead and gone. I'd considered throwing the pot out, but today decided to paint on it instead. This is how it turned out.

{Around the rim, it says: I AM BRAVE SO I...}

{defend myself
chase my dreams
try new things
defend my beliefs
and the last one -not pictured - says serve others}

I didn't make it to impress anyone or for any reason except I felt like I had to put that out there.  For some weird reason, I felt like I had to paint something, which is kind of a break through for me.  I think that I have never been good at art or anything like that because I don't try and I don't try because I think that for it to look good it has to be perfect.  And I needed to let it not be perfect and be okay with that.  And it felt SO good!  And I didn't think about the colors or what anyone would think about them, I just used the colors I wanted to because I wanted to.  That felt good too.  I don't know why I knew I needed to do that, but I did, and it feels good. :)

I have had SO much on my mind this last week. I feel like there are so many things for me to do, but I can't focus on them, and maybe if I get everything that is swimming in my head written down, I will be able to push my energy toward other things. Although now that I've said that, I almost take it back because the things that have been on my mind have been profound and life-altering. Things I need to be thinking about and things that will propel me toward what I am really, truly after in this life.

It all started at Brave Girls Camp (affectionately known as BGC) last week. I went to support my incredible mom and aunt in their crazy idea to start retreats for women. "Life changing fun" is what they called it. And I was truly expecting that for everyone else. I expected magic. I expected to meet phenomenal women who I knew would be attracted to the incredible spirit of BGC. I knew it would be a singular experience for them because I believe it is inspired and I knew about the love and work and faith that went into it. I did NOT expect to come home changed. I didn't expect to have the feelings I have had this week. I didn't expect to come home with so many answers and a thousand times more questions. I felt so uplifted by the energy there and what I was able to experience, but I feel so jumbled about what to do with it. I desperately need the clarity that I know would come (and did come for so many) from doing the introspective projects up there. I didn't get to do them because I was working the entire time, which is what I wanted to do there. But I can't go on without them...I need to clear my mind - make a clear place for my goals and find out for myself where my peace is, so I can make sure I stick close to it. I feel like I will be stuck unless I figure things out, so I am improvising and doing my own my little flower pot.

So much of this for me is only a matter of going back to who I really am. And I know that's the whole point - to be true to ourselves and the things we know we need to do...things no one else can do because we are completely unique and have talents that no one else has. I used to do things like this. I used to feel so clear on where my life was going and what I wanted to do. I used to keep a journal where I'd glue things I'd found in magazines, and I'd track my progress on different things and write about whether this or that was working in my life or not. I used to put pictures in it of things I wanted. And pictures of things I just liked....for no other reason than that I liked them.  And I feel like for the last few years I have let all of that go. I feel like I have been sleeping during that time...not really accomplishing a lot personally. Maybe I felt like my life should be 'given' to my new little family, or to the people around me. I know that wasn't an intentional decision because it's not what I believe in my heart, but maybe I let myself slip into that decision by not deciding to do anything else. BGC to me felt like waking up from that. Only it's not like waking up peacefully after sleeping in on a Sunday morning. It's like waking up at 8am on a Sunday morning and running to the bathroom, getting yourself all ready (forgetting deoderant), running out the door and turning back toward home only when you get to the office which is when you realize that it is in fact Sunday and not Monday. I feel kind of confused (for a lack of better words). I feel an incredible almost overpowering sense of potential. I feel a sense of urgency about getting to where I need to be SO THAT I can do what I'm supposed to do.

It feels like swimming in mud. I can't see where I'm going, and it's hard to move my arms and legs because mud is thick and holding still for so long has made my muscles weak. BUT....BUT BUT BUT....I do believe in the power of change. I do believe that I can decide today who I want to be and then make choices all day long that lead to that decision. I don't believe that I have to be stuck in the mud and I plan to get out quickly. The only thing standing in my way is deciding what it is I want...what I REALLY want....where my peace is. Small questions - HUGE answers.

Today {TODAY} I am going to take action on some of this. I am going to start by taking Jeanne's advice (my sweet, brave girl, Jeanne) and I am going to carve out a creative space in my house. A place for me to make things...a place that I don't have to clean up every day. It's going to be in my (unfinished) basement. But I think that finished or not, I can have a fun, happy space...I mean look at that old army tent they used at BGC! I'm going to get out the very few art supplies that I have and use them and invite other people to use them. I am going to leave my sewing machine out and use it whenever I want. And over the next week or two I am going to take my lovely blue and yellow journal and fill it with my dreams and goals and HUGE aspirations, and I'm going to believe in them again and believe in me again. I'll let you know how that goes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I am a Brave Girl

So it's been a couple weeks since I last posted.  You might think there's no such thing as a good excuse, but wrong-o...I have a good one. I spent the last 2 weeks preparing for and going to a Brave Girls Club Retreat.  And I can't stop thinking about it.  Seriously.  I've been putting this post off on purpose because there are a million things I could and should be doing to get caught up around the house.  But I find myself doing a little chore, then coming back to the computer to check facebook and blogs and see what the other "Brave Girls" have written about their experiences there.  I figure MAYBE if I get everything that's in my heart about this incredible REVOLUTION I might be able to focus on something else for 10 seconds.  (m a y b e) :) 

{The Brave Girl Cabin}

Brave Girls Club is something my mom and aunt (two of my best friends).  Their slogan, which describes everything they do is: "Life-changing FUN for women".  There is so much I could say as an "insider" about the planning, preparation and most of all, the LOVE that has gone into creating this new community of women.  The retreat we went to was no different.  I went as staff, so I didn't get to participate in everything that was going on.  I spent most of my time helping to make meals and snacks unforgettable, which I loved.  But despite not being able to work on the projects and introspection that everyone else did, I feel like it was a life-changing experience.  I can't imagine how much MORE incredible it was for the women who came and took full advantage of it.

{This morning fog was beautiful!}

We arrived on Monday afternoon and spent the next day and a half getting the cabin all beautiful before everyone got there.  Seriously no detail was overlooked....the decor was amazing, the dishes were stunning and eclectic, the food was outrageously good (which means no butter, no cream, no carbs...right?  RIGHT?) :).  We had an amazing time getting set up, and when the bus full of Brave Girls pulled up it was like Christmas!  We were so excited for everything that awaited them...and if the other staff had expectations like mine, we had NO idea what was in store for any of us.  

 It was life-changing....all of it.  I learned (again) that women need each other...we just do.  We have a gift for nurturing and inspiring and comforting and we ought to share that not only with our husbands and our children but with each other.  I learned that everyone struggles, and that it doesn't matter what our individual problems are, and if they're big or small to us, our struggles are the same.  But the biggest lesson I learned is the lesson of CHOICE.  That crap isn't perfect and if we're lucky it never will be, but no matter what happens, we have a choice about what to do with it.

{My amazingly talented, fun-loving aunt and bestie Melody...
the one behind the art and life-changing projects.}

{My beautiful, wonderful, also amazingly talented aunt Lynda and mom -Kathy- who provided good food and out-of-this-world live music.}

My dear friend, Tamara, who taught me piano when I was in high school, and whose family has been a big part of my life spoke on one of the nights about this.  She talked about the hard things she's gone through in her life and how she's learned to make choices.  Choices about not blaming others, choices about staying when she wanted to leave, choices about her attitude toward life and what happens in it.

What really drove this lesson home for me, and really catapulted me into changing and believing in choices was when I was talking to my friend Cami about something (of course I don't remember what...maybe her weight or something...she's back to her high school size now...ROCK. ON.)  Anyway, she said something I will never never NEVER forget.  "I woke up one day and decided I didn't want to be fat anymore."  Does that hit you as profoundly as it did me?  And like I said before...nothing I'd never heard before. I know I have choices, but I can't get that out of my head and every time something tries to get me off course I think about what she said, "I DECIDED..."

{The art tent...such a lovely illustration of the power of change....something old and ugly and used for ugly, dark war...changed into something beautiful where lives are transformed and changed forever!}

I think sometimes we think we have to deal with whatever is handed to us.  And it's true that a lot of crap comes our way, and life isn't perfect and our big plans sometimes bomb and WE sometimes BOMB, but the thing is who we are is NOT who we have to be.  It is an accumulation of all the choices we've made (whether on purpose or by default) in the PAST.  We have a choice about who we want to be in 5 years and in 10 years and TOMORROW!  How empowering is that?  We can decide what to do with what we have today.  Like the golf rule says: Play it where it lies.

I can take my life and my body and my home and my marriage and my character TODAY, the way they are, just the same way I would take a piece of clay, and change them into whatever I want them to be.  It doesn't matter how lumpy or drab or weak they seem to be from all they've been through in the yesterdays....I can start molding them now and making them into the masterpieces that a beautiful life should be full of.  And I'm going to!

Along those same lines, there was a project about making promises to yourself.  I haven't gotten mine to paper's something I plan to do this week in my lovely Brave Girls journal.  How incredible to make promises to yourself on things you don't want to fudge on.  Here are some of my promises -
  • I promise to take care of my get to my right weight and stay there both for myself and for my family and loved ones.  
  • I promise to be true to the musician inside of me and to take the steps needed to develop my talents even further.  I promise to use those talents to bless others.
  • I promise to be more forward, open and honest with myself and others about what I really want.
  • I promise to start breaking down the walls around my heart that prevent me from making deep and lasting friendships.
I can't wait to dive further into this and maybe get a chance to make up for what I missed at this incredible retreat.  YOU HAVE TO GO!  The next one is in February, but they're happening 4 times per year.  If you want to go in Feb, I suggest you get signed up ASAP, because I have an "in" with the lady in booking and the spots are going FAST.  :)

{Such a perfect picture -- It's All Good.  This is what the dining room looked like every night.  And this is what it felt like to be's ALL good!!  Don't you want to BE THERE??}

This is an amazing, inspiring revolution - come be part of it...come be a BRAVE GIRL!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

cleaning up a greasy mess: how to get grease out of clothes

So a few weeks ago the starter went out in our car, and my husband decided he'd fix it.  He spent a good 4 hours on that project, and at one point his arms were c o v e r e d in grease up to his elbows.  This is what his hands looked like after he'd wiped them off:

I guess he didn't think when he started that he'd get so messy because he didn't change out of his nice jeans and before he knew it, they were also covered in grease.  I don't know if you can tell in the picture below (my husband is the one on the left...the one with the greasiest pants), but they are pretty bad.  When I pointed it out, he was totally bummed and thought he'd have to throw them out for sure.  Luckily for him (and his pants), my mother taught me the secret of getting grease out of anything....


 The secret is dishwashing liquid.  Now that you think about it, it makes perfect sense, right?  No matter what brand, dishwashing liquids all boast 'grease-cutting power', right?  So now that you know what to use to get the grease out of clothes, here's how I do it...

1. Get your supplies - a bottle of dishwashing liquid (I use plain ol' Dawn), and a scrub brush if you have one.  You're going to want to do this over the sink or tub, since it will get plenty wet and soapy. (Also, I never know about the dyes in the soap, BUT better safe than sorry....if there is grease in a white shirt, I try to use soap with little color, so I don't exchange one stain for another).

2. Get the greasy area wet, and squeeze dishwashing liquid onto the wet spot generously.  Scrub with the scrub brush (on something like jeans) or rub the clothes against themselves.  You're going to want to use some elbow grease (as if you needed more). :)

3. Keep adding soap and water, and scrub, scrub, scrub.  Once you think the grease is gone, rinse the suds off (it's nearly impossible to rinse all the soap out - let the washing machine do that).

4. When you're satisfied that you've done your best, throw the clothes into the wash.  Make sure you check them again before you throw em in the dryer.  If there is still grease left, it will be easier to get it out before it is set-in with all that heat.

Best wishes to you and here's to saving clothes from greasy blunders and oily misfortunes!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Worth your time...

I am currently reading a book called The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist.  It's a book I just happened to come across when I was perusing the isles at the library, and I think we were meant to come together.

I don't know how good I am at book reviews, but I will tell you that if I don't like a book, I don't finish it.  If I think it's poorly written or doesn't seem to share any useful and/or life-changing information, I don't waste my time.  This book has been incredible, and I highly recommend it.  For example, check out this excerpt (it took me FOR.EVER to pick just one paragraph :)

"What is enough?  Each of us determines that for ourselves, but very rarely do we let ourselves have that experience.  What is the point at which we're fulfilled, where we have everything we want and need, and nothing in excess?  Very few of us can recall moments in life when we have felt that....we mostly breeze right past the point of enough as if it's not even there.  There comes a point where having more than we need becomes a burden.  We are overcompensated, overstuffed, swimming in the excess, looking for satisfaction in more or different ways.  The experience we crave of being fulfilled in life cannot be found in the chase for fulfillment or the chase for more of anything..."

Lynne Twist talks about how the rich and the poor (for the most part) are in the same emotional boat.  The poor fear that there is not enough for them in this world, and the rich fear that they will lose what they have.  The poor want more, and the rich want more.  Her point is that for some reason we think that we will be happy if we can get our hands on enough money, enough things, and that there's some kind of illusive point at which we think we will have enough to be happy.  Thing is, that point never comes because no matter how much we make and how much we have, our tendency is to want more.  This rings so true to me...I am living proof!

I think the meaning of a book can be different for each person who reads it, and that different lessons stick out to different people for a reason.  The meaning and what I think the point is, is she wants us to find satisfaction and fulfillment and soul in life regardless of what we have or don't have.  We can reach that place we've been looking for TODAY, by making the choice to be there.  By believing that we do and will always have everything we need, by reaching out with our excesses and helping the people around us.  As she puts it, using our money to express our "soulful commitments".  

I think she's right, and I am enjoying the freedom and richness of life that comes by getting off the hamster wheel in the illusive search for more and being grateful and content with the incredible things I have already!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

far greater and more important....

It's not an easy job...being a mom.  I was reading some quotes by a great man named Spencer W Kimball who had some incredible a powerful things about motherhood.  It seems that he understands what a lot of people in our day and age have forgotten...that motherhood is one of the most important jobs on earth.  To women, he said, " are to become a career woman in the greatest career on earth--that of homemaker, wife, and mother."  He went on to talk about how the home is the best place for us, and when compared to working outside the home or for pay his response was, "They have a far greater and more important service to render".

I think that sometimes as full-time wives and mothers we feel like we have the "easy job".  The one that doesn't contribute as much because we don't bring in a paycheck.  I felt so encouraged and inspired by the words "they have far greater and more important service to render."  When I really work at it, I feel the divinity of my job as wife and mother in my home.  I feel like making my house a clean, organized, happy haven for my family, making sure everyone has wholesome food to eat and clean clothes to wear; and making sure my baby knows his mom will always be there with smiles and kisses...those are important things.  But when you're knee deep in laundry, up to your elbows in dishes and behind on everything else it's hard remember that there's some divine role stuck in all of it.  Hope this serves as a good reminder - I know that's what it did for me.

"Motherhood is the greatest potential influence either for good or ill in human life. The mother's image is the first that stamps itself on the unwritten page of the young child's mind. It is her caress that first awakens a sense of security; her kiss, the first realization of affection; her sympathy and tenderness, the first assurance that there is love in the world...This ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness, yes, longing to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, . . . deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God..."    
-David McKay

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So my cousin has 2 little boys ages 4 and 7 months.  She just went back to work, and I've been watching her kids while she figures out a permanent solution for them.  They are both as sweet as sugar, but the 4-year-old has got enough personality to go around.

The other day he was eating his highly nutritious lunch of mac n cheese and carrots, and when I thought he was all done, he asked for more mac n cheese.  My most responsible answer was, "I'll give you more carrots..."  to which he replied in his sassiest voice, "Well I'm not hungry!"  He sure told me.  humph. ;)

easier to have control than to have faith...

Don't you think it's easier to have control of a situation than to let someone else handle it and trust that they'll take care of it?  I think that's the reason that we women are known for being maybe a little naggy.  We 'nag' and give advice with the best of intentions.  We want things to get done and we have ideas for doing them better, so we share them.  I don't think we see anything wrong with it, since we welcome advice and suggestions with open arms - we even seek it out.  But I don't think our husbands (and sons and brothers etc) take it with the same attitudes we do.

I recently read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus...what an eye-opening book that was to the way men think and act.  In books, I always enjoy the little stories that help drive a point home.  Here's one of them that I really liked from this book:

(Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus  by John Gray pages 138-140)

Deep inside every man there is a hero or a knight in shining armor.  More than anything, he wants to succeed in serving and protecting the woman he loves.  When he feels trusted, he is able to tap into this noble part of himself.  He becomes more caring.  When he doesn't feel trusted he loses some of his aliveness and energy, and after a while he can stop caring.

Imagine a knight in shining armor traveling through the countryside.  [And look how helpful I am...I even make the imagining easy with pictures....]  :)

Suddenly he hears a woman crying out in distress.  In an instant he comes alive.  Urging his horse to a gallop, he races to her castle, where she is trapped by a dragon.  The noble knight pulls out his swords and slays the dragon.  As a result, he is lovingly received by the princess.

As the gates open, he is welcomed and celebrated by the family of the princess and the townspeople. He is invited to live in the town and is acknowledged as a hero.  He and the princess fall in love.

A month later the noble knight goes off on another trip.  On his way back, he hears his beloved princess crying out for help.  Another dragon has attacked the castle.  When the knight arrives he pulls out his sword to slay the dragon.

Before he swings, the princess cries out from the tower, "Don't use your sword, use this noose.  It will work better."

She throws him the noose and motions to him instructions about how to use it.  He hesitantly follows her instructions.  He wraps it around the dragon's neck and then pulls hard.  The dragon dies and everyone rejoices.

At the celebration dinner the knight feels he didn't really do anything.  Somehow, because he used her noose and didn't use his sword, he doesn't quite feel worthy of the town's trust and admiration.  After the event he is slightly depressed and forgets to shine his armor.

A month later he goes on yet another trip.  As he leaves with his sword, the princess reminds him to be careful and tells him to take the noose.  On his way home, he sees yet another dragon attacking the castle.  This time he rushes forward with his sword but hesitates, thinking maybe he should use the noose.  In that moment of hesitation, the dragon breathes fire and burns his right arm.  In confusion he looks up and sees his princess waving from the castle window.

"Use the poison," she yells.  "The noose doesn't work."

She throws him the poison, which he pours own the dragon's mouth and the dragon dies.  Everyone rejoices and celebrates, but the knight feels ashamed.

A month later, he goes on another trip.  As he leaves with his sword, the princess reminds him to be careful, and to bring the noose and the poison.  He is annoyed by her suggestions but brings them just in case.

This time on his journey he hears another woman in distress.  As he rushes to her call, his depression is lifted and he feels confident and alive.  But as he draws his sword to slay the dragon, he again hesitates.  He wonders, Should I use my sword, the noose, or the poison.  What would the princess say?

For a moment he is confused.  But then he remembers how he had felt before he knew the princess, back in the days when he only carried a sword.  With a burst of renewed confidence he throws off the noose and poison and charges the dragon with his trusted sword.  He slays the dragon and the townspeople rejoice.

The knight in shining armor never returned to his princess.  He stayed in this new village and lived happily ever after.  He eventually married, but only after making sure his new partner knew nothing about nooses and poisons.

The End

So obviously our husbands don't leave every day and face dragons head on, but they do face challenges that are very dragon-like -- providing for a family is a huge deal, and could be a dragon.  In what ways do we tell our completely capable dragon-slaying knights in shining armor how to kill their dragons - what weapons to take and how to use them?

Women give advice to everyone, because we like it.  We love to receive it, so we assume everyone else loves to as well.  It's one of the ways we show love.  But maybe instead of giving advice to our husbands, a better thing to do is to ask, "How can I help you?"  He will ask for help if he needs it or wants it.  If not, I think we would be better off taking a walk and biting our tongues.  What about saying encouraging things more often...things like, "I know you'll figure it out..."  "You're doing such a good job..."  "Thank you for working so hard to provide for our family..."  "Thank you for....[insert the other million things he does]".

We all yearn for the picturesque love story.  Maybe not one with pricesses, knights and dragons, but we all want to be taken care of by the man we love and guess what - they want to take care of us to.  BUT before they can they need to know we trust them to figure things out, take the lead and slay the 'dragons' of this world in their own way.  If we let them, they will and we'll all be happier for it. 

the 7 goddesses

These 7 goddesses share their wisdom with the rest of us. Click on their tabs above to learn their lessons and read their tips:

APHRODITE - goddess of love & beauty - this is you

NYX - goddess of night - lessons on wifery (is that a word?) and all things night time

LETO - goddess of motherhood - all things related to motherhood

DEMETER - goddess of food & harvest - and for that reason, my favorite. Find tried and true recipes here

HESTIA - goddess of hearth & home - on making your house a home

ATHENA - goddess of wisdom - making learning a lifelong journey (plus a killer book list)

ELPHIS - goddess of hope - cause we could all use a little more!

Good for a laugh

"My dad hates brownies when they're gone." -Hudson age 2


all things goddess | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates