Saturday, December 31, 2016

Shiny, Happy New Years!

The earth has completed its rotation around the sun again, which means one thing – it’s time for New Year’s.  Time for sparkly dresses, champagne, gym ads, diet fads and those often spoken-never kept words – resolutions.  We hear the term “new year, new you” over and over and as I get older, I think we are getting it all wrong.  You don’t need a “new you” – you just need to strip away what’s not real. It’s not time to start over to create something new.  It’s time to take stock of what’s not working, get in tune with what is, and share that awesomeness with the world. THAT is the new you.

What did you hold back in 2016? Were you afraid of success? Did you place other’s happiness above your own?  Did you forget what makes you happy? Did you forget to dream?  If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, it is okay because we can start all over again right this second.  2017 can be Your Year!  Give yourself permission.

Let’s start by peeling apart the layers of what is not working.  What layers do you need to shed?  Is a job holding you back? Is negative energy your roadblock? Are you eating poorly? Are you in toxic relationships?  These are all things you have control over.  Give yourself love and permission to fix what is broken.

What is working?  Are you finding success in a career you adore?  Are you in love? Are you proud of yourself?  Do you make a positive influence in someone’s life?  Are you a role model?   Are you a good friend? Now that you can establish what has to go and what you are proud of, you can take YOU out of the equation.  It is the interaction and relationship with others that give meaning to life.  That’s what’s important.  What do you have left to offer?  What are things you have left that can be shared with others? 


Do you have a special talent, or trait, or time to share?  I know you do.  Everyone has something to give of themselves that can impact someone else in a positive way. Taking time to make note of them in the New Year, may uncover some fantastic action.  For example, instead of thinking about becoming a vegetarian, maybe someone will teach a cooking class at a community center for seniors?  Instead of promising to spend more time with the kids again this year, maybe someone will sign the entire family up for Tae Kwon Do.  Instead of complaining about the political climate of 2017, maybe someone will take action and write their congressman or March on Washington?   Whatever, it may be, we all have the ability to take action, to encourage, to make change or to influence.  We all have special gems that make us sparkle.  The trick is not to keep them hidden.  We need to encourage those around us to shine and grow.  I am “simply positive” if we focus on our real selves and let the best parts of us shine, we will live in a bright, sparkly shiny 2017.  Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Tradition, Tradition

Christmas is a magical time spent with family and friends.  It is also a time rich in tradition.  I often hear this word thrown around during the holidays but I hadn’t given it too much thought.  Obviously, there’s the “tradition” of putting up a tree, and going to church and all the things people who celebrate Christmas, do, but what about the rest of us?  What does it mean for us? 

My initial mind bubble took me to our own customs of lighting the menorah and playing dreidel – those are our Jewish traditions.  But really, traditions are so much more important that just the practice of repeating something year after year.  These rituals or customs are what connect our present to the past.  They are placing importance of where we came from; appreciating and celebrating where we came from; and acknowledging how we got to where we are today. It is establishing importance on where we’d like to see our next generations go.  It is so much bigger than today.  Our private jokes, secret handshakes, goofy smiles, special rituals, cultural stories, heirloom recipes, religious customs – these are the things that blend together to form family.  They connect us and unify us.  They give us comfort and security.  They are things to be treasured and appreciated.

I have had almost twenty years of building my own family traditions, and as my children are about to move into adulthood, I’m feeling a push to put our traditions in Broadway lights so they don’t forget them.  I wanted to make this years’ holiday this best one yet, so I decided to take on a new tradition in our house – An Evening of Gluttony: The Christmukkah Dinner on Christmas Eve. 

I shopped and cooked and cleaned and prepped…….and then I shopped and cooked and cleaned and prepped.  I had forgotten how much work it was to throw a dinner party.  The truth is, I love it.  I love all the little details….of matching every little detail; putting in the extra touches to make my guests feel special; to set the mood for a special memory.  It was three full days of preparing and shopping, but I really was just happy that I had special people in my life to share the evening with.

Day one, I set my table, which is my favorite thing to do.  I love bringing out my grandmother’s china and silver and setting a beautiful table.  Setting the table reminds me of when I was a little girl, as that was my job for family holidays.  The dining room is filled with family heirlooms and I always feel surrounded by love.  It dawned on me that the tradition of setting this table had been passed down for hundreds of years and I had never really taught my own children to set a proper, formal table.  This holiday was reminding me more and more, that even though I did not have Christmas traditions, my family had plenty of their own.

On day two of my prep, my sister-in-law came over to prepare latkes with me.  This is a very, very labor-intensive job of peeling potatoes, chopping, shredding and frying.  It is super messy and super smelly.  Friends who heard I was doing this asked why in the world I would do this when I could buy them at Trader Joes and spare the work and stench?  Truth be told, I was cherishing the memory of making them with my late father and loving the idea of making new traditions of making them with my sister-in-law.  It turned out to be even more fun than I thought and David joined the fun as well.  My house still smells but it was worth it. 

The day of the dinner was Christmas Eve and “Julie’s Mommy’s Pistachio Cake” fell so I had to GASP run to the grocery store for new supplies.  This cake has been part of my life for over 20 years.  My college BFF’s mother makes this cake for every occasion and still makes it each Thanksgiving when my friend comes home for the holiday from the west coast.  Every time I make it, I still call it “Julie’s Mommy’s Pistachio Cake” and it’s written that way in my cookbook. 

Overall, the dinner party was a success…..we ate and drank champagne and laughed and enjoyed one another.  After dinner, I made all the kids sit around the table and play dreidel, just like they’ve been doing since they were five.  Now that they are all late teens, I expected some push back but they all grabbed their candy and ran to the table.  Hearing their laughter and chatter over their competitive top-spinning year after year is a tradition I will miss terribly in a few years.  We ended the night with an inappropriate game of Cards Against Humanity (which used to be Apples to Apples when they were little).


Yesterday was the big finish of my big, traditional holiday – Christmas!  We bundled up in our ugly Christmas sweaters and went ice-skating downtown.  After lunch at the iconic Lafayette Coney Island, we all came home exhausted and lit the Hanukkah menorah.  While they will likely not express it verbally, I know my boys really appreciate our family traditions.  Their excitement, laughter, smiles, exuberance and overall silliness say it all and is the best gift I could ever receive.  Watching them grow up is both the hardest and best thing in my life.  I can’t imagine our traditions changing, but I know that in the next few years they will.  There will be girlfriends, and then wives, and then children…..but isn’t that the point of tradition anyway?  To move from generation to generation?

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Keys to My Success

Every person has different tools in their toolbox of life to build the life that makes them happy.  What I’ve discovered for myself is that these things can be super simple. Discovering and using those tools is the key. Through my “happiness journey” I’ve established three key factors to maintaining my positivity.  Food, Shoes (yes, shoes – I will explain), and Kindness are my keys to successful living.  If I am not on top of my game in one of these categories, one
glitch can turn a bad moment into a week of bad habits….and bad habits directly affect my positivity.

I am not a regimented, diligent kind of girl by nature, but I typically give it the good ole’ college try.  Last Sunday was a crazy day.  My son was flying home from California in a snowstorm and a dear, sweet adopted family member earned her angel wings.  The stress and sadness brewing was an easy recipe for laziness.  I ate poorly, didn’t exercise and fell out of my daily routine. I wasn’t motivated to write my blog, which has never happened to me before. It astonished me how easily I allowed myself the distraction of feelings to give excuses permission to take over.  Instead of picking myself up, the pattern continued for the next few days, and my laziness in being healthful both emotionally and physically, turned to laziness in my journey of positivity.  I found myself impatient, cranky, and judgmental.  I let little things bother me; I was intolerant with my children over small things; I indulged in gossip; and spoke ill of someone behind their back.  These are all things I don’t tolerate from others so how did I so easily lose myself?  As nasty as this pattern was, the positive spin was that I was aware of it and quickly pushed my Reset Button.  Through this process, though, I realized it was important for me to evaluate what led me to that place so I could make the decision to crawl out of it and not repeat the pattern.

I am “simply positive” that, for me, the key is routine.  While my instinct is to fight it, I am healthier and happier when I adhere to a routine.  Giving myself an internal schedule obviously lends itself to predictable behaviors.  When I fall out of routine, it’s important to acknowledge it as quickly as I can and start again.   When I eat well, I feel great and when I don’t eat well, it makes me cranky and I don’t treat people the way I should.  When I put my shoes on first thing in the morning, I am super productive and set the tone for a successful day.  I get things done; I exercise; I take care of business.  When I don’t put my shoes on first thing in the morning I am lazy, I stay in bed too long, I feel bad about myself and that translates to how I treat others.  When I don’t wake up with a smile, it is more challenging to spread kindness and that makes me moody.  These are three very, very simple things, but for me, they are key.


Everyone has different keys to their own success.  Finding your own can take years and even decades….and they can change.  Give yourself permission to learn them and take the time to use the tools to build your own positive life.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Taking a Snow Day!

I'm "simply positive" that sometimes ya' just have to take a Snow Day!  See ya' next week.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Accepting Change

One thing I know for sure is that I have no control, and letting go of that need is a key factor in my happiness.  Change is happening all around us all the time and the only thing we can do is give in. Going with the flow is a characteristic most of us are not born with.  It is normal to resist change. 

I learned to live with change at a very early age.  Family changed. My homes changed. Friends changed. Love changed. As soon as I felt everything was in it’s place, a puzzle piece moved or was lost.  Everything was always changing, and while it’s hard to understand it at a young age, I figured out pretty early in my life that giving into the change is always for the best, because we do not have control anyway.  Sometimes change hurts so much you feel like you won’t survive; sometimes change puts us in a better place.  The older I’ve gotten, the more I have become a fatalist – everything happens for a reason – I am just riding the ride and having faith that the journey I’m on is the one meant for me.

As humans, we are ever-changing.  I am a work in progress each and every single day and every day I’m making a conscious effort to change the attributes that I’m not happy with.  I am not the same person I was 20, 10, 5 or even 1 year ago.  In that spirit, I trust that everyone around me is also changing.  While I used to “write off” those who have hurt me in the past, or offended me, or displayed characteristics I found ugly, I also trust they have the ability to grow and change.  It pleasantly surprises me that I have the openness to forgive and accept.  I don’t expect it, but when it happens, my heart is usually open.  This is a gift I unknowingly gave myself. In that same vein, however, I know it is impossible to make anyone but me change and to expect change in others is wasted time.


Seeing my world with optimistic lenses, I see most change as positive.  I read a great quote recently: “If we don’t change, we don’t grow.  If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”  Being a little uncomfortable sometimes is a good thing; it allows us to grow. Holding onto things in fear of what could be is only holding ourselves hostage to growth.  I’m “simply positive” we all need to give in to change.  It may be unnerving or scary, but we can’t move forward in knowing ourselves, or living with the uncertainties in life, if we won’t accept the inevitable. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mirror, Mirror...

Thanksgiving was a few days ago but I am still in the holiday frame of mind today.  Like most people, I am so thankful to live in a free country; for having equal rights as a woman; for a growing economy; and the obvious things like my family and friends. This year, I added something new to my list.  It wasn’t anything I gave much thought to, until recently.  In fact, I am not one who takes compliments well or leads with ego. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m thankful for me, myself, and I. 

I have lived with myself for a pretty long time and I’m very thankful for the person I am.  I am thankful for decisions I’ve made, the lessons I’ve been open to learning, the people I’ve allowed to make an impact in my life, and the openness to change that helps me grow every day.  I’m thankful for the support and love I was shown growing up that has given me confidence and a strong moral compass.  I’m thankful for my best friend who would encourage me and point out my positive qualities, even before he put a ring on my finger.  I am grateful to nurture and show unconditional love to two incredible young men.  Seeing their best qualities, and knowing I made an impact, is what I’m most thankful for.  Slowing down long enough to reflect on what gives me purpose and what’s important to me has been a very meaningful exercise.  Taking time to inventory the qualities I like about myself, and the ones I need improvement on is a gift I give myself.  I am thankful for self-awareness.

I am thankful for the impact I make on others.  I know that every day I make at least one person smile.  Everyone has special qualities that impact the world around them in positive ways.  Just thinking of the people I see or talk to most days makes me smile for so many different reasons.  I have those who make me laugh, those who are reliable, those who are encouraging, those who are supportive, and those who just bring a welcome smile.  Every person I surround myself with adds color to who I am. It’s such a gift!

What are your special qualities that you like about yourself?  What gifts are you sharing with the world around you?  It’s okay to give yourself permission to be proud of yourself and to like yourself.  When is the last time you spent time alone?  I’m “simply positive” everyone needs time to take a good look at yourself in the mirror.  Chances are, if you look deep in your heart, you will love what you see.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chrismukkah

So my thoughts this week could, potentially, offend my Jewish friends.  My initial instinct was to apologize in advance but to be honest, this blog is supposed to be my diary so I guess I will just say what I want to say and hope for the best.
 
I love Christmas.  There – it’s out there and I make no apologies.


Growing up in a Jewish house, Christmas was always the time of year I felt like the odd man out.  We couldn’t decorate the house with festive lights, I couldn’t wear goofy Christmas sweaters, and I felt like I was cheating at school if I colored my holiday projects in green and red instead of blue and well…more blue.  Most of my life, Christmas was off limits.  My father was an observant, conservative Jew and my mother remarried a man who was also Jewish. As much as I tried to persuade them that a Hanukkah bush was a “thing” and most certainly not a symbol of Jesus Christ, they weren’t buying it.  I think the reason I wanted Christmas so badly is because, unlike my fellow Jewish friends, I knew what I was missing.  As a young child, my at-the-time single mother brought Christmas into our lives.  We hung stockings, trimmed our fake Christmas tree and watched Rudolph on TV while nibbling on holiday treats.  Things were merry and bright.  Until they weren’t.  Growing up I yearned for Christmas.   The closest thing I got to it during most of my childhood was working at the mall as a Santa’s Elf.  It wasn’t the material part of the holiday that was appealing, nor was it the eggnog or fruitcake.  It was the family time.  The holiday commercials showing loving, nuclear families gathering to share time and make Christmas memories represented the childhood and family I always wanted.  Christmas is always a day that time stands still.  Nothing is more important than being together.  Who wouldn’t want that? 


This past weekend, the Honey and I went to Nashville for a little weekend away.  I thought it would be fun to do something a little kitschy and touristy so I booked a dinner cruise on the General Jackson riverboat.  Walking up the plank to board, I was immediately in love with the holiday lights, the red bows and pine tree accents.  My Honey?  Not so much.  He also grew up in the “We don’t do Christmas” household.  Once we sat down at our seats and the Emcee opened the entertainment portion of the show, I was in for a treat and the Honey was in for an evening of eye rolling.  What they didn’t tell me when I bought the tickets were that it was the Christmas show.  Two hours of Christmas on the river.  He couldn’t escape and I couldn’t be happier.  I relished every holiday song.  At the end of the night, they closed the show with “O Holy Night” and I was a little embarrassed by how much it moved me.  I was reminded of how spiritual this time of year is – it’s a time of togetherness, kindness, peace, hope, joy, family, generosity and faith.  No matter what religion we are, I think we can all get on board with that.  In this very trying time in our country, where many of us feel scared and insecure, Christmas this year – more than ever – is something to be treasured.  I may not have a tree, or and Ugly Christmas sweater, but I am “simply positive” there is still so much good in this world to celebrate.

Your homework this week is to get in the Holiday Spirit!  Here is a handy tool -- https://www.tvguide.com/special/holiday-guide/calendar/

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Where Do We Go From Here?

Every night for the last five nights I have had horrible, violent dreams.  I am clearly anxious about what is happening in our country.  He Who Shall Not Be Named is the silent leader of a growing army of the ignorant.  His blind followers - the angry, violent, bigoted, hateful, and racist people who now feel free to wear it proudly, are coming out of the woodwork.  Our leaders’ silence is giving them permission. I feel we are more divided than ever before.  We are not a nation of Haves and Have-Nots.  We are now a nation of The Bullies and The Bullied.

The sadness I initially felt, turned to anger, and while I am still anxious, it is working it’s way toward empowerment.  If any of my readers follow Carin Rockind (www.purposegirl.com), she shared a story recently of how this election was a call to action for her.  Instead of just believing in specific causes or ideals, she now feels empowered to act on them.  She calls it Fierce Action.  I love that.  I took some time to think about what this really means and what really matters to ME.  There are a lot of causes and ideals important to me that I will become more involved in, but the overall theme has always been the same.  Kindness and Positivity are things I will not compromise, not matter how nasty the climate.  I will not compromise myself.  I will lead by example and band together with like-minded people.  Maybe we need an Army of Kindness. I will urge my children, as angry as they are, to continue to lead their lives with compassion and integrity.  We will not let this election change who we are.  That is our power.

It is in my nature to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I have an open mind.  I am a hopeless optimist.  I may not have faith in our new president, but ultimately, I would like to see him succeed. I am rooting for the success of America.  I have many friends who are irate and angry, some who cannot crawl out of their grief.  I empathize with them, but I do not want to join the “He is Not My President” movement.  I am part of the “I am Disappointed and Scared” group, but the protests we are witnessing are often matching hate for hate.  We need to band together in positivity. We need to love each other more. We need to be hopeful.  We need to fight for the causes we believe in, instead of nodding our head in agreement.  We need to get through the next four years without causing irreparable harm to our morals. I am “simply positive” that I am committed to maintaining my sense of positivity. The bottle of champagne I chilled for a Clinton-victory will remain in my fridge, as I’m optimistic it will one day be opened.




Your homework this week is to take Action and not Reaction.  What matters to you?  How can you make a difference?  Are you walking the walk? How can you show your support?  How can you maintain your values?

Monday, November 7, 2016

Silence is Golden

Music is a powerful tool.  It emotes everything from happiness to sadness; can awaken sweet memories from our youth; and can move us to tears.  With thousands of radio stations to choose from nowadays, we tend to flip from channel to channel, catching bits and pieces of our favorite songs.  When was the last time you listened to a song from beginning to end?  It is the pattern of our millennial life.  Today I was psycho flipping the button on my car radio on my way to run an errand and caught the very beginning of a song I loved.  I stopped flipping and let the music consume me.  I listened to the sound of Adele’s voice – her tone – her emotion – her passion. Each note strung into melody and the music it formed resonated with me. I paid attention to every lyric.  I embraced the entire song and felt it’s meaning in my core. I was listening. 

Hearing is the act of perceiving sound in the ear, but listening is a choice. We so often think we are listening, but we are only hearing.  We don’t listen to our hearts and act on impulse; we don’t listen to our needs and rush to care for everyone else above ourselves; and we don’t listen well enough in our every day conversations.  We are missing out on so much because of our busy lives, and in all honesty, our narcissism.  This one is tricky for me, not because I’m a narcissist, but because my mind is always going a million miles a minute.  I’d like you to reflect on your last few encounters with people.  What do you remember about your conversation?  Most likely you remember your side of the conversation and what information you shared.  How many times did you interrupt?  How many times did you let your ego take over and half listen because you were busy forming your next thought or gathering information you felt was pertinent to the conversation? In doing so, we aren’t hearing.  What are we missing by doing this?  Are we missing an opportunity for empathy?  Are we missing an opportunity to learn something?  Are we missing the ability to form deeper connections with people?  If you rearrange the letters of "Listen," you find "Silent."  I am working on this skill daily and it’s definitely a challenge for me…but I’m “simply positive” that if we listen more, and talk less, everyone will benefit.


You homework this week is to slow down your need to respond in conversations.  Truly listen and gather information.  Determine if it actually needs your response?  Do you need to share the information in your head because you feel it adds value, or are you serving your own needs?  Let’s all learn to “hear” a little better.



Sunday, November 6, 2016

It's Time for a Commercial Break


I KNOW I am not alone when I say that I cannot take one more second of this election.   No matter what party you side with, the mud slinging is like none I can remember.  While Hillary has shown some ethical deficiency and is polarizing to some, Trump’s blatant sexist, racist, narcissistic, immoral, and hateful behavior truly frightens me.  It saddens me that half of our country is eager to blindly follow empty rhetoric.  I am disappointed that so many people are as ignorant, selfish, greedy, and as hateful as he is.  I am deeply concerned that our children are seeing this display and that it is possibly their future.  Trump says we are the laughing stock of the world? He may be right, and we only have ourselves to blame.  We are a culture lead by materialism and money is idolized above humanity.  We are a country obsessed with reality TV meltdowns, brainless sound bites, and sexual misdeeds.   The worst part of these ugly, spiteful displays is that it has somehow become our entertainment.

I long to live on a planet where there are no Housewives or Kardashians.  I know I’m in the minority and I’m okay with that. Many people watch the Real A-holes of Insert City because they find it hilarious.  It’s silly, it’s pretty to look at, and it’s over the top.  It's escapism.  I know we need that in our stressful lives, but I know there is a healthier option.  Watching ignorant people treat each other horribly is not entertainment to me.  It makes me physically uncomfortable.  The saddest part of this is that these “reality” situations are manufactured for our entertainment.  We are entertained by terrible, mean, hurtful behavior. I am “simply positive” it is time to recalibrate what entertains you.

Don’t get me wrong – I love pop culture and enjoy television and movies.  I have nothing against people who are famous – especially if they have earned the status for a special talent or invention or impact on the world.  Nowadays it doesn’t take much to be famous and you certainly do not need talent.  Swap your face on Snapchat and dubsmash a pop song, throw it on YouTube and a million “likes” later and you are famous.  Our nations’ obsession with celebrity could quite possibly determine our next president.

Your homework this week is to assess what entertains you.  How much time are you spending with things that are not adding value to your life?  Has ugly, hateful behavior become entertainment for you? What can you replace that time with? 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

'Twas the Night Before Halloween...



Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, but this year I’m fighting through it.  As a child, there was nothing more exciting than the anticipation of Trick or Treating.  Planning my costumes with extreme detail; picking which friends to go join me in candy-hunting; and finding the biggest pillowcase or bag to fill up with the maximum treats was the highlight of my year.  My brother and I would spill our bags at the end of the night and barter for the best of the best – which obviously was the Snickers bar.  It took me a long time to grow out of that phase.  In high school I went to haunted houses (even though they scared the crap out of me) and stayed up late watching scary Halloween movies.  Even in college, I continued my love of Halloween.  My friends and I dressed up in costumes, taking on the closest neighborhood to see if we could still get away with my favorite childhood ritual.

When I became a mother, Halloween took on a whole new meaning.  Somehow presenting the best Halloween experience equated with good parenting and an ideal childhood.  It was important to me to get it right.  I couldn’t wait to plan the perfect costumes for my boys.  I decorated the house like Martha Stewart was watching.  I volunteered for school Halloween parties.  I baked pumpkin-shaped cookies and gave the BEST candy on the block.  I loved taking a hayride deep into the pumpkin patch to pick our “family” of pumpkins, which would be named and then carved with care. Watching Halloween through my boys’ eyes gave me such pleasure and satisfaction.  I never considered that one day it would be over.
Shelby & Noah 2002

A little over nineteen years ago, I had my first child.  Through the congratulations and baby gifts, many people would say to me, “Enjoy every minute.  They grow up so fast.” Or “Don’t blink or he’ll be all grown up.”  I listened with half an ear, and unfortunately, I blinked. 

This week, as I turned on the Charlie Brown Halloween special, that I watched every year with my kids, it hit me hard.  I was sitting on my couch alone.  The childhood that I had, and the childhood I’ve created for my kids, is over.  I have no costumes to create.  Nobody will be home to enjoy my Halloween-themed dinner. I wallowed in empty-nester self-pity. 


 Last night, I shared these thoughts with my husband on our Saturday night date.  While I’d been digging deep into my bag of positivity to find the silver lining in Halloween, he had the answer.  He said the five magic words.  “I’ll carve pumpkins with you.”  I realized that my life is not over because my childhood is gone, or that my kids are grown.  I get to look forward to sharing new memories and traditions with my best friend.  Tomorrow is Halloween.  I will look forward to the neighborhood kiddies and bask in their excitement; I will take pleasure in passing out the “good” candy; and when I turn out my lights on Halloween eve, I am “simply positive” that I  will be grateful for the cherished memories of Halloweens past and excited for Halloween futures.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

It's a WONDERful Life


I think I fell of my axis a bit this past week.  I found myself a little impatient and moody, which is not how I would typically describe myself.  Nothing major was happening to impact my mood, so what was up?  Was I drinking too much caffeine? Was it something in the water?  Was it a full moon?  While I half laughed at that thought, it dawned on me there could be something to it.  Upon referring to my pal, Mr. Google, I found it could, in actuality, have something to do with the full moon.   October 16th was a full moon, which also collided with the point at which the moon is closest to Earth.  How long has the moon been impacting the cycle of life? How about always!  While it is fact that the moon affects things like the tide, lunar phases have also been said to impact things like reproduction, crime, medical outcomes, and sleep patterns.  There are skeptics that disagree.  Either way, it sparked a little bit of an existential journey. 

We are only a fraction of a speck of dust compared to the moon. The powers it may or may not have are irrelevant to the fact that this massive orb visits us and everyone around the world each and every night.  Someone on a farm in Kansas sees the same moon as someone in a gondola in Venice.  We all know this, but how often does it overwhelmingly, radically amaze you? The concept of space and gravity and time are truly, truly astonishing.  The billions of cells in our body that grow and change daily are nothing short of miraculous.  To think that we have an understanding of how we began and how incredible life is, is simply arrogant.  We are mere mortals.  Yes, we invented electricity and airplanes and the Internet, but the fact that we even exist is simply amazing.

As a child I would anxiously stay up late at night thinking existential thoughts like “why are we here?” and “what is the meaning of life?”  I think most of us did.  Why did we stop questioning, as we got older?  Maybe we realized we would never have the answers so we just decided to get on with the business of life.  Perhaps we’ve become arrogant and self-consumed?  Are we blocking our growth and potential by being closed-minded. Socrates famously said- “wisdom begins in wonder.”  Just think of the unleashed potential you have, that could spark from a few moments of being amazed.

When was the last time you were amazed?  I’m “simply positive” it’s time for you to be moonstruck.

Your homework this week is simply to slow down and be amazed.  I personally, am giving myself some homework.  A lot of people talk about having a Gratitude Journal.  I’m going to start a Wonderment Journal and write about the things that amaze me every day.  In doing so, I am sure it will set the intention for exploration and will set a deeper appreciation for my life and everything in and around it. 


Have a simply amazing week!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Are You Lost?

Warning – this week’s blog may get a little political.

Oprah gets a 10.  Ellen DeGeneres gets a 10.  Mother Theresa gets a 10.  On a scale of 1 through 10 on the role model scale, these women are perfect tens for me.  Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama, however, gets a 25! I was blown away by her impassioned speech this week about the path our nation has taken in this electoral race (as well as the immoral Republican nominee).  In a dichotomous, triumphant display, Michelle Obama reminded America that we need to reprioritize our lives and make integrity a priority.  Her delivery impressed me.  She was powerful, yet kind; bold, yet gracious; emotional, yet strong.  Michelle Obama holds herself to  the highest standards of morality and will not stand for less from those around her.  We could all use a reminder to do the same.

Growing up, I do not remember our nation as such a hateful, misogynistic, selfish place.  We had higher standards for ourselves.  We said please and thank you.  We wrote letters in appreciation of a gift or gesture and remembered birthdays without emojis.  Our neighbors and extended families were sometimes one in the same.  We lived in homes, build on a foundation of stability and pride, rather than overextending ourselves with boats, vacation homes and sub-zero appliances. We had no credit card debt.  We took pride in our patriotism, our families and even our appearance.  There was actually a time when people flew on airplanes dressed in their best attire, instead of footie pajamas.  I think you get my point…we have lost our way.

We have grown into an oversexualized nation, where one’s appearance is held in higher regard than intelligence.  We communicate with fingers and electronics instead of eye contact and emotion. We help ourselves before helping others.  Doing the right thing and living a purposeful,  generous life is overlooked for the here and now.  I love it when our FLOTUS says “when they go low, we go high.”  Remind those around us and  BE the example. I am “simply positive” that if you are reading this blog, you are the example.   We owe it to ourselves and the the world we live in to do and be our best selves.




Your homework this week is to evaluate your moral compass.  Does it need a little tweaking?  If this were your last few minutes on this earth, would you feel proud of the way you’ve lived?  Think about your character.  Would you be a role model?  How do you interact with those that are “living below the standards of human decency.” Is it an opportunity to show compassion, educate or lead the way to better behavior? I am positive we all can do better, starting now.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What's New with You?

Every Thursday I volunteer at our local hospital.  One of my duties is to process new volunteers, entering their personal information into a database.  This week I came across not one, but TWO volunteers in their mid-to-late 80s.  My first thought was that it was impressive these two women were in such great health but then I realized there was something bigger in play.  Some people associate the elderly population as slow-moving, bingo-playing curmudgeons.  I will admit that when I think of the elderly I sometimes think of people who are very structured in their lives, sticking to routines and things they are comfortable with.  I haven’t thought of them as adventurous or open-minded…until now.  What these two women have in common is that they are willing to try something new.  Involving oneself in a new environment, meeting new people and tackling new jobs or tasks can be daunting for anyone, let alone someone in their later years.   Trying new things and being open to possibility is imperative to growth and I’m “simply positive” we are never too old to try.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  It might be scary, it should be challenging and at the very best, it will make you feel uncomfortable.  The reward of your effort, however, is always worth it.  This year has been one of growth for me.  It has made me feel all of the above – scared, challenged, uncomfortable, but the result is that I’m learning new things about myself. I’m learning what I’m capable of doing and I’m learning to enjoy the adventure of trying new things.  I’ve tried Nadi Yoga to get in tune with my chakras; I started this blog; I’ve put myself out there and made new friends well into my 40s; I even tried replacing my Grande nonfat latte with a Misto (crazy, right!?)  The biggest thing I tried this year was finding my inner goddess.  That is maybe a little crazier than the Misto but here is what it meant for me.  Finding my inner goddess was about discovering what is holding me back from growing.  What is holding me back from doing the things that I want to do and what is holding me back from finding my purpose.  I was lucky enough to be able to go on an amazing weekend journey of the minds called the Girls Goddess Weekend (check out www.purposegirl.com). It was everything that makes me uncomfortable.  Traveling alone to Miami, I would soon meet dozens of new people and would open up and share my feelings and my deep-rooted fears.   As overwhelming as it was to embrace all of these things, it led me to so much positivity.  It unlocked me in so many ways and I’m so proud of myself trying something new and begin open to change and growth.


Your homework this week is to try something new every day this week.  Reflect on the journey.  Was it easy for you?  What was the result of the change?  Did you enjoy it?  Did it make you uncomfortable?  I guarantee the change won’t kill you.  Some suggestions: drive a new way to the office, listen to a different station on your commute to school, cook (or order) something you’ve never tried before, ask someone for a coffee date that you’ve enjoyed speaking with but never socialized with before, try a new exercise routine, go see a movie outside of your normal genre OR change a behavior.  Try a new approach or attitude to an everyday encounter.  I can't wait to hear about the newer you!