Hasta la vista January

Tea pot you're not alone
Tea pot you're not alone

The last day of January.  Those 31 days slipped right by, didn't they?

If you're like most people you made some resolutions, some proclamations, set some goals, wrote some things down.  Did you take any steps towards accomplishing them yet?  One little step?  Or are you still thinking about it?

Apparently I'm still thinking about it because it's January 31st today and I'm really not quite sure how it happened.

One of my blogger friends opens herself up to confession every Tuesday...to her community.  Yikes.  That could be considered being authentic, getting out of your head, or maybe just plain scary.  I'm thinking confession might help me move out of a dismal, emotional January and into a light and lovely February so here goes...

I confess...a lot of the time I don't know where I belong.  I am surrounded by family and friends, I have many interests, yet I find myself feeling lost more frequently than I would like.  It's easy to blame this on being introverted but the truth of the matter is, I just feel a little lost.

I confess...I have a hard time putting myself first.  I have big dreams for myself but I struggle to get there because I'm a Mom.  There are times when important things come up for me and I have to choose - me or them.  I'm getting better about choosing me on those rare occasions but there's always that lingering wonder...should I have chosen them?  Do they care if I'm there or not?  My brain tells me that missing one of my kids events is not life changing for anyone but my heart tells me different. It sucks a little fun out of the choice for me, and it makes it difficult to choose me again.  Do you struggle with this too?

I confess...trying to figure yourself out is hard.  Sheesh.  Not in a grief/loss/devastation kind of way...just hard.  My brain is tired.  I absolutely love to cheer you on as you take the adventure to find your dreams and live your best life but keeping myself motivated?  Hmmm...hard.  The good news?  It's totally worth every minute.

I confess...I still don't know what I'm doing.  I'm not sure I ever will but in all fairness this dreaming stuff is a moving target.  What I know for sure (thanks Oprah) is that I love to hear your stories.  I love to talk with you - women that are excited about life and women that are dreaming.  I am curious about your dream, I want to know how you did it, I want to know why you did it.  I have become a question asker, that's what I love.  Now I confess that I'm worried you're going to run away from me when you see me coming. I promise not to pry...well, unless you give me an opening;)

I confess...after a lot of soul searching and question asking of myself I've really found only one solution that seems to work  - TAKE ACTION.  Will my children survive me not showing up to their basketball games?  I'll never know unless I try.  Which I did, by the way and yes, they did survive. I, on the other hand, didn't like it one bit.

I confess...I get my inspiration to keep going and to keep trying from YOU.  Let's get together for lunch at my house and tell stories, want to?  I need to know you are still dreaming:)

Hasta la vista January.  Don't let the door hit you on the way out.  February, the month of love, is going to be all about passion.  We've got 28 days to revel in our passions and to celebrate the passions of our friends around us.  You don't know what your passion is?  Make February your month of self-love, see if you can find a clue.

And now you can help me to feel less awkward by maybe confessing that you are a dorky mom that doesn't know what she's doing and feels lost sometimes?

When are we having lunch?  I'll host if you promise to tell me a story:)

xo

Are you going to the Superbowl?

American football on field with goal post in background.

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th Man!  The Seahawks have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and with one Superbowl appearance under their belt I'd say it's their turn for a trip to the Superbowl.  Not to mention, this hard working team deserves it.

We can all imagine how much hard work went into the building of this team, success never happens overnight.  At some point in time, all of these men started at zero - a pee wee footballer with big dreams of going to the Superbowl someday.  Haven't we all had similar dreams?  To be a journalist, to be on Oprah, to travel the world, to have our own business, or to raise amazing children that will head off into the world with their own dreams.

So how are you going to get to your Superbowl?

Let's see what we can learn from these men in blue:

  • Derrick Coleman -  Fullback - A deaf football player?  How is that even possible?  This man has every reason to need 'special accomodations' and a little extra help however Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll says "the team made no special accomodations for him".  His only request is that Quarterback Russell Wilson look him in the eye when he's calling plays in the huddle so he can read his lips.  What disabilities, real or perceived, are holding you back?
  • Russell Wilson - Quarterback - Russell has become known as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.  Isn't it interesting that he started his career in professional baseball?  Just 3 1/2 years ago he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies and 2 short years ago he made the choice to pursue a career in the NFL.  He gave up a professional career in baseball for the chance at maybe earning a spot on an NFL team.  I call that "go big or go home".  Are you sticking with something because you feel like you 'should'?  Did you reach your goal only to find out it wasn't really what you'd hoped?  It's okay to move on.  In fact, it's necessary to move on.
  • Pete Carroll - Coach - The man just coached his team right into the Superbowl...he was also fired from 2 previous NFL coaching positions and also left his college coaching job in a bit of controversy.  It takes time to master your craft, are you giving yourself the time you need and taking opportunities to learn and improve?  Are you letting your failures determine your success?
  • Richard Sherman - Cornerback - Ahhh Richard.  Either love him or hate him but one thing is for sure about Richard, he is passionate about what he does and his team. My wish is that we all get to experience passion like that at some point in our life.  Are you living inspired?  Are you dreaming big? What would happen if you showed it to the world?
  • Kam Chancellor - Safety - Known as one of the hardest hitting, most intimidating safety's in the league but he hasn't forgotten where he's been.  He came from very humble beginnings and watched his (single) mom try to raise he and his 4 siblings by working 2 and sometimes 3 jobs.  When he signed his contract with the Seahawks the first thing he did was buy his mom a house and a car.  Follow Kam's lead, don't forget where you started and always remember the people that helped you along the way.

No matter what our dreams are, our journeys are at the core all the same.  Going after your dreams isn't rocket science, it just being your best and deciding that you are worth the hard work required.  It requires resilience, focus, introspection, and most of all - ACTION.

Two more weeks and we'll be watching those Hawks at the SUPERBOWL people!  That gives you plenty of time to focus and decide. In honor of my Hawks, make February 2nd your day of action.  Tell us here what step you plan to take towards your goal and I'll be sure to hold you accountable:)

xo

www.marnierae.com

 

 

 

The surprising reason you haven't got your dream off the ground - and here's why you will

  www.marnierae.com

How many times in your lifetime have you heard "Dream big" or "Go big or go home"? 

A lot?  Yea, me too.  I may even be guilty of encouraging a few you to do just that.

Are you by nature a Big Dreamer?

How many of your big dreams have you acted on?  Yea, me too:(

Here's why...

The 5 step path that starts at inspiration and ends in demise:

1.  Inspiration hits - Inspiration is defined as "stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity".  Your frustration with your crappy Christmas card photos gives you the idea to take a photography class, inspiration hits and next thing you know you've got big plans for becoming a photographer for women's mountain biking retreats all in one fell swoop.  Awesome big dream by the way:)

2.  Excitement - The inspiration from Step 1 has now fired up your creativity.  Let the brainstorming commence.  You can picture the outcome, the travel, the camaraderie, your pictures known to inspire women mountain bikers everywhere. This is the really fun part, ideas are coming fast and furious (are you writing them down?).  Something in your idea has connected with you - the community building, the artistic opportunities, the chance to learn something new, or maybe just the idea of being outside with like-minded women.  At this point it's hard to single out what exactly it is that's hit a nerve but pay attention, this will be a big clue for future dreams and endeavors.

3.  Fear and reality - This is where things start to go downhill. Say hello to Fear.  She has shown up to remind you to 'play it safe', don't step outside the carefully built walls of your box, you don't know what's beyond those walls and the fear of the unknown is terrifying.  She will remind you that you have a family to take care of and responsibilities, there isn't a lot of time for your dream building.  This is the point in the process where finding your courage is EVERYTHING.

4.  Almost done - The 'how' gets in the way of the 'why', it's all a bit overwhelming. You stood up to your fear and persevered but you can feel your excitement starting to wane.  It's hard to believe that you can conquer the 4,318 steps required to get you from Point A - Point Z.  Suddenly just the small steps seem too big and you realize just how much you think you don't know.

5.  Dream demise - Put that dream on a shelf and try again 'someday' when the kids are grown, you're out of debt, or have lost 15 pounds.  The sad part about this is that the next time you're inspired and excited about something your mind will replay this experience and remind you how unqualified you are to take it on.

You weren't dreaming too big, you just skipped right from idea to outcome and forgot about execution.  The good news is that one of the reasons you skipped right to outcome is that this dream resonated with you somehow.  You were digging for gold and you hit a vein:)  Pay attention.

I believe that dreaming big is an amazing gift and should always be encouraged.  It sparks creativity, it give us passion, it pushes our limits, and it inspires us to be brave and vulnerable.  But, ideas are just ideas without execution.

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. ” – Harriet Tubman

There is a solution.

A 6-week series on how to position yourself for success. Let's get those dreams off the shelf and make 2014 the year of YOU.

Take a few minutes today to take your dream from small to big, see where your heart takes you<3

www.marnierae.com

 

Dreaming is always better with friends.  Be sure to forward this to a friend and invite her to join in.  You can read each week here and then share insights together!

With courage and kindness,

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie - The Dreamer Version

if_you_give_a_mouse_cookie

How many times have you read the children's book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"?

Let's rewrite...

If you give a woman a dream...

She might open a local small town restaurant that serves locally grown food and wines.

When she opens her restaurant it might inspire another woman to start making her Grandmother's family recipe Irish Soda Bread to serve at the restaurant.

She might become so busy baking bread that she hires an unemployed mom to help her out.

The newly hired mom will be able to save some money to buy a computer so she can follow her dream of learning graphic design.  She volunteers to design a brochure for the local food bank.

The brochure makes it into the hands of a local event planner that needs graphic design work and a location to host monthly meetings.

The newly hired mom connects the local event planner with the restaurant owner.

Turns out the monthly meetings are a women's group that meet to drink wine, break bread, and share their stories of entrepreneurship, passions, dreams, and challenges.

The restaurant owner is asked to share her story at their meeting.

When she shares her story at the meeting it inspires another woman to go home and prepare a proposal...to hang her art in the restaurant.

Just throwing a challenge out to you...who are you not to dream?

With courage and kindness,

 

 

P.S.  I'm thinking a women's group that meets to drink wine/tea, break bread, and share their stories might be awesome:)

Stop the madness of busy

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

I despise busy.

Busy is soul-sucking and stressful and a liar.  Busy tells us we are important and productive and needed.  I will have my revenge on busy. Someday I will lounge in my favorite chair with a good book and spend my entire day reading it from start to finish AND I will not feel guilty. Heh.

Can we be done with busy? I don't know if it's possible because let's face it, the s*&t just needs to get done. Doesn't it?  Busy has taken over and it's leaving us feeling tired, stressed, unproductive and uninspired. When will we ever have the time to train for the 1/2 marathon/start a blog/write a book/volunteer/figure out our life?? When?

Let's try trading what's easy (being busy) for doing what's right - for us. It's easy to fall into the busy routine and let's admit it, we feel pretty productive when we get to cross "schedule mammogram" off the list. You did schedule your mammogram didn't you?

It's hard to find another way. It's hard to plan my meals in advance instead of grocery shopping 4x/wk. It's hard to train my kids to unload the dishwasher. It's hard because it's new and it's not following the routine that we could probably do in our sleep.

How about we challenge ourselves to get 'unbusy'? How about we create systems in our life to free up some time and some brain space? Let's use that extra time to do what's right and good for us. Laugh with our kids, go on dates with our spouse, take walks with friends, or REST. 

Rest is what will open the door for growth and creativity. When that happens maybe we'll discover something so amazing that we will want to spend our time doing that instead of being busy.

I found a few life hacks to get our creativity rolling:

  • Put away the phone
  • Plan your meals in advance
  • Leave 1 day/wk open - no commitments
  • Use a master grocery list
  • Ask for help (delegate)
  • Say NO

And just for fun, click here for some scheduling help from Danielle LaPorte.  The best to-do list ever:) 

How about we say YES to things that get us closer to our dreams and NO to things that keep us busy so that we don't have to stop and think about the fact that we don't have a dream?

How are you going to tackle unbusy?  Share your life hacks here, I can use all the help I can get!

With courage and kindness,

Mom and Me and Mom - Book Club Review #2

 

Girls.  I have put off writing this post.  I even suggested that maybe you all should write the review (I would have loved that because I think it's so much  more fun to hear a variety of opinions).

Here's the deal.

I didn't like this book. :(

I've tried as many different ways to write this post as I could think of, the bottom line is, it was a nice read but inspired zero feeling from me.

I love Maya Angelou.  She stands for all that is good and right in the world for women.  She has lead an amazing life and experienced so much, she inspires me to be kind to myself daily so I can be kind to others.

But I still didn't like the book.

I felt like I was reading short snippets of moments in her life but I had a hard time connecting them which could be why I couldn't generate any emotion.  The stories were never really long enough for me to get emotionally invested.  No build up, no climax.  Just a story that to me read rather factually.

I did learn a valuable lesson in forgiveness from her story.  I had such difficulty liking her mom, I felt a little resentful that she had given the kids up when they were babies. Although I can see how she was trying to do the best for her children by passing them off to their Grandmother (and truly probably made the right choice), it still bothered me.  But then she does amazing Mom things, like encouraging her black daughter to sit outside the street car offices in hopes of getting a job that is only for white girls.  There is some strength and courage there, traits that I admire.  I definitely had some conflicting feelings about Vivian Baxter.

Before I wrap up this unbelievably short book review, I will maybe rephrase and say that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped.  It's not that I didn't like the book, I guess I just expected more.  Some tears, some laughter...something.  Would I recommend it to a friend?  Probably not.

I have heard from a few of you who loved this book so I'm hoping you'll post your comments below, I really want to hear your perspective.  I'm wondering what I missed.  I did hear from two people who listened to the book on audio that loved it.  I'm wondering if that would have made a difference for me.

I'm looking forward to hearing your reviews below:)  If you'd rather you can e-mail me, I can share your opinion anonymously.

Thanks girls for reading with me.  Check your e-mail for the next book announcement.  If you have a suggestion or one you're really itching to read let me know.  I'll be announcing the next book on October 4th.

With courage and kindness, and patiently waiting for an awesome story,

 

So you decided it's the Inner Mean Girl talking to you, now what?

Good lord she's relentless isn't she???

In my last post we talked about how to tell if it's your Inner Mean Girl, aka Fear & Doubt, or your Reality Ally raising a ruckus in your head.  So you've determined that it's really IMG.  I'm so sorry.  I was hoping you were the 1 in 800,000 that doesn't have an IMG living in her head.

Now what?

You're not really going to let her get the best of you are you?  You need some weapons for your arsenal.  I'm going to hand over some of my favorite ones.  Use them all and use them frequently.  Use them until they become habit. 

IMG is an invisible bully.  She hates the light of day, she hates friends, and she hates action.  Now that we know that, here's what we're going to do:

  • Out her.  Write down all the things she says in a pretty journal with a pretty colored pen.  Read it.  It's amazing how non-threating "you don't know enough about non-profits" looks when it's written in pink pen on pretty paper.
  • Out her again.  Be a tattle tale.  Tell a close friend or your spouse what she said.  Send me an e-mail.  Again, uou won't believe how ridiculous "I've only run four 1/2 marathons, I've never run a full marathon" sounds when you say it out loud.  Your spouse might roll their eyes first but then they'll tell you the real truth.  They can't help us if we don't tell them the problem.
  • Play the What If game.  Write down all the 'what-if's' and play them through.  What if people think my business won't work?  Ummm...what if they think it will work?  And okay, maybe some will think it won't but isn't that just useful information?  Information about what people want or don't want, or who you want or don't want as your customer?  But what if I don't like it?  All this work went for nothing.  If you don't like it then don't do it anymore.  And nothing?  Nothing except you just used your life as a science experiment and learned what works for you and what doesn't.  And hopefully you inspired a few people along the way.
  • Start.  Remember your challenge from last week?  You have to take action.  Big or small, some kind of action.  The more action you take the quieter the voices will get and the more you will want to take action.  START.
  • Or, you can kick her in the throat like my friend Lucrecer Braxton does:)

Easy right?  :)

So here's your next challenge.  Take a few minutes to think about what you really want to do and what your next step is (you took your first step last week right?).  When IMG shows up, write down everything she says.  If you're feeling really brave, expose her here in comments or send me an e-mail and let me know what she says.  You know we've got your back, we'll tell you the real truth.

With courage and kindness,

How to tell if you're listening to your Inner Mean Girl or your Reality Ally

My fear voice says

I had a great summer, I hope you did too.  My summer of 2013 was full of running, water-skiing, reading, sunbathing, writing, watching basketball, writing, reading, and basically enjoying my family and friends.  It was also the summer of working hard at learning what makes Fear & Doubt tick so I can have a few more weapons in my arsenal for when the voices show up. 

Y'all hear the voices right?  Please please tell me it's not just me.

Not the "I should be medicated" kind of voices. I'm talking about the voices in your head that give you 182 reasons why you can't or shouldn't do something.

The voices of Fear and Doubt.

Some of the things I've learned are almost laughable, I've placed such an importance on what Fear & Doubt say and now that I can actually see how they work I'm almost embarrassed that I ever listened to them.  Here's a few tidbits that you might find helpful:

  • I learned from Jon Acuff that fear and doubt are schizophrenic.  They will always argue both sides.  When you're afraid to start they'll tell you "it will never work".  When you are brave enough to start they will tell you "it has to be perfect, why bother finishing".  In short, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.  Gosh I wish I would have known this a long time ago!
  • Fear and doubt will always say no.  Always.  There is not a single project, endeavor, business, situation in life that they think will work.  Ever.  The answer will always be no.
  • Fear and doubt use voices of critique, not love and kindness.

If realistic thinking makes an appearance you'll notice a different language, a different tone and a different curiosity.  If your thoughts are moving you forward, looking for answers to your questions, and still wondering what the possibilities are...you're in luck.  You've got a realistic ally who really is just watching your back and helping you to make a sound decision.  Tara Mohr describes it as "Good, realistic, sound thinking examines the situation with a light heart and a focus on solutions."

Here are the things I hear most frequently from Fear and Doubt, they are most definitely not my Reality Ally:

  • You can do a lot of things but you're really not good at anything.  What in the world do you have to offer?
  • You never follow through, you're going to get started and not finish.  People know that about you so they're expecting you to quit.
  • People won't understand what you're trying to do, there is no market out there for your dream.
  • What if you get all the way through this project and decide you don't like where you are? What then?  All this work for nothing?

If I really stopped to listen I could rationalize each one of those thoughts and talk myself out of a really awesome life.  Sometimes I do, sometimes they get the best of me and I can't start anything.  I can't start a business, a blog post, a run, or even a conversation.  I know you've been there too because these are some of the questions and comments that I've heard from many of you:

  • What if I fail?
  • People will think I'm stupid
  • I don't know how to start
  • What if I don't like it?

Here's the solution.  It's not easy and probably not simple but I'm making you a promise that it will quiet the voices down - START.

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Dale Carnegie

So friends, here's your first challenge - START.  And start small.  Start with a logo, a conversation with a friend, a training plan.  Just start.  I am challenging you to START and to let me know either in comments below or by e-mail, how you started.  Remember, a year from now, when you look back and say "that was freaking awesome", you will have your starting point right here.  Go.

With courage and kindness,

 

 

 

Be the one

Dear ladies, friends, Kind Tribers,

May I ask you a favor?

Today will you be the one?

You know...the one.

The one that leads by example.

The one that brings a positive energy to the room.

The one that defies her culture, her environment, her upbringing, her self-inflicted stereo-type and does life differently.  And better.

The one that rises above.

The one that says "hell yes" and also "hell no".

That one.

 

Photo courtesy of Kim Poole

It would really mean a lot to us if you could.

I know it's hard.

And sometimes really lonely.

But we need you.

We need you to show us how.

Because when you decide to be the one, this happens.

Photo courtesy of Kim Poole

One by one, we find the courage to be the one too.

Thanks, we appreciate your courage.

xoxo

 

Just keep dreaming

Dream big words

Here's the thing...

A fun little Facebook challenge - turn to the person next to you and say your dream out loud or post it on our FB wall - revealed to me through e-mails from a few different people that...there are many of you without a dream.  And you're not happy about it.  In fact, your kind of frustrated and concerned.

Confession:  I am 46 years old and just found my 'dream' two years ago.  It took me 46 years of learning, trying, and making mistakes to figure this out.  And here's the kicker, it's just my dream today.  Today it's what makes me excited to get the day started, it wakes me up at 2:30 in the morning with fresh ideas, it gives me energy.  But it may not be my dream a year from now.

Kids grow, people leave your life, people come into your life, it rains, it shines...everything is temporary and changing all of the time.  All. of. the time.

It makes me think of the quote "life is about the journey, not the destination".  Absolutely wouldn't it be great to see your dreams come true but I believe the joy and the learning all comes in the process.

Don't know where to start?  Try someone else's dream on and see if it fits.  Take it off if it doesn't.

Then try another dream.  Underwater basket weaving?  Go for it.  Don't like it?  Cool.

Photography?  Awesome.  Let's go.  Nope?  Try again.

Teaching your children Spanish?  Hmmm...this one, maybe.  Keep going.

See how this works?  You don't have to get it right the first time, the second time, or even the third time.  Just keep experiencing.  Pretty soon you'll just be enjoying the process and you might even forget about your dream for awhile.  Then when you least expect it (but you're always paying attention to life's hints aren't you?) there it is.  Your dream...today.

And don't forget that your dream can take different forms.  The dream I posted on FB is "to have my own business supporting and encouraging women as they go from 'mom' to 'what's next'?  I want to help them create their lives so not only are they happy women but because they will also make an impact in their communities.  At some point I would also like to work with middle and high school girls on the same thing -- figuring out what makes them strong, courageous, kind, and happy and then helping them do more of THAT."  The ultimate goal for me here is to make an impact in my community and help women.  Today it looks like one thing, next year it may look like something else.  Maybe along the way I'll figure out that I really enjoy photography and so I'll make an impact in women's lives through that.  The key is to be open to ideas and to change.

Here's to dreams of all shapes and sizes, just keep dreaming.

With courage and kindness,

I'd like you to meet my friend Rachel Bearbower and Girls on the Run of Kitsap County

Rachel Bearbower GOTR

Ladies, I've got a new Kind Tribe member for you to meet and in true Kind Tribe form - she is awesome:) 

Maybe starting a business or a non-profit is on your list, maybe fitness and health, maybe following your dreams - maybe all three.  Or maybe you are just inspired by other women that put on their big girl panties and go for it, I know I am:)  As the Council Director for Girls on the Run of Kitsap County, Rachel is all of this.  Read on girls and then send Rachel the good juju and help she needs:)

So Rachel, tell us how Girls on the Run of Kitsap County got started?

I was a Girls on the Run coach in Boston for 3 seasons and just fell in love with the program.  Coaching was such a fun experience, I met some of my best friends, learned all about the program and gained some insight as to what it would take to run a program like this.

What inspired you to start this program in Kitsap County?

I grew up here, so I have a vested interest in this area and the community.  I knew it was a program that our community  needed and a program that could really do wonders for our kids.  Not only does it incorporate physical fitness, but this program focuses on the all around well-being of girls mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.  Every woman I've ever told about this program first says, "Wow, I wish I had something like this when I was growing up".

Rewind to October of 2012, I had just moved back to Kitsap County.  I was contemplating a career change (I was previously in finance and did corporate communications for Bank of America) and Girls on the Run was what I was still very passionate about.  That said, I decided to put in my letter of intent to the national program...I applied for a council in February 2013 and we were accepted and I went to National Training in April.

Current day, I am the Council Director and Leslie Hughes is the Board of Director President.  She was recommended through a mutual friend and I'm so thankful she is in my life.  She is phenomenal - an absolute rock star!

Starting a business is not something I know how to do or would even say I'm good at, but when I started building my board I wanted to make sure that I surrounded myself with good, loyal, and passionate people, but also people who complemented my weaknesses.  So far, I think I've done a pretty good job.

I am a believer of "running...it's not about the running".  What kinds of things does GOTR promote in their curriculum?

GOTR is an activity based program that has a curriculum designed to build confidence, educate, and empower girls to ensure they are healthy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. (Side note: spiritually is used in a very general sense!)  Topics include, healthy eating, identifying emotions, gossiping, bullying, goal setting etc.  Girls on the Run is not a competitive running program, running is a way for us to teach life skills and promote healthy outcomes.

What are your goals for GOTR?

My goal for Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be healthy, confident, empowered and happy little humans.  I hope when they are finished with the program, that their coaches become their role models, but more importantly, I hope they know that they have the tools to conquer any of life's challenges and they are awesome just how they are.

Rachel Bearbower GOTR 2 (640x480)

What are your BIG DREAMS for Kitsap GOTR?

My big dreams for GOTR is that it succeeds:)  In 5, 10, 15 years, I hope that we have changed the lives of 100's of girls:)  Maybe one day my daughter will be a GOTR here in Kitsap County!  But I will say, starting my own business is pretty darn scary.  It's not something I've ever done, I am fumbling my way through legal documents, and marketing plans, and contingency plans, but I've surrounded myself with good people and it's the passion for this program that gets me up everyday at 5:00 a.m. to work on e-mails before I have to head to work and spend my weekends at fair booths.  It's incredible to see your big dreams start to come true.

As a program, I do hope in the next 5 years we have a site location at every elementary in the county and obesity rates, suicide rates begin to drop and the overall mental health of our kids begins to improve.

When can we expect to see the first local GOTR event?

GOTR is doing it's best to be visible in the community.  We sold hot dogs and hamburgers at the Kingston 4th of July parade, we had a booth at Whaling Days and we will have one also at the Kitsap County Fair and Rodeo.  As far as bigger events, we hope very soon.

Unfortunately, in order for our program to even get up and running we have to raise about $10,000.  $7,500 is a one time fee paid to GOTR International to become an official independent council.  So far, we've raised about $2,500 - we have until October to reach our goal.  That said, we need the support of our community behind us to help financially support this incredible program.  We are working with individuals, and are always looking for corporate sponsors to support the program.  However, we realize it's hard to fundraise for something when you don't have something tangible to show people.  We hope that people will begin to invest in the concept of this program.

How has running impacted your life?

I was not a runner.  I still wouldn't consider myself a 'runner', maybe a mid-pace jogger?  It's a love/hate relationship.  I know it's good for me but sometimes I just want to eat ice cream instead of going for a run.

Running only started a few years ago for me.  In November of 2009 I ran my first 5k.  In April of 2010 I ran the Boston Marathon and in October of 2010 I ran the Chicago Marathon.  What I love most about running is that I am able to set a goal that at the time seems impossible, then little by little - day by day- with hard work the goal gets closer and closer until I am able to meet it.  In March of 2011 I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, and spent most of the year immobile.  (Did I mention that it was one of the worst winters in Boston's history??  That is one way to test your mental toughness!)  Anyway, with some modern medicine, I am back to running.  I recently ran my longest race since my diagnosis at the Viking Fest 5-miler.  Not sure what's next, but with every run, I am so thankful that I have my health and I can get out there and do it!

How can we help?

You are doing it - be an ambassador of this program.  Share our posts with your friends.  Tell your dentist about the program.  Tell your friend who has a daughter about being a site coordinator.  We never know where we are going to meet our next volunteer, board member, or financial supporter, but we need YOU to help us get the word out:)

Cool huh?  Here's why I love Rachel and what she's doing...

  • She found something she's passionate about (it doesn't always have to be your job) and is using it to make a difference in her community and the world.
  • She realizes that starting anything - a business, a non profit, a dream - requires a team.  We can't do it all or know it all, find your tribe and then ask for help.
  • She knows that physical, mental, and emotional fitness are the cornerstones to living an extraordinary life.

Here's where you can find Rachel and the Girls on the Run of Kitsap County team:

www.facebook.com/gotrkitsap

GOTR Paypal link for donations - click here

Rachel.bearbower@girlsontherun.org

www.girlsontherun.org

With courage and kindness,

 

 

 

 

 

 

First ever Kind Tribe Book Club 'Meeting'

 

Yay!  Did you finish the book?  I can't wait to hear what you thought of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.

Before I give you my thoughts I want to let you know the scientific formula I use for determining whether or not I like a book.  If it makes me feel something, if it makes me want to keep turning the pages, if I find myself wanting to grab my highlighter...well then it's a good book.  If I don't like the characters, have to spend too much time thinking and analyzing...it will be a hard one for me to finish but I will - I have  a weird thing about always finishing a book (you never know, it might get better, right?).  To my recollection there has been only one book that I have never finished and I hated it so much that I have blocked it from my mind and couldn't even tell you the name of it.  I also try not to take books too seriously.  They are information and education.  They are thought provoking and feeling inducing and fun.

So, let's get to it...I really liked this book.  So much  that I read it twice AND highlighted:)

Here's what I liked:

  • You might say I have some issues with religion.  Issues meaning that I don't like being beat over the head with the Bible, nor do I like being judged for my beliefs, or my non-beliefs.  I consider myself agnostic.  I don't really know if God exists and the words Jesus and The Lord make me uncomfortable.  With that being said, I LOVE her perspective on God, Jesus and the Bible:)  When I started the book and realized how many times those 3 words were said, I immediately got uncomfortable but then I found myself smiling each time she would translate what she thought the Bible was saying because I could totally relate to THAT.  Page 137 - A Mountain I'm Willing To Die On - really hit the mark for me.  I don't want to get into too much conversation here about religion, but here are a few quotes that made me feel curious and included, and also made me say "YES!!  That's totally it!!":

"God is Forever Tries." p. 103

"...every Christian is a Christian who chooses what he follows in the Bible." p. 140

"Christianity is not about joining a particular club; it's about waking up to the fact that we are all in the same club." p. 141

"Do not be afraid of people who seem different from you, baby.  Different always turns out to be an illusion.  Look hard." p. 142

"...if a certain scripture turns our judgment outward instead of inward, if it requires us to worry about changing others instead of ourselves...then we assume we don't understand it yet, and we get back to what we do understand." p. 141

  • Her honesty.  We have all had some of those same thoughts - kids driving us crazy, husband issues, people issues, all of it - It makes me feel a little less guilty/crazy/bitchy knowing that I'm not alone here.
  • Her description of addiction.   It really is about bad genes and filling the huge hole.  The chapter Holy Holes is words that every addict can relate to.  And maybe non-addicts can relate too.  AND, in just a regular, nothing to do with addiction kind of way, she gives us the reminder that "...sometimes people who need help look nothing like people who need help." p. 19.  Which brings me back to the very beginning of the book, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."  Rev. John Watson.  Yes, KINDNESS.  Also, the chapter Day One on p. 27 - THIS IS IT.  If you are experiencing addiction or recovery or are trying to understand someone who is, THIS IS IT.  She somehow found the words I could never find. Thank you Glennon for this.
  • Her courage.  I don't take lightly any experience any one of you has gone through.  For some of us "the worst thing ever" has been addiction, for some it's fighting cancer or the loss of a loved one.  It's all personal, it's all relative, and it's all human.  She is so dead-on when she says that life is brutal and beautiful - brutiful.  Yes, it is.  And it's okay to say "life is hard".  It is.  Even the good things are hard sometimes.  I think we get into trouble when we decide that life is easy and we downplay the challenge of it all.  I really felt her courage when she couldn't adopt, nor could she volunteer at the nursing home because of her record (p. 5 Building A Life).  It's that moment when you have worked so hard to make yourself better, to accept yourself with all of the mistakes and the accomplishments, when you have unfrozen your heart and your mind and decided to help - only to be kicked down to the bottom of the well again.  Rules are rules and I understand the need for them, I really do.  I have a friend who almost 30 years after making a very poor decision, is still dealing with the consequences but now the consequences mean that he can't go on field trips with his kids or volunteer at their school.  I want to scream at the authorities, "he is a hard worker, he is a great husband and father and friend, he is a good man with a really big heart that would give you the shirt off his back, he has done his time and received his punishment"...but there are rules.  I am amazed at how she found her courage here.  I guess we never know how brave or strong we are until we have to be brave and strong.
  • Her humor.  The dirty laundry, the 'kid lunch' that she packed for her husband, the scene at Target (my favorite funny chapter). the "removable pads" tag on her workout clothes...the list is long:)

Here's what I didn't like:

  • Her honesty.  I know I said I liked it, I really do.  But it made me uncomfortable.  And crunchy.  We aren't used to living in a honest world in that way, and while it sounds good in theory and I completely understand, it's very hard to do.  And when people do it to me, I feel a bit taken aback.  Not upset or disturbed, just caught off guard and unsure of what to do next.  I guess it will just take time and practice.  I also felt a bit crunchy about her comments on parenting.  I know her comments weren't necessarily directed AT her kids, they were more directed AT parenting in general but I don't know how I feel about my kids actually hearing that I couldn't wait to pass them off at the end of the day or using up every single minute of the gym's daycare time.  Someday they will be parents and they will understand, it's a hard job.  But in the meantime, they're not parents, they're my kids.  I'm trying to imagine hearing my husband say to someone "my wife and I have been together all day, I can't wait for her to head out to her book club meeting."  I know that he probably thinks it, but something about hearing it...it kind of doesn't feel very good.  But that's just me, I'm sensitive like that;)

I think this is a book I will keep on my shelf and read a chapter of every now and then.  Just to remind me that "I can do hard things".

So excited to hear what you thought!  Let the commenting begin...and don't forget to let me know your suggestions for our next book choice.

With courage and kindness,

The fashion show that wasn't

iStock_000020165045Small Fashion Show

Oh my gosh girls, I just got back from the CAbi Fall Fashion Show and WOW.  What an inspiration.

You might think I'm talking about the clothes (they are VERY chic and cute), but I'm not.

Something you might not know about me, I used to sell CAbi.  I've lost count but I would say it was about 3-4 years ago.  This was part of my "find something for me that makes me happy and feel productive" time in my life.  It was an experiment in looking for something that would make my heart do a happy dance.  While I only sold it for 4 seasons (2 years), I consider it a huge success because of what I learned.  You know that right?  There's no such thing as a failure, they are just learning opportunities.  And most of the time they turn out to be something amazing.

In a nutshell, here are the completely unexpected things that I got from my CAbi selling experience (and some really awesome clothes):

  • I completely got out of my comfort zone, I had to stand up in front of a room of women that I didn't know and SPEAK.  And after the first season I found my groove and guess what, I LIKED IT.
  • I had to introduce myself to strangers, a lot of them, frequently.  And then I had to make conversation with them and get to know them.  If you are an introvert like me, you'll know just how extremely difficult and painful this can be sometimes.  I used to rely on the good ol' glass of wine to help with that, courage in a bottle, but no more - it's just good ol' me.
  • I had to learn to sell things.  I discovered I didn't like this so much.
  • One of my very best friends - she was a guest at a CAbi show.  Because of that meeting I have traveled to new places, my son went to an amazing pre-school/kindergarten, and I found the courage to start my blog.  Love the ripple effect:)
  • The courage to wear the clothes that make me feel like me.  It took some experimenting but as is usual in life, I discovered that my style is my own and it's OKAY.  I believe that what you wear and how you present yourself has a definite effect on how you feel about yourself.

I was so excited to have been invited to the Fall Fashion Show, there is so much energy and excitement there, it's almost impossible not to get caught up in it.  I sat in the crowd and soaked up the music and the energy, I admired the clothes, and I thought and thought and thought about my experience with the company.  I actually think I 'zoned' through some of the show because I had a 'lightbulb moment'.  Here's what I discovered:

  • While all of the tests and my knowledge of myself tell me I'm an introvert, I crave CONNECTION.  Connection with other like-minded women.  Conversations about the things we love, laughter, teaching, learning, and experiences.  And even better, I love connecting other women with experiences and people.
  • I am a sponge for emotion and vibe.  If I walk into a dead room, my spirits deflate and I have a hard time recovering (I had a few shows like this, they were AWFUL).  The same is true if I am surrounded by people who are happy and carry a positive energy.  Which would you prefer?
  • I love learning.  Some of my favorite CAbi experiences were the classes, the newslettters, the training calls...I devour information.
  • Relationships are important to me.  I was more interested in meeting and learning about people.  I think this is why I had a hard time selling, I couldn't figure out how to do it without feeling 'salesy'.  If I could have given it all away for free I would have.

So when I finished my evaluation of my CAbi experience guess what I discovered?  All of the things I love about the CAbi experience I still have - in The Kind Tribe!!!  My heart just did a BIG happy dance:)  I hope you are finding some things in the Kind Tribe that make your heart do a happy dance too.

So what's the point?  I encourage you to evaluate.  Look at the things you love in your life and get down to the core of what you love about them.  See if you can connect the dots between all of them and find a pattern. Really focus on how those things make you feel because when you get right down to it, that's what we're looking for right?  That feeling we get when we've done something awesome.  It's a fun and easy way to start thinking about what it is you want to do to make your heart dance.  And I always encourage you to get out of your comfort zone.  I really can't even put into words how this transforms your thoughts and fills your heart right up. 

Just a disclaimer, this isn't a promotional post for CAbi or their clothes however, if you think fashion or direct sales might be 'your thing' I would be happy to give you my input.  I don't sell for them anymore but I can absolutely share my experience with you if you're interested.

Go get 'em girls:)

With courage and kindness,

 

 

Coming out of the closet...literally

Bag of CAbi clothes (480x640)

Since early spring this lovely bag has been moved to my mudroom then to my bedroom then back to the mudroom again.  Each time I walk by it I sigh heavily...and then I keep walking. My addiction is in this bag.  There it sits, day after day, staring at me.

Each time my husband walks by it he says "What are "we" doing with this bag?"  Thank you honey for taking responsibility for the bag too, "we" are stuck with this bag because I can't seem to part with the contents.  The things in the bag, I might need them someday.

Hi, my name is Marnie, I am still an addict.  And to make matters worse I am headed to Portland with my dealer for another fix.

While I won't burden you with the ugly details of my trek to temptation, I might post a few pictures in hopes that it will keep me accountable and maybe when I return you can help me let go...of the bag.  I will need your help.  What to do with the things.

With courage and kindness and the latest fall fashions,

 

 

P.S.  Any guesses on what's in the bag?  :)

 

I'm a deer...in the headlights

iStock_000012701878XSmall deer

Awhile back I posted about personality types, our DNA.  All inspired from a day spent on our elementary school field helping the kids with Field Day.

So let's have our own little personality Field Day shall we?

Here's a link to a free version of the Myers-Brigg personality test.  The real Myer's-Briggs Test can only be administered by certified clinicians.  Clincians or not, I found this free version to be amazingly accurate. It measures four different personality traits, you’re either an I or an E (Introvert or Extrovert), N or S (Sensing or Intuition), T or F (Thinking or Feeling), or J or P (Judging or Perceiving).  When you've completed the test (it's pretty short, shouldn't take long) there is a link where you can get more of an in-depth description of your type.

I am a confused ISFJ.  I say confused because the description is completely accurate however the image it conjures in my mind is quite different than the image I have of myself.  I have to question the results (just a tiny bit) because sometimes I'm not always the expert on me.  There are little things like doubt, insecurity, and crazy brain that get in the way.  Here's a simple example...my daughter fainted recently during a workout.  This girl plays basketball 5 days a week almost 9 months out of the year, she really couldn't be in better shape physically.  However, when the EMT asked her if she was in good athletic condition, he referred to it as "marathon shape", she said no.  When I raised my eyebrows she said "I couldn't run a marathon".  So, another thought, maybe it's all in how you understand the question.

Bottom line here - it's all just information.

And since it's always super important to know what kind of animal you are, take a peek at this Buzzfeed article. and see what happened when animals "took" the test.  Apparently the deer is an ISFJ like me which seems fitting since often I find myself saying "I feel like a deer in the headlights".  I was completely NOT surprised by this information.

Be sure to comment below and let us know your personality type AND what kind of animal you are.  There's room for all of us in this here zoo:)

With courage and kindness,

 

What Field Day taught me about my DNA

If it doesn't light you up

I posted this Danielle LaPorte quote on Facebook the other day and while I love Facebook it's not the best tool for gauging people's responses.  Some days people don't see the post, some days they don't connect with it, some days they love it but don't feel like commenting.  This was one of those quotes that I felt was really important but also really hard to process. There wasn't a lot of response so I'm wondering if maybe you're like me and this hit a nerve but it might have taken too much brain power to really stop and think about (it was the last week of school after all!).

Many of us go into school and careers thinking about what we want to be when we grow up and our ideas are based on image, money, travel, and what we see that feels good for other people.  Sadly, I believe that at the young age of 18 it's pretty much impossible to know what it is that "lights you up", especially when it comes to choosing a career path.  So we go to school, we get jobs, we start businesses, and then we have that moment when we realize we love working alone in our home office but we hate managing payables, or we love the kids we teach at school but we are completely uninterested in the topic, or maybe we are sick to our stomach heading out the door to work each morning and leaving our kids in someone else's care but we need the paycheck.  So we continue on, not lighting up.

The good news/bad news is...it takes us awhile to get to know ourselves and it's hard because we're a moving target.  What you were interested in when you were 20 (or even yesterday for that matter) may not be what you're interested in now.  If it is, then you are one of the lucky ones, you knew all along at your very core, what it is that makes your heart happy.

So on my quest to figure out what makes me happy way down deep, I've become a professional personality test taker.  I've done them all, even the free ones in Cosmo magazine.  I'm an introvert in some situations but an extrovert in others, I like to work by myself but I get my inspiration from others, I am motivated by reward and recognition yet I don't like to be the center of attention...you get where I'm going here?  Confusing.  On Sunday I am Princess Di, Monday I am Sheryl Sandberg, and Tuesday I am Kim Kardashian.  <sigh>

Fortunately I got the opportunity to witness a real life personality test last week, I worked at my son's school for Field Day.  My 20 year old daughter and I ran the Gunny Sack/Shoe Kick station (you're totally reminiscing right now aren't you?).  Remember "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" by Robert Fulghum?  It's true.

The cutest little kindergartners came through and as I helped a sweet tiny girl into a gunny sack that seemed to swallowed her whole she kept repeating, "Is this a race?  Cuz I don't like races.  Is this a race?  I don't really like to do races.  Is this a race?  Do I have to win?  Is this a race?"  I told her all she needed to do was hop hop hop like a bunny over to her friend on the other side.  She seemed okay with that but that little girl never smiled once, it's as if I had asked her to share her very favorite doll with the class mean girl.

Something tells me she won't be playing in the WNBA when she grows up and not just because she's little.

She doesn't have the competitive DNA.  It's totally okay, I don't really have it either unless I'm competing with myself.  I hate that there always has to be a winner and a loser, especially when it comes to kids.  And by the way can we re-define or create a new word for loser?  There's just no nice way to say "You're the loser" or even "You didn't win".  It all implies that, well...that you're a loser.

That was a little off topic, my point is, what lights you up is built in to you, it's in your DNA.  I believe you are born with it, it comes from somewhere way down deep, the trouble is it's hard to get to.  That's why it takes us so long to figure it out.  Years and years of trying to get access to that control center, trying different keys, trying to pick the lock, and sometimes getting out the crow bar to pry that sucker open.

I don't have to tell you when you you've finally broken in, you know.  You always know.  You can feel it.  It feels good, and easy even when it's hard, and peaceful, and right.

Cheers to Kindergarten and crow bars:)

With courage and kindness,

 

 

A life lesson in riding the skinny

This is my BFB "riding the skinny" on her 40th birthday.  This video isn't intended to be about her but rather to share a lesson to be learned from her.

DID YOU SEE THE PORTAL???? That flash of sun just as she dropped down off the skinny...

This is the tipping point of her day, the moment I want to bottle, shake, and spray over everyone like champagne.  It's the moment when she realized what she just did. From this moment forward she rides with a little more confidence, courage, and excitement.   This is also a pivotal moment for the rest of us because while her head is saying "I want everyone to do this! If I can do this they can totally do this!!", our brains are telling us "Hey, I might be able to do that. That totally looked like fun, I should try it!".

I can't bottle up that moment in time but I can tell you that WE CAN DO IT. We can "ride the skinny", we can apply for that job, we can start that business, and we can run that race. We will find that portal (by the way, the definition is "a large elaborate gate or entrance" - how can we miss it?), and then we won't be able to keep it to ourselves, we will have to share it with everyone we know.

The key is that we have to start. Start small, start big, it doesn't really matter...just start. We can't reach our destination without taking the first step, and the next, and the next.

So here is our Ride The Skinny lesson... 1. Sometimes it takes more than one try to get it done (this was her 2nd shot at it by the way). 2. It's never too late to try (she did this on her 40th birthday, good golly, not bad for an old chick). 3. You can't Ride the Skinny if you don't get on your bike. 4. In case you missed it...you have to KEEPPEDALINGKEEPPEDALINGKEEPPEDALING! 5. It's super important to have someone (maybe your kind courageous friends at The Kind Tribe?) standing by cheering you on and reminding you to keep pedaling.

I know you've graced the threshold of at least one portal in your life, what was it?

Still pedaling,

 

 

P.S.  Thank you to my crew at www.makeupandmechanics.com for the video production and also to my peeps at Kingston Riders for the fun ride!

A Tribute to my BFB

Bigfoot Believer?

Best Friends Brother?

Better From Behind?  Ummm...NO.

Blue Fuzzy Blankie?  YES:)

Did your kids ever have that blankie that never left their side?  The one that gave them courage when they were scared?  The one that calmed them when they were upset?  The one that generally just made them happy?

In case you were wondering, today is the 40th Annual Blue Fuzzy Blankie Day.  Quite a big holiday in this family!  In celebration of this important day, here is a tribute and a thank you to my very special BFB.

We always seem to be in sync and she never leaves my side...

NODM

 

She's always there to hold my hand for the big moments in life... NODM finish

She never hesitates to share even her most special stuff...

Hot Chocolate 2013

 

She always encourages me to try new things...

Mtn Bike

 

We have the same great fashion sense...

Cabo bikinis

 

She farts sunshine...really...

Lisa Fart Sunshine

 

I will always have your back...

Lisa Vegas Pool

With love from my whole heart and wishing you the happiest of birthdays my friend,

 

Watch All Your Dreams Come True

Diana Lynn PhotoDiana Lynn holding a copy of her book the day it came out in book stores:)  xoxo

Tuesdays...the day you get to meet other women in the Kind Tribe circle.  One of my favorite days:)

Today I am really excited to introduce you to Diana Lynn, author of Pieces of Me: Life of a Recovering Dysfunctional.  Diana came to me by synchronicity, circumstance, coincidence, serendipity, fate...whatever you want to call it, I'm just really glad we're connected.

A few months back I lost it.  Completely.  Overwhelmed with tax returns I didn't understand, numbers that didn't make sense, getting deeper and deeper each day, I called my CPA and said "I give.  I need some help.  I can't do it all nor do I want to.  There has to be someone out there that can handle this part of the business for me." (And by the way, WHY ON EARTH IS IT SO HARD TO ASK FOR HELP????)

In my CPA's way of confident, laid back, kind of non-chalant, very KIND, she said, "I have a gal that I think would be great for you.  I will call her to see if she's interested and then we'll see how we can work together.  Oh, and I think she's a runner like you, and she wrote this really great book, kind of along the lines of what you're doing at Marnie Rae."

It was Diana.  And yes, SHE is totally along the lines of what's going on at Marnie Rae. SHE'S the one that was fearful of going for it but did it anyway.  Enjoy:)

Watch Your Dreams Come True

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” Confucius

Every year I set the same New Year’s resolution. This year, “I’m going to become a published writer!”

I find myself walking through the bookstore looking for some how to be a great writer books. I thumb through the Writers Guide looking for newspapers, magazines, and agents just waiting for me to submit my masterpiece. I pull out my calendar and mark-out big blocks of time to write.

I’m serious this time. I really mean it! I’m going to be published!

By mid-February the dream fades, again, until that next December 31st.

Why? Why do I set this important goal every year, something I truly want, yet every year I don’t follow through?

I asked myself this question on 12/31/2009. Why? Why?!

Then, it hit me. It’s because I don’t know how to follow my dream. I don’t know how to write. I don’t know the craft of writing. I just know I want to write.

Armed with this new knowledge that I don’t know what I’m doing; I took some steps to prepare myself.

Step 1: Get equipped for the dream. I found some writing classes through the local community college. I learned tricks of the trade to make my writing better. I learned about copyright and proper formatting. I learned about the power of 3. Each week I would submit my stories for the teacher and class to (gently) critique. My fellow Newbie writers and I would laugh and sometimes cry at the stories we shared. I was growing. I was learning. But the most valuable lesson I learned from my writing class was step 2.

Step 2: Find a support system. Find a group or even just 1 who shares your dream. Talk with them. Laugh with them. And maybe even cry with them. (Following a dream can be very scary and challenging.) My Write Night group helped me stay on track while also building me up as an aspiring writer. They became the people I trusted with my dreams. Their loving support helped me grow, helped my writing grow, and then finally, helped my confidence grow.

Step 3: Confidence. A dream is filled with “what-if’s” Those what-if’s fade into the background once confidence is present. They don’t disappear, but they do fade. Once I got equipped, once I found support, I then found my confidence.

Confidence so strong, I was finally ready to submit my first story. 10/22/2010 I received an email from Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Dear Diana, Congratulations! Your story My Gift from God has been selected to appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Answered Prayers.

Get equipped. Find support. Fight for your confidence. And watch all your dreams come true.

Diana Lynn is a published author. She’s a contributor for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. Her book Pieces of Me Life of a Recovering Dysfunctional can be found  here on Amazon.com. Contact her at Diana@recoveringdysfunctional.com or  www.recoveringdysfunctional.com

"Get equipped.  Find support.  Fight for your confidence.  And watch all your dreams come true." ~Diana Lynn

I have a little something to add...

"GO FOR IT!" ~Marnie Rae

With confidence and kindness,

If Mama ain't happy...nobody's happy.

I'd like you to meet Zach Sobiech.  Some of you may have already seen this video, it seems to have gone viral on the web.  It's long as far as internet videos go but I think you'll find it time well spent.  It's much more than another reminder of that old saying we have been hearing so much of lately, "life is short".

There are so many positive, "life is short", inspirational videos floating around on the www that I will admit, I was hesitant to watch yet another one.  I think the hormones are a little crazy too because I found myself with a bit of a bad attitude...I figured I'd watch it and cry (you can't help but love this guy and his family) but then go back to living my life as usual...like I have a lifetime ahead of me to be kind and courageous, do what I love, and make an impact.

But Zach's video caught me off guard, not in the way I thought it was going to.  He made a comment in the video towards the end, I caught it as I was packing lunches, half-watching, not being present as is it is so easy to do these days with technology at our fingertips.  He said, "It's really simple actually, it's just try and make people happy.  Maybe you have to learn it with time, maybe you have to learn it the hard way, but as long as you learn it you're going to make the world a better place."

Well said Zach but there is something I have to disagree with, just a little.  While it is most definitely a simple and impactful concept, sometimes it's not simple to implement into everyday life.  This is the change I would like to make in my personal world.  We are busy, we are chauffeuring and working, we are paying bills and buying groceries, we are running businesses and getting in shape, all of this while trying to find our own peace and joy.  Isn't the rule these days "put the oxygen mask on yourself first" and "If Mama ain't happy, nobody's happy"?

I realized that I had forgot - my own personal peace and joy comes from...making people happy.  My family, my dog, my friends, you.

Yes, put the oxygen mask on yourself first so you can care for the world around you but don't forget that one of the most gratifying ways to do this is to make someone else happy.

So now as I proofread and analyze, I realize, I don't disagree with Zach.  It is simple.  It is a simple concept and it is simple to implement into everyday life.  The challenge can sometimes come in finding gratitude, appreciation, and awareness. But we're the Kind Tribe, an awesome group of courageous and kind women who love a challenge.  We've totally got this.

You know the old saying, "If nobody ain't happy, Mama ain't happy."  ;)

With happiness, courage, and always kindness,