Two Working Moms

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Kid Glamping

If you asked me about car camping 10 years ago I would say no way. Why would I go into the forest to sleep next to my car? Why go into the woods so I have to be quiet and not disturb other campers? The reason is these two little faces.

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Now as a mom with two little kids car camping is the only way to do it if you want to have a good vacation and actually look forward to it year after year. I might go back to backpacking and minimalism one day but for now, I am 100% on-board with kid glamping and every year I look forward to our camping trips.

The Location 

If you live in the PNW you need to book your spot at least 6 months ahead. Yes, that is right, if  you want that sweet spot, the one group site near the bathrooms, the one with a water faucet, the one that has an outlet, the one that you to go every year then you need to book it on the first day you can so you don’t have to worry about getting something that is going to stress you out. We have that site, the one we go to every year with a water faucet, outlet, and picnic tables with a shelter. It’s a group site with good access and it’s been our 4th of July home for a few years now.

Pre-Camping

I love planning and taking notes. So last year after doing this a few times we really honed in on our pregame. It made a huge difference making the time to get some stuff organized and starting our trip on the right foot that I felt so ready I even got in an AM run before we hit the road.

Make a few premade dishes. We made some food ahead of time like couscous salad and chocolate-chip cookies. If you don’t have anything made I would at least consider having a lunch bag of food for each person so you have a quick meal ready when you get there. It takes time to set up camp and no one wants to be hangry. This is also a great way to keep the kids occupied while the adults set up camp.

Campsite Setup

In the morning your kids are going to get up at the crack of dawn. Be ready to roll out of that tent and have your lounge area set up. This is the area with the rug or large blanket. We have a few inflatable chairs and toys to entertain the kids. If they are really little you’ll have a playpen for them to chill in while you warm up the water for your instant coffee.

There will be bugs so make sure to bring net tabletop covers to keep them off your food. I also like to keep a basket out with utensils, napkins, and maybe a citronella candle to keep the tablecloth from blowing away. I keep this under the net tabletop cover to keep things clean while we are away from the site and all the critters get up on our table.

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For our picnic tables, we use the table cloths that are reusable and have a cleanable surface top and a cotton fabric bottom. They hold better to wood picnic tables and they are easy to wipe off and sanitize each time since at our location there was always chipmunk poop when we return to the campsite.

If you haven’t camped while and want to get one thing to make this camping trip a success get a new air mattress. Sleep is going to be hard in a new place, with new sounds, and you all might be in the same bed for the first time. To help get some sleep make sure you have a good bed and lots of pillows. If it is cold make sure to bring more blankets then you think you’ll actually need. Sometimes with kids, things get wet or dirty and better to have extra and not need them. I would also recommend having larger than needed blankets. So if you have a queen mattress bring king size blankets so everyone is covered.

Some things I do at our campsite and in our tent to make it feel more like home:

  • Large rug (or blanket) for the getting ready and play area in the tent.
  • Basket for shoes in the tent near the door.
  • “Doormat” outside the tent so there is a clean place to step or sit to put on shoes.
  • Solar lights to help see important areas.
  • Bathroom bag with a headlamp and all the stuff your kids want or need when you go no matter the time of day.
  • Air pump and a long extension cord. If you have kids they are going to jump on that air mattress and you are going to want to touch it up and fill it up a little more without getting it out of the tent. Trust me, bring an extension cord.
  • Furniture, and the cozier and more comfortable the better. We have found our favorite are the inflatables chairs and such. I bring some extra blankets and pillows to make it extra cozy.
  • I also like to bring some fun seasonal decorations.

The Food

Breakfast for the kids is that boxed cereal they never get to eat and while they are busy someone can make the adults some real breakfast. We do easy lunches and make sandwiches and let the kids snack all day. Then for dinner, we go big and make sure to sit at the table and eat family style like we do at home.

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There are a ton of tips online about what to make while camping but it is really up to your style. My hubby loves to cook fun stuff but he is also nostalgic about things and wants to have special types of classic dishes, especially for the 4th of July camping we do every year.

Here are a few of my tips around food:

  • Freeze large bottles of water for ice packs. This way you have water once it melts and when it does melt it won’t get everything soggy.
  • Bring a few reusable containers. They can hold lunch stuff to the beach or on a hike, they can be in the cooler for that half-eaten apple or the dinner someone didn’t eat.
  • If you can get dry ice that stuff is the best to keep everything cold.
  • Have a snack bag or box. This is all the dry snack items you have so you can have your kids help themselves. You can even have one in the cooler for perishables.
  • We use a travel bottle cleaner container that has a small dry area and comes with a brush. It is perfect for washing dishes.
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  • Bring something ready to eat like muffins, wraps, or comfort food.
  • Water bottles for the kids with their name on it. One trip… one cup!!!
  • We love making nachos. You can warm up the cheese over a campfire and then add all the sides to bowls so people and kids can build their own. Always a big hit with the groups and super easy to make.
  • This year the smores got an uplift with chocolate cookies.

The Clean and Dirty

We camp near the beach and by the end of the day, the kids need a bath, especially if we are there several days. We bring a large bucket/bin that holds our camping gear and use that as a bathtub. We warm up water with our sunshower and our immersion circulator if we need a little extra.

Once our kids are ready to go to bed we have them put their shoes inside the tent in a basket near the door. My kids are already used to taking off shoes in the house so this was easy for them to adopt. By keeping shoes inside we didn’t have to worry about bugs crawling in overnight outside the tent. This really helps limit the amount of dirt in our tent.

A few more things I add to my checklist:

  • Small dustpan and little broom to clean up dirt in the tent.
  • Disinfectant wipes (trust me you will need them).
  • Collapsible sink bucket to wash pots or dishes.
  • Paper plates for easy clean ups when you don’t want to wash dishes.
  • Large hand sanitizer for the table and a small one to take with you in your backpack for day adventures.
  • Bathroom bag or shower caddy with everything you need for the bathroom including a flashlight to get there.
  • Yoga matt for the inside of the tent to put shoes on or step inside the tent with shoes.
  • Large ziplock bag for the inside trash.

Bedtime Adventures

Bedtime for little kids is hard, even at home sometimes so we go the super easy route. I put my kid in our bed and give them their tablets with headphones. They watch a movie while I sit at the campfire only a few feet away and they pass out before the movie ends. I then transfer them when I go to bed. The great thing about the headphones is they don’t hear us talking and they get to stay up a little later than normal so hopefully, they sleep in a little.

I also suggest lots of blankets, extra pillows, stuffies, and kid lanterns.

Odds and Ends

We love camping and want to make the most of it for our kids. They thrive being outside and having everyone so close to them for days. It is a great family experience we get to share with close friends and do my best to make it fun and enjoyable for everyone.

Here are a few more odds and ends to make camping and exploring fun:

  • Scavenger hunt and exploring tools for the kids.
  • Smore’s caddy or station and stuff ready to go, including sticks with handles.
  • Glow in the dark toys and glow sticks for everything!!!
  • Toys like sidewalk chalk, buckets, shovels, and binoculars.
  • Stuff to do inside if it is bad weather like coloring books, crafts, and movies on tablets.
  • Warm robe for the kids. They are perfect for putting over PJs and keeping them warm all night long.
  • Backpack for day trips out and about to hold all the snacks.

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Hope this list and suggestions help to make your next family camping trip that much more enjoyable for everyone.

Of course, all this said, camping with kids is just like being at home with kids. It is crazy and you never know what could happen. You can plan for the worst and hope for the best and if you keep your bar low you will be happy with your vacation.

Happy Kid Glamping * L


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The REAL Working Moms Equal Pay Day

Last year on May 30th, was Working Moms Equal Pay Day.  It is a symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the working mom pay gap. In the United States, this date symbolizes how far into the year working moms must work in order to earn what men earned in the previous year.

This date is based on the % of the dollar earned by working moms. Current women in America with no children earn $.80 for every dollar men earned and celebrated equal pay day on April 2nd.

I didn’t think much about the date or data until I noticed this year it wasn’t the same date as before, and the official date looks to now be sometime in June. I should have dug into this data before, but now I was really curious as to how they got that date and what data was driving this outcome.

I’m a math girl and I love data. I love how black and white it is and often use it to leverage and base decisions on. That said, data can be manipulated based on how you show it. I’m going to share a lot of math with you but I want to be transparent.

In America here is what Wikipedia says are the different equal pay days based on the dollar earned:

  • Asian American women make $.85 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is March 5, 2019.
  • African American women earn $.61 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is August 22, 2019.
  • Native American women earn $.58 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is September 23, 2019.
  • Latinas earn $.53 for every dollar, and their equal pay day is November 20, 2019.
  • Mothers earn $.69 compared to fathers, and in 2019, their equal pay day is June 10, 2019.

The issue I have with this mother data is the lack of information on how they got it. Asian American women make more money than White American women. Same is true for mothers. So is June 10th the date Asian American Moms earn their full dollar or is it for White Mothers? I wasn’t happy with this answer so I did the math to find out.

Research around the Mother Penalty shows that hourly wages of mothers are approximately 5% lower (per child) than the wages of non-mothers. The research by Sigle-Rushton and Waldfogel found that 81% of mothers with children under the age of 18 made less than $40,000 per year compared to only 44% of fathers. Wage penalty incurred by women for motherhood varies significantly across nations as do work-family policies. What makes this data hit even harder is that women in lower-wage jobs suffer a greater percentage of loss in hourly wages as a result of motherhood than women in more highly paid professions.

A recent study found that the pay gap for mothers with one child rose from 9% in the period between 1986 and 1995 to 15% between 2006 and 2014. For mothers with two kids, the gap held steady at 13% and stayed at 20% for mothers with three or more children.

What is also interesting is Asian women face the smallest wage gap and they earn 97% of what white men earn, resulting in a pay gap of just 3%. White women earn 79% of what white men do, while black women earn 67% and Hispanic women earn 58%.

Using this math and the data we have, here are the true equal pay day for women in America. I also used data I found here on Business Insider and came up with this list. They didn’t have data for Native American so I deferred to the data above given in Wikipedia. The two had close data but it wasn’t exactly the same so makes you again wonder how accurate any of this data is.

Mother’s with 1 kid earn 15% less and it goes up to 20% with 2 kids. So using the data I have, here are Working Mothers in America, equal pay day by ethnicity and by 1 or 2 kids:

  • March 15, 2019 – Asian American moms with 1 kid earn $.82 for every dollar
  • July 15, 2019 – Asian American moms with 2 kids earn $.79 for every dollar
  • August 2, 2019 – White American moms with 1 kid earn $.67 for every dollar
  • August 29, 2019 – White American moms with 2 kids earn $.63 for every dollar
  • September 30, 2019 – African American moms with 1 kid earn $.57 for every dollar
  • October 10, 2019 – African American moms with2 kids earn $.55 for every dollar
  • November 10, 2019 – Native Americans & Hispanic American moms with 1 kid earn $.49 for every dollar
  • November 29, 2019 – Native Americans & Hispanic American moms with 2 kids earn $.46 for every dollar

I know it is super confusing but when we water down these dates to one, we don’t highlight the real complexity of the issue. We are also not able to reverse how they got that number or date without real raw data.

This is a good lesson to not just believe everything you read and dive into the data yourself to see the truth.  May 30, 2018 we celebrated Working Moms Equal Pay Day and now it looks like the official day might be June 10th.  Not sure how they got that date and for who? And what kind of mom is this the date for? Is it for the highest paid working moms, Asian American’s with 1 kid?

If I had a choice I think we should celebrate it on November 29th when the last working mom with 2 kids gets her full pay, but then again, maybe I am a bit biased since I am a working mom with 2 kids who’s 24% Native American with Mexican Citizenship.

Here I am pregnant with my firstborn. I started a new job at Amazon and moved to a different state, away from family, for my job. They didn’t know I was pregnant and part of me wonders if I would have gotten the job or the pay I did if they had known.

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What day do you think we should call Equal Pay Day for Working Moms in America? Have you seen new or more reliable data on the $ earned for 2019 based on ethnicity and number of kids? If so please share and thanks for reading. * L

 


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Thanks Mom for the Invention

Did you know that a long time ago women could not file for a patent in America? They had to file under their husband’s name or a use a first initial to avoid the gender question, thus many women never got the recognition. Even today there is a huge gender gap in women filing for patents. Women inventors made up only 12% of all inventors on patents granted in 2016. The good news is for the first time in a long time, if not forever we are seeing a change and more women than ever are inventing and getting credit for it.

I dug in a little deeper to find out who of these women inventors are mothers, working moms who made a difference. Working moms whom you’d have to thank if you’ve used Wi-Fi, windshield wipers, or a dishwasher.

Women in the workplace make it better for everyone! Diversity matters and moms in the workplace make a huge difference in our everyday lives and in the workplace.

Did you know a working mom invented the dishwasher? How about a Mother-Daughter invention of personality type indicator called Myers Briggs? Have you heard about the working mom Elizabeth Blackburn who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine? What about Ingrid Daubechies who is one of the world’s most cited mathematicians? Maybe you heard about the actress working mom Hedy Lamarr who invented what was to later become Bluetooth technology. What about Ruby Violet Payne-Scott who was the first female radio astronomer?

 

 

If you are interested take a look at my Instagram page to learn more about the other 24 working moms and their inventions. I highlighted one each day in April and have loved learning about all 30 women who have each made a big difference in the world.

Diversity matters, and we are all better together for it. 

Happy Mother’s Day to you, your Mom, and to all the working Moms out there who are making a difference. * L

 


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HELP

Even looking at the title “Help” makes me a little uncomfortable. Does it do that for you? Are you good at asking for help? Do you often help others? How does the word help show up for you?

For me, it is both my strength and weakness. I have never been good at asking for help. In fact, I might be the worst at it and am still working on it today. That said, it has made me strong, agile, and able to have grit, grow and be a strong person who is always pushing herself to do more, be better.

I didn’t realize I was bad at asking for help until I was listening to my mom tell me a story about when I was little. I was selling girl scout cookies with my friends and I was complaining about my stomach hurting. It was Saturday and my mom was working so my dad picked me up. We went home and I went to bed complaining about my stomach. My dad didn’t know what to do so he called my mom who owned her own hair salon in town. She asked, “did she eat breakfast, has she eaten?” Well, that was it. I was hungry and the adult in me hearing this story made me realize how bad I was at asking for help as a child.

I was so bad at asking for help that as a child I wouldn’t even ask my parents for food when I was hungry. 

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As a result of not asking for help, I pushed myself. If I struggled I tried harder. I found a way to make it work. I got lucky that some people saw me struggling, saw me looking out the window at school too long, and asked me if I needed help. Even when I said I didn’t, even when the whole town knew my Dad had cancer I said no. When I think back I got a lot of help and people really cared about me. I wonder if they helped since they knew I wouldn’t ask, or they appreciated how hard I was trying. As a result, I have so much respect for people who are trying, people who are hanging on, do it on their own and be accountable!

I also love to help and feel thankful I have found a profession that allows me to help others achieve success. I also feel very lucky that I have a husband who is a helper. He is my best friend and knows me even when I am not paying attention to myself. He even got morning sickness when I first got pregnant (and I didn’t). We are very connected and having someone like him, has been a lifesaver for me. He also loves to help and it’s been a learning process to let go of the control and accept that help.

Many times a story of one’s life doesn’t look the same from the outside. That strong woman who has it all together needs help too and I write this not to highlight this in me but to highlight this need for all the others who are too strong, too scared, too conditioned to ask for help.

We all have our dark moments, our struggle, and when you see this in a friend, a loved one, don’t ask how you can help, ask them “what do you need” so you can do that for them. A true gift is one that is not asked for, one that is given from the heart, one that doesn’t need recognition or even acknowledgment for the true gift is the ability to give.

Life is hard and we all need a little help sometimes. Make sure you don’t miss the quiet ones, the strong ones, the ones who aren’t asking for help… as they are often the ones who need it the most. * L

 


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10 Simple Ways to be More Productive

Sure I want hard abs and be able to run an 8 mile minute for a whole marathon but when I am really honest with myself I don’t want it bad enough. Enough to put in the hours of dedication to make it happen, the training, the discipline, and my “why” just is not strong enough to be disciplined enough.

So when I think about productivity I want the biggest bang for my time, what is the smallest investment I can make and have a big impact by doing that little thing? So I created a list and thought I would share my easy ways to be more productive and win at life.

  1. Make a to-do list the night before. I have a post-it notepad I use and when I am finishing my work day I fill it out so I am ready to go in the morning.
  2. Dedicate each day of the week to one of your goals as a focus. You could dedicate each Sunday to your spirituality or if you have 10 main focus areas rotate the days between them. Then when you look at your to-do list make sure to add something to compliment your daily focus. This way you chip away at your goals and a month won’t go by without you spending some time on that goal.
  3. Donation bag waiting to be filled. Having a decluttered workspace and home allows you to move faster, have less anxiety, and know what you are working with. Put a bag in your closet and add to it every day as you see and notice stuff you are no longer using or need. Donate it once it is full or if you have time give stuff away.
  4. Join a book club. It will force you to read more, even if it is listening to the audio on 2x speed the night before if you didn’t find time to finish. (Photo of my book club Titles and Tangents and our guest author.)30629628_10155711606057683_8272170684986163200_n
  5. Just do it.  Immediate action fuels a positive feedback loop that drives even more action, so whatever it is you have been waiting for don’t and make that call, leap, and start that new project or adventure now. Some say if it only takes 2 minutes don’t even write it done and just do the task. Focus on the quick wins and small tasks first so you get momentum on your day.
  6. Don’t watch regular TV. I do have a television in our basement and we have Apple TV so we download shows and watch them on Hulu and Netflix. Think of all the time you are saving by not watching commercials.
  7. Drink more water. Not only are most people dehydrated but water will help keep you healthy and feeling energetic. I also have noticed drinking a lot of water makes me use the bathroom more often. This forces me to take more breaks, move around, and that is great for my productivity to keep going on the long days.
  8. Join a group to align your goals with, like a running club. Or maybe it is just a group of friends that meet up on the weekends. Similar to the book club, having a group of people to hold you accountable or who you enjoy hanging out with to keep you moving. You would be surprised how many different types of Meet-ups or Groups you can find on Facebook to match any of your goals. Getting outside, fresh air, moving, and exercise not only keep you healthy but they keep you motivated in the right headspace. 53216920_1232557486896728_2110525093640667136_n
  9. Get a planner. You need to know how you are spending your time in order to modify it. I have been using the Passion Planner for 3 years now and even my husband has noticed a difference in my productivity as a result of using it. What I love about a planner is it is both for planning but also a great tool to reflect and track habits.
  10. Prioritize your sleep. This is my #1 easy way to be the most productive. If you go to bed early you can wake up at 5 am and have that golden hour to do you. Go to the gym, work on your book, start a new project, or get something done. It’s hard at first but this one new habit can do wonders for your productivity and it is like you have gained the magical 25th hour and will see your productivity skyrocket.

Hope this simple list helps you crush your goals and so you can make the most of your 24 hours each day. * L

 


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Change Agent Survival Guide

Change is what happens to you and the only power one has is what you are going to do about it.

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Moving on to a boat with my parents at age 10 made the change of life more rapid. We lived in Oyster Point Harbor near Candlestick in the California Bay Area sometimes. There were only a few large boat live-aboard slips so when we left in the summertime to go up the Stockton River it was a gamble if we had a spot waiting for us when we returned. If we didn’t dock there we would be in Half Moon Bay Harbor, a town I grew up in as a child. They, too, only had so many spots available and during the holidays my parents took our boat to San Francisco and we lived near Pier 39 and the enjoyed the holiday months of November to January there. I never knew where I would be more than 6 months out, if that.

Perhaps all this change as a child helped me grow the skills to adapt quickly, pivot, and keep moving. Over the years I have shaped and modified a process I use to help manage my emotions and impact when unexpected change happens. I want to share this process with you all in hopes that it might help if you need something to get through this change or the next one, because, as you know, they just keep coming.

I’m not going to tell you that change is great and all that. Sometimes it is, but you know what?  Sometimes it isn’t and it sucks, it is hard, raw, and you can’t think over all of the emotion that it brings. I have been there, and it is hard, it is dark, and you are scared of the uncertainty of it all. This is when this tool helps the most.

THE CHANGE

It can be a great thing to see change and sometimes great stuff can also be hard, like a fabulous new job that requires you to move. The hardest changes to overcome can be the ones you don’t see, don’t want, or that feel wrong or dark. The good news is change is constant and this moment, feeling, time in your life will change one day. But it might not be as soon as tomorrow and so you need to find a path to get through it.

Just like getting lost, the best thing to do when you feel yourself start to panic is to assess the situation. What is the situation? What are your resources? Do you have a path or process or direction to follow or map with your options? When you see it all in front of you, no matter what you are working with, it will give you a sense of calm or at least help you know what you are working with.

For me, this process of collecting the current situation really helps me stop worrying. Maybe it is a pro’s and con’s list or a mind map of options. Just like a before photo prior to doing a new fitness boot camp or diet, this list is your starting point to something new, something better. Sometimes just seeing the photo will make you appreciate what you do have or it can be a big wake-up call to fix what you might have missed.

THE COST

I’m kind of a data girl and I love numbers. As a child, I learned how to cope with change by shutting off my emotional side and thinking about things analytically. I am a very emotional person and still learning!  This process of shutting it off might be harder for some and it is for me when the impact is so big or feels so important. What I do to help me get there is I put a price on the change. What is the impact? The cost of this change? The denomination isn’t in dollars, it is in time. How much of my time is this change worth?

ba009-img_4156For example, when my dad passed away it was a huge impact on my life. We were very close and I had helped take care of him in his battle with dementia. The cost of this change was 3 months. I cried a lot, I was sad, and I did what I had to to make it through the day. After that, I celebrated my dad’s life by being a good mother, a happy person, living the life I knew he wanted me to have.

Maybe it is a smaller change like something at work didn’t go right, a project is delayed, or you messed up and it made a big impact. Are you even going to remember this mishap 1 year from now? Did you learn from the event? Was the benefit of learning worth more than the mistake? How bad was this in the grand scheme of things and how much did it cost you? What was it worth? Is your career at stake? Your job, trust, friendship? For me seeing something positive in the mistake lowers the cost and if you look hard enough there usually is one. I also believe if you aren’t failing then you aren’t trying hard enough. Pushing yourself helps you grow, and so does failure.

I didn’t get a job that I really wanted. I actually posted about it on my first Instagram TV video since I wanted to share what failure looked like to remind myself that it takes a journey. Enjoying the ride is what it is about and there is no place to find happiness as it has to be within you. Of course, when I recorded the video months ago I wasn’t happy and I was holding back tears. It hurt not getting the job, but the cost of this change was only getting the rest of my day. For the rest of the day, I was sad, I cried, and I wallowed in it. After I went to bed and woke up the next day I moved on. Why spend my time on someone, something that didn’t value me and all that I had to offer. Maybe it was for the best.

We loved our nanny and she was amazing but then something changed after the 3rd year and our 2nd was born. She called out over 30 days on top of her 3 weeks off. Then on top of that, 90% of the time it was a text saying she couldn’t make it 30 minutes before when we expected her. By then I was already on my way to work. My hubby who works from home was often the one who had to call out as I worked at Amazon and I only got 2 weeks off and 3 sick days a year and that went fast since they also didn’t offer maternity at the time, (but that is another story.) Even after nanny was out all the time we kept her, our kids loved her, and we needed her. Then one day when I was traveling for work she texted that she hurt her foot and likely would need to be out to heal. Under normal circumstances, we would have fought to make it work in the short term but it was obvious she was over the job and really wanted a way out. I was really sad to say goodbye to someone who was in my family’s life for 4 years and I’d just lost my dad. My son loved his nanny and the community of friends they had. The cost of this change was big for all of us but I only gave it an hour. I have faith that things happen for a reason and we had hung on to something to avoid change, almost in fear that we had no other choice we needed her but there are a ton of other people who want to be nannies and I was right. We ended up finding the most amazing lady who is even better than I could dream of and someone I really consider a friend a part of our family. My kids are even going to be in her wedding this summer and she will be in our lives forever. A confirmation that change is good!

THE JOURNEY 

I’m sure you have heard it before but you know I am going to say it again since we both need to hear it. Life isn’t about the goal or destination, it is about riding the wave, the bumps, the hills, the journey. You need to be thankful when the sun is shining, learning the lessons when it isn’t. Be blessed you get the opportunity to grow, soak it up, build your strength, and put a cost to the change and then strategize on how to pivot so you drive your own boat.

Remember you move in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. You are in charge of your journey and don’t forget to let your “WHY” be great enough to pull you through the hardest times.

When it rains it pours, but when the sun comes out it sparkles so bright it makes every drop worth it. You’ve got this. Enjoy the ride of life and learn from lessons when it is dark. Sometimes these lessons are priceless and make the joy of the success that much more.

THE SUPPORT

As an afterthought, I wanted to add this section. By nature, I am a helper and I always will be. As someone who likes to help, I don’t always know how. I found that after I became a mother I knew how to be a better friend to those who are just having a baby. Now that I have gone through the journey of grieving for a parent I am better at providing this kind of support. As an expert in change, I wanted to share how best you can be a friend to others who are going through change.

A friend might call you up and wants to talk about the change. Listen, be there for them and when it is your turn to talk don’t bring it back to you but stay on the topic and ask questions.

What not to say:

  • That happened to me too!
  • Why did you do that?
  • You shouldn’t feel that way.
  • Look on the bright side.

What to say (some good default ones I got from the book Eight Dates):

  • What are you feeling?
  • What do you need?
  • What are your choices?
  • How can I help?

Other suggestions on what to do to be a change agent and help others navigate:

  • Treat them and get them out of the house.
  • Give them 1:1 time to talk.
  • Bring them dinner, a plant, a bag of treats.
  • Get them outside in the fresh air.
  • Check-in on them.

Everyone manages life changes differently but I do hope this guide helps you as things change for you or as a change agent helping others manage these seasons of life.

Remember it only takes a few minutes to do a kind act that could mean the world to someone. * L


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7 Ways to Invite Spirituality

I’ve been in a transition lately, and even good change can be hard. As one of my daily focus goals, I have spirituality. I’m not a religious person but I do believe in a god and wanted to dedicate one of my 7 days to this part of my life, my spirituality.

I was raised Catholic and last year I found out my dominant ancestry is Jewish. I have two little kids and my hubby didn’t grow up with religion. So, thinking about what to do and how to start this journey, I came up with 7 ways to invite more spirituality into my life, my home, and remind me to be thankful.

1. MEDITATION 

You know everyone says this. I’ve tried it before but it never stuck so this time I got the app Headspace and doing their free trial. Maybe after a month, it will be more of a daily habit. I’m going to try to meditate in the morning right after I get up.

I’ve also heard other use the tic-tac method and you meditate while sucking on the candy. Having it be your focus point when your mind drifts. For me, I am starting with 5 minutes and will try to focus on my breathing before I jump into action and start my day.

Maybe even starting with 1 minute to reflect and be thankful is a great start.

2. GRATITUDE

Some friends of mine have a gratitude journal that they use daily to write and reflect. I love how it gets them to spend this time on thinking positive and what all the good is in their life.

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Another strategy is to just wake up and think of one good thing before you jump out of bed. Like I am happy to be alive, or thankful for the person who might be beside you. You could even put a reminder in your phone a few minutes after your alarm goes off to ask you what are you thankful for?

To get your family involved try adding a gratitude question and ask everyone to share one thing they are grateful for while eating dinner.

3. OUTSIDE

Another no-brainer, but getting outside gives you that fresh air and helps one connect with the world around them. That is if you aren’t just sitting on a bench scrolling facebook on your phone. A man might suggest leaving your phone at home while taking a walk, but let’s face it women aren’t as safe and often we have our kids so that isn’t going to happen. That said, I do try to go out for a run and listen to music, or walk the dog, and keep off my phone. Even if it is just for a few minutes at lunch it makes you feel so much better. 53377819_509193476275192_1126708112313548800_n

Even if getting outside can’t happen, I think sitting in the window as the sun shines in on the sofa counts if that is all you can get.

4. SHRINE 

If you don’t already have one maybe consider making one on your fireplace or a small table in your bedroom or office. It doesn’t have to be fancy or big but should be things you like, things that remind you of loved ones and your dreams. I’ve had one for years and it has photos, candles, and a variety of spiritual artifacts. I also have sage and burn it to clean my home. This is called smudging, and it is an ancient practice used for healing and energy clearing for positive vibes. During October I have it out on my fireplace in the living room. Also known as an Ofrenda.

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Maybe this is a good place to pray, reflect, meditate, or write in your gratitude journal. Or write down negative thoughts and burn them!

If a shrine isn’t your thing maybe just add some zen to your home. There are a lot of ways to bring more zen into your home with a new candle, plant, or sand garden.

5. BREATHE

There are so many ways you can incorporate breathing exercises with apps and reminders. Maybe you do this when you meditate. For me, I like to scream. I do it in my car on my way to work with music playing as I drive the highway. I scream to the top of my lungs until all the air is out of me. I do just one but it is a big one and I feel so much better afterward. Of course, this kind of scream at home would make my neighbor call the police so I wouldn’t recommend it in all situations!

I do think breathing and taking the time to breathe will help lower your stress and could bring more spirituality into your life as you reflect and be thankful.

5. DOOR

Your door represents how opportunities come to you. It’s where energy comes into your home, says one zen master. Make your entry look nice because it’s your face to the world. Have a clean and positive doormat for clean and positive energy and bonus if it has your name or number on it.

Feng Shui experts also say when your door can’t completely open that means that you’re stopping the amount of energy that can come into your space.

We can’t all go out and buy new furniture but if you do one thing to your home to be more aligned with positivity and more spirituality it would be the door, to open it up as you open your mind and heart.

6. PEOPLE

Energy comes from a lot of places, including the people around you. Maybe this is a great time to connect with that one friend who is religious, or very spiritual. Maybe get coffee or go dancing with a friend who is always ready for a fun night out. Maybe for this spiritual quest of yours, you need to let go. Negative people, people who are just in your life because of reasons other than they make you happy might not be good enough anymore. You don’t have to say goodbye forever but maybe spend less time with them. You move in the direction of your most dominant thought, so be with people who bring you up. Who have similar goals and want to talk about spirituality with positivity.

7. EDUCATION

I already belong to a book club and do my best to keep up with that, so adding in more books might be a little much for me. That said I do try to add in some podcasts and watch documentaries with my hubby for our sofa dates in the evening once the kids are asleep.

There are a lot of great books on spirituality and there are some great daily 365 books that help you with just one page a day.

If you have more time maybe sign up for a class at your local community college or maybe a local religious or spiritual organization to learn more about different religions.

What do you do to bring more spirituality into your everyday life? * Liana