Friday, February 24, 2017

What my Marine Son has taught me about living with INTENTION


Family Day - MCRD, San Diego, Feb 9, 2017
Proud parents ...

Intention:


noun

1.
an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
2.
the end or object intended; purpose.

My son turned 18 and two days later, he met with the United States Marine Recruiter. He didn't hesitate, he quickly signed the papers and moved forward.

When he was sworn in - He raised his right hand without hesitation and repeated the needed statements with confidence and boldness.

When it was time to leave for boot camp - He hugged us and left with enthusiasm and a desire to earn the title of US Marine.

When we showed up for his graduation in San Diego, he stood tall, proud and honorable.

He was a Marine. (Way to go!)

When we said goodbye (earlier this week) - after his 10 day leave, he stood tall and proud still.

Intention - it's inspiring and powerful.

Thanks, Kaleb for being brave and focused. I will always admire that about you.

Semper Fi -

I love you,
MOM

Friday, February 03, 2017

Can I interview you for my college paper?

Ashton: "Can I interview you and write a paper on you for my college writing class?"
My response: "Sure! Stop by and we can chat!" (Deep down I hoped I would offer value to her project - was not sure what to expect!)

Before she could write the paper, she needed to present her topic and angle to her Professor. She introduced the theme of how it is possible to live a happy life even when there are struggles and challenges. She told her Professor she knew someone who lived with optimism and faith and her paper would focus on that.

Last week, we spent a couple of hours together - she asked if she could record our conversation and with the press of a button, our words were captured. Our time together was great! She added more value to my life than I think I did to hers! So thankful for her kind heart and desire to make a difference.

Yesterday, she stopped by to let me read it. It was a sweet moment and her words touched my heart.

Here's a little segment from the paper she titled: It's a Choice

Wendy has come to know, that the happiness a person experiences and the life they achieve is based not upon what obstacles they are asked to endure, but by the way in which those trials are conquered. “The most powerful tool we have to fight negativity is our mental capacity to see the positive and to share it!” (Christensen).
Currently, Christensen has the opportunity to influence young girls ranging from the ages of 12-18 every week at church. As the Young Women’s President, she sees the challenges these young girls are being asked to face and the strength they are required to have to maintain a positive perspective. By helping them remember not only who they are but who’s they are, she reminds them that they don’t have to face anything alone. She gives them courage to face the world with their heads held high and smiles on their faces. She teaches that the power given to these girls by their Creator is more powerful any obstacle they face.
 The decision to be happy ultimately belongs to the girls, but it is a choice that holds more validity than any other choice they will be asked to make. “Be the change you wish to see!” (Christensen). You see what you want to see, you become what you hope to become, and you conquer with faith. Life isn’t easy for any of us, no matter how it appears. However, I have come to learn that if you face it with an eye single to who you can become and with the decision of what you refuse to give up already made, there is nothing you can’t do. Wendy Christensen has proved this, over and over again.

***

I thanked her yesterday for stopping by and encouraged her to keep writing! The entire experience made me smile and reminded me our moments matter and the way we approach life makes all the difference.

Choose happiness, choose faith, choose to see
and share the positive!

PS: Thanks for your kindness Ashton ... I appreciated our time together! I love all the good you do and the way you live your life with such confidence, clarity and conviction. The Lord has amazing things ahead for you! Walk tall, keep shining your light bright. Become the best you possible!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Forged.


I like to think. Especially at night - I just think about anything I want. And during this thinking time, I process things. I have mind files. This goes there. That goes here. It's like a little filing system for my thoughts. I file them away and drift off to dream.

Our son is at the Marine Corps Boot Camp and the final test/challenge he has to pass through is The Crucible. I've been told that this is very difficult on all levels - mentally, emotionally, physically and beyond. This event spans over 54 hours - they sleep 6 hours, are given 2 MRE's, hike 48 miles with 45 pounds of gear and work through 36 Warrior Stations and 29 Team Building Exercises. Bottom line, it's tough. And it's meant to be. They are forged through the experience and it changes them forever.

Yes, this was the main topic on my mind last night. I said a prayer for our son and his platoon and then I thought about the word - Forged.

Forged:

to form by heating and hammering; beat into shape.

to form or make, especially by concentrated effort:

I like those definitions and as I was thinking last night, I thought - life forges us. Life beats us into shape. And it's especially effective if we are making a concentrated effort to become the best person we can be each day.

I tried to imagine myself with 2 MRE's and a 45 pound pack marching 48 miles and it made me tired ... but really, isn't that what I've been doing all my life? Marching and carrying the load that is mine to carry. It's been a great march and it's been my 'crucible' I have been forged by all of it. And will continue to be forged ...

I pray that our son will press forward with optimism and strength and that he will be a leader and help his platoon accomplish the goal ahead. They can do this!

Cheers to life and the march it is and the forging that takes place each and every day.

Stay optimistic. Stay committed to your goals and dreams. Stay close to our Heavenly Father.

Become the best you possible.
Forge on.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Wisdom from Audrey Hepburn


She said: "I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing. Kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.
~ Audrey Hepburn

I was in Boston a couple years ago and bumped into that poster in a store window. I tried to immediately go inside and buy it! But, the store was closed.

So I stood outside and read the words and smiled and agreed with every word.

Her optimism and femininity inspires me ...

To be a woman does not mean you need to become nasty - or hardened - or vulgar or brash.

Happiness makes one pretty - and believing in miracles - THAT's power. That's strength.

Tomorrow is another day.

Let's walk tall - as women of faith and dignity and reason. Full of love and optimism.

Let's be happy and look for the good and then use our power to make a real difference. One that lifts and edifies and brings happiness to the world.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

La La Land

"La La Land" -
It has an 'old movie' feel - like "Casabalanca" or "Singing in the Rain" with a modern twist ...

The first scene – pure genius.
The last scene – pure gut wrenching.
The soundtrack - amazing!

I really had no idea what to expect – I watched the trailer, thought, “Wow, a musical” and we went. 

The first scene grabbed me and I wanted to jump into the movie and join them. Singing and dancing on the highway! I’m in. Perfect solution for anyone about to explode in road rage in traffic – sing and dance.

I didn’t know it would be such a tear jerker. The last 20 minutes of the film had me sobbing. I had no mascara left on when it was over. (Don’t wear make-up to this film). This film moved me on so many levels - I cried in the bathroom after the show, on the way home and then some ... (I know, pull it together right? They say crying is good for you - releases toxins - so I cried.)

Life, like jazz is full of the unexpected. The ending to this film just threw me. Sabastian is playing their song and he replays (in his mind) all the choices he’s made. During the song, he rewrites his history – (goes to la la land) and creates an alternate ending - just so we can really feel the weight of his feelings. You could hear the entire audience crying during this 'replay' .... He didn’t end up with the girl – but he does have his jazz club.

Was it worth it?

That’s the beauty of the film. Art is subjective. It touches us all different.

I couldn't believe they didn't end up together. Ahhhhh - What?!

I found myself reflecting ... I thought: "Life is so full of choices. And our dreams matter but is one dream more important than another? What ultimately is it we are looking for? Is it success? Is it true love? Is it peace? Is it happiness? Is it to find our true purpose for being alive? I believe the answer is yes (to all of it) and yet, we must decide what parts of the dream matter most."

Will you choose love?
Will you choose a career?
Will you sing and dance?
Will you create the life of your dreams with the ‘love of your life’?
Will you give up a dream for another, more important one?
Will you look back and have regrets?
Will you move forward and be happy no matter what?

This movie is amazing. I’ve seen it twice this week – in the theater.  Warning: It makes you think, it makes you feel, it makes you ponder what matters most in life. And, it makes you cry. There is one F bomb in the film. (Just be aware). Wish it was not there.

Cheers to life and the dreams we chase.
And when we look back, would we do it all again? The same way? Or different ...

Post script: I have edited this post so many times. Had a difficult time putting into words my feelings about this film. I think it has been a bit therapeutic. And that's why I keep going back to see it! :) Plus, I love the music and after all, it's a love story and I LOVE love stories.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Inspiration from Rocky - Touch 'Em Up





My husband is a HUGE Rocky fan. When I met him, I had never seen a Rocky movie ... (to his complete shock - how could I have missed the "Rocky" movies?) Honestly, when I met him I'd seen maybe 10 movies in my life! Crazy right? I didn't grow up with a TV in my house and entertainment was not a high priority (movies that is).


So, he made sure on date nights I got Rocky educated. The first ROCKY was awesome. I couldn't believe I had lived without seeing it. It's a love story. I'm a fan of love stories. This one was especially endearing to me!

"Yo, Adrian"
The turtles
The ice skating rink date
Eye of the Tiger
The list goes on ...

I was hooked. And I've seen all the Rocky movies (several times). I'm now a huge fan too.

In addition to having a great love story, it's a great motivational series. This guy never quits. He never gives up and all the while, he chooses to make a difference.

I couldn't sleep last night so I put on "Rocky Balboa" - That movie makes me cry every time I see it.
He's still got stuff in the 'basement' and so he decides to fight again. Adrian is gone but he has a restaurant in her name. This film has great dialogue and a moving plot with some funny lines! I love his desire to have a relationship with his son and the speech he gives him out on the street is one of my favorite "Rocky" moments ever. Well done. Its one I don't mind losing sleep over. I stayed up until 1:15 am just to see the final credits roll and see him leave the roses on Adrian's grave. (Like I said earlier, I'm a sap for love stories).

It's a great series - lots of hyped up fights and ego moments highlighted with great music and a man who knows how to love and isn't afraid to 'touch 'em up' and unleash the "stuff in the basement."

It's a great reminder to 'touch 'em up' everyday and go the distance. - meet the challenges head on. Face them with confidence and passion.

After all, nothing hits harder than life.
And the winning is done as we keep moving forward!

Cheers to love stories, turtles and facing challenges 'toe to toe' -

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Find the still point ...


School was cancelled today - second day in a row. I found it interesting all the comments on Facebook from Moms this morning ... "I'm going crazy."  was a common complaint.

I get it. Snow days mean - kids are home all day with no place to go except outside. That means wet clothes, laundry and messes everywhere.

I had to smile. I used to pray for snow days - Please, let the kids stay home with me! Let us enjoy this time together. Let us enjoy the winter season ... let it snow!

I love the above quote by TS Eliot - Find the still point in the a turning world.

The world is turning - it's not going to stop. We can't get back the days that are gone. We can't get back the days we spent in negative energy or the ones we wished away.

Slow down, enjoy the moment. Enjoy the snow day. This too shall pass.

Let it snow. Enjoy the falling magic of it all ...Find the still point. Drink it in. Cherish it.


Monday, January 09, 2017

Last year's words ...


This quote is so powerful! Thank you TS Eliot for the deep thoughts  ...

Last year's words belong to last year's language.
To me, that's beautiful.


I'm ready for this year and the voice of 2017 - Hello new words and new adventures and new journeys that help us to become.

I'm listening - I'm talking - I'm using my voice.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

2017 - Focus First on Love.


It's a new year. I love new years ... It's a chance to start over. To make new goals and to move forward with renewed confidence, direction and hope!

365 new days ahead ... (well a few less because we are on day 8 of this year!)

Focus first on LOVE. I read that via the LDS website ... it touched me. My favorite word is love, my favorite action is love. I love love.

Love matters - focus on love and the right things will fall into place.So true!

No matter what goals you have for yourself, focus on love first.

Hello 2017 - Let's fall in love with each new day ...


Friday, January 06, 2017

The fridge - a place to showcase greatness!


Geometry Test: 32 out of 32 = 100%
(- 0 ) LOVE THAT.


Last night my daughter took something out of her backpack and put it on the the fridge. I walked over to see what it was - WOW - math test 32 out of 32 - 100%. I find this totally amazing as this is a high school Geometry class and she's in the 8th grade!

Made ms so happy for her. I never ever aced a math test. I failed a few ... never aced one. I love that my daughter placed her test on the fridge. It's the display board at our house. Filled with family photos, inspirational quotes and proud moments in life.

Well done LAUREN.
Stay smart.
Stay driven.
Move forward with your dreams and happy energy.

And keep posting them on our fridge!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

It's a Wonderful Life


Towards the end of last year, I gave an old piece of art a makeover ... I painted the frame gold, painted over the old flower painting with a couple of coats of thick paint and added 4 words in vinyl -

"It's A Wonderful Life"

It's one of my all time favorite movies and it's also a very empowering reminder about life and how truly great it is.

This restyled piece of art hangs in our family room. Reminder for all who enter ...Yes, life is wonderful.

PS: Our son served an LDS Mission in San Antonio, Texas and his Mission President would often say: "You might be having a bad day, but it's all part of a wonderful life!" 

TRUTH.


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Letting go - faith and moving forward ...




It's a cold snowy Tuesday in January - things have slowed down a bit as the holidays are over. I'm sitting here thinking about the past few months and the 'rush' it has been. (Slowing down does create time to reflect, think and process ...)

Our son joined the Marine Corps just days after turning 18 ... He was assigned to boot camp 6 months later.

Saying goodbye was really difficult. What would happen to him? Would he be able to handle the stress at boot camp? I said my prayers. I prayed for strength. I survived the good bye at the MEPS station. I watched him get into a van and drive away.

He was allowed to take his drivers licence, his social security card, 20 bucks and the clothes on his back.

Such a strange feeling. He had been ours for 18 years ... We made sure he had clothes and food and shelter and lots of love.

Would all that be provided by the military? (Welcome to lots of unknowns)

I finally just turned my fears over to the Lord and thanked Him for blessing us with such a good son. Again, I asked for added strength. And mostly, I prayed (and continue to pray for our son).

This experience has taught me a great deal about faith and the power of prayer and the unavoidable point in time when we as parents, must let go.

We are so proud of him. Go and DO son of ours. Go and DO.

Here's to getting stronger and chasing down dreams - especially the ones that are big, scary and not at all easy! I am truly thankful for his desire to serve our country and make a difference.

Together, we keep moving forward. We continue to trust God and believe in good things to come.

Thankful for the peace and comfort HE (a loving Heavenly Father) so graciously pours upon us all.

Monday, January 02, 2017

5 Traits of the Mentally Strong

'

Mentally strong people ...

1. Dwell in Positive Energy -
Mentally strong people focus on the good. There is no room for the negatives. They look for, share and accentuate the positives in themselves and others. When they bump into negative energy - they kick it to the curb. Bye bye negative, dark energy - go find another victim to abuse and take down.

2. Keep Moving Forward -
Mentally strong people keep pushing through. They don't stop. They don't give up. They find a new way, create new doors and opportunities! Forward is the only direction.

3. Pray -
Life is tough. But so are the mentally strong! They look up for extra needed support and inspiration. .

4. Control Their Thoughts -
Mentally strong people have positive self-talk. They believe they can and will make it through. They encourage others to believe in themselves and the possibilities available in each new day. They think they can.... (over and over). When doubt enters the mind, they toss it out. They fill their mind with encouraging music, quotes and words.

5. Act With Love -
Love. It conquers all things. Mentally strong people know how to love - themselves and others.