GBR (Golden Brick Road) Society is a community for authors and readers alike. February marked the two year anniversary party and author and book awards presentation in Toronto! It was a quick trip, but well worth it!
The event, held on 21 February 2019, brought authors from various book projects together, many for the very first time. Several of the ladies I felt like I've know for many years, when in reality we've only ever met in our social media collaboration groups and have been collaborating since 2016. To my point, I mentioned to Sabrina Greer that she reminded me of someone only to realize moments later that she reminded me of herself!
Let me back up, the trip was short and I wish I could have stayed longer, but between the workshops, hanging out with my sister Kirsten, and celebrating at the awards ceremony and after-party, it was just the right amount of time. The only person missing was my mom who had not ONE, but TWO flights out of Washington D.C. canceled due to the winter weather there. Thanks to technology today, she and my dad were there to support via FaceTime!
I began my trek to Toronto on the 20th of February and was quite surprised that my flight hadn't been canceled considering there were about 8 inches of snow on the ground that hadn't been plowed for quite some time. It made for a slow drive to the airport on the streetlight-less back country roads here in Kansas and winding through Missouri.
The night before my trip was packed with activities and trips to Walmart and the J.C. Penny salon where I took my girls to have their hair done. Two-strand twists while I'm away always means low to no maintenance for dad! Needless to say, since I didn't begin packing earlier, it made for a short night. I got about 35 minutes of sleep and departed for the airport at 3:30 AM only to find the roads looked like they'd hardly been touched with a snow plow. . . at all. My flight was delayed, but not directly due to weather. Apparently, the local crew didn't get the "It's snowing A LOT" memo and didn't to get to the airport on time. Once the crew finally arrived, the de-icing of our neighboring plane took forever. It took a bit to get off the ground, but eventually, I made it to Toronto.
I grabbed a bite to eat and not long after dinner, my sister Kirsten and I met up. She flew in from Nashville. Upon the recommendation of the servers the dinner spot, we went two doors down for $5 CAD martini night. My litchi fruit martini was tasty! So tasty that I decided to have another. The calamari Kirsten ordered was not good. I'm not kidding, the calamari shared a likeness to a very thin rubber band and while I've never eaten a rubber band I'm pretty sure I now know what a dried out disintegrating rubber band tastes like now! Without a doubt, it was the WORST calamari I’ve ever had!
I'm glad that our server had a good sense of humor. She commented how she's actually never tried the calamari because she's vegan. She told us how people order it all the time and really enjoy it. At one point I told her I think it would be ok if she tried some because, "If I'm not mistaken, rubber is a plant." She got a kick out of that. I was laughing so hard I could hardly stand it. Tears rolling down my eyes I was cracking up all over the place! Kirsten tried to stop me from saying anything initially, but she knows me and naturally she began laughing pretty hard too!
I digress. Back to the reason for the trip and event review!
The book I co-authored with GBR, On Her Plate, launched in the last publishing year and won the GBR Brilliance Award for it's content and how quickly it became known in the literary world relative to other publications. I, along with my fellow co-authors, was awarded the Author Growth Award for the significance of our work and contributions to the project.
The Venue: The Fifth Social Club. It was comfortable and classy as well as warm, cozy, high-end and chic; a very inviting atmosphere.
What did I take away from the workshops? Get Ready to Take Some Notes!
Here are some takeaways and thought provoking questions I gleaned from each speaker as well as thoughts and questions that struck me during each speaker's presentation. Perhaps you'll find them useful too as you navigate your way through your own "boss-hood". (my term - I just made it up!)
Sarah Swain: Founder and Visionary, The Great Canadian Woman
* Make a choice about how to respond to the fear I'm feeling - the fear that can hold me back from doing great things.
Cassie Jeans: Author & Soul Whisperer
* What do I desire?
* What do I want my legacy to be?
* Why am I still beating myself up for thinks that happened eons ago? Just release it.
* How often can we step into something new in our lives? ANYTIME we want to!
* Be me and show up as me with my whole heart every day!
* Conversation and small talk starter: "What are you craving today? What do you desire today?"
Sabrina Greer: Author/ East Coast Director for Mommas Charity and YGTM Inc. Community Developer - spoke on Growth.
* Growth our professional lives can involve pain. Like a child who with growing pains - growth can hurt. It is physically uncomfortable.
* What am I doing for my growth mindset?
* What am I afraid of when it comes to growth?
Book by Carol Dweck: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
Thriving vs. Surviving Mindset
Growth requires work. Excuses people give to avoid work:
1. I can't do that.
2. It's too hard.
3. It's too much work.
Question: What can I do that will make me significant? It all boils down to DOING the work. Am I willing to do the work?
The opposite of FEAR is LOVE
Dierdre Slattery: Health and Fitness Consultant/ Fitness Model/Author
* connect to what others see pouring out of you as your calling and look into that deeper.
* set a goal and ignore any shame that crops up in your mind that might keep you from seeking to attain that goal.
1. My goal for fitness and health
2. What's my timeline (set a hard date)?
3. What is the meaning and purpose of that goal?
4. Share my goal with someone I trust...accountability.
Celebrate myself and my energy!
Become a powerhouse when these three are aligned:
Jennifer Jayde: Spiritual Growth/ Speaker/ Coach/ Founder & CEO of Jennifer Jayde International Inc.
* success and self-worth are wrapped up in each other
* listen to your calling from within and get in alignment with it
* she left her 9 to 5 to follow her passion for photography
* she's a practitioner of how to turn the small voice of intuition up in volume in your life.
* Ask yourself, is this a YES for me? If the response is flat when you listen in the quiet, with no feeling then it's not in alignment with what you should be doing. IF the feeling is flat AND you feel a bit nervous about it, then perhaps it's worth considering.
"The basis of your life is absolute freedom, the goal is joy, and the result of that perfect combination is motion forward, or growth. Your goal is to find objects of attention that let your cork raise."
- Abraham Hicks
What do you think about this statement: A belief is a thought on repeat?
* practice diferienciating between a thought and guidance.
Guidance will not make logical sense.
* guidance comes to us everyday 24/7
* find a way to connect with God EVERYDAY!
An Exercise, Led by Sarah Swain
On a sheet of paper write these 3 words:
Next to each word make two columns.
In the first column, write your current definition of each word,
****NOW I’D LIKE YOU TO COVER EVERYTHING BELOW THIS PART UP AND ONLY LOOK AT IT AFTER YOU’VE CAPTURED YOUR DEFINITION FOR EACH WORD.****
In the second column, write what each word means to your heart. Consider how would you define each word on your death-bed.
This seemingly simple exercise really got me thinking and wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. I struggled to come up with a second column for the word achievement. It’s still blank. Looking at my notes I notice too that I have partial thoughts captured.
Here’s what I came up with for all three:
1. “Free to move about the country” - travel at will, Happy, f....
2. Children who love each other and have accepted Christ as their Savior and know Him.
1. Blowing up my business, to “arrive”without working for someone else.
1. Don’t spend money I don’t have.
2. Took the opportunities that God gave me
Ideas are floating around looking for a host (Ky-Lee referencing Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear By Elizabeth Gilbert)
Avoid becoming a servant to your business.
What we speak does come about.
Hire people who have genius in areas that are not my genius.
It’s funny how others remember things about us that we probably wouldn’t recall on our own. This past week I had the opportunity to visit with a young lady (she’s 2 years younger than me - lol!) I haven’t seen since 2003. My oldest two girls were on Spring Break so we decided to make the 8 hour trek to visit one of my sisters and her family who lives in Tennessee not far from the young lady I went to visit.
Her name is Emily. I had the privilege of serving as Emily's Platoon Leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom I back when we both served in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Emily was a linguist in the platoon. Not only did we get to meet her sweet family this week, but I also got to hear a few of Emily’s recollections of me.
She recalled how the Platoon Sergeant and I marched over to the post hospital to have words with a medical provider who was giving her a difficult time. There were a couple of humorous stories, but the one that touched me the most was when she showed me how she remembered that I am a French speaker and that the French language is my jam! (Emily learned to speak French when she was young.) She walked to her bookshelf and pulled down a copy of Le Petit Nicolas. She then proceeded to tell me that I’d given her that copy years ago. She asked if I wanted it back. I told her no. I hadn't missed it all these years and I'd given it to her. That's her memory to keep.
Had someone asked me who I gave a French language book to all those years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer. I would have failed that quiz. To know that On some level I added something (and maybe even several 'somethings') positive to her life holds specially meaning to me. It’s one thing for a former Army peer to share how you impacted their life, but it’s even more significant and perhaps more touching when a former subordinate calls you “friend”.
Thank you for your hospitality and spending a portion of your Wednesday night with us Emily! The girls all had a blast and so did I. Brynn begged to go back the day after and the day after that.
Which brings me to my old stomping grounds The Looking Glass Restaurant in Clarksville, TN. On this same trip, my sister Kirsten, her friend Amy, the girls and I all went to The Looking Glass for lunch. Back in 2001, I lived just around the corner from the whimsical and then eclectic cafe and quickly developed a friendship with the owner, Mrs. Eddington. I think she was the first person I'd ever met who wore an asymetric hair cut. I even planned and hosted a unit hail and farewell at the Looking Glass - it was a luau and it was a hit! I'm not one to toot my own horn, but I'll give myself some props now! Looking back, I feel sorry for the next lieutenant in the Battalion who was assigned to organize and plan the next hail and farewell! Not too sure how he/she could have topped it! Lol!
This week I learned that Mrs. Eddington passed not long ago and that I’d practically just missed her. During our visit to The Looking Glass I had the pleasure of sharing my memories of her with her son Conrad who now tends to The Looking Glass. I always remember her drinking her coffee through a straw. The reason she explained was so as not to stain her teeth! Although I never adopted the practice, it has stuck with me to this day. The recollection brought a smile to her son’s face. He then told me that she was actually laid to rest with her iced coffee complete with straw!!
The impact we have on other’s lives and the impact they have on ours may never be known. They may never even be spoken. But when they are, soak them up and be sure to share them freely!
Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's ok, to indulge. This past week, I started to feel run down. Jordan wasn't feeling the best these past couple of weeks and after the kids would get in bed each night, I'd stay up and binge watch the Amazon Prime Original I'm into these days! Needless to say, I would end up exhausted the next day and started feeling wiped out after keeping these hours for a few days. I immediately started drinking my homemade Nature's Flu Shot. Oh, before you make the assumption that I am anti-vaccinations, just know that the name of the concoction is Nature's Flu Shot ;-) I got chastised by an older gentleman on social media when I shared the Nature's Flu Shot recipe. He told me that I needed to stop with my concoction and go get my flu shot already! LoL!
Typically, when the older two children are at school and the baby is napping, I try to accomplish as much around the house as I can. I mean, who doesn't, right? Dishes, laundry, reading, my small business To Do's, shower, exercise, and I guess the list really can go on. This week, not so much. This week, I took a nap! Actually, I took two and felt soooo much better!
My biggest concern once I decide to lie down is will my alarm clock go off and if it does, will I hear it?? Isn't it awful to wake up in a panic? Especially when oversleeping has caused you to run behind..picking the kids up from school for instance! I mitigate oversleeping a couple of different ways. First, I set at least 2 alarms on my phone that's placed so I have to get up to turn it off. Second, I call or text to ask my mom, my sister, and my husband to call me by a certain time to ensure that I am up and moving. It's usually just one or two of the three, but it's always good to have a backup waker-uper!
How about you, what do you give yourself the freedom to indulge in from time to time? Oh, and can you remember those days when you felt like you didn't need a nap as a child and your parents made you take one anyway? Yeah, that's what Sunday afternoons, after church and lunch looked like for me. I loathed taking naps, but somehow I always felt better afterwards! I don't recall how old I was. Younger than 4th grade and old enough to remember :-) How about you? Did the adults in our life insist on you taking naps after toddler-hood? Check out the article below for other ways we can lighten up and enjoy!
Each Thursday for the past couple of years, I've contributed to an autoimmune support community on Facebook called My Mountain, My Lupus. I was invited to write a Healthy Living Thursday column by the community's founder Bridge Gardiner and happily agreed. Over the weeks, months, and years I've shared whole food as well as plant-based recipes, offered tips on how eating a clean diet helped me overcome my autoimmune struggles (read On Her Plate to learn more), encouraged those suffering far worse than I in their afflictions, and shared a little bit about me and my family from time to time.
Yesterday, was my first full day home since Christmas vacation. I'd been off of social media for the duration of our cruise to Cozumel and Progresso, so there was a bit to catch up on...including the calendar! It took one of my 7 year-olds to remind me that although yesterday was her first day back to school it was not Monday, but THURSDAY! I'd seriously lost track of the days of the week, but not the date of course! It's 2019!!
Realizing it was Healthy Living Thursday, I put my hands on a copy of a recipe for Nature's Flu Shot I've had for several years and shared it with the My Mountain community. Today I share it with you. Hopefully, you'll find it useful in the unfortunate event you come down with, or feel like you're coming down with, some kind of crud. I have no personal testimonies of my own since I've yet to use it. If you use it, will you please let us all know how it worked for you? I'd love to read about your experience.
Nature's Flu Shot Recipe:
the Juice of 6 Fresh Lemons
1 bulb of Garlic
2 tsp Ginger powder
2 tbsp honey
3 cups Pineapple Juice
1/4 tsp Cayenne powder
Blend All Ingredients thoroughly and store in a mason jar. Take 1 cup 4 times a day until your symptoms are resolved.
One more thing I'd like to share is a blog post a college classmate of mine Dr. Erin Stair recently wrote and shared:
Twelve Natural Tips for Fighting the Flu, Respiratory and Sinus Infections
Erin Stair, MD, MPH is the founder of Blooming Wellness, a NYC-based holistic health, wellness & lifestyle site that focuses on promoting positive lifestyle changes and disease prevention, so as to enhance both physical and mental well-being.
In her spare time, "Dr. Eeks" interviews really interesting people on all sorts of health topics and shares them in her blog. She's a prolific writer who keeps it REAL! Her writing is lighthearted, sometimes sarcastic, informative and always research-based! Check her out at Blooming Wellness to learn more about the other cool stuff she does!
Cheers and Happy New Year!!
I just spent the last 45 minutes folding clothes. As I look at the top of my dryer there is more laundry to be done. As I look at the basket of clean and folded laundry, there is still more to be done. As I look at the laundry baskets filled with dirty clothes I sigh and leave the laundry room for fear of becoming a casualty. Being buried beneath an avalanche of a mix of clean and dirty clothes is not beyond the realm of possibilities today.
I can’t imagine I’m the only person who’s ever gotten behind with the never ending task of washing, drying and folding laundry. Have you ever thought about the times when you’re on top of it all and you’re holding it all down and there are no clothes stacked anywhere? What’s going on in your life when you’re managing the laundry (and the rest of the house) like a champ?
I took a few moments to reflect on my answers to these very questions and here’s what I came up with: My husband goes TDY for 2, sometimes 3, weeks every month. When he’s away I’m like an automaton. I’ve got the laundry, dishes, kitchen and meals all planned out and synchronized. Not one moment is wasted. Every minute is accounted for. I’m quickly preparing dinner while one daughter is at play practice, the other is at The Boys and Girls Club and the baby is with me. There’s no time to sit and watch TV while popping bonbons as if I had nothing else to do. To quote Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” It’s not a perfect process, but it is a relatively well oiled machine.
When my husband is away I'd like to think I could be nominated for "Best in Laundry". So, what happens when he gets home? I slack off. I relax. I don't get as far as popping bonbons on the couch, but I do get out of my routine. He’s home, so I’ve got back up! I can take a breather, right? And that’s when it happens! That is when the laundry- piles -up yet again. Then it's back to rushing to empty then fill the washing machine when I hear from upstairs, "Mommy, I have no socks!" or "Mommy, do you know where my hoodie is?"
Many of you reading this can relate to this sort of cycle. Some of you are dads and others of you are moms and even grandparents. What this tells me is that it's a relatively universal experience. An experience that we should all give thanks for even if it can be tiresome and a bit maddening at times. If we didn't have any clothes there would be no laundry mayhem, so I think I'll keep the occasional mayhem around a while. What all this says to me is be grateful that there are clothes to clean and be extra grateful when they pile up. The pile itself is a sign that we have more than enough.
What else surrounding laundry can we be thankful for? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you!
“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner
Typically, on Halloween, we aren't home. We are one of those dark houses people don't even make an effort to knock on. We go out to dinner as a family or go see a movie, so having too much leftover candy on hand isn't typically a problem we have. However, a couple of years ago several of the teachers at my daughters' school gave parents their addresses so that the children could visit known entities. Since then, either my husband or I have taken them out to trick or treat. Last year, we had 5 month old AND the 31st of October just happened to be the first snow of the season in our region of Kansas! Needless to say, I stayed home with the baby.
They typically don't collect mounds of candy, which I'm happy about, but they do get enough to be satisfied and excited! If you've found that you... have a different problem...too much leftover candy, either from the kids' buckets or candy that you didn't get to hand out try these tips to avoid over indulging.
1. JUST THROW IT OUT
This will likely put you in the running for Worst Parent Ever, but it's for the best! Have your kids choose their favorite treats and then donate or throw away the rest. The longer treats stay in the house uneaten, the more likely you are to give in and gobble it up.
DID YOU KNOW? Some dentists now offer to buy candy off kids in exchange for cash. That's right! This year the going rate at our Pediatric Dentist is a dollar per pound up to five pounds! Not bad! Plus, all of the candy collected is sent to our military troops! If you opt to go this route, your littles will earn some spending money and you’ll get that calorie-filled temptation out of your house and mind. Does your dentist's office offer a similar incentive? Shoot me a note! I'd love to know!
2. Eat Well
Sugar cravings can strike when you’re hungry and haven’t consumed enough fuel to keep your blood sugar in balance. "Eat protein and fiber-rich meals in the days before and after Halloween", advises Ann Marion Willis, a R.D. in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. "It’ll make you feel less tempted to create a dinner out of mini candy bars."
3. Savor a Single Treat - this may or may not work depending on your resolve to stay on the straight and narrow. Mindless eating is a good way to eat way more than you mean to — whether that’s nuts, chips, or candy. Instead of sitting in front of the TV munching your way through a bag of chocolate, try mindful eating. Select the one piece of candy that you most want to eat. Tune out all other distractions and focus on savoring the experience of eating it. Chew slowly, let it melt in your mouth, enjoy the sweetness, and notice how it makes you feel. Make your piece of candy go even further by chopping it into tiny pieces and sprinkling the bits on top of plain Greek yogurt.
4. Keep Your Mouth Minty Fresh
Brushing your teeth can be a deterrent similar to installing orthodontic hardware if you're trying to avoid eating candy. Especially that chewy and sticky kind! When you get the urge to tear open a handful of Halloween loot, run and give your teeth a quick brushing and see if that curbs it.
Here's to planning for the best outcome possible! You can do it!!
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 7 year old twins girls and a 15 month old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!