“Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ the real meaning behind this famous quote.

As the world around us appears to be falling to pieces, we wonder what’s happened and what we can do to bring peace to our broken planet. This was forefront in my mind today, as I searched the internet for inspiration on today’s Motivation Movement article. Fate drew me to this article “Gandhi didn’t actually ever say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Here’s the real quote…” written by Joseph Ranseth, a speaker, author and transformationist. It discusses the famous quote by Gandhi and the real meaning behind these famous words. It was absolutely perfect.

“And while all of this “be the change” talk is good counsel, if we dig a little bit deeper, we realize that he wasn’t just telling us to lead by example, or to not get caught up in other people’s business while we still have our own issues to deal with.” ~ Joseph Ranseth

This, oh so famous, quote “BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD”, is attributed to Gandhi, but Mr. Ranseth indicates Gandhi didn’t actually speak these famous words. The actual quote and meaning is much deeper. Before we get to that deeper meaning however, we should discuss why the notion of “be the change” is such a powerful one. Mr. Ranseth indicates three reasons for this. It:

  1. removes judgmental thinking from our minds.
  2. turns us away from complaining and toward self-transformation.
  3. creates a desire to transform the only part of the world which we control: OURSELVES.

If Gandhi didn’t speak those famous “be the change” words, what did he actually say?

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This quote speaks deep-rooted spiritual knowledge that we see the world as a reflection of the world within. The world is a mirror for how we view ourselves. In this full quote, Gandhi is guiding us to do the work of self-transformation. In most cases, we want to avoid facing ourselves, transforming ourselves. After all, who wants to do that? It’s so much easier to lash out at the world and blame others for our own problems and failings in life, but that’s not the answer.. There is no doubt that our world is broken. However, Gandhi is indicating here, if we want to change that world, and fix it, we need to look in the mirror, and fix ourselves first. We need to take a deep, long look in that mirror and cleanse ourselves of selfishness and insecurity.

“I try to make myself zero.” ~ Gandhi

Mr. Ranseth indicates, when Gandhi was asked how he gained so much power over the British empire he said: “I TRY TO MAKE MYSELF ZERO”. What does this mean exactly? This means to develop “selfless love” in every aspect of our lives. We only do things for the benefit of others, never for ourselves. In other words, we make ourselves zero.

Closing thoughts:

The current unrest in the world appears as the act of a society that is lost and in desperate need of direction and guidance. It’s easy to lash out at world leaders and a broken system and demand change. We must remember, that broken system was built by flawed individuals, just as lost as everyone else. Until we look in the mirror, and reflect on our own selfishness and insecurity, nothing will change. The current hate and violence, so prevalent around the world today, speaks volumes about how people view themselves. Now, more than ever, we must face the MAN IN THE MIRROR.

ANNOUNCEMENT!

This is my final post for awhile. My family and I are moving across the country. We will be leaving my current home in Virginia at the end of July, and traveling to Colorado to begin a new chapter of our lives. After much thought and consideration, I have decided to halt blog posts until after we get settled in Colorado. I am hoping to be back at the beginning of September, but am uncertain about this timeframe. I’ll keep you posted. I really hate to pull back, but I believe it’s necessary, in order to focus on my family and this important change in our lives. Don’t go anywhere! I’ll be back!

I AM DIVERSITY By: Charles Bennafield

Today, in place of my normal “Middle-age Memoirs”, I am posting a previous article on cultural diversity. I decided to do this for 2 reasons. First, I am writing an article for the H.U.B., the Hawthorn University Blog, on insomnia, which is due today, and I’m just out of time. Secondly, and more important, it is fitting in the current political climate.

I sat awake last night, with a heavy heart, as most people in our country have, I suspect. On top of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, we are dealing with protests and civil unrest. Our country, still quite young in the grand scheme of the world, has come a long way since its founding 244 years ago. With that said, we have a long way to go, with a lot of growing and change still needed. As I laid in bed last night, eyes wide open, with thoughts on our broken country, I searched for something to say in today’s article and came up with nothing productive. That’s when I decided to repost this article, which includes the poem “I AM DIVERSITY”, by: Charles Bennafield

This article is on cultural diversity, which hits 2 aspects of wellness environmental and social. In order to have a clean, peaceful, loving planet, and healthy environment, we need, social wellness, something seriously lacking at the moment. We need to learn to be accepting of others. This little post is my two cents on the issue. Wishing all of you safety and good health. Namaste my friends.


HERE’S THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

I grew up in a moderate size town in South Dakota. Looking back now, my environment was very safe and comfortable. but also created a certain naivety within me. My parents, now married for 50+ years, created a safe and comfortable environment, paying for private Catholic school, with a beautiful home, nice clothes and always a good meal. (My Mom is an AMAZING cook!) Yes my sister and I were lucky to have loving parents who instilled in us a sense of pride in our country, culture and work ethic.

My Mother is my inspiration, with strength of character, (She’s quite stubborn actually) and a heart of gold, a wonderful combination. She led by example, volunteering with Hospice, and working in a nursing home. She gives her all in everything she does and would do anything for anyone. I watch her now, as she cares for my 100 year old Grandmother, and my heart bursts with pride. (UPDATE: My Grandmother passed away last year at the age of 101… I miss her dearly) My love of God and my fellow man come from her.  From my Dad comes my empathy for others. Despite all of the traveling he had to do for his job as I was growing up, he was always at my side, comforting me when things weren’t going quite right.

In 1992, I married my best friend and love of my life. I took what I learned from my parents and entered the big bad world, still a naive South Dakotan, but that would change.  Our first taste of a new culture was as teachers on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Central South Dakota, home of the Lakota American Indians. We learned to love these beautiful souls, who were giving and kind. They taught me to love our planet, Mother Earth, and accept the differences in others. It was here that I began to understand that even though we are all different, we are all one, unified under God, one of their core beliefs.

Washington Dc, C, City, Cities, Urban, Cityscape

About 3 years after I was married, my husband and I moved to the East coast. Talk about culture shock! We moved from, South Dakota, population 700,000, and one of the poorest counties in the country, (Todd County, South Dakota) to a densely populated city and one of the richest counties in the country (Fairfax County, Virginia). We moved from a laid back and relaxed atmosphere to the stress and fast pace of the big city. Here I learned patience for others. (Something I’m still working on!)

In 2003, we set out on a new adventure. Armed with the knowledge from my parents, the wisdom from the Lakota people, and patience, we moved to England where we lived for about 3 1/2 years. This was an interesting time. We lived in a small village in England and traveled all over Europe, exploring its diverse cultures and beautiful people. While in England, I learned to love discovering the diversity of our planet. However, at the same time, the love of my own culture and country deepened profoundly. I was no longer that naive South Dakota girl, but a world traveler. It was during this time that I learned an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT LESSON, one I wish to pass on to all of you.

Oilseed Rape, Field Of Rapeseeds, Sunset, Landscape

The lesson I learned in England was one of CULTURAL DIVERSITY. Why is this such an important lesson? Cultural diversity means “the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.”  This means we accept and respect ALL nationalities, cultures, beliefs, religions, languages, and traditions of other humans, while honoring our own. It means we don’t have to give up our culture or nationality to unite as humans or to come together as a planet. Embracing a nationality or culture doesn’t mean you dismiss others, it simply means you are  honoring your own.

So for today’s article, I am celebrating diversity, honoring my own nationality, and accepting the different beliefs and cultures of those around me.

To celebrate this, I present to you the song CELEBRATION, performed by children from around the world.

In my search for things to include in this post, I discovered the following poem I’d like to share with you. There is a jpg image at the bottom of the page, along with a PDF version, in case you’d like a copy.

I am Diversity
By: Charles Bennafield

I ‘m present in every place you go
Depending on your lens I’m friend or foe
I’m a force to be reckoned with
Like the winds of change I move. I’m swift.
I’m present when two or more are together
If embraced I can make the good even better.
I’m not limited to age, gender, or race.
I’m invisible at times and yet all over the place.
Don’t exclude me due to a lack of knowledge
Welcome me like the recruit fresh out of college.
Let me take my seat at the table
Even though I may be differently able
My experience, my passion, the authentic me
Can help add value for your company.
Learn about me; improve my underrepresentation
And I can provide a competitive edge to your entire nation.
I exclude no one. I am strengthened by all.
My name is Diversity and yes I stand tall.
Recognize me and keep me in the mix
Together there’s no problem that we can’t fix.
I am your best hope towards true innovation
And too many, I reflect hope and inspiration.
Your lives and companies will continue to change
Thus the need for Diversity and Inclusion will also remain.
Do all that you can to truly embrace me
And experience life’s fullness totally
I’m the thought lurking behind the unfamiliar face
I’m the ingenuity that helps your team win the race.
I’m the solution that came from the odd question that was asked.
I stand out in the crowd when I, Diversity, am allowed to be unmasked.
I’m diversity embrace me and we’ll journey far.
I’m Diversity include me and we will reach the shining star.
Coupled with Inclusion our lights burn longer
Together we are smarter, better and stronger
I am Diversity
Yes, that’s me

Written 3/8/2012 for The Conference Board Diversity Boot Camp Spring 2012 team

Closing thoughts

Remember, cultural diversity means we embrace our differences. It means allowing others to honor their nationality and beliefs without expecting them to change. When someone honors their own culture,  that doesn’t mean they are hateful or dismissive of others, it means they are proud of their country, culture and traditions.  We have a beautiful world, full of beautiful souls. By accepting our differences, by allowing others to take pride in their country and heritage, by learning from each other, we can come together as a planet. We all love where we come from, every one of us. Let’s honor that, let’s embrace that.

Let’s CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY!

I ‘m present in every place you goDepending on your lens I_m friend or foeI_m a force to be reckoned withLike the winds of change I move. I_m swift.I_m present when two or more

I AM DIVERSITY PDF VERSION

The Motivation Movement: Anyway… (The REAL version!)

I am a bit under the weather today, so, I’m reposting this article. It was initially posted on my blog in January, 2017. The poem “Anyway”, continues to be a source of inspiration for me. This article discusses the true origins of this poem, which is normally attributed to St. Teresa of Calcutta. I hope you enjoy this repost.

The Original Article

Today’s inspiration was born on August 26, 1910 as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu  in Macedonia. You know her as Mother Teresa of Calcutta, founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa was canonized as Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.

There is a “poem” circulating that is often attributed to Saint Teresa. This poem goes by many names: Anyway, Do It Anyway or Final Analysis. In my research into Saint Teresa and the origins of this poem, I discovered this “poem” was actually a sign hung in Shishu Bhavan, Saint Teresa’s children’s home in Calcutta.** This sign contained the “Paradoxical Commandments” and the author is actually unknown.

Continue reading “The Motivation Movement: Anyway… (The REAL version!)”

On Eagle’s Wings….

Things are quickly coming to a close for me at Hawthorn University. I recently finished my final course. Now, as I approach my final exam and ultimately begin writing my thesis, I decided to take a break from my usual daily and weekly posts. I’d like to honor this point in my life with some songs that inspire me. I chose songs which may seem unusual to you, but which remind me of where I am and where I need to go.

I Can See Clearly Now By: Anne Murray

Times Of Your Life By: Paul Anka

Unstoppable By: Rascal Flatts

On Eagle’s Wings By: Michael Joncas

Closing thoughts

The final song, ON EAGLE’S WINGS, is a Catholic hymn. It was always a favorite of mine as a teen attending a Catholic high school. As I fear the future, the unknown, It reminds me to trust the process, to trust in God. It reminds me that God carries us through the difficult and challenging times in our life. If I trust my intuition, pray, meditate and really listen to what he has to say, with my heart, the future won’t be so scary.

I’ll be away from my blog for the next 3 weeks.

I wanted to let you know that this will be my one and only post this week and for the next three weeks. Do to the seriousness of my upcoming test, I decided to step away from my blog and devote all my time to preparing for my exam.

UNTIL NEXT TIME…NAMASTE MY FRIENDS!

Tamara

My wish…15 Amazing songs to inspire you right now.

I decided to take one more week of a school/blogging break. I’m a bit down and dealing with a few issues here at home. I decided I needed a bit more time off to recoup, to gather my self and my thoughts. I will be returning one week from today, on October 8, 2018, with my usual schedule. My next Fit by 50 post will be on October 11, 2018.

I went in search of an article to repost today. This one is very fitting. The following list was gathered together as part of a photo dvd for my eldest son’s high school graduation. It is fitting today, because that same son has moved out of my house over the weekend, into an apartment of his own. As proud as I am that he is moving out and venturing into the world, in search of his own life, it is a sad, and somewhat bittersweet time for me. As I reflect on our lives together, I pray for the next step in our family’s journey, as our relationship moves to another level. These are MY WISH for my son, and for all of you.

SO…HERE IS THE ORIGINAL POST FROM JANUARY, 2018! ENJOY!


Hello everyone! Happy Monday! However, as I write this, it is late Sunday night, and I’m a bit down. You see, my Minnesota Vikings lost tonight to the Philadelphia Eagles (who played a TREMENDOUS game, by the way…congrats to the Eagles!) I mean the Vikes didn’t just lose, they got there butts kicked…38-7!

Anyway, Sunday’s are “blogging” night for me. It’s when I sit down and try to get as much done as I can, prior to the upcoming week, so I can study and get things done around the house during the week. I came into tonight, not knowing what to write about for Motivation Monday. Well, when I’m down, I enjoy listening to inspiring music, which is what I was doing tonight as I was figuring out a topic for my blog. Then it hit me…why not share a list of my favorite inspiring songs, as a post for motivation Monday.

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My music preferences have changed VASTLY over the years. I’m a child of the 1980’s and grew up listening to hard rock and hair bands. You know the type…Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Kiss, ETC…(Throw in some Elton John and Billie Joel!) While I still enjoy that type of music, my tastes have evolved.

I often call myself a hippie misplaced in time…I LOVE the Beatles, as well as many other groups  from that era, such as Creedance Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, John Denver, and Simon & Garfunkel to name a few.

I’m not a huge music lover, opting for talk radio most of the time. But the music I do enjoy is a wide variety of inspiring songs. Many of the songs are country,  however, I don’t necessarily adhere to one genre of music. It’s more about the lyrics for me, than the tune. I LOVE to listen to the lyrics, which, for me, must be uplifting and inspiring in some form or fashion.

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Many of the songs below were gathered for a very special purpose…a memory DVD for my eldest son’s high school graduation in 2013. As a parent, it’s bitter sweet seeing your child graduate from high school. As proud as you are to see them achieve this milestone, it’s a sad time, because your baby is leaving home. You’re happy and sad, at the same time. For the DVD, I mixed songs I found inspiring with songs I knew he liked onto a DVD of photos of him from birth to graduation. I wanted something special to mark that important occasion.

So, I share these with you now, in hopes that they will inspire you, as they do me. Don’t just listen to the music, hear the words and figure out what they mean for you. Whether you listen to just one or two of the songs, or all of them, may they encourage you,  inspire you, guide you, and motivate you to follow your dreams.

SO…Here are

15 of my favorite

inspirational songs…

ENJOY, GOD BLESS AND NAMASTE!

 Mark Harris…FIND YOUR WINGS

Avril Lavigne…KEEP HOLDING ON

Lee Ann Womack…I HOPE YOU DANCE

Rascal Flatts…STAND

Josh Groban…YOU RAISE ME UP

Russell Watson…WHERE MY HEART WILL TAKE ME

Martina McBride…ANYWAY

Miley Cyrus…THE CLIMB

Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey…WHEN YOU BELIEVE

The Beatles…LET IT BE

Elton John…I’M STILL STANDING

Chesney Hawkes…The One and Only

Joe Esposito…YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND

ABBA, John Denver, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb Maurice Gibb Barry Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Andy Gibb, Rod Steward Rita Colidge Earth Wind & Fire and many others perform as the final performance “PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART” at the Unicef 1979 charity concert show “Unicef – A Gift Of Songs”.

I end with one of my favorite songs. It epitomizes my hope for my family, for my friends, for all who read my blog, for everyone I meet and all people around the world…If you are reading this right now…THIS is MY WISH for you…(Rascal Flatts)

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A lesson in failure…

Hello everyone!

I’m back from my sabbatical,

and

it went NOTHING like I planned.

As the old saying goes,

“Man plans, God laughs”.

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I started out doing well. I was on a good schedule, exercising, meditating, and doing some spiritual study everyday, when a minor tragedy occurred…

My oldest son’s college course was canceled on one day in April, and giving him the time to take our dog for his daily walk. I decided to take advantage of the little bit of freedom from my beloved canine, and drive to a local lake (above) and walk the paths….an hour walk, is what I decided to do…30 minutes one way, then turn around. (The path all the way around the lake is LONG, 5.3 miles to be exact, so I knew I couldn’t do the whole thing) Well, I had just hit the 30 minute mark and was about to turn around, when I stepped incorrectly on a bump in the asphalt path, sending me tumbling to the ground, pain shooting through my right ankle.

I sat for a few seconds, holding my ankle, taking deep breaths, tears in my eyes. I tried standing up, only to have my head start spinning, things getting blurry and dark. So, I quickly sat down. The last thing I needed was to pass out on the hard asphalt and crack my head open! My heart was racing, my ankle aching and I was more than a mile from my car (about 1.3 miles).

I think I sat for about 5 minutes, until the pain in my ankle subsided a bit. I think adrenaline kept me going during the walk back, because my ankle didn’t hurt that bad. When I got back to the car, it was beginning to hurt a bit more.

I had a few errands to run. My ankle didn’t hurt too much. (I’ve had sprains before, and this one was mild in comparison to some) So, I decided I could finish my errands, then go home and ice it for a while. Well, by the time I got to the store, my ankle hurt so bad, I couldn’t press on the brake! Pressing the gas was okay, but pressing the break hurt like a …. well, it hurt a lot. So, I used my left foot to break. Driving very carefully and slowly, I finally made it home.

My ankle never did turn black and blue or swell, but it sure did hurt. (It actually still bothers me somewhat) This really put a wrench into my sabbatical plans. I had just lost 4 pounds in 2 days when this happened. How was I supposed to exercise and do yoga with a bum ankle? Not to be deterred, I found online exercise videos for people with injured ankles. (See my journal here and here.)

Well, with my special exercise videos, I felt like I was back on track, only to have another issue. My oldest son sprained his back, diverting my attention away from myself, and toward my son, who couldn’t move much in the early days. When that issue subsided a bit, my better half came down with a severe case of the flu, leading him to be bed ridden for more than a week, requiring my focus on caring for him, instead of myself. During this time, I did my best to exercise when I had time, but my daily meditation and spiritual study were essentially thrown out the window.

In May, I implemented my own weight loss plan, which I had developed in school. It wasn’t working, and was causing me to lose weight a few days during the week, then gain it back on other days during the week. So, my weight loss was at a stand still. I realized I’d need to sit down and reevaluate the plan. My plan involved calorie/carb recycling. Some days were low carb/low calorie and other days were high carb/high calorie. I would lose weight on the low carb days and gain it back on the high carb days.

I adjusted the amount of carbs on the high carb days and was starting to lose weight. At this point, mid-May, I had lost about 8 pounds from the beginning of my sabbatical. This was well behind my goal, but at least I was losing weight. Through out April, I was also doing really well with my online journal, logging progress.

That’s when the next tragedy occurred, which threw everything out the window: my weight loss, my spiritual study, my meditation and my online journal. On Mother’s day, my beloved Grandmother died. She was 102, so it wasn’t completely unexpected. We just thought we had more time with her. So, my better half and I went back to South Dakota for a week for the funeral. (If you’re interested in a few of my Grandmother’s personal recipes, FOLLOW THIS LINK.)

I’m a stress eater, and I’m also a sugar addict, so going home, to all the good cooking, was bad news for my plan. Sad, depressed and stressed, I fell completely off my food wagon. I turned to my one weakness, soda. There was also so much good, home cooked food, which I dearly miss living so far from home. Needless to say, I gained back what little weight I had lost. I was back to square one.

By the time we got back from South Dakota I felt defeated and essentially gave up. I was in a deep depression, not caring about anyone or anything.  I felt like such a failure. I had such big plans for this sabbatical, such high hopes, only to fail. I think the worst part of the whole thing is having to write this post, telling you of my failure. But, if I let this failure get to me, and stop me, that would be the worst tragedy of all.

During the final week of my sabbatical, my son attended the Congress for Future Science and Technology Leaders, in Lowell, Massachusetts. My better half attended with him, and I watched the motivational speeches, live online. The speakers ranged from inspiring teenage inventors, to MIT professors and Nobel prize winning scientists. The major lesson at the event:

FAIL YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS!

 In speech after speech, the delegates were told stories of failure, after failure, after failure. None of these people tried once and succeeded. Most tried dozens, even hundreds of times, before they ultimately succeeded. The lesson is not to give up. The only way to fail is to quit.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are” (1).png

This was fortuitous timing for me and something I really needed to hear, after the incredible failure during my sabbatical. So, I’m back “on the wagon” and back trying to lose weight. The only way I can fail losing weight, is to quit. Since failure isn’t an option, quitting isn’t an option either.

In closing, I wanted to share a few videos with you. Here are some inspiring words

about the importance of failure.

Enjoy!

Until next time…namaste my friends! 🙏

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A lesson on failure from Will Smith:

A lesson about failure from a child:

Famous Failures:

I end with an inspiring song about success

by Bruno Mars called

Today My Life Begins

Self-Love Tips (…and What I’m Doing)

I’m getting ready to take a big step, something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’ve decided it’s time to take a step back and take care of myself, show a little self-love. But, before I get to what I’m going to be doing, I wanted to share a video and some self-love tips with all of you. (This is a long post, bare with me. There’s an important announcement at the end.)

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Christie Ressel, in the video below, gives some great tips on self-love. These are all simple, easy and inexpensive things to do to show yourself some love and bring your life some happiness. Have a look…

In case you chose not to watch the video,

here are some of her self-love tips…

  • Start a gratitude journal – Take a few minutes each day to write about things/people for which you are thankful to have in your life.
  • Indulge in music that you love – Blast it out loud, or put on some headphones/ear buds. Listen, love, dance and have fun! Have a DANCE PARTY! This seriously works! It’s impossible not to smile when you’re jamming, dancing and having fun!
  • Buy some fresh flowers for your home – There’s just something special about having fresh plants and flowers around the house. Not only do they bring freshness and color, but a sense of peace and spiritual energy. Wonderful.
  • Put your sparkling water or other drink in a special glass – I’ve been doing this with my detox tea. There’s something fun and special about drinking from a fancy glass.
  • Brew some coffee or tea and take 5 minutes to just relax and breathe –  Just sip, relax and enjoy, without the rush. You deserve it!
  • Get outside everyday and breathe some fresh air. – Take a walk in nature if you can. I am a fervent lover of the forest and am lucky enough to live near lots of forests, streams and walking trails. There’s nothing better than walking in the woods. The sense of peace, serenity and beautiful energy is just amazing.
  • Take time to meditate or pray everyday. – It seems indulgent to just sit in peace, letting go of stress. However, stress is SOOO hard on our body’s physically, that we are keeping yourself healthy. Your loved one’s will thank you.
  • Indulge in your favorite movie or TV show– Grab a bowl of popcorn and just sit back and enjoy yourself.
  • Light a candle – I LOVE candles. I’m not sure what it is, but they just bring so much peace. Making it a beautiful scent will add even more to the experience.
  • Take a luxurious bubble bath – Bring that lite candle into the bathroom and relax. maybe you’ll put on your favorite relaxing music. For me, I like to listen to audiobooks.

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What I’m Doing…

A bit of my story first… and a few confessions.

8 years ago, I went on a juice fast, then a vegan, gluten free diet. Along with exercise, I proceeded to lose 50 pounds. I remain gluten free to this day, but could not handle a vegan diet. (I’m also allergic to soy- that makes things difficult when you’re a vegan-no gluten or soy!)  It was at this time that my love of nutrition blossomed. I read everything I could get my hands on. My husband and I began to make slow changes in our diet: juicing, smoothies, organic food, no sugar, whole foods, no processed foods. Everything I advocate in my blog. I still live this way…most of the time. But I have my demons, like everyone else. And my demons sometimes get the better of me, where my diet is concerned.

Around that same time, maybe about about 7 years ago, I had a personal crisis of sorts. This caused me to turn to my vices when times were bad. For me, my main vice is/was soda. I am completely and utterly addicted to soda. When things are bad, the first thing I turn to is soda. My demons still haunt me sometimes, so I still struggle with soda. That is really the main thing. I hardly ever eat fast food, processed food, cakes cookies, candy, etc.  My diet is usually 80% or more whole foods. That’s not very sensible is it? Sitting eating dinner, with a wonderful plate of organic whole food, and a tall glass of soda!  My problem is, and always has been SODA.

My other vice…  I absolutely HATE to exercise. I know I can do it because that’s how I lost 50 pounds. Well, once I lost the weight, I quit exercising. I walk my dog everyday, and do yoga at least once a week, but that’s about it. (obviously not enough!)

Guess what drinking soda and not exercising has done for me? I have gained back every ounce of weight I lost 7 years ago. Can you believe that? I have gained 50 pounds in 7 years, mainly from drinking soda. (I drink A LOT of soda-I’ve been clean for 21 days) It wasn’t sudden, or all at ounce, a few pounds here and there. I tried losing it the same way I did before, and it didn’t work. It may have something to do with my age…darn hormones! 😡 No matter how hard I tried, the more I lost, the more I gained back. The yoyo effect. And now, here I am, back where I started 7 years ago.

It doesn’t comfort me knowing that 95% of people who lose weight gain it back. I’m a nutrition student now and I feel as if I should know better.  I recently took a course on energy balance and weight management. My instructor, a microbiologist from UCLA, helped guide me and I now have a better idea as to how to lose weight properly. During the course, I developed my own weight loss program, specifically geared toward people in my age bracket (middle age). So, I do know better now, and will be implementing my weight loss plan after I’m done with my detox… Which brings us to the main purpose for this post.

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I’m taking a 3 month leave of absence. (A sabbatical)

I have thought long and hard for many months about what to do and have come to a very difficult, but necessary, decision….It’s time I re-create myself. I’m taking that leap and creating my dream.

I have decided to take a 3 month leave of absence or sabbatical from school and blogging. I submitted my request to Hawthorn this past Friday. I received an email from the administration and expect it to be approved sometime today. Beginning today, and for the next three months, I will not be taking any classes or posting any articles or blogs. (I will, however, take this time to catch up on reading all of your wonderful blogs, something I don’t do nearly enough. I’ll even try to repost some articles on occasion.) I absolutely ADORE blogging and studying nutrition, so this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. But, I have to do this.

I need to do this to get myself back together, to get into the exercise habit, and kick my soda addiction once and for all. I have no business helping other people get healthy, if I can’t get healthy myself. So I am devoting the next three months to loving and taking care of myself. I consider it part of my job, as a future nutritionist, to get as healthy as I can, as an example to others of what is possible. I feel SO  blessed that I have the ability to do this at this point in my life. I do realize just how lucky I am and I thank God every day. I  know it can be done, because I’ve done it before. My hope is that in 3 months, when I return in July, I’ll be 30 pounds lighter, with an exercise addiction, instead of a soda addiction. ( my ultimate goal is 50 pounds, but that will take longer than 3 months.)

As I said, my sabbatical will last 3 months. So, you can expect the first blog to be posted on Monday, July 9, 2018. It’s going to be really hard not blogging for 3 months. It has become part of who I am. Quite frankly, it scares the hell out of me!

I’ve decided that I’M MOVIN’ ON from my demonsit’s time to put them behind me….

I leave you with a few other songs. I hope these songs make you realize that each of you are truly phenomenal people.  I always try to think of everyone who reads my blog, and everyone I meet this way. We are all God’s children. God made each of us in his image. We are all beautiful, amazing, wonderful and brave….NEVER forget that.

Don’t let anyone tell you anything different…

say to yourself…

I am BEAUTIFUL

Each and everyone of you are amazing…

JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

All of you are wonderful, beautiful, and amazing.

Now it’s time to be BRAVE!

I love each and everyone of you.

I’ll miss you and blogging…

BUT

I need to do this…

I’ll be back in three months.

See you in July.

Until next time…

Namaste my friends.

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Kindness Counts: The Gift of Music

Good afternoon everyone! Today’s Kindness Counts post is a bit special, as I am announcing the 2 winners of my CELEBRATING 2000 FOLLOWERS giveaway. I’ll get to them in a bit, but first, let’s talk about kindness counts for today.

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Do you find times where you want to express to someone just how important they are to you? You want to give them a gift, but aren’t sure just how or what to give them. Maybe today’s kind act will help inspire you.

**Kindness Counts Act

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**Kindess Counts Quote

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**Orly’s reflections: (1)

Communicating wasn’t my student Diane’s strong suit. As a teacher it was my favorite pastime to see the beauty within my students so that they could eventually see it in themselves. It’s why I became a teacher. But with each student the method of communication can be quite different. She wasn’t able to express her thoughts and emotions verbally, and so music became Diane’s voice. 

Middle school was filled with hardship for her, but watching her grow into the person I knew she could be gave me the greatest pleasure. She gifted me with a CD expressing, through songs, how grateful she was to know that she could confide in me, knowing that as much as she may have tried to push me away I was there if she needed someone. As the day of eighth-grade graduation approached, I prepared myself to let go knowing that it was time for her to move on to the next chapter of her life. All I could hope for was that the lessons she had learned in my classroom would stay in her heart and help her stay the course. Whenever I pop that CD in, the memories fill my heart and I’m transported back to my classroom with the knowledge that I did leave an impression. Sometimes reassurance is all we need.

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My thoughts:

Music, for me, is about the words, more than the tune. I have a list of songs, ranging from christian, to country to pop to hard rock to 60’s folk music (my personal favorite) that I absolutely LOVE for the message in the lyrics.

As humans, we often can’t communicate with each other due to language barriers, but there’s one thing everyone understands, and that’s music. It unites us, inspires us, and makes us feel good, all the way to our soul.

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Now,

here are the 2 winners of my

CELEBRATING 2000 FOLLOWERS give-away.

 (The winners below were randomly selected by gleam.io.)

I’ll be highlighting each of their blogs this coming Thursday, so be on the lookout for that. The winners have been notified and are anxiously awaiting their packages.

Inspired by the kind act for today, I’ve put together a short playlist of songs for each of the winners, as my gift and thank you to them.

So, without further adieu, here are the 2 winners:

Winner #1

Joann Maxwell

Fearless in Jesus

PACKAGE #1

EVERYONE IS ITALIAN ON SUNDAY

30 MINUTE MEALS- ALL AROUND TASTY (3-DVD SET)

Joann, here’s my playlist for you. I hope you find the songs as inspiring as I do. Songs 3 and 4 on the list are my personal favorite church hymns. They were played at my infant son’s funeral on February 4, 1995.

Enjoy, and thank you for following me and being such an amazing friend.:

  1. Anyway – Martina McBride
  2. You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban
  3. On Eagles Wings – Michael Joncas
  4. Be Not Afraid – John Michael Talbot
  5. Angels Among Us – Alabama – Here’s that video!

Winner #2

Christy Birmingham

When Women Inspire

PACKAGE #2

CLASSIC RACHEL RAY-THE ALL-OCCASION COOKBOOK

30 MINUTE MEALS – QUICK AND HEALTHY (3-DVD SET)

Christy, here’s my playlist for you. I hope you enjoy these songs. The words of these songs truly move me and inspire me, much as the inspiring words of your blog.

Enjoy, and thank you for following me. I’m so happy to have made a new friend in you. :

  1.  Roar- Katy Perry
  2.  Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  3. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  4. The Voice Within – Christina Aguilera
  5.  I was here -Beyonce – Here’s that video!

Sources:

My Kindness Counts posts are based on the book Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts by Orly Wahba. The book contains 365 random acts of kindness, a quote for each and Orly’s reflections on each act. While I won’t be sharing every one, I pick the ones I feel will have the greatest impact. **

  1. Wahba, Orly. Kindness Boomerang: How to Save the World (and Yourself) Through 365 Daily Acts (p. 232). Flatiron Books. Kindle Edition.

Feel Good Friday: Manning Street

One of my favorite things to do over the holidays is looking at Christmas lights. Hop in the car, put on some Christmas music and go look at lights. Love it! 😍

You may have seen videos of houses, elaborately decorated with lights, and synchronized to music. Well, what if I told you there was an entire street that does this?

YEP, on Manning Street in Yucaipa, California, EVERY HOUSE is decorated with lights. Each house of the 16 houses are synced with each other and the entire thing is set to music.

Cool right?! 😎

Why did I choose this for “Feel good Friday”? Well, isn’t this what Christmas is all about? A group of people working together to bring joy and happiness to others? Can you imagine the work and cooperation it takes to put this together every year?

So, just how do they accomplish this monumental task?

Check out this video from the local CBS news station:

Below, you’ll find two videos of the neighborhood, from this year’s show. ENJOY!

A MAD RUSSIAN CHRISTMAS –

TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA

THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY

Connecting the World through Music…Playing for Change

Today,  I thought I’d take this opportunity to do something I love to do, but also, something I haven’t done in a VERY long time, and that’s highlight a non-profit organization.  (If you’d like to see some of the other articles highlighting non-profits, follow this link.)

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Today I’m highlighting the Foundation – Playing for Change. This phenomenal group, which has become a world sensation, came about because of the belief that “music has the power to connect people, regardless of their differences.”  In 2005, some filmmakers made a documentary about music on the streets, which was called PLAYING FOR CHANGE: PEACE THROUGH MUSIC. This documentary has gone on to spur a world wide movement to connect the world, and teach music to under privileged children around the world.

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During the production of the documentary, the crew decided it would be extremely difficult to bring musicians from all over the world to one studio, so they created a mobile studio and took it to the musicians and the places in which they lived.  They traveled the world, recording these street musicians singing specific songs. Then, the sounds were mixed together, to create a unified song and sound. Even though these musicians were 1000’s of miles apart, in many cases, on different continents, the sound created was as if they were unified, each contributing a unique talent to the larger group. And, as you’ll see below, the sound is AMAZING! Each song makes me smile and fills my heart and soul with love.

After traveling awhile, the film crews wanted to give back to the communities in which they visited. So, in 2007, the PLAYING FOR CHANGE FOUNDATION was created. Their mission is to “inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music”. They wish to “create positive change through music and arts education.” As of this posting, the organization has opened 15 schools in 11 countries and teaches over 1200 children.

Here is an introductory video from the founder of Playing for Change:

About their music schools:

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PHOTO SOURCE: playingforchange.org

If you’d like to connect with Playing for Change:

Now,

the most important part,

here are a few of their

wonderful songs!

ENJOY!

STAND BY ME

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

BOB MARLY’S – ONE LOVE