Mastery Unleashes Creativity

Gaining mastery of a certain skill or task allows you to release your mind from thinking. You get to hit the auto-pilot button. When you get to ride out the storms on auto-pilot, you get to unleash the creativity that exists below the surface.

As an example we can all relate to, consider the task of shoe tying. Maybe you were so young that you do not even remember learning to tie your own shoes, but you can certainly see in your own children or in the children around you that basic shoe tying used to take all of your focused effort. Each of us once had to take our time, concentrate, start over and over again, to tie our shoelaces. Now, as adults, shoe tying is easy. We may do it several times a day without much notice. And, you may even think this is a terrible example of mastery vs. creativity because, c’mon, it’s shoe tying! However, we’ve mastered the basic skills of tying our shoelaces, and that allows us to even find creativity in that. Now, we add a double-knot, or we tuck the laces in, or we lace our shoes up different ways for reasons of appearance, efficiency, or even injury prevention. Some take their shoe tying creativity to even greater levels in designing new, better lacing options to keep shoes tied better or look more fashionable. Clamping devices are designed to make our shoelaces more secure, or accessories are added to our shoelaces so that we don’t have to go on a jog while holding our keys or people know our key identifying information in an emergency. This, my friends, is mastery unleashing creativity…even in something as seemingly basic as tying one’s shoes.

Consider, now, the countless tasks you have already mastered in your life, whether you’re 20-something or 80-something. Think of the ways you have naturally evolved that basic knowledge of how to do a certain task into the skill of doing it without thinking, and have moved beyond that skill to a level of creativity. Perhaps you are great at maximizing your efficiency of tasks so that the basic day-to-days don’t eat up most of your hours. Maybe you have seen a flaw or wished there was a fix for this problem or that frustration, and you actually came up with the solution, the re-design, the better model. Maybe you make the best pot of coffee every single time you brew because you’ve mastered it, you’ve balanced just the right ratios of coffee to water, you grind your own beans fresh, you blend a little of this region with a little of that, you use only distilled water and never tap, you do something that takes your coffee to the next level. You take your coffee beyond mastery, to creativity.

This concept–this truth–stretches across large and small things. You don’t have to cure cancer or paint the next timeless masterpiece to be creative. So, even if you’ve never thought of yourself as particularly right-brained, know that you are brimming with creativity which you uncover as necessity and focus evolve into mastery.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

There’s Just Something About That First-Born

Yesterday, my youngest decided to sign up for her first triathlon. She’s 9 and feelin’ sporty! Her big brother and sister did tris for years around this same age, so she’s ready to have her go at it. And, she figures she has three (including ME!) built-in coaches to help her train and prepare. I might add, just to be on the safe side, she chose a race that’s still four months away…nothing like preparation!

So, after her first official training run, we did some stretching. My oldest son–the cyclist who is just about the sweetest big brother any little girl could ever have–told her he’d teach her how to massage her legs to keep them fresh. It was dinner time, so they didn’t jump right into that, but just as our little sports girl was ready to crawl into bed, she realized they hadn’t done this, yet, and it couldn’t wait another moment! (she’s very literal)

Even though my son was already settling in with his own evening routine of reading cycling news on his phone and reading about cyclists in his books, he stopped everything to do what he promised his little sister he’d do.

As I stood there watching my son take as much time on his baby sister who had run less than a mile at an average pace she could have walked the entire course in, taking such care and telling her why to massage these muscles this way and those muscles that way, etc., I did what I tend to do when I realize how old my oldest is getting…I got choked up. Dang those motherly hormones and sensitivity! I get choked up because I’m so proud of the young man he has become, because he’s still growing and maturing, and not yet a man but certainly no longer a boy.

wp-1465564028173.jpgI got choked up, and although I thought I was keeping it reigned in pretty well, my daughter saw the tightness of my face and understood immediately what I was thinking. Then, the sensitive youngest got chocked up…and didn’t worry with the annoyance of keeping it held in. She went from relaxed bliss to bursts of tears and hugs. She cries because he is going into his senior year and will be going away soon to pursue his own dreams. She cries because he’s her biggest ally and is always willing to drop everything for her. She cries because, like my step-sons who have gone before, my oldest son will move on with his life, building a family of his own some day and their relationship will change. She cries because she doesn’t like change.

And, what does my oldest son do but take it all in patient stride!

He takes it in stride when we’re crying over him getting older. He takes it in stride when he’s drowning in estrogen, surrounded by sisters and me! He takes it in stride when his friends are being crazy, angry, aggressive, competitive, or just plain silly. He takes life in stride, which is probably the quality I am most proud of in my son.

So, here’s to your senior year of high school, Morgan! May this year hold so much possibility, not just for what’s to come this year, but for the ways you’ll continue to learn, grown, and develop for the lifetime to come. Expect more things you will need to take in stride…but I know you will with the same confidence and care you do, now. I am so proud of you, my oldest!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Weekly Wrap-Up: May 28, 2016

It’s graduation week here, last week of school, celebrations everywhere, at all moments. Who has time during this time of year to focus on anything BUT the school kids? It’s been a great week for me, my little family, and friends as close as family. So, for something a touch different this week, I’d like to put this week to music:

FIELD DAY w/ my Little Bit13248563_10209569232491923_2143438404320452081_o

Although this song is no longer new, the kids at my youngest daughter’s school are still completely obsessed with this song, so any event features this song endlessly and the majority of the kids are up on their feet dancing, so full of smiles and happiness. It’s completely adorable!

WISHING I COULD BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCEwp-1464444917866.png

A year ago, I was living life with little to no sleep, squeezing the absolute most out of every hour, as my time in Wisconsin was coming to a close. These four girls, my co-workers at the neatest little coffee shop I’ve ever come across were with me every step of the way. I treasure these four ladies beyond words. This week, they’re doing the same without me, as one more of our tribe opens a new chapter in her life. I am incredibly excited for her, but it’s so bittersweet to miss them so, and know I am not there with them right now. LOVE YOU MEAN IT!!!!!!!!

EVERYONE GETS A YEAR OLDER AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEARwpid-img_20150502_120750.jpg

Birthdays are one thing, but one time of year all school-aged children get a year younger…and that’s on the last day of school. I have one who is now a senior, one now a junior, and one now a fourth grader…and I really can’t have this thought without choking up a bit. The end of the school year is a mental aging. It’s a beautiful, painful thing, as we celebrate the accomplishments and growing up of our amazing kids!

GRADUATION VIBES13308514_10209603835116967_7326999077241083041_o

Last night, one of my oldest and dearest friends’ oldest graduated. She is a lovely young lady, destined for a beautiful life. Sitting up in the stands, watching these young people 20 years my juniors graduate high school and turn that tassel was so fun.

Then, I saw that their class graduation song was…


…and I had to take a moment to mentally send them good vibes that do NOT speak “stressed out” over their futures.

IT’S SUMMER, Y’ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jade Wilkins Graduation 05272016 626 2

This is going to be a busy, beautiful summer for me and mine.

I’m sending YOU all smiles and dancy-good times with this, my official song choice of summer by JT.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Love/Hate Relationship With Summer Vacation

This is the last week of school for my children, and although in many ways they are excited…there’s a flip side to their excitement. You see, each year as school winds down, I ramp up with my “GREAT MOM IDEAS” to keep the kids active, alert, and learning throughout the summer vacation.

Work, chore, and learning opportunities abound! wpid-fb_img_1430702899892.jpg

Projects and family-fun activities make my eyes brighten!!

Daily family fitness and “active play” ideas fill my mind!!!

…My kids hate this…

They’re not against doing stuff, but their Mom has a tendency to over-schedule their three months that are (to their minds) supposed to be a break from schedules.

So, once again I have busted out the notebook and been sprawling endless lists and schedules and time tables of what kinds of things we can be doing when, where, and how allllll summmmmmer long.

Oh yeah, kids…get ready! Momma’s got the summer well planned.

“Get up! There’s no sleeping in in summer!!!”

“I’ve been up since 4…it’s time to get up and have a great day!”

“I have the best idea for today! Remember how we talked about how great it would be if the garage were completely cleaned up and reorganized?!?!?!!!!”

“Let’s start running together, every day, as a family! How about getting up early before the summer heat sets in!”

“Math workbook time!”

Yep, they’ll love it šŸ˜‰

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Weekly Wrap-Up: April 23, 2016

Who can believe it’s already the end of April? I’m pretty sure the ball just dropped in NYC three days ago…

Binge Watching

The kids and I have about 30 minutes every school day when we have nothing to do but sit in a parking lot and wait. We fill that waiting time binge watching Netflix, and this week we’ve been zeroed in on “Malcolm in the Middle.” For old-school me, it’s like a more recent version of “Rosanne;” so wrong but still so, so funny!

Book Love

This week, I got a surprise in the mail from a sweet friend, Jennifer Paddock’s A Secret Word. I am looking forward to diving into this new-to-me (published in 2004) read, as the author is from Fort Smith, Arkansas. My family and I spent eight years living in Fort Smith, so the reference points in the book will be familiar and fun.

Prince & Other Music

Who isn’t listening to Prince this week since his passing on Thursday? I feel for you, I think I love you!

Prior to this hard sucker-punch to the music and arts, I was soaking up the sounds of Punch Brothers. Such diversity in sound. Such great lyrics and musical range. Once the world gets beyond Prince’s passing, I’ll be back to PB!

In Honor of Earth Day

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” ~Native American Proverb

Post From the Week I Most Want YOU to Read

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is winding down, but our passion for preventing sexual violence, rape, incest, and the like cannot pass with the passing of the month. Please check out my post: HEROES IN TEAL, and please watch the videos, and be inspired to knowledge rather than depressed. Let’s tackle issues like this with a survivor mentality over a victim mentality!

 

Divorce Does Not Define You

When relationships break, it hurts and everyone feels the aftershocks. When marriages break, it goesĀ a step further, it lingers, it follows you, and it’s a hurt that is often a lot harder to shake.

Divorce.

From that point forward, you’re “divorced,” “previously married,” you’re an “ex.” Now, you have a new box to check on most paperwork. You aren’t single or married, youĀ are divorced.

However, before you allow yourself to believe that you are somewhat less-than because your marriage failed, I encourage you to disallow that label to define who you are from this point forward. I have some things for you to consider.

On average, adults are involved in eight to 12 serious relationships before they decide to marry. This means that 100% of those relationships failed for one reason or another. Those relationships ended for good reasons, but they ended just the same, yet those failed love relationships do not determine how the world gets to see you.

Consider, also, how many “best friends” you’ve had to this point. Maybe five in grade school, alone. Another two or three as you got older, changed, and matured (or didn’t) through your young adult and college years. In adulthood, friendships are more based on co-existing working relationships and acquaintances, but there are those tighter friendships that do form in adulthood. Some of these besties remain so for your lifetime, some besties are only that for a phase. Relationships are transitory. Some unravel at the seams, as something terrible happens or a rift occurs, while others just fade quietly into the distance as the two just…seem…to…grow…apart.

On average, most college students change their majors four times over the course of their studies, and yet, once they graduate or leave Academia most to not enter one career and stick it out until retirement. In fact, the average American undergoes major job or career changes an average of seven to 11 times in their working lives. We change careers because when we are no longer content with one aspect or another of our current career path and we see these changes as greatĀ opportunities, ratherĀ thanĀ great failures.

Half of all marriages end in divorce. Fifty percent. That sounds like a lot. That sounds like a bad thing, but relationships run their course every day, and that does notĀ lessen the positive things that came out of the relationship. Children. Support through difficult times. Encouragement. Love. Laughter and happy tears.

In America, we seldom marry out of obligation, we marry because that’s what our soul is telling us we deeply desire to do in that phase of our life. That same voice may later tell us that it is time to move on, to divorce, to go it alone for a while. Being true to yourself and living a life that speaks to your truest nature is not a failure, it’s the greatest win you can create!

My friends, I’m not anti-marriage, but I am pro-fulfilling life. There are people who have the tenacity and the good fortune to marry someone that they are truly compatible with throughout their long lives together. This doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and roses in their home, but it means they learn to bend and flex together. Not every love relationship can or is willing to do this, and when divorce happens this message is there to help you keep your head up so you can clearly see the next great opportunity life has to offer!

Until next time…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

DIVORCE ENCOURAGEMENT, Part 1

DIVORCE ENCOURAGEMENT, Part 2

Just as a reminder, I’d love to connect with you all over the interweb. I love to share encouragement and fun all over the place, so come on along for the ride…and don’t forget to throw your hands in the air and scream with joy at the roller coaster of life!

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Doing My Civic Duty…Jury Duty, That Is

As I sit in the 300+ head herd of dutiful citizens summoned today for jury duty, I can’t help but people watch. It’s one of my favorite games.

There are men in ill-fitting suits and comfort-dress shoes walking around, blending in perfectly with the beige walls and understated furniture.

A woman in a Disney character jacket sitting next to me cannot be still, and incessantly shakes a foot, which–in turn–makes some little metal piece of her bedazzled jacket rattle. The sound causes the man across from me to notice and we exchange a comically annoyed smile.

Most of us waiting are on some sort of device to pass the time, and even those who felt the need this morning to haul plump briefcases and backpacks are not using them, instead opting to play Candy Crush or check their Facebook news feed until our juror numbers are called. I resist the urge to check on my Clan and instead turn my phone off all together.

A few are reading actual books with real pages, which actually looks odd in this day and age.danecountycourthouse.png

Two people in the entire group sit quietly, with nothing to do yet not appearing bored or impatient or anything but resigned to wait.

One woman makes idle small talk with the court clerk, and I wonder at her angle. Will this act get her number slipped onto a more exciting case? She runs out of silly questions and returns to her seat.

The coffee is burnt but still tasty until I regret not packing minty gum to eliminate the lingering flavor.

Sirens roll by outside and I look up to see a middle-aged woman carrying a shiny golden tote bag, wearing a mini skirt, suntan colored panty hose, and sandaled feet. This especially strikes me as most of us are still sporting layers and coats in our lingering 35 degree Wisconsin spring days.

After a few hours of waiting, the herd starts to get restless. People get up, some stretch, most have found restrooms or snack machines or new magazines to peruse. I look at the clock and realize that on a normal day I would be home by now and today, in particular, would be enjoying the first day of spring break with my children.

A series of juror numbers is called for the first round of eliminations, mine is not among them so I sit.

The woman is still tapping her foot, her jacket still tink-tink-tinkling. I refuse to change my seat to get away from her rattle becauseĀ I’m otherwise comfortable and warm in front of the large picture window. I will her to either stop shaking or change seats herself. We’ll see if it works.

It surprises me how many people in this herd of strangers leave their purses, cases, devices, and other personal belongings in their chairs as they seek out excuses to move about. We’ve all claimed our spots and that is, apparently, more important than trust in this room full of strangers.

Every once in a while the silence is broken by a gregarious courthouse worker or high heels clicking down the linoleum clad hallway. The distraction doesn’t last long and the large room returns to a quiet stillness that would rival any library.

I am hungry, but it’s probably more of a boredom hunger than real.

Black and white framed portraits cover the walls in neat grids. They are important people in Wisconsin’s judicial history and they look so serious and distinguished staring down at me in my chair. Most wear glasses.

My travel cup of green tea is calling to me from my car parked a block away and two more stories up. Having it would occupy me and give me something warm to hold, but then I would just have to make more trips to the restroom and risk losing my seat. The struggle is real.

Yes. She’s still there and still tapping.

The tapping foot woman is also thirsty. I almost laugh out loud when she pulls a long swig from a canned energy drink. Sitting, sitting, sitting, sucking up sugary caffeine, tapping away, and unable to hold still. Go figure.

Exactly the opposite, across the room another woman naps. She seems quite comfortable to be off from work and be minimally paid to chair nap among strangers.

Random coughs shatter the silence. Those who have been here before begin quiet, knowing conversations, regaling others of us with their fascinating tales of jury duties past. I say a silent prayer to either be excused quickly, or chosen to serve on some enthralling criminal case. I am a cop’s daughter, after all, so being a part of this process could be really cool–especially if I can serve to preserve the law and be a voice of fairnessĀ at the same time.

Tappy Tapperton stretches, yawns, puts down her iPad in exchange for her iPhone, taps some more. Her leg never tired. Never. It must be the energy drink.

My mind turns to lunch spots. I’m rarely downtown so this could prove a rare treat opportunity to check out a new-to-me lunch spot in downtown Madison. A juicy cheeseburger sounds good!

Another series of juror numbers is called. There are questions that make me wonder what some otherwise intelligent-looking people didn’t learn in kindergarten. Q: “My number is 218, do I go, now?” A: “No, sir. WeĀ announced numbers 1 – 80, you can return to your seat.”

I brought a book with meĀ to read, and I do read some, but mostly I just watch my fellow jury duty friends. No one seems as curious about me as I am of them; if they are they hide it well.

The first round is excused. They get to go home, go to lunch, resume their day. This makes the rest of us fidget a bit. The clock ticks on and Tapping Disney keeps double-time.

Bored, IĀ visit the restroom…mainly as an internal excuse to stretch my legs and count the remaining herd. As I stand, I sarcastically ask the older gentleman sitting across from me to watch after my chair, to which he replies, “A special seat for a special lady.” Awww.

When I’m away, another huge group of possible jurors is excused, and yet we continue to wait.

At this point, there are only about twenty of us left, so we give in and begin to chat. Television shows. Growing Madison area communities. Restaurants. Until we finally get around to speculating on our juror fate. A retired insurance adjuster predicts that the case we are slated to sit through is settling rather than battle it out in court. “Whoever plays chicken first wins,” as he puts it. Within an hour an announcement is made that we–the last of the original 300+–are excused.Ā  We are excused from jury service for at least four more years, which I calculate was one year per hour we waited…sounds fair.Ā We are thankedĀ and we are sent on our merry ways.

Those remaining rush the elevators, suddenly itching for fresh air. The last words I heard from my juror friends was, “By the way, you’re pretty easy on the eyes.” I responded to the elderly gentleman with a laughing “Thank you,” and ran to cross the street back to the parking garage that housed my freedom.

Happy & Healthy

Charlottes Spring Performance 020 croppedWhen our kiddos have performances, I tend to go through the range of emotions from “oh, yay, that sounds adorable,” to “you’ve gotta practice, you’ve gotta pick out your outfit, you’ve gotta do this and that to be ready,” to “how in the world am I going to ever fit this into my schedule,” to “OH MY GOSH…that was completely adorable and MY KID ROCKED!” to “how quickly can I get out of this school and onto the next critical thing on my daily to-do list?”

It’s no wonder we’re not sleeping, struggling to stay healthy, and fighting to keep our marriages and our families protected, happy and healthy. We have so much inner turmoil every day to the point we (I should say “I” and quit speaking for you) struggle to be in one place at a time, focused completely on that one thing or person or event or need.

Today, as I look through the pictures of Charlotte and her class, all smiles and joy and visions of great health and happiness, I realize that even with all of the apparent struggles of juggling life and kids and significant others and parents and friends and jobs, jobs, jobs, and organizations, and on and on and on…I believe we are all doing a pretty great job! Moments like this are validation that all of our hard work and stresses are well worth the effort!

Hang in there! Vent when you need to, and keep taking care of everything you have on your plate each and every day. Days like this make it alllll worth it šŸ™‚

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

My friends, 6 1/2 Months is tooooo long!

If I were expecting another child, my patience and anticipation would be running on high-throttle by now! It’s been 6 1/2 months since my last post and I…have…missed…you!

Since we’ve last met here, so much has happened.wpid-photogrid_1412799957985.jpg

  • The whole reason my family moved five states away from most of our family has dissolved…but everything happens for a reason! I had a 15-minute self-pity party about…oh…6 and a half months ago, and then I got over it, but it definitely rocked my world a bit.
  • My oldest step-son and his lovely wife had an incredibly adorable daughter, which makes me a practice grandmother so I’m completely and utterly overwhelmed with love over that blessing!
  • I became the Head Coach for the Poms Dance Squad at our high school…a job that I LOVE and have a great passion for, but that I began just enough behind the eight-ball to feel like I’ve been behind schedule for months, now.
  • My children still at home were out for a very long, very busy, mostly pleasurable summer…then, they went back to school for an even busier, somewhat pleasurable school year.
  • Life keeps moving at a whirlwind pace…and when it’s not moving, moving, moving, I find a way to kick up some dust and get it up and running, again!

Last night, however, was the moment that shook me back awake and brought me back to y’all! Last night, I realized that ONE of my YouTube channel videos has been viewed over 46,000 times! Holy Cow!!! Now, I know…I know…there are YouTubers out there who have more subscribers than that, they have that many and more hits on EVERY one of their videos, they have big advertising checks that sustain their “job” as a YouTuber, BUT that’s them…this is ME…and I am PUMPED about my 46k views!!!!!!! What??? You’d like to know which video it was that was oh, soĀ popular? Great news, I’ll totally take you to it: https://marilynhorton.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/diy-day-organizational-fun.

The numbers mean nothing without interaction, though, and that’s where I have definitely fallen off the wagon. I’m so thankful for last night’s epiphany, as it was just the nudge I needed to quit talking about what I want to do and DO IT!

Make it a great day, y’all!

Mari!yn

Valentine’s Day Cupid Hearts

What a fun way to make some fabulous, dentist-approved Valentine’s for your class of friends!!!

You’ll need:
*Card stock in your choice of colors/patterns
*Scissors
*Heart shaped stencil
*Pencil or pen for outlining
*Pencils for attaching to the Valentines
*Markers for decorating

Enjoy!!!

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

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