Life is Simple

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~Confucious

Why do we as human beings live our lives bound and determined to make everything harder than it needs to be? Why aren’t we better at walking in a little bit of faith and really living in a way that “lets go and lets God?” Even for those who aren’t necessarily religious but work to live their lives in a way that lets life unfold before them, just to take firm control at a moment’s disruption. We’re the ones who make life so darn complicated.

Today, my goal is to continue to put one foot in front of the other, continue moving forward along the path I have set for myself, but to do so with mindful steps. While I am talking with my children about their first day of the new school year, I am going to be present with them rather than distracted and thinking of 10,000 other things. While I am sitting at my desk designing beautiful pieces of jewelry (which takes the form of staring at tiny details on a computer screen for hours at a time), I will focus completely on each detail of the design. While I am fixing dinner tonight or running on a trail, I will be there, then. For me, this is the first simple step in getting out of my own way, and allowing life to be a little more simple.

So, here I am with you now, encouraging you to also focus on being a smidge more “present” today, to get out of your own way and work on going a day without muddying the waters of life with stuff that doesn’t really matter or that will resolve itself in time if you will just insist on allowing life to unfold naturally.

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!

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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 😉

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Weekly Wrap-Up: May 7, 2016

Whew-this has been a week.

ON CONSTANT LOOP

Several years ago, my father surprised me with one of the most exciting gifts I have ever received in my adult life. It was the complete set of Zig Ziglar’s How to Stay Motivated set of CD’s (plus the Performance Planner…which I LOVED)! This may sound pretty lame to some, but I am a HUGE Zig fan (may he rest in peace), and these CD’s have been such a priceless addition to my library. I still listen to them quite often, so much so that my kids can even regurgitate some of the stories Zig tells. We giggle together when Zig gets tickled with himself (Zig had a great laugh!), and we talk about different points he makes. This week, Zig has reemerged on my car CD player and kept me motivated to keep moving forward even during weeks like this when it feels like the whole world is pushing against!

WHAT I’M ENJOYING READING

Young adult fiction, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Sooo good! I couldn’t be more surprised that I’m enjoying this book.

ON THE BIG SCREEN

Went to the movies this weekend, which almost never happens. We saw the re-adaptation of The Jungle Book, and OH WOW! So well done!!! As a kiddo who was raised with the cartoon version, I didn’t have a lot of faith going in that this version was going to be any good at all. I was super wrong!!! Even with real, live-looking CGI characters running throughout, this talking animal tale had every opportunity to be terribly cheesy, but instead was just an overall great movie! My 8-year old was still a bit scared during some of the scenes, so take caution, but overall a really wonderful movie.

As a side note, as the classic Jungle Book songs played, it was so fun to hear the PARENTS in the audience singing along, while the kids looked on in bewilderment, “How do you know this song, Mom?” 🙂

SPEAKING TO ME THROUGH THE WORDS OF OTHERS

“Know who you are and know it’s enough” @good_food_karma Lea Isnor

WHERE I WASTED TIME THIS WEEK

Like I said, this has been a week. As my escape from the week, I stayed up much too late every single night of the week mindlessly watching YouTube videos. It was never even my favorite YouTubers or anything, it was a strange array of constantly streaming stuff. For instance, last night I began with a few odd vids from Onision, which morphed into watching clips of The Ellen Show, which turned me onto watching way too many interviews across years and genres of both Sarah Jessica Parker, and then Jennifer Aniston. After all of that drama, it seemed only natural to watch this crazy Extreme Up-Close Video of a Tornado Near Wray, CO! So, even as much as I dislike this exact bad habit of spending countless hours draining away and gaining nothing, I am, at times, guilty…

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Focus on Your WHY, WHAT & HOW

 

You may be thinking right about now, “Really, Marilyn? Two posts in a row about making comparisons?”

To that, I respond with a simple, “Yes.”

Hang with me a moment…

When you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and see other people posing with their new cars or in front of fancy houses or sharing news of landing their dream job with the accompanying insane salary and bennies…do you EVER think, “that could have been me,” or “I work my booty off every day and am stuck and struggling, everything they touch turns to gold,” or “is she EVER going to age?”image

It’s one thing to see completely unattainable and unrealistic Photoshopped magazine covers staring at us over our overflowing grocery carts; we don’t know the celebs smiling back at us. However, when it’s our friends, our family, or our classmates sharing perfect snapshots of their perfect jet-setting life with the perfect kids, still married to the perfect high-school sweetheart and more in love than EVER…It’s a little more difficult to resist the temptation of comparison. Am I right?

Making comparisons in the business world is really no different. If you have an innovative idea, a new spin on an old idea, or anywhere in between, comparisons can kill your biz buzz. If you focus on what the other guy is doing, you’re focusing less on WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. If you’re going to focus on the other guy, just go ahead and let him do the business and you be his customer. If you want to take off and soar on your own wings of innovation, then setting your own path is a big part of the flight plan. Comparison–so it’s said–steals your joy, but it also kills your creativity.

Resist the urge to give a care what the other guy is doing. Resist making comparisons. Resist social scrolling.

You! (…yeah, I’m talking to you…) Do you!!! You know what you do and who you are and what you have planned better than anyone. Focus on doing, being, and creating all that and more!

I believe in you. Do YOU believe in you?

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

P.S. I am still reading Simon Sinek’s START WITH WHY: HOW GREAT LEADERS INSPIRE EVERYONE TO TAKE ACTION. Everyone from stay-at-home mom to CEO’s would benefit from this one. So good!

Generations of Praise

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Any generation that is not the youngest has a duty to share our foundation with the generations coming up behind. By sharing the stories and teachings of our lives and the lives of those we’ve learned about, our families continue to live on in more than just name. When we share our past, we are making preparation for our future. We learn. We grow. We develop. We remember. Knowledge and stories and experiences are not only for the past, they are a vehicle that has carried you here, and by sharing can carry yourself and future generations forward.

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!