How can I help with Hurricane Harvey?

 

seeaneedandrespondmrrogersx

Dear Readers,

Today, I am dedicating my blog to allow people to know more about how to help Houston.

  1. We are safe and dry in Austin, Texas. Some of the areas around Austin got heavy rain and wind damage but nothing like our neighbors in Houston. Thank you to all of those who reached out and were concerned for our safety.
  2. In a time like this, everyone wants to do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to help in the face of such hard times. They want to send money and to send help, and volunteer time and energy and what you can do.
  3. It can be hard to know where to start and you can feel overwhelmed before you begin.

Mayor Adler posted this and it has a lot of concrete steps you can take and places you can give where it’s needed the most. I think it’s comprehensive and helpful, so check it out.

http://www.mayoradler.com/hurricane-harvey-how-you-can-help/

I will add please be wary of scams, I hate that people would try to scam you in a time of real genuine need, but they are out there and they prey on people who are hurting and who are eager to help so be careful.

Also, check with your church and workplace and community (neighbors) to plug into existing established systems to better know where you can help.

If you can’t help right now, rest up and be ready to help in a few weeks, help will still be needed for clean up and help.

#houstonstrong #godblesstexas

Think About It.

Safety Pins and Smiles

Dear Readers,

Any time I have a project that is daunting, I ask myself, how does one eat an elephant?

One bite at a time, that is how you tackle something. This is not without precedent. When we were getting out of debt, I had wallpaper on my screen that said exactly that. It was a good reminder that we were taking things one step at a time.

So my post today is very simple.

You want to tackle racism and try to help people who are hurting but don’t know where to start and feel like you can’t ask anyone because it might cause a difficult conversation?

Do this.. Smile and wear your safety pin. It may seem small and largely cosmetic, but it’s a start. Notice I said, Start. It’s a big deal to start something new. The smiling part is hard when we feel sad and scared, AND sometimes your smile can light up another person. You may never know it, but you may be the reason someone has a better day. This goes along with my post a few weeks ago about ACTUALLY connecting with another human being in the elevator, before that meeting, at the gym… wherever you are, there are other humans. Do all you can to (as my good friends the Averys say,

“Pump Kindness into the world!”

Don’t beat yourself up about all the things you aren’t doing. START. Do Something.

For those that don’t know, for a time after the election people were wearing safety pins and I was one of them. I wore it proudly to say “You are safe with me” to people who felt scared but I realized that wearing the pin is not enough. My words need action. To that end I am educating myself, I am asking difficult questions and inviting almost guaranteed awkward conversations. Can you do the same? Is that something you willing to do to help heal our world?

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/why-people-are-wearing-safety-pins-trumps-win-946516

In case you want to see more about this ^^^^^^ (article above)

So, starting today, I wear my safety pin as a very small step of support for those who need it.  I don’t want or need credit for this, I am blogging about it in hopes that I can inspire you to do something to support those who need support.

Pray for people to be kinder to each other.

Get involved with your church or your school to support their efforts to stand against racism.

Plug into your friends who are activists, you are sure to have at least one, and if not, reach out to me, I am becoming one and will be happy to have you join me.

Don’t let yourself be stopped by the immensity of the problem, do something!

Think About It. safetypin

Use your voice to stand against racism.

StandAgainstRacism.pngDear Readers,

I am saddened and dismayed at the events that unfolded on Saturday in Charlottesville.

I am not surprised because since Trump has taken office, there has been one atrocity after another. It’s so easy for me to type that and dismiss it like it’s this annoying fly that won’t go away because of my white privilege. Let’s go ahead and deal with the elephant in the room. This white woman is writing about racism even though she has never experienced it herself.

I can’t say I understand what my friends who are not white are going through because I don’t know. I only know they are in pain, so anyone reading this who is in pain, please hear me. “I am with you, you are not alone and I see you”

No, I don’t know your pain, how could I possibly? I am not you.

Saying that isn’t enough, not nearly enough, there needs to be action behind the words, so that we can all love each other a little bit more and pump more kindness into the world.

So, that’s a tall order and I know you must be thinking, but Jennifer, I am one person what can I do? A lot actually. You can stop looking at your phone and look up at people when you are in the elevator, you can talk to your neighbor, yeah I am aware it’s 2017 and “this just isn’t done” Do it anyway. If you know your neighbors, you are already on your way to strengthening your community, then once you meet your neighbors, hold a block party and get to know your neighborhood and so on…

Do you have a church you love? Find out what your church is doing to help people of different races feel safe and protected. If they aren’t doing something, ask them why and volunteer to start it yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to speak up, use YOUR voice, and say, I want to help.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, if you look around in your city, county and district, you can likely plug into something someone else is doing.

Standing against it, is just one step. When you see it happening, you have to say something. You have to stand and be counted on the right side of history.

When it comes to teaching our little girl about people who are different than she is, I plan to tell her, love all people and do your best to be a helper to all people.   That’s my opening salvo, I am open to other things to say, much more eloquent than that, so please if you have suggestions, lay them on me. In the meantime, I am not just writing or talking, I am doing something.

The revolution is what’s next. I am ready to act. Are you?

ac·tiv·ist
ˈaktivəst/
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change.

The truth is, the tagline of my blog is “No one has a voice like you” and it’s true, no one does. No one tells your stories exactly the same way you do, and has your life experiences that add to the color and flavor of your story.

Own that story (as Brene Brown tells us) and keep listening to other people tell theirs and don’t try to cut them off with sympathy because you FEEL uncomfortable. Be there, be uncomfortable.

Don’t wait for this atrocity to happen in your city.

ACT. ACT NOW.

Before you speak, T.H.I.N.K.!

ThinkaboutitDear Readers,

Thank you all for the heartfelt wishes, prayers and good vibes you sent our way as we waited for our daughter’s test results from the endocrinologist.

For those who missed my update, all is normal, no chemical abnormalities exist so I guess I can stop worrying. HA! As if that is even possible. I am a parent, I believe it goes with the territory to worry about your child. But seriously, I am glad that there was such a strong reaction to my last post because as I read your comments, questions and viewpoints it helped me crystallize what I want to say even more.

I don’t think people mean to be mean about anything really, they just don’t THINK before they tweet, instagram, post on facebook or comment.

T    H      I    N     K                                      T    H      I    N     K                        T    H      I    N     K

Is it True? Perception is truth  – I think Gandhi said that – so this could get a little wooly, but I think it’s a worthwhile to ask yourself, is what I am about to say, True? or do I think it’s true but maybe it’s not ?

Is it Helpful? – Be careful with this one, sometimes “Help” masquerades as helpful but what it is really is bossy or controlling.

Is it Inspiring? Ouch. How often is what we say, not inspiring? Our words have so much power, we can lift or we push down, let’s be sure we are doing our best to lift others not bring them down.

Is it Necessary? To add to this, is it necessary that you say it or is it maybe what someone else should say if you will give some space for them to do it, instead of jumping in (I am very guilty of this one)  And I am working on it. I freely admit that I love to talk, and sometimes I will say something that isn’t necessary to fill silence. Silence can be good. Magical things happen in silence.

Lastly and I think most importantly-

Is it Kind? I don’t have to tell you gentle reader, we can all use just as much kindness as we can get our hands on in our current climate. For a long time, I have concerned myself with being nice, but a few months ago, a friend pointed out that nice is not what she aspired to be, but kind. I like that and continue to strive for that label.

I have posted recently about some fights my partner and I have been having. It’s normal, and we are working our way through it. I was trying to pinpoint a cause or an inciting incident of the frequency of our fights and I think that it all stems a sincere lack of kindness with each other.  Not mean, exactly, but not kind. I came to this conclusion recently so hopefully it is the answer, but what I am finding is that there is not just one answer but many and like life, you can’t look at the back of the book for the answers, you must figure it out as you go. Trying some things and watching them fail, and then trying again, hopefully this time figuring out where you went wrong and doing it better that tenth or eleventh time.

In the meantime, dear reader, I invite you to…

Think about it… and while you think about it, it’s not a bad idea to jump in on the 31 Days of Kindness my buddy Ryan Avery is doing and DO something yourself!   #31DaysofKindness (check it out)

Tomorrow is Day 9-

DAY 9 – Give/send someone a small, anonymous gift
Of course receiving gifts on birthdays and holidays are fun but even better is a random gift for no reason! You could look up someone’s ‘wishlist’ on Amazon and send them something. You could leave a coffee gift card on your coworkers desk. You could also buy a small something, leave it in a park with a note saying “For you!”

I think that is a pretty kind gesture so even if you just do tomorrow’s task, that would be better than nothing, right?

Think About it….

 

Please stop telling me my baby is fat…

ViviandMommyAugust2017

 

I will say it again, because I have been quiet about this for too long. That ends now.

Please stop telling me my baby is fat.

Please stop saying she is chunky or chubby or roly poly or “look at the little fat rolls” or or saying things to comment on her body size and shape.

So, I have thought long and hard about this post. I realize people do NOT have malicious intent when they say these mindless things and they can’t know how painful each comment is because I don’t tell them, I just smile and say nothing.

Dying inside, because they can’t possibly know that our little girl has had rapid weight gain since she was born, and no matter what we do, she keeps gaining too much weight. Our pediatricatian has had us cut back her formula and add solid foods in hopes that there would be more empty calories which would cause her to lose weight. After a few months of this, she has now sent us to an endocrinologist to try to find out what’s going on and to hopefully get some answers. We had to get her blood drawn last Wednesday and are awaiting results.

Maybe it’s nothing, maybe she is just large for her age (she was 11 pounds 8 ounces when she was born) and after she starts walking the pounds will come right off. Maybe she is producing too much growth hormone and we will have to give her medicine for it.

I don’t know. I do know I don’t want to have to explain to you why I burst into tears or fall quiet when you call my child chubby.

It certainly could have something to do with the fact that I was called chubby or fat most of my life, and it’s only now at 40 years old I have come to terms with the fact that I am the shape that I am and it is beautiful.

I desperately want to avoid that for her. I want her to be healthy and happy and love herself just as she is. The lesson I hope to impart to her is that it is a good idea to eat well and exercise and to eat a cookie or candy bar here and there, everything in moderation.

That’s how I approach my eating and health and what I hope to teach her. I am likely getting way ahead of myself here, since the her in question is 10 months old today and not even talking yet, but you have to think about these things when you are a parent. They are always watching you, and as the saying goes, “More is caught than taught, so that is why when she was born, I agreed to no longer say mean things about my body and do all I could to love my whole self and no longer think of myself as “fat” but rather curvaceous, voluptuous, and lush.

I want to be CRYSTAL clear here.  This does not preclude me from working on my body in the hope that I can build healthy habits that I can pass on to my daughter someday.

In order to do that, I have to “begin as I mean to continue” so that means I have to form the habit myself so that is why I swim. It makes me feel good, is low impact on my knees and back. I also get a “kickstart” to my day that caffeine can’t come close to touching.

Back to my point, please don’t call my child (or any child for that matter) chubby or chunky — instead maybe comment on her smile or how smart she seems or her hair or her outfit. I would imagine the parents with children who are “skinny” get tired of hearing those comments too, “feed that kid a sandwich!” “Doesn’t mommy feed you? (actually overheard at the store, the woman’s reacton was to start nursing so well played to her) so think before you say something about the size and shape of a child you see. I know, it seems harmless and you really aren’t trying to hurt my feelings or upset me, but unfortunately that doesn’t lessen the impact of your words.

This article referenced from Huffington Post actually spells it out pretty well-

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body-image_b_3678534.html

One of my favourite passages is this one-

“How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one:

Don’t talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

Don’t say anything if she’s lost weight. Don’t say anything if she’s gained weight.”

 

Think About It.

8/3/2017 Update- Thank you ALL for your prayers, comments and well wishes! We heard back from the doctor- no issues with her hormone production, we have a follow up with the pediatrician next week to get a weight check and find out if we are on track.

I Love You Because…

MirrorTalk

Four little words..with a lot of meaning…at least to us….

Dear Readers,

A few weeks ago I posted on my blog about a fight my husband and I were having.

It should be noted, I got his permission to write a post about it. It would be a really good way to start another fight if I posted about something and didn’t talk to him first and that’s kind of the opposite of what I am going for in our marriage.

I hate fighting with him, it’s scary and tense and it really SUCKS out loud. A lot of that has to do with my no-good horrible family of origin, AND I have worked really hard to overcome that. I have mostly done so, AND it is a work in progress.

This particular fight did lead us to better understanding of what we want for our marriage and what we want for each other.

A few days after that he came home with some dry erase markers and when I looked up there was a message on our bathroom mirror and it said, “I love you because you did the dishes”.  A simple message expressing his thanks. In one minute, I felt appreciated, loved and cherished with just one phrase. It may help you to know, my love language is words of appreciation. His love language is acts of service.

It doesn’t have to be action based. It can be, “I love you because.. you are silly” or
“I love you because you make me laugh harder than anyone ever has”.  It’s important to express love is expressed for what someone does and who they are.

I have tried a few different things over the years to help us be intentional in our marriage. I have read some books, other people’s blogs and watched speeches and listened to podcasts. We are incredibly blessed to have a good marriage AND we work at it. I have written a few things about it as well, but the truth is, as simple as this may seem, it is working for us.

I write messages on the mirror and he does too, when the mood strikes.. and there is no pressure to post every day so I think that is one of the reasons why it works.

I decided to post this because I thought it might help one of you.

My call to action to you? Find what works for you and your partnership, maybe you can write messages down in a notebook, or notes on the refrigerator. Maybe you can put notes in his/her lunch. Maybe you are overdue for a date night.

You may not know what they want or what will make them feel appreciated.

That’s a possible opening for a conversation about what they may want but are not getting from you. It can be scary yes, but maybe just maybe, you will come away from that discussion with a greater understanding of your partner and what they want, but most importantly, they will know you want to work on your relationship. It could be the mirror thing works for you too.

So the question is now, what will you DO, after you…

Think About it.

You’re Awesome… Yes YOU!

Dear Readers,

I am embarrassed to admit this, but there are times when I need a boost.

I think it would come as no shock that we all could, but when you are a motivational speaker and life coach sometimes that “boost” is a little hard to come by, especially since your goal is to raise others and advise them on how they can feel good about what they are doing and will do. Remember, my daily goal? “To inspire one person a day”

Some days are easier than others and today was not that day.  It was a tough day at work, and I was feeling frustrated, nothing terrible but definitely a difficult day, so I did a little self-care also known as retail therapy (within budget of course) and did some shopping.

I was trying on clothes and trying hard to decide, “Does this look sexy?” “Do I like it?” “Does it look good on me?”, and I must have been saying these things aloud because out of nowhere a very pretty woman who was nearby said, “Girl, you got it going on, curves, hips and you are just gorgeous, and that top looks amazing on you” I blushed a little and said, “Thank you, I appreciate you saying that. She smiled at me and then went back to her shopping and I went back to mine.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned it was embarrassing to admit I needed that “kindness of a stranger” to reassure me about my own looks, why is that?

For two reasons.

  1. I did a show about how you vital it is for us ALL to embrace how we look and love it and cherish it (not even three months ago)
  2. My voice telling me that I am good enough, that I am sexy enough, that I am ENOUGH is not always enough.

I am working on that, but today, I was grateful for the stranger who cared enough to comment.

So on the off chance that you are having that day today, allow me to say to you, the following….

YOU ARE AWESOME! You are up to things in life that are hard and you are doing them every day and every day you get a little closer to that goal. I don’t know exactly what your goal is but I know you are getting there, bit by little bit. I got some advice a long time ago from the mother of my heart, the only mother I acknowledge and she said this,

I got some advice a long time ago from the mother of my heart, and she said has asked me this series of questions when I was stuck and not moving forward, which has been many times in my life.

“What do you want?

“What are you doing to get it?”

“How’s that working for you”

Three questions that help guide me in my daily life, so perhaps they will help you.

If you are having a rough time and feeling a little sorry for yourself, another piece advice (from Mom of course) is this, “You can have a pity party, just don’t stay there”

So whichever side of the spectrum you are on, you now have some tools and maybe even an action plan. Go follow that map you just drew and remember, you are doing WAY better than you think.

Think about it.

(This is a picture of me, very proud of my body)  I will be proud of my body tomorrow at 5 am (gulp) when I go swim to continue to show my love and self-care for my body. I post these pictures to help remind me of the evolution of love I have for my figure. I also post things in my blog, to make me accountable to the rest of you. bodyimageissuesnomore2016