I was taught to "leave things better than you've found it." And my mother was/is a huge advocate for "be respectful of others". And when looking out into the world and intermingling with other humans, I forget that not everyone had the same amazing momma as I did.
I try never to travel on the weekends as there seems to be heavier traffic and people get upset if I don't want to go 75 on the highway dragging my camper. (Now if it was just me and Xander - my truck- I'd be all over it!)
So, that usually leaves me in campgrounds over the weekend.
Normally, I don't mind. I love hearing the kids squealing in the cold water and playing into the sunset. I love seeing that families are spending time together. I love the smell of a good campfire and grilling of their fresh catch of the day. I love that people still appreciate nature... sort of... and that "camping" is still a thing that is sure a tradition that will carry on into the future.
This weekend, there was such little regard for others and zero respect for the grounds and the nature around it. It just makes me so sad. Who taught you that this is okay?
There was trash, broken bottles and cigarette butts all over the place. People left their wrappers for the brand new floaty devices all over the beach.
People drove through the campgrounds- despite there being signs, despite the children running around- too fast or in the wrong direction! Would it take SO much time out of your life, just to follow the rules?
While I was out walking a vehicle sped past me and kicked up all kinds of rock dust, but also shot a rock out that hit me in my leg. That sucker hurt! I have a lovely purple bruise commemorating the moment and a regular reminder, every time I accidentally bump it, about that rude human.
If you want to play music at your campsite, that's fine. But don't assume everyone else needs to hear it. And, in the same instance, if you are in a neighboring campsite and the music is not to your liking, is it REALLY necessary to play YOUR genre even louder?
The bathroom... oh... please... just... can't you just... you know, be considerate of others? Or at the very least take responsibility for yourself and don't assume that it's someone else's job to come along after you and clean things up.
And please... keep an eye on your children and pets. Neither are meant to be left in a vehicle while you go out and play. No other explanation should be necessary. And if you keep your pets on a leash or lead, there would be no need to scream and yell obscenities at them because they are not staying in the invisible parameter of your space.
All of these things, state parks especially, are here for your enjoyment. Please stop doing the things that will make the state parks decide that it's just not worth it anymore.
We all have different ideas of what we want to experience in our campground vacations and we all have a different idea of what a good time is. Please! Go camping! Have a good time! Create awesome memories for your children and yourselves- but don't rob others of theirs.
Please don't make my state parks unsafe for me, I would just be so sad.
Consider this a public service announcement.
-Pick up your trash.
-Respect others and their space and property.
-Take care of your littles, furry and otherwise.
-Leave things better than you find it.
And our state parks will be here for years and years to come.
Rant over. Have an amazingly beautiful day.
Why On Earth Would You Want to Work with Teens?
This is a question that is often asked of me... a lot. Easy...
When you bring your new baby into the world, you are bombarded with "how-to's" and "help guides", support groups, play dates, manuals, classes, videos, blogs, books, cd's, and entire television shows on how to care for your new little infant. If you're a new parent or a repeat offender, the world has you covered to make sure you know what to do with your adorable new family addition.
But as your infant starts to grow and become a little human, your support groups begin to dwindle a little. Your advice columns that you checked faithfully everyday no longer apply to your family situation. And yet, the babies just keep on growing.
Soon, they reach the double digits in chronological maturity and you find you are all alone in the parenting community!! There is no support group, a smattering of blogs, books and videos and no television shows (except the ones showing how the teens are needing new baby help!). A parent can feel awfully alone as their once logical, emotionally stable child goes through these horrifying changes.
It seems that overnight, the baby that they have loved and cared for has become unrecognizable, sleep deprived, mouthy, emotional, secretive, and no longer seeks the advice or friendship with their parent. Suddenly, the parent is on the outside looking in not knowing how to handle these changes. And just as suddenly, the child is on the inside, looking out not knowing why these changes are happening but are certain that no one else could possibly understand.
I saw a gaping hole in the parental/family teaching world and I decided to fill the need. I became a life coach specializing in teens first, then family dynamics and then relationships. There just didn't seem to be much help for families as their children grew into young adults.
When I was a teen, I felt lost. And I made sure my mom was just as miserable as I was. While I know my family loved me and did the best they could with the knowledge we had, they didn't think to teach me the skills of living a successful life, much less what to do with all these surging hormones and changes going on in my brain and body. No one really thinks to do that. Society believes that when a child graduates from high school, they just... know. We turn them out into the world and just expect them to be successful.
Science has now proven that teens go through as big of a "growth spurt" as far as change and learning, during their teen years as they did in the first eighteen months of life! That's huge!! Remember how quickly your newborn learned and changed and grew almost right before your eyes!! Your teens are doing a second round of growing and that is why they are so foreign to you. Information overload!
I am here to support the teens and help them get through this trying season of their life without going too far to any extreme. I don't doctor them or analyze them, I just respect them and help them work through all the stuff in their life. I work with the other family members as well, trying to keep that cohesion which is so important but so very fragile during this growth spurt. I help them make choices and work through this new growth without hurting themselves or others! Lol. I love being a teen-life coach! But there was more...
So I came up with the Total Truth Workshop. A lot of common denominators were coming up in my sessions with teens and so in order to reach several teens at once and focus on some of the core materials and have fun with it, Total Truth Workshop was born!
The Total Truth Workshop is an intensive, interactive weekend that I created to present a small group of teens with the basics of getting through this time in their life and planning for their futures, no matter what they might be. I've made it fun and engaging so they will lock it into their memories and be able to access it for years and years to come. Anytime we can connect an emotion or involve our peers in an exciting way, the information is more likely to stay with them. The Total Truth Workshop is an entire weekend of just that. The teens have so much fun! They meet like-minded people that will inspire and encourage them. They learn valuable life transforming information and skills. Plus they (and I) have a great time doing it!
Speaking totally selfishly, this gives me my teen fix, and it gives me the opportunity to travel! I'll take the TTW to cities all over the United States one weekend at a time. It's a win-win! The workshop can be so beneficial to teens and their families. I have created this in such a way that they get the most information, in the shortest amount of time and still have access to me in case they get "stuck".
There is also a class that follows the workshop for the parents, so they can get an inside look into what was taught and how they can best help their teen get the most from the weekend.
I love working with teens! They have SO much to offer! They are bright, intelligent, creative, funny and coming into their "own". I think because they are caught in that battle of finding out who they want to be that many people get turned off, because while in that battle, comes a lot of attitude, anger, secrecy and rolling of the eyes.
And while their parents are totally thrown off guard at the changes taking place in their "babies", I have the opportunity to be welcomed in as an odd outsider that is still an adult but is still welcomed and usually even respected! And for parents, hopefully, I fill that need for support and encouragement and information, helping them raise their teens without killing them. :)
The Total Truth Workshop embraces and celebrates this valuable time in their life as well as gives them some basic guidelines and tools to help them make the best choices for their present life and their future. My workshop can't fix everything, but it does give them a leg up if they apply the principles.
These are the tools that they will not learn in any school. These are life skills. These are practices that I came up with from learning from my own mistakes and studying how to by-pass the pot holes in the "road of life". I don't pretend to know everything. I am still learning everyday. I do not have letters behind my name, and do not claim to be smarter than the rest of the "experts". But I can promise you that my study has been focused on these issues and this age group for many years. And while the information that I present to you isn't new, I have become an expert in creating memorable learning experiences so when the information that is being presented to your child would be considered boring and forgettable if just read in a book, will be retained, enjoyed and most likely executed because of the unique way I offer it up to them.
I had no idea the culmination of my creating summer camps, homeschool classes, coaching and writing would come to this, the Total Truth Workshop, but I love how all of my loves have joined together for this one special purpose.
Why on earth would I want to work with teens? Because I believe it was my calling, my specialty, my area of expertise. This is my arena. We can't ALL be baby experts! Lol!
I love working with teens.
I love teaching. And now, I can do both and change the lives of teens all over the world.
I can meet and bond with families.
I can see all of the beauty the United States of America has to offer.
And I can write at all the intervals in between!
How perfect for me!
If this is the last thing I do... travel from state to state and city to city working with teens the rest of my life... I couldn't be happier.
A Big Announcement
Now that the release of my second novel Waiting for the Sun has passed, I can move on to my BIG announcement!!
This has been a long time coming!! I am so excited to announce the official 2014/15 Nationwide Tour of the Total Truth Workshop!!
All year I've been doing smaller beta tests of the workshop to get out some of the bugs and to make sure I'm offering up what the kids need most and I am pleased with the results as are the kids. So the only thing left to do is to take it out on the road!
This is will be my first attempt to travel with this kind of event, but I see it as an adventure! So many new places to see and new families to meet! And lots of good information to be passed around to make a difference in people's lives and futures! I am so excited! (& terrified!)
"I'm so glad someone finally listened to what teens need and not what they think we need."
"I love this workshop. I think it will help a lot of people. Miss Elizabeth is awesome."
"The Total Truth Workshop wasn't boring at all. Miss Elizabeth always thinks for fun things for us to do and before we realize it, it became a lesson."
I'm kicking things off here in my home town of St. Louis, MO first on the last weekend of June, 2014 and then starting off slowly. A weekend here, a weekend there and when school starts back up, I'll really swing into gear hopefully offering two workshops per month through the winter months. What a life change for me! But I welcome it with open arms. I could use a good challenge to keep me on my toes!
I've been working diligently on the website which is now live. (I wish I was more tech savvy, but I am not! So, I had to work at it in bits and pieces at a time.) I am thankful for my support system at St. Louis Onsite (Shout out to Paul Arthur and Joey Felps) and to the newest addition to my tech crew, Ryan Lambert. Ryan is working on making the teen website pop with awesome videos. I am so very blessed to have so much talent around me.
I am also so thankful for my Personal Assistant, Sarah Arnold, she gets my phone work under control and helps keep me on track to what my most present task is. If you only knew how much I needed that!! Lol!
The workshop is starting to get press and is moving along faster than I'm ready for! So that just means I need to work harder and faster!! But I wanted to let all of you know first before it is released to the rest of the world! I am excited that it is getting positive feedback. I hope that helps the Total Truth Workshop get off the ground and have all the weekends sell out!
For those of you that don't know about the Total Truth Workshop, it is a project that I have been "working" on for about six years now. It was going to be just a book called Do It Now or Re-do It Later- and it still will be, but it seemed to me that teens would get more out of the information if it was presented to them in a live, interactive format. When we have the opportunity to experience something over just reading about it, those experiences are more likely to make an impact and stay with us longer. And since creating fun camps and classes are my forte, this seemed like a perfect fit.
So basically, for one weekend, these kids will come and hang out with me and we will work on life lessons, accountability, goal setting, and all the things they won't be taught in high school but NEED to know to be successful in the grown-up world. It's called Total Truth because I won't pull any punches or sugar coat the facts. The real world doesn't care whether you're tired or not feeling well or ran out of money. The world moves on and you need to be ready to move with it or get trampled by it! (I know the trampled part! I don't wish it on anyone!)
It's so much more than sitting in a room and being talked at for three days. I wouldn't want that... I can't think of anyone that would! There are games and dancing and a fun atmosphere. These kids will come out of this event with a good idea of where to go next to make their future one they can look forward to. Instead of waiting to see what opportunities or jobs "fall into their lap" they will have the power and the know how to go and get what they want. They will be given a set of tools to help deal with bumps in the road and letting go of harmful habits and replacing them with productive ones. The workshop also deals a great deal with relationships and communication. Two things that everyone needs to be comfortable with so they can be prepared to deal with the relationships of their future. Bosses, teachers, family members, love interests, co-workers. The information they learn at the workshop will be of use to them the very first day.
This workshop will be a huge asset for those kids who choose to use it. They are not only creating a future for themselves, they are linking with like-minded teens and developing a support system, a mentoring group and new friends that will last them a life-time. And me. I'll be there with them for as long as they need me. I've set up a members only Facebook group, their own membership pages within the website, on-going blog posts to keep them on track and they will have life-time access to me and to any webinars I host.
I am just so excited about this whole thing! This is my life's work. This is what all my years of experiences have led me to. I wish I had something like this when I was in my teen years. I certainly wouldn't have made as many mistakes trying to figure things out as I went. I hope you will come on board and help me spread the news about my new "baby"! I can't wait to share it with the world! I love this age. So many new things coming their way and so many things to learn.
Please comment below or shoot me an email if you'd like to know more information but I'll try and keep everything posted on here so you can see my progress. To find out more about the Total Truth Workshop, please visit the page on this website or you can bounce right to the brand new website to learn all the details! www.totaltruthworkshop.com
Please be happy for me and keep theses prayers and well wishes coming my way, because I need all the encouragement I can get!
BONUS if you or would like to sign up for the Total Truth Workshop (in the St. Louis area), please send me a message in the Contact Me and I'll give you a discount code for HALF OFF!! This offer is only good until June 17th.
(Not in the St. Louis area? Message me anyway and first, let's see when I'll be heading to your city and second, I'll give you a special friends and family discount offer that you can use!)
I had something completely different planned for my blog today, all nice and neat and written out, but I was side-tracked. So please bare with me. I just have to get this out there...
I am participating in a marketing program that is taking my web-site, my blogs, my writings and the things that I offer and scrutinizing them to find my strongest areas and creating the best ways monetize them. This is so very overwhelming. First of all, yes, I do want writing and training to be a career for me. So, I need to change my way of thinking that I can't just write whenever and whatever I want. It has to shift into more of a business mind-set. When they asked where my heart was; what my passions and personal goals were, I told them MY personal goal is to be able to offer fun and interactive workshops for teens. I want to be able to travel from city to city and give them this amazing opportunity to become the best part of themselves and face their future with confidence. I've called it the Total Truth Workshop. I am really proud of it but have not put it into action as yet. (I was waiting until this marketing team gives me feedback, I guess.)
I enjoy all the aspects of my writing "career", but they, the marketing team, have a point, and it is that I am spreading myself too thin. Try as I might, I cannot be all things to all people. I was told to choose. UGH! The agony!! I want to help EVERYONE!!! Why can't I help everyone??
With my history and my happiness, I return, always, to teens. My work in coaching leads me in that direction as well. I enjoy working with families and I do well with relational coaching and seminars. I have been working with kids for over twenty-five years! Whoa! That's saying something!
That time in their life is such a struggle and it seems like we are in a weird "pretending it's not happening" to "micro-managing" to "it's someone else's fault" way of dealing with things. These kids on the verge of adulthood are amazing but no one gives them the credit or the directions they need to make that transition!! I want to help them get everything they want out of life. I want their teenage years to be happy memories. I want them to have the confidence to go after whatever their heart desires regardless of where they came from. There is no other program out there that is offering what I do. It's fun, it's interactive and it's a life-time of support and new friendships. I am excited to get it out there.
Back to the marketing people...
Teens don't pay for my kind of programs. That's where the parents come in. So they suggest that I work on things for parents and then lead the parents into the Total Truth Workshop.
I can do that. I would enjoy doing that... but...
At the moment, I am feeling so overwhelmed and pulled in several directions. I have my fiction followers, my motivational followers, my relationship followers, my Christian followers, my fitness followers and (deep breath).... I don't want to disappoint a single one of them. I do however need to eat. So I am trying to "chunk down my niche." Not sure how I'm going to do this and for just a moment, I wasn't going to do it at all. I was just going to keep on doing what I've always been doing for as long as I could do it... but then...
I went to a couple of the teen support group pages I regularly comment on, and was so overwhelmed by the sadness that was coming from the posts. So much sadness and confusion. They have no foundation within themselves to turn to for strength when times get hard. I help provide that. I can help them. My workshops for teens are created for them. My seminars for families can help heal them. This is where I need to be.
So, it is decided. I will start shifting things in that direction. Teens and family will become my main focus. I do have some projects that are currently in the works that I will complete but I need to narrow my focus to where my heart is needed most and I feel that I am called. So hang with me as this slow shift happens. The exciting thing is that I still get to do all the things that make me happy, write, travel, speak, create, motivate, help others, I'm just narrowing down my target audience even more than before.
So- if you are part of a family (and there's a good chance that you are) and you need to communicate with others, (my area of expertise) then chances are you still might be able to find some value here on my site.
No! No! No! You've got to stop me!! Don't let me try to go back to writing for everyone!! Lol!! I need you to help keep me focused!! I'm so weak!!
Thank you for letting me go off track and vent just a little... I will get things back on track soon! Please, feel free to leave your comments below. I love to hear from you!
Ah, Valentine's Day... the holiday of love... How can you go wrong with a holiday like that? I was surprised to find out how just the opposite is true! There is more passionate debate about this holiday, it seems that saying "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays!" In talking with people, it is definitely a love/hate kind of thing. You either love it or hate it.
I, personally, love it. My philosophy is all about loving one another, so how could I possibly be against it? The comments I am hearing are a lot from singles. Why should they like Valentine's Day when they don't have a sweetheart to call their own? And others are just upset at the sheer commercialism of it all.
Having my own blog has it perks every once in a while and this is one of them. I get to have my own happy way and get up on my soapbox and say what I want. You are welcome to continue reading, in fact I encourage it, but if you don't want to, it won't hurt my feelings! This is my room and you are welcome here, but brace yourself, I'm going to defend one of my favorite holidays...
My argument is this. People choose to celebrate holidays in different ways. Why should this one be any different? And who cares if it was created to generate more business for the card and floral industries, in any other text that would be called good business! And no one ever said it is just for couples! The holiday is about love! But let's face it, ladies, sometimes men need a little help showing their affection in different ways. And Valentine's Day makes gift-giving a no-brainer! You can't go wrong and marketing won't let you forget!! It's a win-win.
And let me address the argument that "if the men don't get just the right thing, or they forget all together, it causes strain in the relationship." Well, it's not the holiday that did that. That goes a little deeper than only one day a year. Men love this holiday just as much as the women! More proposals happen on this day than any other holiday. Every store and even every gas station is geared so men- who want to make even the tiniest effort- can't possibly mess it up! One holiday shouldn't be able to have the power to make or break a relationship. If it does, there were problems before February 14th came around.
"It's just another reason for men to have to spend money. And if they don't spend the right amount, it makes them look bad." Again, I say, read the above paragraph. It shouldn't be about the money. I know a thoughtful gift that didn't cost much would mean more than a gift that took no thought at all. Anyone can purchase a dozen roses (and believe me, I love cut flowers as much as the next girl) but if she hates roses, you have missed your mark. But a gift showing her that you KNOW her, is priceless. A letter, is one of the most romantic things that is a lost art anymore. A special outing to someplace you know she would like. Or someplace completely new that will create new memories. It's not about the money, boys. Gifts don't have to cost a fortune to be special. But yes, it's more than the thought that counts! A little action, please.
"You shouldn't have to have a holiday to tell someone you love them." No, and you shouldn't have to have a day to remind you to rejoice in the Lord either, but we do. And we commercialize the heck out of it too! It's a fun day!! Stop trying to make it more than what it is! Yes, you should love your people every day and yes, you should show them in some way or another so they constantly feel loved, but some people need this day to kick their people into gear! Some women have to wait all year to get a bouquet of flowers sent to their job letting all the office know that her man loves her. And if it takes that one day to make her feel that joy, so be it! You're relationship is a daily work in progress. Valentine's Day is an EXTRA day of love and showing love and remembering why you love, and love for the sake of loving.
"Companies like Hallmark and jewelry stores and florists profit ten fold during this time of year!" And your point is??? You don't have to buy a card from Hallmark... it's still freedom of choice around here. No one complains that Budweiser takes up a huge chunk of the Superbowl! But have a Hallmark commercial make you cry and you boycott a holiday? And talk about a price mark-up!! Anyone who has bought ANYTHING from the ball park during a game has felt the sting of ten-fold profit!! But we buy it anyway. Every holiday has its share of price mark-ups. It too, is the American way. We pay more for gas over the three day weekends, we pay more money for a fir tree thats going to die in a month, we pay a fortune for eggs... EGGS! because we want to paint them pretty colors, but only in April. This holiday is no different.
Thanks to our American commercialism, we have taken a small drinking holiday that didn't even belong to us and turned it into a major party to where the nation is allowed to be Irish for a day and wear green to be protected from pinching! And only in America can we glorify lucky clovers and leprechauns and green tinted food. I don't hear that holiday getting any flack. And yes, the price of beer, ham, cabbage, green beaded necklaces and anything green goes up ten-fold in price!
"I'm single, so it's just another day." It doesn't have to be. It amazes me how many people let this holiday that stands for love, throw them into depression! What is that all about?? It's just a day! It doesn't define who you are! Goodness! And it's not just for couples! Love your friends with little tokens of appreciation. Love your children with candies and goodies and cards. Love your pup with a heart-shaped rawhide. Love your mate with heart-shaped pancakes and flowers and love notes. Heck love your waitress a little extra with a bigger tip. I haven't had a Valentine in years but it doesn't makes me love this holiday any less. Maybe there will be one in my future, maybe there won't. But I enjoy having the "excuse" (and the ease) of spoiling those I care for with a whole day of love!
We shouldn't have to be told to love each other, but thank goodness we have a holiday to do just that. So quit your bah-humbugging and get out there and show some love!
Stepping off my soapbox now... we will now return to your regular blog-posts... Thank you....
Share the Love. 20 Ways to Show Someone You Care.
The Christmas season is an excellent time of year to pour love out on everyone you come in contact with! For some reason, during this time of year, people are more generous and giving than in other times. And people are more accepting of love and displays of affection than in other times of the year. I can tell you, I get away with hugging more people in December than in any other month! And yes, I abuse the privilege!
So don't miss out on your opportunity to share in the pleasure of giving love to others. Here's just a few suggestions to get you started...
1. Donate to a charity in someone's name. There are so many worthwhile causes out there and some people are uncomfortable accepting gifts so this is the perfect solution!
2. Baked Goods. Give the gift of homemade cakes or cookies or other yummy snacks. And as an extra bonus, spend the day making the treats with someone you love!
3. Tell someone something you admire about them. Everyone enjoys hearing a kind word. "Love the way you share with your sister." "Great Customer service today!" "I love when you read our kids a story before bed. You're creating great memories."
4. Invite a friend out for coffee. Get to know them better over a steamy cup of java or hot chocolate.
5. Leave someone a secret encouraging note! Make their day when they find a note saying something thoughtful like, "Way to go on that project!" or "Thanks for cleaning your room without being told!" or "Just wanted to tell you that I'm proud of you for all of your hard work."
6. Make some homemade Christmas cards and take them to the patients in a local hospital or send them to our soldiers that are stationed overseas.
7. Ask what the best part of their day has been, and then listen! Don't interrupt!
8. Remind someone how much you enjoy having them in your life.
10. Actions speak louder than words! Do it! Don't just say it! If you've been promising to do something, now's the time!
11. Do something unexpected. Bring donuts into work. Clean the ice off the neighbor's car. Take out the trash. Offer to cook dinner.
12. Pay it Forward. Participate in random acts of kindness. Donate toys, food or money to a good holiday benefit. Pay for a stranger's meal or coffee. Give a random person a gift. Volunteer.
13. Gift a small gift... just cause.
14. Smile! Look people in the eye!
15. Say it! "I care for you." "I love you." "You are special to me." "You're amazing just the way you are."
16. Pass on the gift of music. Donate new cd's to the children's ward at a hospital or church or just some stranger walking down the street! Do you play an instrument? Can you carry a tune? Go and sing/play for a senior living center or hospital or even on a street corner!
17. Watch a favorite holiday movie with someone special.
18. Put your phone away and ask questions. Get some one-on-one time with each member of your family or a close friend or a co-worker or someone sitting alone at the airport.
19. Enjoy the Christmas light displays either by walking, driving or carriage ride!
20. Buy ANYTHING a child is selling! If they took the time and the courage to ask you... buy. You'll do wonders for their self-esteem! (Parents! Don't do it FOR them!)
Christmas is a magical time of year. Take advantage of it and share the love! Happy holidays everyone!
Chime in! What are some things you do for the holidays to show others that you care? Comment below! I'd love to hear your feedback!
There's just something about getting the ba-jeezes scared out of you. In a controlled environment, of course! And tonight is the night! The kids are all coming over with an assortment of scary movies so we can be terrified in the safety of Momma's house!
Which begs the question, which are your favorite scary movies? It's too late to influence our decision for tonight, but it's still relatively early in October and I'm sure we can squeeze in a few more movie nights before the season is over. Because at the end of October, all bets are off! No more scaring the Momma! We move on to Charlie Brown and Santa Clause! But for the next couple weeks, the dark side prevails!!! So give me your favorites!
After we decided on our movies, the topic turned to; what scares you? For me it's clowns... hate those things. Even when I was a kid I'd steer clear of them! Spiders, heights, and snakes also came up for us. "Anything that can kill you in one bite!" my Thomas added.
It's fun to enjoy the creepy holidays with the teens! Thriller by Michael Jackson sounds just a little cooler around this time of year, pumpkin flavored anything is in season, hoodies, apple cider and bonfires are the call to action! Embrace your fears for a short time and let it be okay to hide behind your pillows and peek out from behind your blankies and lets not forget the ultimate excuse to squeeze a little closer to the ones you love! Scary movie night! Gotta love it!!
Chime in on your Halloween favorites below!! What scares you??
As many of you know I can barely contain the excitement about launching my new teen line! New books, new websites, new workshops and new coaching services! We just completed technically two photo shoots and I am thrilled to be able to put the photos to use!
So let me begin with my thanks.
Thank you to Scott Neer who was our photographer for the St. Louis shoot. He is most comfortable in the sports world or has beautiful, and I mean beautiful pictures of animals from zoos. This time, I think Scott met his match! I'm sure he'd rather have hockey players and polar bears than have to ever deal with teenagers and great danes again! Lol. We gave him a run for his money. Thankfully, we got a few good pictures that will be used for our upcoming events.
Jenni Muzillo who was the photographer for the Arkansas shoot. She got in there with the kids, lined them up, and really showed their best sides! She took tons of pictures and it will be hard to narrow down my favorites.
Mary Spezia, of Sweet Note Styles, who does my hair and make-up did a lovely job as usual. Unfortunately, on the St. Louis shoot, her artwork stays hidden under sunglasses most of the time! Outdoor shoots can sometimes get tricky! Lol. But that's okay, I felt pretty!
Joey Felps, my go-to behind the sceens guy took TONS of pictures!! They are so much fun to look at. I see a bloopers reel coming!
Paul Arthur took on the job of capturing video. He is the creator behind my website and has been urging me to get some video on there, so we started at the St. Louis shoot. It was so windy that I don't know how much of it is usable, but hey, it was our first attempt! AND, I might mention, this is a huge hurdle for me that I am struggling to overcome. Seeing myself on video... not a pleasant thing...
And most of all, thanks to the kids that took the time out of their busy teenage lives to help me out when I needed them. They were all so wonderful and had great attitudes and beautiful smiles and were a joy to work with. In no particular order, I thank: Ariel Cummings, Catalina Holbrook, Laycie Bivens, Thomas Arnold, Elizabeth Weick, Eric Cummings, Chrissy Holbrook, Dylan Blackwood, John Cummings, Dustin O'Donnell, Katie Bourgeret-Caldwell, Andrew Hopkins, Will Skaggs, Emma Sievers, Megan Jines, Austin Brown, Thomas Cornelious, Daniel Hopkins, Ashley Evers, Kylie Prestien & even my Great Dane, Meera.
Look for these wonderful faces to start showing up everywhere! I am so excited at the turn of events for my future and I can't wait to get started!
It's back to school season and this time of year always makes me a little melancholy as another summer quietly comes to an end.
I am "momma" to about 15-20 young adults not including the ones that I paid taxes on, and this time of year when I send them back off to school or watch them take on the next level of adulthood or (worse!) stop to look at how much they have all grown, it is a moment that is bittersweet. Some have been a part of my life since my kids were small, others have only joined the family, but seem to fall right into place and still others take a side road for only a few visits and are gone again, but have still known the love of this momma and unique collection of family.
I am so proud at how far they have come in their lives and when I say that I love them all, I truly and honestly feel down to my very heart their accomplishments and their sorrows. My little house is empty now and has been for a couple years, but this time of year always brings back that initial... sadness.
And when they do come back in increments of a few or a whole party and they speak their foreign languages of Magic, Xbox, Robot Chicken and other nerd-isms, it fills my heart with so much joy. I don't care that they keep me up all night long with their talking and laughing, singing and wrestling, I just love that they are there. Nothing makes me happier than when I wake up and see my living room sprawling with bodies that slept where they fell. I am honored that they still find happiness coming to my home and doing their thing. They could easily go any where else, but that they choose to come to Momma's house, makes me extremely happy.
As they grow and don't heed the council of Momma, it makes me so sad to hear of some of the choices that they make. We all have to have our turn to find out which ways are right and which ways are wrong and let me tell you how I was a person who was going to do what I wanted regardless of all the warnings. And now I find myself in my elders shoes. I want to protect them and guard them so that they never know sadness or fear, prejudices ... or cancer.... But then I have to remind myself that my greatest challenges turned into my greatest lessons.
I am who I am today because of, or in spite of the mistakes I made. My heart has been broken, I have been so poor I had to live on popcorn and Pepsi, I have been lost in darkness and found my way back to the light. I am not perfect- I should be- but I still make mistakes. And my kids need to be "allowed" do it too. And now, knowing what I do, I have to let them. I am here if they ever want to talk or need advice or a meal or a bed to sleep in, but I have to let them grow.
So, as you send your "babies" off to school, and you can feel them slowly slipping from your grasp, know that this is the way things are supposed to be. They are only ours for a moment. And in that moment, we do the best we can to teach them and love them and give them a strong foundation to stand on. So when they are ready to take that leap, they do so knowing that no matter how warm and cozy and safe that nest is, they were born to fly. And we, have to let them go.
This is essentially a script to offer you (and me) comfort. Take comfort in the fact that because of that strong foundation and love and coziness, they will be back and cleaning out your refrigerator in no time!