Wednesday, November 26, 2014

you CAN sit with me---No more mean girls

I am writing this based on a risky decision I made yesterday.  Now it was one that was thought out, discussed, meditated on, etc, as are most of my decisions; and I knew there would be backlash) but one thing I wasn't expecting was people being just plain old mean.

It got me thinking......& no I don't regret my decision of this:

In a world where people pay more attention to people's booties, color of our skin, size, how much photo shop, etc we have lost focus on what is important. I would like to CHALLENGE everyone to put the focus back to what is important. So clearly if it takes a little T & A to accomplish this, so let's have some fun with this.  I am challenging everyone to take a sexy photo of yourself for your cause. This comes with a twist, Steve Dezember II, Sarah Spicer, Matthew Moore, & Jeff Kaplan & I will be choosing someone who did this contest best on Facebook & Instagram & the winner gets: A HOPE for Steve DVD, a DRIVE Project painting, a Hope for Steve tshirt, bracelet, car decal, & a Hope Mala. Yep that's a lot. 

ALSO we will be making a calendar of the best 12 & all proceeds from calendar sales will go to ALS.net

So here is what to do. 

Take a photo that makes you feel sexy & have fun with it, talk about your cause & why it's important & where people can help. Hashtag the following:#Sexyforyourcause #HopeforSteve (so we can see & choose the winners) &#ENDALS (because clearly that's the reason this all is starting). We don't want to limit this to ALS as there are so many causes & we want everyone to be able to speak about theirs. Share on your social medias & challenge 3-as many of your friends as you want.

So mine is obviously ALS. ALS has affected my husband Steve & within 3 years of diagnosis he is fully paralyzed, vent dependent, gets fed via IV, & communicates with his eyes as he has lost his voice. There is hardly a more frightening or devastating prognosis. The vast majority of patients die within two to five years of any symptom of the disease. ALS attacks your body killing your motor neurons and muscle. Since Steve's diagnosis in 2011, we have made it our mission to spread awareness about this disease which affects roughly 30,000 Americans. Through social media, our website, and the documentary, we have tried our best to show what an ALS patient goes through on a daily basis.
DONATE to ALS.net
Photo: Jeff Kaplan
Editor: Retoucher Bianca Carosio
Styling: Steve Dezember II
Makeup: Candice Holloway

It made me think of how "meanness" has become socially acceptable.  I am all for people being authentic and speaking out for what they believe in, but do you really have to put people down to express your opinion?  Think about it?  How many things have happened this year and where you have seen so many mean things written while people share their opinions. 

When did we let this be okay?  Is it that people feel like they can hide behind social media or their blogs etc? Or has humanity really become meaner?  I believe in the good, I see so many amazing things happen on a daily basis, in fact this photo that was a bit of an envelope push, it was 95% positive feedback, so I hate to even address the negative.  BUT it just bothers me that anyone feels they should be mean to ANYONE.

We have to stop it, only we can.   As you are typing your message or comment remember you have plenty of time to think about your response & edit it before hitting send.  If you so strongly disagree & feel disappointed or angry maybe take a step back.  If expressing your opinion is so important after a few hours then do so but there is no reason to pull a mean girls.

I say we put a stop to this mean girl mentality. I say you CAN sit with me.  NO matter what color your skin is, or your religion, or you opinions of me or what I choose to do.  You can sit with me & I will show you love.  & I BEG of all of you to please show more kindness to one another.  We don't have to agree but we also don't have to be enemies.

Love really is the answer.

PS Yes for those who asked if I'm that desperate?  I am. My husband is dying.  Everyday ALS robs a little more of him from me & our life.  Every day he needs a little more sleep and feels a little more weak.  Everyday he faces another uphill challenge with courage. So yes, I am desperate. I am desperate people finally stand up for what is important because the whole world is desperate right now.  We need our voices & we need them to be speaking for the greater good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chaotic minds lead to beautiful messes

Those of  who have been following me, know by now, I like to explore who I am & I like to be creative in one form or another.  As I'm expressing creativity I'm experimenting with all things; painting, drawing, jewelry, writing, etc.  The more I have continued to learn about myself and how and why I am who I am + the combination of exploring creatively, I've really grown a life changing understanding of myself.  

My mind is chaotic, wild, it' doesn't stay in lines, or even know how to have them.  It's random, it thinks of something different every minute of the day.  It's loud, colorful, visual, & evolving.  I used to want to paint like I was an organized thinker.  I'm not.  Once I started understanding, "why do I have such a hard time being organized", or "working in a normal every day is the same thing job doesn't work", or "some days I want to write, some days I want to draw, some days paint, some clean; but if I don't want to do one of those things a day and I try it doesn't work."  My mind doesn't work with always doing the same thing, it's pulled by what energy I have that day.  My mind doesn't actually run the show here, my heart does.  

Realizing this was as hard to wrap my head around as it is to write about.  However, knowing that when I'm feeling like I want to paint and learning to paint how my brain works, I believe I have found my place.  The more I find my place the more the creative outlets start to find there place too.  

So today, after a small painting hiatus (between remodeling our room, Steve's birthday, the slight obsession with mala making, etc) I painted the 4 happiest, feel good, powerful energy, favorite paintings I've ever painted.  It was like my brain & heart were showing up on the canvas, once I stopped putting myself in lines.  

Wanted to share & encourage y'all to keep exploring yourself and you never know what you'll discover. 





Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hope Malas

As y'all have seen me blow up social media recently, I have become slightly intoxicated (sounds better than obsessed right :)) with making mala necklaces. They have special meaning aside from the initial meaning behind a mala and I wanted to share it with y'all.  

For those who aren't familiar with the story behind the mala.  These beads are used in many spiritual practices to help with prayer or meditation.  There are 108 beads that help you count while you are either repeating a mantra, a chant, or a prayer.  I find malas very helpful to use while I meditate, to help me focus and stay in the moment, then I find wearing that mala through the day to be a reminder to breathe and remain present and positive.  Often when I'm wearing a mala if I find myself stressed out, I instantly begin to count the beads which instantly grounds me and helps me shake off whatever stress was creeping in.   


Now obviously depending on the religion there are different meanings behind the beads or seeds used.  I have enjoyed learning about what particular value each different seed, rock, gem have to them and learning about there elements.  It's been a nice way for me to go deeper with my meditation as I learn but also making the necklaces themselves make me happy.  Often Steve wants me to sit with him and the malas are a great way for me to be able to be present with him but also be creating.  I am a very stir crazy personality so these ground me. 

My Hope Malas are all made with love and different intentions.  I want them to be able to be used by anyone no matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs to help you have the best most peaceful life possible.  If you wear them because you think they are pretty & they make you feel good then great!  If you want them to help with a meditation or a chant or a prayer great!  I always encourage people to do what is right for them and what feels right for them, and my malas are no different.  

So as of now 2 stores are selling them & I have some on Etsy.  I don't like the feel of Etsy so I am currently working on a website, but if you want a mala email hope.ann.cross@gmail.com or message me.  :) I can either create you something that I'm feeling that day, a certain color for you, or even use certain seeds or beads depending on what you feel you need.  

Thank y'all for constantly surrounding me with so much love & acceptance.  <3 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Draw your own circle

I'm blessed with so many enlightened and intelligent people in my life, who inspire deep thought with every conversation.  Recently I've had conversations with several people about feeling guilt when I am put off by someone and their energy.  

See, my whole life I have opened myself up to everybody.  Anyone want it, sure you can come in my circle.  I even let them stay well past their time.  Obviously I look at everyone who is in my life as a lesson, with one of the most important being, it's okay to not allow everyone in or make people leave my circle.  It's okay if I trust my instincts telling me something about this person doesn't sit well with me.  It's okay.  You don't have to allow everyone in.  Sigh.  That feels good. :) 

It's not like I am mean to these people; unless someone brings out the warrior, I tend to be nice to everyone.  However, like the Nahko and Medicine For the People, song, Warrior People, ..."I will learn to be peaceful but keep my knife at my side, I will pray for compassion but if war comes to my door you know I'll be blasting warrior mentality"...but I digress. :)  I will try my best to show these people love and light and keep my distant.  So i'm human and obviously not perfect, so yes sometimes I judge the hell out of people & allow them to annoy me.  I own it & am working on it. :)  

Fall is the best time to shed what isn't serving us, like the trees there leaves. So remember it's your circle, make it your own. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kindred spirits

I remember as a child being excited to visit my grandma's booth at the arts festival (or store).  I thought she was the coolest woman alive.  Turquoise wearing, festival working, sassy, craft making gem. I've always felt drawn towards creativity but tried to fit in the left brain mold.  (I've talked about this before).  

Recently since starting to make crafts, I feel a huge connection to my grandma.  I find myself wanting to make things she used to make (some I didn't even remember), & I feel her smiling at me while I make them.  When I started painting/making things it was just a creative way to deal with all the energy I have.  It has now become a way to share my energy with others.  

My grandmother's second husband passed away from ALS.  So maybe I feel connected to her at this time because of that, or because I'm following my passions like she always wanted.  Either way I'm glad to feel her energy.  I recently started making necklaces, which is my current favorite thing to do.  I was unaware my grandma made some very similar to mine.  :)

Follow the pull because you never know who might be behind it.  




In other news the DVDs are here. If you ordered one be on the look out.  Please share your thoughts & take photos of you watching.  We can't wait to hear what y'all think.  

Still need to order: click here


Monday, September 15, 2014

This is my space, that's yours. Namaste :)

Steve & I try to be open, while trying to remain positive in all things we put out there.  It's not always easy because somedays ALS sucks, our attitudes sucks, or our stir crazy wanderlust ways itch at us & we get agitated at the situation.  Some days we want to complain.  We want to be authentic and transparent in our lives (not just for others but for us), and we do embrace our feelings of "stand still" but we still choose not to put a complaint into the universe.  Complaining only left us feeling worse. We learned that we do better by accepting our feelings, and working on refocusing our energy to positive.  

I have been working on "protecting my space" and learning not to allow other people's energy to influence me negatively; because for as long as I can remember, I found myself attaching to other peoples energy, and carrying it as my own.  As I've been working on letting that go, I realized that also meant I had to accept people where they are, even if that means accepting their complaining. 

It is not my energy that is being put out there in a complaint, so why am I attaching to it?  If someone needs to complain to feel better, why do I need to even acknowledge it?  I am responsible for myself and only myself.  Other people's energy is theirs.  It is a simple concept that has taken a lot of work for me to acknowledge, accept, and learn how to separate.  

If I find myself carrying someone else's energy I acknowledging it, and then that's when I take space to do yoga, mediate, go stand bare food on the earth, smudge, read, write, paint, craft, etc.  I'm so blessed to have a husband who accepts me and encourages me to be the best version of me, who shares the same values, and who understands when I need to do meditation work.  I'm also so thankful to have such amazing, supportive, & understanding people in my life who accept me for all my quirks and shine so much love on me! I'm thankful for the continued lessons I'm presented with and for all the teachers that pop up along the way.  


 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I am content not complacent

Today Steve & I had the honor to attend North Point Church (we usually watch online) & hear them use Steve's story in their message. 

The message was so powerful it inspired some deep reflection. Andy Stanely is in the middle of a series called In the meantime, talking about, "What you do, when you are faced with a situation that you cannot change." They used Steve's shining attitude and spirit while facing ALS as inspiration to help others be able to have the same faith and courage facing their own trials. Andy is so well spoken and the message is very powerful I highly encourage y'all to watch it. 



It made me think a lot about the idea of contentment and how it can be confused with complacence.

I am one that always wants to do more, see more, learn more, experience more, love more, live more, more, more, more, more... However, I am very content with my life. In fact more than content, I am grateful. The bible verses that Andy used in his message really hit home, Philippians 4:12 says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." I have known what it was like to be hungry and at that time I did struggle with being content in life, and it's not because I didn't have the money, it was because I was so complacent. I didn't even think about bettering my life. I learned through this battle with Steve how being content with your life no matter what is thrown at you is the only way to accomplish inner peace. It's a choice to be content and one that takes learning. It's a lesson some may never learn, and I'm forever grateful I have. My hope is that people don't have to go through something life altering to learn it.

I want to stress one thing, being content with life does not mean being complacent. It is important to always strive to be the best version of yourself as you can. It's something I truly believe that needs to be worked on daily. Even if it's as simple as, "I'm going to remember to be more thankful today," or as far as "I'm going to show up to life today and live as full of a life as possible, and do my best to do that every single day."

Knowing how to truly be content no matter what life throws your way, while striving to continue to be your best is, in my mind, the key to a peaceful & fulfilled life.



I end with one thought, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
For your listening pleasure. :)