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. :)


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Manifest Reality

I recently took myself out of the box I used to live in, I simply realized I don't fit or belong in a box. I went to college majored in one thing, went to grad school got more specialized, worked in the field for 5 years. I was an excellent therapist when I could actually be in the moment, I however, actually never really liked it. No really, I would be able to accomplish break throughs with some and completely fail at others & they both bothered me just the same.  I carry people's emotions easily and I hadn't learned how to handle that yet. I was also bored. Genuinely with the job which you can tell because I had 5 different jobs in 5 years. It was more than just testing the waters, it was please tell me I don't hate all that I'm good at (so I thought) moment.  I am of course led to help others, so what better way than a therapist? 

Well guess what? I don't want just one title. I am a little about a lot person who was trying to live in a lot about a little world. I don't want to do one thing for the rest of my life. It's very unlike me. I want to do a lot of things with my life. My degree will always play a huge part into my future journeys just as it does currently, but I'm not just one thing. I am many thing.  I will never regret going to school even if I am not a working therapist those 4 years undergrad & 3 grad taught me so much more than just psychology.  


I am good at many things.  Once I could let go of those boxes of expectation I was able to realize I am good at several things if I just stay true to who I am.

You have find what feels most authentic and do it. I feel best taking care of Steve, being able to feel empowered and loved by someone and being able to take care of them in return. I enjoy painting, it feels right to me. Once I removed the box of only being a good painter if you can paint a certain way.  Art is your own expression.  If you receive happiness from doing something, do it, that's art.  I enjoy writing, and seeing myself grow as a writer. I enjoy being a part of films; anything from being in front of the camera, behind the camera, directing, etc.  I love yoga and meditating.  I feel pulled to teach everyone around me about it.  I am many things. So are you. 


Once you open your mind to the possibility, things will change. They will suddenly make sense & you will feel great.  When you have your intentions clear; work hard, believe in it, believe in you, & pay attention, the universe will be presenting many great opportunities to help you manifest those dreams.  



Started an Etsy page to sell some art
Our story from filming live with HLN

Friday, August 22, 2014

10 things you can learn from a person with ALS

I can't think of anything to write about other than ALS right now and currently it's in a good way.  Because Steve & I are over the moon happy with all this awareness I decided to blog on ALS.  Because remember we want to keep it trendy.  I have learned so much from all of the ALS patents in my life but obviously the most of this is from Steve himself.  So here are 10 things YOU can learn from an ALS patient.  There are hundreds but I know people stop paying attention after 10 usually so there's that. :) (Guilty!) 

1. Don't complain.  I get it complaining is supposed to help you "let it go" (blog coming on this tomorrow) because it doesn't actually.  When you realize that complaining actually doesn't help you at all, in fact it makes a crummy situation feel even crummier.  You have too much to be thankful for to ever complain.  All of you do & yes that includes Steve & ALS patients.  
2.  When given a crappy situation make it an awesome situations.  All of us are given situations and it's always our choices how to handle it.  If an ALS patient can be given a TERMINAL illness and still make sure they stay happy and live full lives so can ALL OF YOU.  You can, you just have to do it. 
3. When someone tells you, "There's no solution," you make your own.  ALS patients are faced with so many days and things that most find unsolvable, hence the no cure or treatment thing.  However, every ALS patient I have come across finds their own solution.  They find tricks to be able to communicate after they loose their voice, they find ways to get comfortable even when they are slowly loosing muscle control, having constant spasms, and excruciating pain, & they still find ways to fight despite their bodies giving up on them. 
4.  If someone tells you, "You are going to die & this is the sequence it is going to happen in," do NOT listen to them.  Part of why Steve is still alive is that he is determined to live until he is done, not the way ALS says it will.  He has outlived a lot of doctors expectations & constantly amazes people with his determination and fight.  I can say the same for lots of other pALS out there. 
5.  Be nice.  Seriously JUST BE NICE.  You never know when your words could be the last things someone hears.  I was lecturing Steve, the night before he coded the first time.  They told me he probably wasn't going to make it. The thought that my last words to him were, "Gosh stop being so damn stubborn and do what we ask you to," devastated me.  I was thankfully given another chance to tell steve how damn proud I am of him, and that I always want the best for him so sometimes I may have to be hard on him, but that it is only because I love him.  The nice way to say what you have to say.  
6.   Be with your loved ones.  Make the effort to see the ones you love, schedule visits, call, text, write a letter, Facebook; whatever way you reach out---talk to your loved ones, tell them you love them, & spend time with them.  As much as you can.  You never know when it could be their last day.  
7.  Take care of your head.  Obviously not all ALS cases are trauma induced, but Steve's we believe is. Looking at athletes that obtained numerous head injuries and the high presence of motor neuron diseases, just seriously take care of your head.
8. Take care of yourself.  Your health is much too valuable to take for granted.  If you can avoid a health problem with a lifestyle choice---do it.  There are some not given that choice.  Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. 
9.  Do a lot of awesome shit.  Sorry no other way to say it.  Go on adventures, go live your dreams, see the world, meet new people, go to that show, paint that painting, have that glass of wine with your girlfriends and have baggy eyes the next day.  Live your life & live it full.  
10.   Your mind is a powerful tool.  ALS patients can always let the grim facts of ALS get them down, but I can say I have spent time with a lot of pALS & I am impressed at their ability to just choose to be happy.  I'm amazed at even when I see an ALS patient have a discouraged moment, it doesn't last long. They have the amazing ability to control their mind & it's a gift I think everyone needs to learn.  

Basically to quote Steve Gleason, "Awesome ain't easy." 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keep ALS Trendy

By now you have all seen the Ice Bucket Challenge that is viral right?  You probably know it's for ALS right?  Well, maybe.

 Now let me start out  with 5 reasons this #icebucketchallenge to #strikeoutALS has been successful :

1. ALS has never made national news like this before, ever. (Let that sink in)
2. People are paying attention. Like really paying attention. 
3. It's trending to #keeptheiceinthefreezer where people are now donating to ALS. 
4. ALS patients can see and feel the love from everyone. Friends, friends of friends, family, friends families, strangers, etc. It's been amazing to see how many people want to make a video and or donation in honor of Steve.
5. It has proof that when we all come together for a common cause we can move mountains. We accomplished this together. Without each of you who participated this wouldn't be possible. We ARE capable to work together. Even those who think the challenge itself is silly, end up donating, they care about the cause, we ALL AGREE on this : Something needs done about ALS. There shouldn't be so many AMAZING people having to fight for their lives everyday. We are a capable society & this is our chance to make a movement towards good! 

Here's where I think we should go now.  Make more videos about ALS, what it does, show people with ALS, their families, talk about symptoms, talk about how people can help; etc.  Get creative & make sure people understand why it isn't just dumping ice.  Also, donations.  Donate to research, we recommend ALS TDI.  Donate to patients with ALS, guardian angels, etc.  Anyone who has donated us with the #keeptheiceinthefreezer or the #icebucketchallenge we will be donating half of those to ALS TDI.  Let's raise the money needed to fund the research to find the cure!  I am working on a new video soon! 

In efforts of continuing the awareness & research, I want to remind you from a portion of our DVD sales go to ALS TDI.  As well as a portion of our Drive paintings.  

Thank you to everyone who has talked about ALS, talked about HOPEforSteve, shared our story, a video, a personal story, called out powerful people, donated money, etc.  Because of you we have finally gotten the attention ALS has needed for hundreds of years.  This is history you are witnessing.  Thank ALL of you! HOPEforSteve on people.com


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The year I turn 30 truth

The year you turn 30 brings a lot of things, one is cellulite, but the more important is the feelings of "I didn't live up to this expectation I unrealistically set for myself."  Let's be honest, we all do it.  By the time I'm 30 I will have this, I will have done that, etc.  Let me tell you if you are reading this and have years before you turn 30---thank me now for what you are about to read.  Seriously.

Do NOT set must haves in life.  Yes set goals.  Goals and must haves actually are on a very thin line but are NOT the same thing. 

In my mind, by the time I was 30 I was going to have children because everyone used to say you should have them by then.  I was going to have my student loans half way paid off.  I have my masters, and owe a lot of money.   I wanted to have been to Italy.  I was supposed to own a house, have a fancy real job where I was putting into my 401k every paycheck, on and on. 

Well guess what.  I turn 30 in 10 days & I haven't accomplished any of the things I remember saying "I hope I do" by I'm 30.  Guess what else.  I am happy with my life.  Genuinely happy.  I feel great about the things Steve & I have accomplished, about the growth I have had, about the person I am today.  I love myself, for the first time in probably 29 years, yet I still have these weird panic sessions about turning 30 & where I am financially, successfully, etc.

Why?  Why do we set these "boundaries" on ourselves.  I live a life full of goals still, and hope to always do so, but goals are a lot more realistic these days.  I also know that as I grow and as I change I will change my mind.  I will want different things.  That is the beauty of life, you change, you develop, you grow, and yet you remain true to you.

So please, understand an unattainable goal is the same as no goal at all & don't put that kind of pressure on yourself.  Live the best you can, learn the most you can, strive for the most you can; but accept you, for you, at every stage.  You don't have to be a certain way by the time you are 30, you just have to be YOU and be HAPPY with you. & Live.