A Wrinkle for Your Thoughts

Wrinkles

When someone hurts you, when you lose a job, when you’re disappointed in any way, probably someone has said, “Don’t worry. They can’t take away that from you.” They can take your things, but not your pride, not your memory of what was once. It’s just like the song:

“The way you hold your knife
The way we danced ’til three
The way you changed my life
No no they can’t take that away from me”

The sad thing is that there is something that can steal away a loving memory in the night. It can rob you of the person you love and the places you’ve been.

Imagine waking up one day and not knowing who you are. Imagine not recognizing the wrinkles on your face, your partner, your childhood friend.

It’s a secret fear that I have to wide up with Alzheimer’s disease just like my grandmother and her siblings.

When I can’t remember a childhood memory or what I ate for dinner last week, I’m concerned. Are these early symptoms? Will I one day look at my husband and not recognize who he is? Will my child who I know by smell, sight and sound seem like a stranger to me?

It’s terrifying.

I had the opportunity to watch the new animated movie *Wrinkles several days ago. Starring Martin Sheen and Matthew Modine, it followed a group of elderly characters in a nursing home and showed their lives, their fears and what matters most when your kids are grown, you’re retired and your new home is filled with aging strangers. For an animated film, it touched upon issues that were shockingly real.

It was a chilling lesson on how we treat seniors and also how we want to be treated in return. I couldn’t help ponder my own life as an elderly woman. While my life is going 100 miles a moment right now juggling writing, taking care of my baby, checking off my to-do list, I too could end up in a home, forgetful, confused, and helpless.

Will we all end up watching the clock when we finally have the time to enjoy our lives?

What can we do now to live more consciously to change things for the older adults in our lives and for our own future? Although we don’t talk about it. Although we may try to deny it, if we’re lucky enough to grow old, we will all be faced with the same challenges of loss and change experience by those ahead of us.

{*I was given a chance to preview Wrinkles in exchange of an honest review of the film. I’m happy to share that a portion of the digital proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. If you would like to help, please spread news about this hopeful and heartwarming film.}

I Mustache You a Question: Was it Fun?

Our son’s 1st birthday party is finally been and gone. Just like the year. It’s hard for me not to reflect back without Rent in my head:

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?

Thankfully we got by without a meltdown and with just a few minor issues. But no biggies. We are grateful, however, that there is just 1 first birthday party. It was like a mini wedding. Without the glow of being newlyweds. And instead of a honeymoon, you’re stuck with a bill and an overstuffed, overwhelmed, and overtired toddler.

With the party being over however, I finally get to share with you my mustache ideas. Like this one:

Mustache straw

It took me a few hours to die cut those mustaches but paired with a patterned straw, they were worth it.

Candy buffetHere’s our little candy buffet. Target had shiny gumballs the perfect color for our party. And I made a few chocolate mustache lollipops for guests to take home.
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Here we are getting ready for his smash cake. I’ve seen it done a few times now and think the best part is seeing how your kid reacts. Some hate mess. Some like our boy, can’t get enough of it. If anyone is interested in repeating the  recipe for a coconut flour birthday cake, which I converted to a cupcake, go here.

Smashcake mustache

A few mustache things-plates from Target, and a mustache blindfold my friend made for our pin the mustache on the baby game.

Mustache party

 After the kids played, he was lost in a sea of mustaches.

Pin the mustache

Inside the sign-in book, I asked guest to write a few words to describe him. I just love the thought of him reading these one day.

sign in book

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I found a mustache worthy sign-in book (a.k.a. binder) and printed out my own template for folks to sign in. And on the left? A guess whose famous mustache game of course!

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I found a few templates for kids to color and a perfectly themed mustache book. Looking forward to reading the birthday boy this book when he stops tearing pages!

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So how do we measure a year in a life? In a word, Love.

10 Ways to Have an Inspiring Summer

{Etsy photo by IslayCorners}

{Etsy photo by IslayCorners}

Summer is peeking from under the spring showers. It’s finally here! Here’s how to transform the next warm months into a real Midsummer Night’s Dream:

1) Spend the night under the stars. Take a tent or a sleeping bag and let the starry sky be your ceiling for the night.

2) Plant something flowery or fruity in your garden. Same time next year, you’ll be able to savor the fruits of your labor.

3) Indulge in a “guilty” pleasure. Be it mindless reality TV, a dirty novel, or a rich, decadent treat.

4) Rent a bike or take your own through your neighborhood. Let the wind brush your skin and the sun’s ray dance across your face.

5) Set an intention. Every meditation, yoga practice, and successful achievement often begins with an intention. What would you like for your summer? To play, to feel free, to heal and be healthy? Create a vision for what you want and take mini steps to achieve it.

6) Elevate your senses. Listen to live music or the sound of crickets on a summer night. Introduce your tastebuds to a new type of food. Buy silk sheets or run your fingers through blades of grass or grains of sand. Visit a rose garden. Watch a sunset.

7) Learn something new. Let this be the summer you finally take that hula/cooking/gardening/singing class!

8) Finish it. That craft project that’s been sitting on your desk, the paperwork that turned into a paper tower, the bench that you half-finished, the book that you started but abandoned…Commit to finishing something you started months ago and feel how good it feels to check it off your list.

9) Make a commitment to yourself. Perhaps you let your own desires go or you’ve forgotten about the girl who used to climb trees and draw to her hearts content. Make a commitment this summer to return to yourself. Do something every day this summer to bring you closer to you. Who are you now? What are your goals? Is there a part of you that still desires drawing, writing, and climbing trees? See if you can bring her back at least for the summer season.

10) Take a grateful breath. The older you get, the faster life goes. Take a moment, even if it’s at a stoplight to inhale and be grateful for where you are now. Be grateful for the fact that you are here, that you have someone to love, that someone loves you, that you have had magical moments in the past and you will have more in the future. Be grateful for music, for laughter, for the joy that children seem to be born with. Be grateful for the moment even if it’s a difficult one. We never know how we will be changed by everything we go through.

Get Reconnected

{Etsy photo from here.}

{Etsy photo from here.}

On my last post, I delved into the signs of spiritual disconnection. Funny how we’re so plugged in these days with everything, but the things we should be plugged into. It just feels more productive to do the laundry or finish work than it does devoting time to meditating or doing yoga. The superficialities of this world are so deceptive that on a day to day basis we’re not even aware of the harm in doing it. In a year’s time, however, and beyond, we start to feel it. It’s a deep ache, a calling for something more. If you’ve been feeling that way these days, read on for tips on how to reconnect with yourself, your soul, and your greater purpose.

  1. Douse yourself in spirituality. You may not need to bathe yourself in holy water to reconnect or even attend a church service. All it could take is a switch of the television. Skip the junk food for your mind shows, and watch or read about people who have found their calling, spiritual path or are just a positive influence. Some of my favorite spiritual influencers include Pastor Joel Osteen, podcasts from SoundsTrue, books like Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore, but also reality TV show The Little Couple and Super Soul Sunday.
  2. Be in silence. Monks and nuns and other spiritual people take a vow of silence. Why? Because when you turn off your electronics, you tune into yourself. Devote a few moments to listening to your breath. If you’re patient and open to listening, you might hear the answers you’ve been looking for.
  3. Move your body. Dancing, walking, yoga, biking. These are all things that can move you closer to spirituality. When you’re in tune when your physical body, you become more aware and connected with your inner soul.
  4. Express your spirituality. Express yourself through writing, painting,or by talking with a spiritual advisor. Letting what’s inside out can bring you closer to your soul’s calling.
  5. Breathe in nature. It could be a walk around your block or a hiking trip. Just being in the presence of trees, birds, stars, waves and sunlight can defrost the coldest of hearts. There’s nothing like Mother Earth to remind us that while our potential is infinite, we are but tiny ants in this gigantic world.
  6. Spend time with pets and kids. Your weight. Your social life. Your job. These are the external dramas that distract us from what’s going on inside. Want a quick reminder of what’s important? Spend a moment with animals and babies. They’ll instantly teach you the importance of what really matters-love.

6 Signs You’re Spiritually Disconnected

Australia

{Etsy photo by MeemsaEtsyPlace}

It’s not easily recognizable unless you already know the symptoms. But there’s an ache, a longing, a feeling of purposelessness that comes over you when you’re disconnected. It can happen to all of us from the deeply religious to the spiritual. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:

  1. Emptiness. When you’re spiritually disconnected, there is a numbness and a feeling of hopelessness that permeates your being. It feels like you’re on automatic pilot. Every day seems like the next. Something’s missing, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.
  2. Meaninglessness. You’re busy. You’re getting things done. You’re successful. Your career has taken off. But if you’ve questioned why you’re doing what you’re doing, it could be a sign of disconnection.
  3. Relapse. You’ve been doing well, eating healthy, exercising, meditating. Suddenly, you find yourself shopping fanatically, eating mindlessly, and doing whatever you can to fill the emptiness.
  4. Irritability. You’re tired, grumpy and find yourself picking a fight with loved ones. Arguing temporarily gives you a sense of purpose. But long-term it’s draining you.
  5. Imbalance. You’ve lost the joy in your life. You’re working hard but have forgotten to play.
  6. Routine. Life used to seem mysterious, magical, memorable. Now it seems routine. You’ve lost the ability to be grateful, to see things with fresh perspective, to expect the unexpected.

Have you experience any of these symptoms?

In my next post, I’ll provide a few tips to remedy a lack of soulfulness.

A True American Dream Fulfilled

I love having the opportunity to write about truly inspiring people. Small business owner Elsa Talavera is one of them. She’s not only uber successful, but she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met:

“Elsa Talavera has a knack for achieving what she sets her mind to. Born and raised in the Philippines, she says, “When I was there, I used to think, ‘I’d love to go to America.’ ” In 1980, following her grandparents’ lead, she made a life-changing decision to immigrate to Hawaii.

She worked as a registered nurse on Oahu for several years before she accomplished her next dream: owning her own business. But it was no small feat.”

You can read more about her on the Hawaii Business magazine website here

3 Easy Ways to Get Inspired Today

by guest blogger: Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D.

{Etsy Daily Quote: by A Couple Little Things}

{Etsy Daily Quote: by A Couple Little Things}

A common refrain from my clients’ sounds like this, “I just can’t get motivated to do that. I need some inspiration.” One even asked me recently if there is an inspiration pill. We had a good laugh over that and although there is no inspiration pill there is certainly an inspiration plan I use and share with clients and friends. It’s relatively easy but it takes a little bit of thought and insight to work quickly and easily. Here are the three easy ways to get inspired right now. 

  • Get some clarity around what you want your inspiration to be around. 

Do you want to be inspired to write a book, switch careers, end a relationship, or simply to clean your house? Why do you want this?  What does the end result look like? Get very clear on what that is. Do you want a clean house because you can’t find things or because you like the way it looks? Do you want to write a book because you have a story you just have to tell or because you feel you should? Ask these questions and think through why you want the inspiration. Most women have lots of “haves” and “shoulds” around their dreams and thus those dreams and desires don’t seem like much fun. Inspiration comes from excitement and joy not another dreaded task on a to do list.

  • Be aware of and change your thought process around your inspirations venture. 

Are you saying to yourself, “Who do I think I am to attempt this?” Or, “I can’t do this, who am I kidding?” Or, “Inspiration won’t help me, I never get anything done in the long run.” If these are your thought processes, you will find neither inspiration nor motivation. Change your thinking around any new task or adventure. “This work will lead me to enjoy a clean house.” Or, “I’m scared about taking this leap but I know good things await me when I do.” Our thoughts lead to our feelings and behaviors. If your thoughts are negative your feelings and behaviors will follow suit. Change your thoughts to change your inspiration and motivational levels.

  • Finally, face your fears. 

What’s holding you back? Is it the judgment of others? Failing? Succeeding? Start asking yourself what you are really afraid of and then ask if you can survive if that fear became a reality. For example, if you want to write but you are afraid people won’t like your writing, can you live with that? If so, write! Look your fears right in the face and move through them with the knowledge that you will surely survive this and be better for it. Inspiration comes from clarity, our thoughts, and facing our fears.  When we make these changes we can move through the three steps quickly and easy and bring inspiration and motivation to our daily lives. 

Lisa KaplinLisa Kaplin is a psychologist, life coach, professional speaker, blogger, mother, wife, and dog lover (in varied order depending on the day).  She is the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives where she helps overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted women who have that “I thought I’d be happier than this” feeling.   Lisa helps them face their fears, step out of their comfort zones, and walk right into true happiness and fulfillment.